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When you use a slow cooker, you must either boil the food before adding it to the slow cooker or add an hour to the cooking time to bring it up to a simmer. That is the time that the cooking actually starts to make the meat tender. Stewing beef would take at least 2.5 to 3 hours. The only way you would do it in an hour is you used fillet steak.
What sort is it?
I have a Sunbeam - I just throw in all the ingredients for say, a casserole, in the morning before work. Leave it on low heat setting, ensuring that I have a tin of tomatoes or a mug of beef or chicken stock to keep everything moist, put the lid on and about 7 hours later hey presto! The meal is ready.
No real preparation , I just use a normal meal recipe, and ensure i have enough moisture for the cooking as I would in the oven.
First some common sense, there is no such thing as partially defrosted - it's either frozen or it isn't as far as cooking safety. A slow cooker, even on high, only takes food to simmering temperature and holds it there, and it does it very slowly. Put something frozen inside and cover with glass, the glass gets very cold and then turn it on high and go away for several hours....unless the glass is Corning Ware and rated for freezer to oven, expect it to break one out of ten times. Also, putting frozen food in a slow cooker and thawing while slow cooking gives you a good chance at growing some unhealthy bacteria in the cooker as the meat warms. Meat should always be thawed fully before placing in one of these units, as the directions specify.
Heat intensity is warm, 1, 2, 3 (highest)
How to operate:
Plug in. Set timer to amount of hours to cook.
Press the SELECT button to scroll thru 4 settings -
"warm", "1" (Low), "2" (Medium)", "3" (High).
Once the desired cooking temp selected, press
the "round circle" power button to begin cooking.
The time display will now start to count down to "0:00"
When the cooking time has been reached, the slow
cooker will automatically go into "warm" mode for a maximum
of 6 hours, then automatically turn off.
NOTE: Not recommended using the WARM setting for more than
4 hours at a time.
NOTE2: To stop the cooking process at any time, press the
"round circle" power button. The unit will default to "0:00" time
but the indicator light in the "3" high position will remain on.
According to instruction book: To use Double bowls in the crock water must be used. Otherwise crock may overheat and crack. 1-Pour one quart of water into the crock. Prepare recipe according to instructions. Place food in the bowls. 2-Place both bowls into crock. Cover & cook.
To Use Double bowls in the base (without crock) 1-Prepare recipe according to instructions. Place food in bowls. 2-Place both bowls into the slow cooker base. Cover and set control knob to desired setting.
It's a slow cooker so I put mine on low, when to work and about 9.5 hrs later, all came out fine. Only thing I should have done was put the cooker in big pan to catch the some of the drippings that came out. Experiment!
Or call Hamilton Beach, they might have a different answer.
HI BETTE...I USED THIS ITEM FOR THE 1ST TIME TODAY...I DECIDED TO TRY IT AT A TIME WHEN I WOULD BE HOME TO OBSERVE THE PROCESS...I USED THE FROZEN BANQUET CROCKPOT CHICKEN WITH POTATOES, VEGGIES & SAUCE FOR MY 1ST EXPERIMENT...INSTRUCTIONS : SET ON LOW FOR 8-10 HOURS...AFTER LESS THAN 4 HRS, THE SAUCE WAS BURNING/STICKING TO THE SIDES OF THE CROCK POT AND THE VEGGIES WERE MUSH...IT WAS BUBBLING UP LIKE IT WAS ON THE HIGHEST SETTING ON THE STOVE TOP...I CALLED RIVAL ( 800.323.9519 ) AND SPOKE TO MARIO IN CUSTOMER SERVICE...HE DID SOME EXPLAINING ABOUT THE HEATING ELEMENTS BEING ON THE BOTTOM AND THE SIDES OF THE HEATING BASE AND SUGGESTED TO CUT ALL SLOW COOKER RECIPE TIMES IN HALF, INCLUDING THE RECIPE BOOK THAT CAME WITH THE CROCKPOT...I'M GOING TO TRY THIS AGAIN WITH ANOTHER FROZEN BANQUET CROCK POT PRODUCT ($6.00) , I'LL REDUCE THE COOKING TIME AND INCREASE THE ADDED WATER...I'M NOT GOING TO USE AN EXPENSIVE CUT OF MEAT UNTIL I GET THE HANG OF THIS "SMART" POT...I'VE ALWAYS USED THE OLD FASHIONED TYPE SLOW COOKER WHERE IT WAS SLOW EVEN ON THE HI SETTING !!!
GOOD LUCK, VALERIE M. 1/11/07