Share

Cook Safely with Your Slow Cooker

Posted: January 10, 2017

Slow cookers have been updated with travel locks and automatic warm settings but the basic slow cooker is still available. Slow cookers make meal planning easier any time of year.
Slow cooker by Br3nda/Flickr.com CC0 BBY 2.0

Slow cooker by Br3nda/Flickr.com CC0 BBY 2.0

Many kitchens are equipped with slow cookers, but are they safe to use?  Yes, if used correctly, slow cookers are safe to use. Here is how to make sure that your food cooked in a slow cooker is safe to eat.

  • Always defrost meat or poultry before putting it into a slow cooker. A piece of meat needs to be less than 3 pounds in weight.
  • Next, keep the lid in place. No peaking! By removing the lid, you are removing the protective moisture needed to cook the food.
  • What should you do if the power goes out? If you're not at home during the entire slow-cooking process and the power goes out, discard the food even if it looks done.

Follow these simple rules and feel good about coming home to dinner already cooked and ready to eat!

Source: USDA FSIS

Here is a recipe for BBQ Chicken Soup. It’s a meal in itself! To save money, it also has instructions on how to make your own BBQ sauce.

BBQ Chicken Soup

For the BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 5 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

For the Soup:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (10.8-ounce) bag frozen corn
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce (see recipe for our homemade BBQ sauce)
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. To make the BBQ Sauce: In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and sauté for about 10 minutes.
  2. To make the Soup: Place uncooked chicken breasts in a large slow cooker. Add corn, black beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, and red onion.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups BBQ sauce, chicken broth, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Pour the BBQ sauce mixture into the slow cooker, covering the chicken and vegetables completely. Cook, covered, on high heat for 6 hours.  After the soup is finished cooking, remove the chicken breasts, and shred the chicken. Place the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker and stir. Enjoy
Source: What's Cooking? USDA

Contact Information

Mary Reistetter Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N.
  • Extension Educator, Food, Families & Health
Email:
Phone: 888-825-1701