If you want to turn your slow cooker on first thing in the morning, a little planning goes a long way.
• The night before: Cut and trim any meat, chop any vegetables, measure out dry ingredients and prepare any sauce; refrigerate the components in separate containers. (Do not refrigerate components in the slow-cooker insert; a cold insert takes too long to heat up and affects cooking time and food safety.)
• In the morning: Add ingredients to the cooker according to the recipe; reheat any sauce to a simmer before adding. If you won’t be home close to the end of the cooking time, make sure you have a slow cooker that can switch to the Warm setting when cooking is done.