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How-To Tips for Healthy Crockpot Recipes

EatingWell's Jessie Price shares 5 how-to crockpot tips for healthy slow cooker recipes. She makes a healthy crockpot recipe—Braised Pork with Salsa— and shows tricks for how to use your crockpot to make flavorful crockpot recipes, including browning ingredients first.

Hi, this is Jessie. I'm here in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, and today I'm going to give you five tips for successful slow cooking, and I'm going to show you how to make braised pork with green salsa. Tip number one: Plan ahead. I like to do all my prep and measure out all my ingredients the night before. Then that means in the morning, when I'm getting ready for work, I can just dump it all in quickly. I have cubed pork shoulder, which I've already trimmed up. Now if I had time, what I'd be doing is tip number two: I would be browning the meat and browning the vegetables. That adds flavor to slow-cooked dishes. Dump it in, and I'm putting it into a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. So that's my third tip: Use the right-size slow cooker. Why? Well, if you don't have enough in the slow cooker, it could burn. If you have too much, it's going to be too hard for it to come up to the right temperature. So once that's done, I make the sauce. Combine green salsa, reduced-sodium chicken broth, sliced onions and cumin seeds in a saucepan on the stovetop. Bring that up to a boil. Now that's my fourth tip: Keep temperature in mind. So I've brought my liquid up to a boil; that's going help the whole thing come up to heat faster, which means that it gets out of the temperature danger zone more quickly. When that happens, you're ready to pour it all over your pork. Then I put some sliced tomatoes on top, put the lid on and set it cook for 6 or 7 hours. That brings me to my fifth tip: Keep the lid on. If you are looking, you are not cooking. So every time you remove the lid from your slow cooker, heat escapes and it slows the whole thing down. So leave that lid on even though you're tempted. Once your pork is nice and tender, you can remove it with a slotted spoon. Take the meat out and set it aside. Pour your liquid into a saucepan. Bring that up to a simmer and cook it for about 20 minutes to intensify the flavors. Now return the pork to the sauce, stir in a little bit of fresh cilantro. And that's it, you've just made delicious braised pork with green salsa. For this recipe and more healthy slow-cooker recipes, come to eatingwell.com.
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