Found this on the crockpot blog...http://crockpot365.blogspot.com

I've gotten quite a few emails lately asking what to do about a hot crock, or a crockpot that cooks too quickly, and burns or dries out food.

ick. I hate that.

First off, I'm sorry. So sorry.

There is nothing more defeating than thinking you have dinner all ready to go and come home to a gross dried-out or charred mess. I'm really sorry.

But, hopefully this will help, just a bit.

1) Make sure you are using the right size crockpot. A slow cooker needs to be quite full in order to heat evenly and cook properly. I have only used the brand name Crock-Pot slow cookers, and I'm thrilled that they come in such a variety of sizes. I realize that storage space is at a premium, but consider getting a smaller crockpot if you find that you aren't filling your crock at LEAST 2/3 of the way full each time you use it.

This goes against the bigger-is-better American mentality. I know. I'm sorry.

2) Start easy. Don't try out a pasta dish or a rice dish, or bleu cheese and steak roll-ups for one of your first crockpot cooking adventures. The reason they come with a little book full of stews and soups is because they are easy and somewhat full-proof.

Try:
taco soup
beef stew
minestrone soup
lazy chicken
cream cheese chicken
white chili
enchilada casserole
sausage and vegetables
marinated meat

3) Cook for the shortest and lowest cooking time if you are going to be out of the house.

huh?

I know, it doesn't make sense.

If you are going to be out of the house for 10 hours, and the cooking time says 6-8 hours, don't set it for 10. Set it for 6, and then let it stay on warm for the rest of the time you're going to be out of the house. Worst case, the meal isn't quite done and you flip it to high while you change your clothes and set the table.

The cooking time is a range. You have to get a feel of your crockpot (which is why you should start with the easy ones, first) and figure out due to your altitude, humidity, etc. how long things will take.

You will get a feel, I promise. I'm a complete dunder-head when it comes to cooking, yet I can crockpot. You can, too. I promise.

4) But my crockpot doesn't switch to warm! If you don't have one of the newer "smart" pots, and you plan on being out of the house for a long period of time, you should really invest in one. I got my 6-quart Crock-Pot Smart Pot for $29 at Target, and I've heard from readers that they have been able to score them for *quite* cheap at garage sales or on Craigslist.



5) I've done all that and it's still way too hot and it's making my countertop hot, and I think there's something wrong with it. Don't use it. Call the manufacturer. Talk to the experts. I'm a mom who drinks too much coffee and wears slippers all day. I can't fix it. I wish I could. I'm sorry.