Warm Up With A Safely Slow-Cooked Meal

Warm up this winter with some slow-cooked comfort food! Using a slow cooker or the slow-cook function of your electric pressure cooker is an easy way to make your favorite seasonal meals. After you prep the ingredients, you can put them in the cooker, start it, and forget it. After a few hours, you have a warm, flavorful meal ready to enjoy. Safely prepare slow-cooked food by following these steps:

  1. If you plan to use frozen meat, poultry (such as chicken or turkey), or seafood in the dish, give yourself enough time to thaw it safely before adding to the slow cooker. Do not thaw frozen food on the counter. Instead thaw it in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Begin to cook your meal immediately after thawing the meat if you thawed it in cold water or the microwave.
  2. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before preparing your slow-cooked meal.
  3. Risen fresh fruits or vegetables in your recipe under running water before cutting or peeling them.
  4. When cutting up ingredients for your meal, keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from any food you plan to eat raw (for example, garnish or toppings like cheese, cilantro, or lemon zest). Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils.
  5. Large cuts of meat and poultry may be cooked safely in a slow cooker. However, since slow cookers are available in several sizes, check the instruction booklet for suggested sizes of meat and poultry to cook in your slow cooker.
  6. After touching raw meat, poultry, or seafood, wash your hands again for 20 seconds with soap and water.
  7. Vegetables cook slower than meat and poultry in a slow cooker, so put the vegetables in first, for the best quality.
  8. Add meat, poultry, or seafood to the slow cooker. Make sure your slow cooker is between half and two-thirds full. If it’s too full, the food may be undercooked and unsafe. If it’s not full enough, the food may be overcooked.
  9. Start your cooker right after you finish prepping. Do not set a timer to start cooking later in the day. Bacteria can multiply quickly in the parts of the food that reach room temperature before cooking begins.
  10. While your meal is cooking, wash your utensils, cutting boards, and countertops with hot, soapy water, or put them in the dishwasher if they are dishwasher safe.

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