Congratulations! You're the proud owner of a brand-new slow cooker ... now what?
Obviously the very first thing you'll do is unbox your slow cooker. You must unbox it in order to make all those magical slow cooker recipes. (And, if I were cooler, I would have made an unboxing video with my slow cooker; but I am me, so I didn't.)
But beyond deciding what you will make with your new kitchen appliance, are there any other things you should do? Why yes, yes there are. (We're glad you asked.)
1. Read the instruction manual.
I'll admit that this is something I have difficulty with. I tend to fall in the camp of "figure it out as I go." But there are important details in there, and you probably only have to read them once. For example, I learned that I should never, ever submerge my slow cooker in water (okay, maybe I knew that one) and also that I shouldn't add cold food to a hot pot or very hot food to a cold pot. The stoneware is sensitive!
2. Register it!
Your slow cooker probably has a warranty, so you should register it. Right now. Otherwise you'll never do it.
3. Clean (and dry) it.
But it's never been used, you might say! Still, it's not a bad idea to give your new arrival a quick clean. For starters, there's probably some residual something or other that you don't want to go in your slow cooker chicken recipe.
Giving it a quick clean also allows you to get familiar with your slow cooker and its parts, which will make it easier to use and properly clean down the road. And because there's no crusty stew stuck to the sides, it's pretty easy to do. Just give the removable parts a rinse with warm, soapy water before drying it.
All About Cleaning Your Slow Cooker
4. Find the right place for it.
Are you planning to use your slow cooker a lot? Is it pretty or more of an eyesore? How heavy is it? Depending on your answers, your slow cooker may belong close at hand, but not on out on your counter. Or it may, like mine, deserve a primo spot so everyone can admire it. (Yes, yes she is cute, thank you for noticing). It probably never goes on the rickety shelf above your stovetop. Just saying.
5. Read up on the basics of slow cooking.
This point is similar to the first, but there's only so much your user manual will tell you. If this is your first slow cooker (like me!), it might be nice to brush up on some basics. That's why you have us! Here are our best tips for when you're ready to actually use your slow cooker.
Okay, now you're ready. Get cooking! Why not start with our top slow cooker recipes of 2016?
Have you recently bought a new slow cooker? What are you most excited to cook?