At foodnetwork.com, they offer these following tips to help you create the best slow cooked meals.
#1: The temperature of the slow cooker needs to be no less than 165 degrees on the low setting.
#2: Don’t add frozen foods to your slow cooker and expect it to thaw out and cook your meat for the time you are expecting it to be done.
#3: Fill the slow cooker up with liquid between a half and 2/3 full.
#4: Don’t open the lid. It adds 15-20 more minutes onto the cooking time needed. Also, it is not necessary to stir your foods.
#5: When you turn your setting on low, expect the cook time to be double what it would take on high.
#6: The ceramic insert in your slow cooker will crack with a drastic temperature change. You cannot take the insert from the refrigerator to a preheated base.
#7: Consider a little food prep before you turn on your slow cooker. You may want to brown your meat and saute your vegetables. This will help to preserve the flavors. If you brown your hamburger before putting it into the slow cooker, you will be able to drain off the fat.
#8: Account for hight altitudes. Add an additional 30 minutes for each hour specified in the recipe.
#9: For a more even cooking, trim the fat off of meats. If you are cooking rooted vegatables with meats, put the vegetables on the bottom and along the sides with the meat sitting on top.
#10: Add dairy products, like sour cream or yogurt, the last 15 minutes of cooking.
#11: If you want to make any recipe into a slow cooker recipe, remember that liquid is not going to evaporate. Decrease the liquid 20%. If you are using herbs, use whole spices or leaves and only half of what the recipe calls for. If you use ground herbs, add them in the last hour of cooking.