Author Archives: Paula Ghosh
Author Archives: Paula Ghosh
How to Make Slow Cooker Hot Dogs (with Tasty Results)I’ve recently become a big fan of using my slow cooker, and it’s not even chili season! I’ve discovered that I have a lot more time to spend with my family during the weekdays when the slow cooker is doing the active work of cooking dinner. Prep time is about the same, but boy, do I gain a lot of extra time when I’m not slaving over the stove.
On hot days, I would always choose the grill over the stove or oven, to keep from heating up the kitchen. Lately though, I’ve been using my slow cooker and I’m able to stay even cooler! This is when I discovered that I can make hot dogs–a backyard party staple–without ever having to start the grill.
Never heard of slow cooker hot dogs? I hadn’t either, but a quick Pinterest search taught me that I’m not the first to discover this awesome cooking method. It has saved me so much time that I just had to share it with you.
You can use this cooking metho no matter what size slow cooker you have on hand. When trying to determine how many hot dogs you can fit into your slow cooker, remember that a 6-quart cooker can fit up to 60 dogs. By that math, a 3-quart slow cooker can accommodate 30 hot dogs.
If you are in the market to purchase a new slow cooker, I recommend selecting a large model, even if you don’t have a large family. You can cook bigger meals to have leftovers for the next few days, or easily cook for a group of friends.
I’m a big fan of this colorful, 7-quart Black + Decker cooker, which has a simple dial (or knob) for controlling the settings. If you want less flash and more features, this Frigidaire Professional Stainless 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is a good choice.
Pay close attention to this first step if you’re trying to get the maximum amount of hot dogs into your slow cooker! Although this cooking method is super easy, I’m not telling you to just throw the hot dogs into the slow cooker. You need to arrange them.
Remove the hot dogs from their packaging and place them in the slow cooker vertically. As in, standing on their ends. Place one or two hot dogs on their end, pressed right up to the side of the slow cooker. Hold the hot dogs in place while you grab a few more with your other hand.
Continue to stand a few hot dogs at a time while holding them in place with one hand. This arrangement will allow you to pack your slow cooker full of hot dogs. They should look like this image from 365ishpins.com.
Here’s another image from AYearOfSlowCooking.com; just look at how many hot dogs she can neatly fit into her cooker! (Side note: I’m totally buying her cookbook, 365 Slow cooker Suppers).
If you’re not filling your slow cooker to the brim with hot dogs, you can simply lay the hot dogs down like the folks over at RecipesThatCrock.com.
Pro Tip: If you’re cooking hot dogs for a kids’ party (or even for your own children), you can chop the hot dogs up into bite-size pieces before putting them in the slow cooker. Thanks to DamnDelicious.net for the photo that inspired this idea.
Since you’re not adding any water to your slow cooker and dogs, you need to put the cover on your cooker securely, and leave it on. This Slow Cooker Tips for Dummies video says it takes up to 20 minutes to recover the heat lost every time you take the cover off your slow cooker.
As the slow cooker heats up and the hot dogs begin to cook, the dogs will release juices (just like they do on the grill). This moisture will condensate on the inside of the slow cooker cover, and drip down on the dogs, creating a steam effect. The result is juicy hot dogs, so keep the lid on your slow cooker until it’s time to eat.
You can start your slow cooker hot dogs anywhere from 2 to 6 hours ahead of when you plan to eat. You will adjust the temperature based on the amount of time you have.
If you have 4 to 6 hours before you plan to eat, set your slow cooker to Low heat mode and set a timer for 4 hours. When your timer goes off, set your slow cooker to Warm mode, to keep the hot dogs warm while everyone has time to eat.
If you have only a couple of hours before you plan to eat, set your slow cooker to High heat mode and set a timer for two hours. After the two hours, set the slow cooker to Warm mode.
The key to this step is to “set it and forget it”. Walk away. Go to the store. Help your kids with their homework. This cooking method is all about letting the slow cooker do the work while you have time to do something else.
Pro Tip: If you’re having a bunch of people over, or are making slow cooker hot dogs at an event, put the slow cooker in a convenient, out-of-the-way spot. Four to six hours is a long time to have kids or partygoers steer clear of the hot slow cooker.
Slow cookers are made to cook large batches of food all the way through, but you should always check the temperature of your food before serving it to others. Pull out a few hot dogs from the center of the slow cooker and see if they are hot enough to serve.
If any hot dogs are not hot enough, rotate them with a few hot dogs that are on the edges of the slow cooker. Placing hot dogs against the side surface of the slow cooker, like this (thanks to Spaghettiandgravy.blogspot.com for the photo), will allow them to get more heat, even if the slow cooker is in Warm mode.
You can keep your hot dogs in the slow cooker and serve right out of it. Keep the slow cooker on Warm mode and cover it after everyone has been served. This keeps the dogs warm during the meal (for anyone who wants seconds or thirds), or for anyone who arrives late.
Pro Tip: You can store leftovers right in your slow cooker’s ceramic pot. Allow the slow cooker to cool down, cover and remove the ceramic pot, and put the entire thing in the refrigerator.
(Credit for photo of hot dogs in buns goes to Jeff Kaufman and Connecticumag.com)
This hands-off approach to making hot dogs is so simple, and can save you so much time doing it. There is practically no prep (unless you cut the hot dogs into smaller pieces), and you can even crank up the heat if your guests will be arriving soon.
If you make slow cooker hot dogs, leave a comment about how they turned out (and how impressed your friends and family were). And let me know what you think about that cool Black + Decker slow cooker; do you think that it’s too “flashy” for your kitchen?
My mom loves to host a gathering. She’s more than happy to cook a huge meal at every major holiday, even if there’s only a small group of us on-hand. My mom has a lot of tips and tricks up her sleeve for how to have many different dishes ready at the same time.
As for me, I’ve never quite had my mom’s knack for timing when it comes to feeding a crowd. I’ve even screwed up a casual backyard cookout before! That’s why I’m thrilled to share this new trick today.
I just learned that you can cook hot dogs in a crock pot. For me, this is a big deal. You might be wondering why I’d opt for cooking hot dogs in a crock pot over grilling them like a normal person. Let me count the ways:
Have I sold you on this yet? Are you ready to learn how to make the easiest hot dogs ever? Great! Just follow this simple step-by-step tutorial.
That’s it! Of course, you need hot dog buns and condiments if you’re planning to serve them traditional-style. You could also serve the hot dogs with macaroni and cheese (for a child’s birthday party) or as chili cheese dogs.
You do not need water or any type of seasoning for this “recipe”, although Adrian Bustamante from the YouTube channel CookingGuide says putting the dogs in some water can keep them from burning.
My experience has been that the hot dogs release some of their own juices as they cook in the crock pot. This happens when you grill them or pan fry them, too, so I choose to skip the water.
You can use just about any crock pot for this recipe. I have two older model crock pots that each have just one knob to set the temperature. I also have this model (thanks to Heavy.com for the great picture) which has push buttons and a digital screen and a timer (which I recommend using in my step-by-step instructions, below).
The newest models made by Crock Pot have digital touch screens and a lot of different features and functions, like this 5-in-1 Multi-Cooker. All that said, we’re really just heating hot dogs, so you don’t need the fanciest model crock pot. Use what you’ve got, and adjust the amount of hot dogs for the size of the pot.
Remove the hot dogs from their packaging and place them in the ceramic dish of the crock pot. How you arrange the hot dogs depends on how many dogs you are cooking.
If you are using a large crock pot (like a 6-quart pot) and only have 20-30 hot dogs, you can just toss them into the pot. The folks over at RecipesThatCrock.com used this method; they simply piled the hot dogs up in the crockpot.
If you’re trying to cook 60 hot dogs at once in a large crock pot, I recommend doing what Stephanie O’Dea from AYearOfSlowCooking.com did, which is to stand the hot dogs up on their ends and pack them in tightly. This method takes a few more minutes, but it’s the only way you’ll be able to fit all the hot dogs into the crock pot.
Pro Tip: You can also cook the mini hot dogs (also known as “cocktail wieners” or “little smokies”) using this same method. You can probably fit three to four packages of those little guys into a 6-quart crock pot, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to stand them on their ends!
A lot of recipes for mini hot dogs call for making a sauce, like this one for Honey Garlic Crockpot Little Smokes from FamilyFreshMeals.com, which sounds delicious!
If you’re new to crock pot cooking, you should know that keeping the cover on the pot–and not lifting it too often–helps to keep all the heat and cooking magic in the pot. If you’re wondering if the crock pot is heating up, you can gently touch the sides to check the temperature.
Need to learn more about using your crock pot? This video provides a great introduction.
One of the great things about this cooking method for hot dogs is that you can speed it up if you’re short on time, or plan way ahead on the morning of your party.
If you’re short on time, set your crock pot to the High setting and cook for two hours. If your crock pot has features like a timer and warmer, you should set the timer for two hours, and then have the crock pot switch to Warm setting.
If you have plenty of time before you need the hot dogs to be ready, set your crockpot on Low for four hours. (Follow the same timer/warming steps above).
Pro Tip: If you’re in the market for a new Crock Pot (you can never have enough; I have four), check out this Wifi-enabled model that lets you change heat and timer settings using an app on your phone!
Crock pots are great because they conduct and hold a lot of heat. The hot dogs in the middle of the pot should be hot enough by the end of two or four hours, but always check them before serving.
Even if the hot dogs in the center of the pot aren’t piping hot, hot dogs are packaged fully cooked, so they should be safe to eat.
I like to serve the hot dogs right out of the crock pot. That way they stay warm and I don’t have to fish them all out of the pot after spending time to get them all in there!
I also like to keep the crock pot on Warm mode for the rest of the party or cookout. This keeps them ready for friends who arrive late, or anyone who wants to snack hours after we’ve eaten the main meal.
I really can’t believe that it never occurred to me to cook hot dogs in a crock pot before. There have been so many times when I’ve had a house full of people, only to be sweating bullets over my jam-packed outdoor grill, trying to keep everything from burning.
Now I just need to figure out how to make 30 hamburgers in the crock pot!
Don’t forget to check out that new Wifi Crock Pot. Technology may be taking over our lives, but if I’m going to arrive home two hours later than planned, I’d love to have the option to check on dinner from my phone.
Are you as excited as I am about this new trick to cooking for a crowd? Leave a comment or share your crock pot tricks!
Which functional kitchen lacks a good non-stick pan? Any home cook can benefit from having a non-stick pan. What sets these pans apart is how easier they are to clean compared to traditional pans. Just like what its name suggests, food won’t stick to its surface, making way for easier cleanup.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Non-stick pans are not created equal. The last thing you would want to do is waste money on a non-stick pan with poor quality and one that might even cause health problems because the non-stick coating flakes off easily.
There are different kinds of non-stick technologies. Here are some of those technologies you would want to look for:
The original, Teflon pan has improved remarkably in safety and durability. Pans are now made with different coatings to make them better heat conductors. They are also now more durable than before. Depending on your price range, you can even buy pans with diamonds bonded to the PTFE.
Teflon never had an issue with safety and dependability, especially if you are getting the original one. When getting Teflon non-stick pans, check out those that are free from PFOA as they are devoid of chemical components that can potentially make you sick.
The porcelain-enamel category for non-stick pans is good for you not only because of its non-stick properties but its ability to prevent the need for more oils when cooking with it. Everything just glides on its surface, even delicate foods.
It can be fragile but unless you are the type of person who often breaks things in the kitchen, you shouldn’t have issues using this.
Think of ceramic pans as “it” cooking pans. They are highly coveted not just because of their non-stick properties but also because of their look. If you want to make your kitchen look like a professional’s kitchen, having ceramic pans is important.
This material conducts heat effectively, so you shouldn’t have problems cooking any kind of food on its surface. Just make sure you give it some love and attention to prevent the material from going brittle over time.
One of the first alternatives to the DuPont classic non-stick brand was released by Calphalon in the late 1960s. It is made by treating aluminum hydro electrically. There is no PTFE in the coating. The surface is scratch resistant, and the pan is light and durable.
Overall, this type of pan is useful for cooking a number of things, but it may lag behind other similar non-stick pans when it comes to non-stick properties.
When it comes to determining what to get, it’s important to carefully assess your cooking needs and preferences. What might work for others might not work for you. It’s about individual needs.
We also recommend trying out different non-stick technologies to see which one really provides the benefits you are looking for. We checked out the pans out there that stand out when it comes to features, durability and technology and here are the best choices:
This model that boasts of classic non-stick technology is one of the most popular models used in kitchens around the world. The non-stick interior is tough enough for T-fal to say it is safe to use metal utensils. The pan itself is a little heavy, giving this a stable and secure feel to it. There is added technology in the form of T-fal's Thermo-spot indicator. This special technology allows users to know when the pan is preheated for cooking, so it is going to be a big help for casual cooks.
You can’t go wrong with this ceramic non-stick pan, which is touted as one of the best in its niche. Its size is its best feature, allowing home cooks to load this up with more ingredients without worrying that ingredients will spill out. If you often cook big portions of meals for your medium to large-sized family, you will definitely find this a good buy. It’s also great for meal-prepping purposes so you can cook one-pot meals without making them in batches.
Calphalon has a good reputation when it comes to making non-stick pans, particularly anodized pans. True to its promises, this pan really does hold up well even against some level of abuse. It is very durable, thanks to its three layers of materials. You can cook a variety of dishes, making this a staple in your cooking equipment.
It’s exciting to get something from the famous Rachael Ray. She’s practically a household name when it comes to making delicious meals. You, too, can make delicious meals in 30 minutes or less with this nifty pan from her cookware line. The porcelain enamel doesn’t disappoint with its durability. It’s quite thick and can be used for a variety of cooking needs. It is also easy to clean and doesn’t have toxic components that can get in the food you are cooking.
Swiss Diamond is the brand known for bonding diamonds with PTFE to reinforce the durability of the pan. As a pioneer in non-stick technology, you can’t really go wrong with whatever Swiss Diamond churns out including this particular model of frying pan. It’s a great value for your money if you are looking for something durable.
When buying, make sure you identify the right technology that suits your needs better. If you hate doing a lot of cleanup later, you are better off with technologies that allow crumbs, grease and food residues to get wiped away easily. Technologies like Teflon and Ceramic can certainly offer that to you although most non-stick pans have that feature.
Take size into consideration as well. If you like to cook for a lot of people or you want to fit all your ingredients in one pot to save you some cooking time, you should look for a bigger and more substantial pan.
Also, make sure you think about the compatibility of the pot to your stovetop. If you have a glass stove top, frying pans with a slippery bottom might easily move around. The same is true with gas stovetops. Check the grip of the bottom of the pan to make sure it stays in place. Weight is also an important factor to consider. Heavier pans are better because they provide more stability.
So, which of these products are the best options for your cooking needs? After all, you can’t buy everything recommended here, right?
Rachel Ray’s Cucina Hard Porcelain Enamel Nonstick Skillet is an easy choice to make if aesthetics is important to you. It comes in different striking colors such as agave blue that will truly make it stand out in your kitchen. If you want to feel excited while cooking because your cookware is not only functional but also pretty, this is a great buy.
If you don’t fancy repeatedly buying non-stick pans because they just keep getting damaged, spring for the Swiss Diamond nonstick fry pan. It’s a little bit more expensive than your average pan but its construction and durability more than makeup for its lofty price. Avid home cooks will surely want to add this to their kitchen cooking collection. You can cook different kinds of meals with it.
Do you want a non-stick pan with grilling functions at the same time? Get the Calphalon Hard-Anodized Non-stick Cookware. You can grill vegetables on its surface and get that gorgeous grill mark on your food. This is a multi-purpose cooking tool ideal for those who do not like to buy different kinds of cookware because of a tight budget or due to their limited storage space.
T-Fal’s Ceramic Coated Non-Stick pan is perfect not just for frying but also for cooking a variety of meals. Because it is deeper, it tends to have more space for ingredients. Get this if you often cook bigger meal portions. For anyone looking for in the best non stick pan, we highly suggest you check out T-fal's C92182 Initiatives Nonstick Ceramic as it allows you to cook different dishes without worrying about ingredients sticking to the pan and burning.
From the same brand, their thermo-spot heat indicator fry pan is ideal for all sorts of frying needs. It is inexpensive, so you won’t have issues getting this if you are on a tight budget.
We know you probably need to buy other cookware sets aside from a frying pan so make sure you check out our homepage for recommendations. Find out what products are worth buying and which ones will last you a long time.
Did you know that even seasoned and professional cooks use rice cookers? Rice cookers turn the (sometimes very tricky) task of making rice into an easy, hands-off activity. If you’re looking to make sushi rice or Asian rice, two top brands of rice cooker are Zojirushi and Tiger.
Zojirushi vs. Tiger is a hot topic amongst sushi rice aficionados. You could spend all day reading forums and reviews about which is better. Both companies produce a variety of different rice cookers, which vary in price, size, shape, features, and technology.
To help you determine which of these two brands of rice cooker is right for you, we’ve boiled it down to a few key differences that you should consider.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
So you’re buying a rice cooker because you want to cook sushi rice. But what about those times when you just want some good ol’ brown rice? Or when you want to cook multiple foods at once without dirtying every pot in the cupboard?