Product Review: Rival 5-Quart Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

The crock pot is something most people get as a wedding gift, and if not most kitchens are equipped with one, but it is an often forgotten item. I love crock pots. I have used many over the years, and tend to use them more in cooler and colder weather, because of the heat they generate while cooking. They are so easy to use and make soups and beans more fantastic than restaurants or stovetop cooking. By nature the slow cooking process just infuses the flavor, and little is evaporated in the cooking process, if you have a good tight fitting lid. I have seen crock pots last 2 years and others last more than 7 or 10 years. I have seen real estate open houses and church potluck dinners with crockpots lined end to end providing meals for a large gathering of people. Crock pots are great for bringing foods to other places and keeping them warm as well. One of my favorite crockpots is the Rival 5 quart round slow cooker.

The Rival 5 quart round slow cooker has 3 heat settings, including warm. This is an improvement over prior models which only had 2 heat settings of low and high. I love that it is made of stoneware. The handles stay cool and the glass lid is great. I have tried crockpots with plastic lids and they are really flimsy.

The Rival 5 quart round slow cooker has a 1 year limited warranty, but it is likely to last several years. It is great for cooking soups, stews, casseroles, roasts, hot dips, beans, curries, and even desserts. They are easy to use, and although the stoneware crock is dishwasher safe, I prefer to handwash. I have always found the Rival 5 quart round slow cooker easy to handle and wash both inside and outside. I prefer this round shape over the oval shape. I have noticed that on the high settings that the lid gets extremely hot, so a word of caution is to use an oven mitt whenever lifting the lid. If you don’t, you will likely burn your hands because the heat is very hot.

One thing I like to do to kick-start crockpot cooking is I pour hot or boiling water in the stoneware crock from the very start. This cuts the cooking time dramatically, but does not change the flavor at all. The Rival 5 quart round slow cooker is solid and doesn’t feel or look cheap. The lid fits securely, which is important, so moisture and heat don’t escape during the slow cooking process. It is also easier to store than one of the oval crock pots, and it takes up far less counter space as well. It is designed to cook for 4 or 5 people, however when I make a pot of red beans or lentil soup or home made pea soup, I find it is enough for 6 or 7 people. Crock pot cooking is great because you can also freeze the leftovers for future meals that can be reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.

The Rival 5 quart round slow cooker can be found at your local Wal-mart or many other stores that sell crock pots and it is priced under $25, which is a good value for the money. It also comes with a recipe booklet for those who are inclined to need cooking ideas.

I have used my Rival 5 quart round slow cooker to cook fresh carrots in broth or potatoes in broth and they taste wonderful. Crockpot cooking is not only economical and frugal; it can be nutritious and make some hearty family meals.

You don’t have to know how to cook or even be a good cook to make great meals with a crock pot. Just buy some bouillon cubes and throw dried beans in the pot and you have a fabulous pot of beans. Naturally you can add seasonings if you like, but using bouillon generally has plenty of flavor infused into whatever beans or vegetable you cook in your crockpot.

I recommend the Rival 5 quart round slow cooker as the best and most reliable crockpot with simple settings and being the right size for the right price and likely to last for several years.

For a variety of crockpot recipes and ideas you can visit these links

http://www.crockpot.com/recipes.aspx

http://www.recipesource.com/main-dishes/crockpot/

http://homecooking.about.com/od/crockpotrecipes/

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