Slow cookers are some of the hardest-working small appliances in any kitchen. Most of us know they can make soup and stew quietly on the counter while we're off at work or running errands, but there are tons of other recipes that slow cookers can pull off like bread, lasagna, and even chicken wings. A slow cooker is also ideal for making hot dips like spinach or buffalo chicken. For all their perks, the one major drawback is that they're designed to cook only one thing at a time. However, with a little finagling using some heavy-duty foil and a slow cooker liner, you can maximize the space in your cooker to accommodate two, three, or even four different dips, soups, or anything else you'd like to keep warm for serving.
Dividing the space in a slow cooker is perfect for a couple of hot dips on game day, or cheese dip and chili for a build-your-own nacho bar. The best part is that this hack works for any size slow cooker and you don't need to buy any special attachments — all you have to do is form the foil to fit the space.
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Divide The Space And Cook Or Heat
When it comes to slow cookers, for all their good points, the space constrains you to one big recipe. The most common standard sizes are anywhere from 6 to 10 quarts, which is great if you're making a dinner for a whole family, or if you're making a big batch of soup to stash away for the winter. When it comes to party planning, however, the more choices you can put out on the table the better. Here's where the foil comes in.
If you want your slow cooker to keep your bean dip, baked beans, and chili all warm at the same time, all you need to do is grab a roll of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Pull a couple of sheets of foil and fold them together, then fit them inside the cavity of the slow cooker to make a wall dividing the space. It's important to use heavy-duty foil for this job because it needs to be strong enough to stand up on its own. Make as many dividers as you need, and then place a slow cooker liner on top and push it down into the open spaces. Now you can fill each space with whatever you'd like. This setup works just as well for cooking as it does for keeping things warm, so experiment with the multiple spaces.
Foil Fits Into Any Space
If you search the internet, you'll find that you can also buy silicone inserts for slow cookers. If you use your cooker for multiple recipes frequently, a few of these might be a smart buy. However, pre-made dividers are single-use gadgets, so before you clutter up your cabinets with more stuff keep in mind that they will only divide your Crock Pot into equal-sized spaces. With the homemade foil trick, on the other hand, you can make your compartments bigger or smaller depending on what you want to keep warm. This is especially helpful if you have a diner with dietary constraints. For example, you might need only a small amount of vegetarian chili for one guest and the rest can have meat. With a little bit of foil, you can section off space for two or three cups of the veggie version and leave the rest of the space for meat lovers.
In addition to convenience, when compared to store-bought dividers, which cost around $10, a bit of foil and a plastic liner cost less than a dollar. When you're done with your partitioned slow cooker, just toss the liner in the trash and recycle the aluminum foil or use it for something else.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.