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I was surprised when I completed using the slow cooker for the first time and it did not look like the ingredients anymore but the water I had added per the directions has turned into a thick brown broth.

Essentially, the beef, potatoes, and vegetables that came ready to go per a costco "slow cooker platter" that cost me $20, ultimately turned into a beef stew by the time it was done.

I did not like it at all and now I have over $18 of food I don't know what to do with because I don't like it.

But individually I love all the ingredients. When I cook those ingredients in the toaster oven it comes out great and I love it.

It's not the softness that bothers me, I like it being tender. It is the stewyness that bothers me and I didn't like that at all. Meat slathered in BBQ sauce is good. But meat with watered down gravy-like sauce is bad.

I would like to be able to actually use my slow cooker to make new things, but I hate stews and soups and don't want to use it for that. How can I use my slow cooker to make foods that do not turn into stew or soup?

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    It sounds like you ended up with what your Costco slow cooker platter was supposed to make. I'm guessing you'd probably do better with recipes that use larger pieces of meat, like spare ribs. Depending on what aspects of "stewyness" you don't like, you might not want to put and potatoes or vegetables in the cooker. – Ross Ridge Feb 8 '16 at 19:15
  • Related: cooking.stackexchange.com/q/23232/1672 (I know you've already seen it, but having the link here is helpful) – Cascabel Feb 8 '16 at 19:38
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    I don't mean this to be facetious, but have you looked around online for non-soup, non-stew recipes? It's certainly possible to use a slow cooker to cook meats, but the specifics will vary with what you're cooking. If you're looking for ideas of what you could cook, that gets into recipe-request territory. – logophobe Feb 8 '16 at 21:45
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As logophobe suggested in the comments, look for slow cooker recipes that aren't soups or stews. There are plenty, mostly in the direction of roasts. The general idea will be that you put a large piece of meat (and maybe some vegetables) in a slow cooker, with a very small amount of water (maybe half a cup), and you'll end up with some liquid in the bottom, but not a huge amount.

That liquid will generally be pretty flavorful, so most people would probably eat it somehow. One might eat it with the meat, turn it into a gravy, or use it in a different soup or stew. You should be able to make something pretty delicious; I wouldn't think of it as "watered down". But if you don't like liquid, you can throw it away.

If you don't like any of those ideas but it still seems wasteful (it is), I guess you might want to pick a different way to cook meat. Slow cookers are pretty much capable of stewing and braising, which can give you something pretty much like a roast, but there's always going to be at least a bit of liquid involved. If that's really not an option for you, the slow cooker might not be the best choice for you.

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I once encountered a recipe for a roast cooked in a slow cooker that was specifically designed to prevent the meat from being soaked in broth at the finish producing a slow cooked dry heat result. The instructions included placing a disposable aluminum loaf pan upside down in the bottom of the slow cooker, and placing the meat on top of that, the idea being that all the liquid produced by the cooking process would be sucked into the inside of the bowl removing the chances that it will envelop the meat. When they removed the meat and the aluminum vessel all the water spilled out from under the aluminum pan. This is just a suggestion- I myself have not tried this method. If you dotry it I'd like to know how it works. Also starting with room temperature meat and searing the meat before you place it in the slow cooker might also give a little help. Hope everything works out.

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