Cooking and Baking

I'm really struggling with my slow cooker.

I came home tonight to another disappointment in my slow-cooker. I am having a couple of specific troubles. Let me start out by explaining I have a Rival slow cooker with 5 heat settings 4 and 6 hours on high and 8 and 10 hours at low and a warm setting. I want to use this slow cooker as a way to get cheap meals on the table with no extra cooking when I get home (okay maybe some pasta or rice or something). I only use my slow cooker on days when I'm gone for a full 12 hours so the it has to stand up to all that time. I am finding that my food comes out tasting metalic, over cooked, mushy, swimming in grease, or like nothing at all.

I don't want to be using boneless skinless chicken breasts and to me chuck roast is a splurge in the budget. I want to be able to use pork shoulders or bone in chicken thighs or whole chickens and it actually come out tasting like something. I'm not even looking for recipes so much as tips on how to use it. Should I be taking the skin off of chicken? How much liquid should I be using? What vegetables don't really work? Can I use frozen chicken or should it be thawed? Please help...

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