Depending on what you're cooking, you could start the food from frozen. I do that with all kinds of things. It makes it faster to put together and needs to cook longer. The newer crockpots do tend to cook hotter than older ones. It takes a bit of trial and error to learn what works with your pot. Also, it should be pretty full (like half or more) in order not to over cook things. You can put another smaller dish inside the pot to make yours smaller, if needed.