Crockpot/Slow Cooker Cooking
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Crockpot/Slow Cooker Cooking
Slow cooker for vegetarian family?
I'm wondering if those of you in vegetarian families have found good
uses for their slow cookers? (We eat fish, but I can't imagine it's
great for that.) Is it worth taking up the counter space? Have you
found it helpful in cooking beans and other legumes? I'm looking for
something to make evenings easier, as I tend to have a bit (not a
whole lot, but a bit) of spare time in the mornings. We're not big on
soups (husband doesn't find them filling enough), but I could see us
being ok with a hearty stew maybe once a week, and I would be happy to
bring stew leftovers for weekday lunches. Any advice on good recipes
or cookbooks? We're into lots of different kinds of food, but cook a
lot of Mexican, Thai, and Indian. Thanks!
Slow Cooker Curious
I find my slow cooker awesome for cooking beans and stews. I am not vegetarian, so I can't
say anything about that aspect, but when it comes to long-cooking beans, nothing beats a
slow-cooker, since you don't have to be home while the cooking happens. It's pretty great
to come home to a ready, hot meal.
They do take up a lot of counter space. I store mine in a cupboard when it's not in use.
I have found several recipes that my family loves in The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy
Singla. There is one small section on meat dishes, but the majority of the book is
vegetarian. The slow cooker is great for cooking dried beans and lentils.
I am very curious myself to see what the other BPN members will respond to this!
I have received the latest issue of Good Housekeeping magazine and they have three recipes
with lentils in the slow cooker.
I am vegetarian and I have a slow cooker I use occasionally. There are cookbooks out
there, the one I have is called ''fresh from the vegetarian slow cooker,'' by Robin
Robertson. I have to say, though, that I never really love the meals that result, maybe
that is why I don't use it much. Veg stews end up too mushy if you try to start them in
the morning. Maybe use a timer so it starts mid-day. But you can also make veg sides like
mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, and desserts or apple butter - that was my favorite
thing I have made.
The slow cooker is GREAT for vegetarian meals, especially beans and lentils. My two
favorite slow-cooker cookbooks are ''Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook'' and
''Cooking Light Slow Cooker.'' Even though neither book is completely vegetarian, both
have very good vegetarian sections. ''Not You Mother's'' Has a great primer on cooking
beans and the cooking time for different types of beans. It also has a ton of great advice
on slow cookers in general and how to adapt regular recipes to the slow cooker. Another
book I have but haven't dug into much yet is called ''The Indian Slow Cooker.'' Martha
Stewart's website has lots of good recipes. Just search on vegetarian crockpot and a lot
will come up.
I use my slow cooker all the time to cook beans, veggie stocks, and more. Two things that
I was amazed to discover come out great are polenta (creamy and delicious with no
stirring) and risotto. But the biggest gamechanger for me was the book The Indian Slow
Cooker. It's about 80% vegetarian and has seriously changed my life: all kinds of dal,
aloo gobi, saag paneer, etc., all made in the slow cooker. Fantastic!
It's also great for making your own yogurt because of the slow, steady low heat.
I'd say we use the slow cooker at least once a week. It lives on top of the refrigerator
so it doesn't take up counter space except when it's running.
Slow cooker fan
I LOVE my slow cooker. I am not strictly vegetarian, however tend towards it. My
favorite cookbooks are the Make it Fast, Cook it Slow series, especially the first one
with the yellow cover. She cooks gluten free and has kids, making notes at the end of
most recipes about her family and how they liked it. I've learned to tailor the recipes
to more veggies or all vegetarian, and the bean recipes are out of this world. With
simple substitutions I am completely happy. Plus the wonder of coming home to a fully
cooked meal is not to be dismissed. I recommend you try it. You'll learn what to have in
your pantry so you can throw something together in less than 10 minutes. And you can more
easily use top end ingredients.
We eat mostly veg, and I've never coveted a slow cooker, but I looooove my pressure
cooker. It cuts the cooking time for beans and legumes from several hours to a matter of
minutes, and turns out the kinds of hearty soups and stews I think you're looking for in
the same time-frame as pasta or a stir fry.
We have a Hawkins Futura (check it out on Amazon) and our favorite recipe book is the one
that came with the pressure cooker - we use it several times a week.
Just a thought.
We were vegetarian when we got married and received a Crockpot as a wedding gift. After
perusing the little recipe book that comes with the Crockpot we returned the entire thing.
So, no, as vegetarians, we didn't think it would be all that helpful. Then we started
eating meat recently and went out and bought a Crockpot! But I haven't been too impressed
with the quality of the meals, or the time saved (it's more like time
re-allocation--instead of doing all the work at dinner time you have to find the time in
the morning or the night before). So, we are not so thrilled with our Crockpot. It sits
on our counter and is used as storage for our coffee beans.
Not a fan
What a great question! I'm a vegan and I use my slow cooker ALL the time. A great book
to start with is The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester. Some really great, easy, and
delicious recipes! I have a blog ( www.ColoradoVegan.com ) and I've posted about some of
the recipes - just search on my blog for ''slow cooker'' or ''crock pot''
I'd highly recommend buying the book - definitely well worth every cent. $12.38 on Amazon
I am looking for recs on a healthy slow-cooker
cookbook...the ones I've looked at use ingrediants like
condensced cream of mushroom soup, ketchup and onion soap
mix. I'd like some recipes with just simple, healthy
I won't say there ISN'T a 'healthy' slow cooker cook
book, but I've looked at many and they all seem to be like
you described. I have 2, and I just substitute ingredients
and kind of make up my own stuff. I've also gotten some good
ones on line. Good luck. anon
I'm usually very happy with 'art of the slow cooker' by
andrew schloss. We also slow cook a number of the stews
from 'the best recipe'
Many of our favorite meals are from these two books some of
the recipes don't really need slow cooking, but no harm done
I just cook using a Le crueset pot in the oven (not w a slow
cooker. still figuring out slow cooking
I have been enjoying 'Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker
Cookbook' by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. A lot
recipes and many many tips that will help you convert
regular recipes to the slow cooker and teach you to modify
recipes to suit your needs/tastes.
I also have the Cooking Light slow cooker cookbook. It has
healthy recipes and good instruction, too. It isn't as
extensive as 'Not Your Mother's' and some of the recipes
are a little too sophisticated for a 'throw something
together for the kids' weeknight meal. So if you want one
book, I'd get 'Not Your Mother's.'
I love my slow cooker, have several slow cooker cookbooks,
and try to get everyone addicted to it. The two cookbooks I
have that I use most - and that have lots of options other
than the cream soup base - are:
(1) Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker: 200 Recipes for
Healthy and Hearty One-Pot Meals That Are Ready When You
Are by Robin Robertson
(2) Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth
Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann
Slow Cooking Family
Cooking Light Slow Cooker is great. Tasty all natural
recipes. Minor draw back - because you're not using cans of
stuff & fat to add flavor, many of the recipes require a lot
of different herbs/spices. As I'm not a real cook, I had to
sometimes leave out items or make sure I bought ahead of
time. Crockpot Queen
I hate cooking, but I love using my slow cooker!
Two books I like:
Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook
Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever (my personal favorite!)
Here's the link to the second one:
Happy slow cooking to you!
Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Slow Cooker
Willaims-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking
The Gourmet Slow Cooker (Lynn Alley)
Secrets of Slow Cooking (Liana Krissoff) Not a can of
soup in sight... I would check Amazon.com or Ebay for
these cook books as none are very new.
two vices - coffee and cookbooks
Hi Busy Parents,
I would like to cook more efficiently. It's hard getting home
from work with hungry people and no dinner, yet impossible to
cook dinner with little kids around. I would love
recommendations for a good recipe book for a crock pot.
Thanks in advance!
- busy mom
I would like to chime in with a
recommendation for a good cookbook. I love ''Not Your Mother's
Slow Cooker Cookbook''. I've made lots of recipes from it and have
been very pleased with how they've turned out.
I just got a Crock Pot and I'm learning what do to with it. In the last Advice
there was an idea about how a parent might use it to cook easy, delicious meals.
idea of being able to slap in the ingredients before I go to work (10:30am) and have
dinner magically ready when I walk in the door at 6:30pm is very enticing! I have
found recipes on the internet, but any tried-and-true and EASY ones out there?
Crock-Pot-Mom Ready to Go
You know who has given me the best tips? The butcher at our
local Safeway. I was also struggling with recipes for my
crockpot, 'cause the cookbooks seemed to be just as elaborate
as regular cooking. He gave me one idea that I use at least
once a week. You can buy a large piece of meat, like a roast
(and they're often relatively cheap), and you first brown it in
a frying pan. No need to be very careful. Just quickly brown
all sides and add seasonings if you'd like. Put about an inch
of water in your crockpot and add some garlic, salt, bay leaf,
onion and maybe other vegetables. Then add the meat and close
the top. If I do this early in the AM I leave my crockpot on a
low setting. I sometimes do this around noon and then I leave
the crockpot on high. Either way, by dinner time I have this
incredible piece of soft meat that falls apart and that is just
delicious. With parts of the remaining juices I make gravy and
there is usually not a piece of meat left. Even the kids, who
are very picky, eat all their meat.
I love my crock pot. It gets us through the cold winter months. All of
recipes come from the Eating Well magazine. Their recipes can all be
found online on
their website. www.eatingwell.com/recipes Do a search for crock pot
and you'll get a
list of the recipes. ENJOY!
I have found great recipes in ''Not Your Mother's Slowcooker
What I have learned is that there actually is some need to cook
some of the ingredients in order for things to be really
tasty. It is not quite enough to just pour ingredients in the
Even as a SAHM, I have found that the easiest time to get dinner started
while my older son is at school and the little one is napping in the
husband just gave me a Crock Pot for Christmas (which I asked for),
along with a
copy of Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger.
through and reading all of the recipes, I am very excited to start
trying them. It has
everything from breakfast to soups, rice, beans, meats, jams and
My first attempt was disappointing - bland pot roast with underdone
improved with a little doctoring). Then I went back and read the first
I had skipped) and figured out what I had done wrong. I also found
useful tips on
this page: http://www.fabulousfoods.com/school/cstools/slowcooker.html.
Today I am attempting a Mexican lime and cilantro chicken, and tonight I
will put on
oatmeal before bed so that we can all (hopefully) enjoy a nice, hot
Crock Pot novice
I am definitely a fan of the crock pot. The key is not to try
to use it for more than really makes sense. You'll see all
sorts of crazy recipies for things like spaghetti or brownies or
other things that you really don't need to cook in a crock pot.
Stick to the basics of large cuts of meat that get nice and soft
after cooking for eight hours.
The best cookbook I've found is called The New Creative Crock
Pot Cookbook. It's from Rival, the company who makes Crock Pots
and the author is Robin Taylor Swatt. I don't think you can buy
it in bookstores, but it is sold at places that sell Crock
Pots. I got my copy at Raley's supermarket, for example.
Chile Verde in Crock Pot - Large hunk of cheap pork, new or
leftover, browned or not browned. Two bottles (green) Chile
Verde from Trader Joe's (which tenderizes the meat). That's it.
Cook until it falls off the bone. I serve it with tortillas,
Spanish Rice (Uncle Ben's Microwave) and a can of refried beans.
My kid loves it. Keeps well in fridge.
In reading about Plastics, and the suggestions about ceramics,
I had a question about lead in ceramics. Without causing an
uproar, I called Rival, the maker of Crockpots, they told me
that the crockpots have lead in them. Of course, they
repeatedly told me that Jardiniere Products (the manufacturer)
follows the highest USDA standard for having lead in ceramics,
but now I am worried about slow cooking pasta sauce or soup in
a ceramic crockpot for 8-10 hours. Does anyone have an
expertise on this issue? Is a crockpot safe?
I don't know the answer to your concerns about lead in crockpots,
however, I wonder,
what about using those special crock pot liners or parchment paper? Of
everything seems a health risk nowadays so not sure about the safety in
but it may be a possibility. Also makes clean up a breeze.
Hi -- in the land before children, I was a potter. Odds are the
crockpot with lead in it is perfectly safe to use. BUT I still
wouldn't use it. I just wouldn't take the risk -- not worth it
When it comes to lead in glazes, keep in mind that the more
acidic the liquid, the more lead could potentially be leached
out. For example, if you have a mug with a lead-based glaze on
it, you would consume more lead (hypothetically) drinking orange
juice, and less lead drinking water. And tomatoes are pretty
So -- yes, it's probably safe, but I wouldn't do it.
I meant to post this reply earlier. I asked a colleague who has
done extensive work in the area of lead in ceramics. Sorry if her
response is too complicated, but here it is:
In general, the important question is not whether there is lead
in a ceramic product, but rather whether the lead can leach into
food at sufficient levels to be dangerous. California's Prop 65
established levels that were considered ''safe'', and any ceramic
or glassware that leaches lead above these levels requires a Prop
65 warning. One would hope that the determination of whether a
Prop 65 warning is required on a crock pot would be based on its
actual use, which includes slow cooking for a long time (I don't
know this for a fact though). In any case, that would be a good
place to start in terms of lead in crock pots-- to contact the
retailer or manufacturer and ask whether the product requires a
Prop 65 warning in California. My guess is that they are an item
of low concern, given the materials they are made of, firing
The FDA (not USDA), that regulates tableware on a national level.
The FDA has less protective standards for lead in tableware; any
tableware that leaches lead above the FDA standards cannot
legally be imported into or sold in the United States for food
use. This is spelled out in more detail in the regulation page
There is ample information on the tableware section of the
Childhood Lead (CLPPB) website.
Here are those links:
Tableware Information homepage --
Questions and answers --
Regulation of lead in tableware --
also a crockpot (user)
I finally bought my first crockpot and realized what a great way to have dinner
basically cook itself. The problem is, I can't seem to find many recipes that don't
use onion soup mix or cream of whatever so I'm limited to just a few dishes and my
family is getting tired of chili (although they love it)! Can anyone recommend a good
slow cooker cookbook or recipe source, one that doesn't require a lot of prepackaged,
canned, branded ingredients? I love the convenience of the slow cooker, but want the
focus on healthy, low-sodium ingredients. All ideas are appreciated.
i like ''Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker'' by Robin
I have never found a good slow cooker cookbook - besides the one that came with
mine (and that's actually pretty good, but only has about 5-6 recipes.) Anyway, I've
liked using Epicurious.com to find recipes. They're all compiled from Gourmet, Bon
Apetit, etc. (Conde Nast, maybe?) Anyway, just go there, sign up ( for free) and
start a recipe box by searching for ''blank meat/veggie'' and the words crock pot or
slow cooker. One thing I love is the rating system where others have made notes
about things they liked and didn't like, ingredients to eliminate, etc. If you hate
something, you can just remove it from your recipe box. If you like it, leave it
next time - or print it out and keep a file.
-Slow cooker addict.
Here are some crockpot ideas: Split pea soup. I don't follow a
recipe, but the one on the 16 oz bag of split peas would
probably work. Be sure that some of the time early on the
crockpot is on high to really cook the split peas, then hours
on low is fine. for a vegan soup w/ a smokey flavor I add
liquid smoke at the end. lentil soup--ditto, adding spinach
(organic, local) and parmesan at the end. any bean based soup
like minestrone would work, but add veggies like green breans
late. Beef stew--i use wine and/or canned tomatoes as the
liquid, but not canned soup. chicken in a pot. brown a chicken
and place the desired root veggies on the bottom of the pot.
place whole or cut up chicken on top. add white wine, chicken
broth, water, some herbs. make noodles or not when you get
home. chicken pot pie. leftover cooked chicken, sliced
potatoes, celery, carrots, mushrooms,water or chicken broth.
come home, thicken liquid if desired, place frozen peas, pie
crust on top, remove lid (important!)and finish in
oven.spaghetti sauce. brown ground meat turkey pork etc. brown
onions,garlic, add tomatoes and wine,herbs, onions and meat to
crock pot. cook all day and serve over noodles. basically focus
on soups and stews, use water, broth, wine, beer, tomatoes in
lieu of canned soups. you can always thicken the resulting
broth to get that 'cream of mushroom soup' effect. I tried but
did not have good luck w/ coconut milk, so if I want a curry, I
add that when I get home. I have used the occasional can of
pineapple and its unsweetened juice for a hawaiian style pork
roast. thanksgiving tip: you can cook potatoes (sweet or white)
in water in the crockpot ahead of time,(one the day before, the
other overnight) whip them and make your casserole,chill, and
only heat the casserole prior to meal. then you can make
homemade cranberry sauce in the crockpot on thanksgiving and
scoop it out warm at serving time
I've posted a similar question to the food forum on Craigslist,
and the cookbook that seemed to get the most recommendation was:
''Slow Cooker Cooking'' by Lora Brody. Amazon has it for a
little over $17, and you can read reviews there. Of course, if
you search on Amazon, you'll get many more recommendations and
reviews for slow cooker recipe books. I haven't bought the
Lora Brody book yet, so can't give a personal opinion
Gonna get cookin'
I had one slow cooker cookbook I finally gave away, but am happy to recommend the
one I use semi-regularly now:
_Complete Slow Cooker Cookbook_ by Carol Heding Munson
I found it on sale at Barnes and Noble for $7.98.
Hope that helps!
This is an excellent cookbook. The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Simple
and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World by Lynn Alley.
The receipes that came with my Crockpot are actually pretty
good for the most part. Instead of the cream of mushroom soup
and packaged soup mixes (yuck and double yuck), I use regular
packaged low-sodium chicken or beef broth and herbs. You can
remove whatever you cooked, take off the lid, and cook on high
for 15-30 minutes (while you're making salad and yelling at the
children to set the table;) to concentrate the juices and
you'll have a nice sauce.
I recently started using a crockpot and like Judith
Finlayson's ''Delicious & Dependable Slow Cooker Recipes.'' (I do
not have her earlier ''150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes'' mentioned in
the archives.) I do find many of the recipes require a bit of
prep time, but also think it's usually worth it. I also own
Mable Hoffman's ''Crockery Cookery,'' which is just okay -- it's a
revised edition of a cookbook originally published in 1975.
I love the crockpot concept. I got a great cookbook w/ a wide
array of recipe types. It is called: Not Your Mother's Slow
Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger & Julie Kaufman.
I quite like _Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker_. The recipes
often require some prep time and minor pre-cooking (browning
onions, etc.) before slow cooking, but they're generally pretty
tasty...and much more inventive than traditional crockpot
cuisine. You can always do prep the night before and refrigerate
the crockpot insert until ready for cooking. Tiffany
I'm a huge fan of cooking with a crock pot, and when my old one
broke I replaced it with a Rival 6.5-qt. SmartPot Programmable
Crock-Pot, but it BURNS everything! Even set on LOW, stews and
soups come to a rolling boil in a few hours, and the exterior of
the pot is soooo hot I won't leave it on unattended (which
defeats the purpose of having a crock pot!) Has someone
recently bought a crock pot / slow cooker that work like the old
crock pots?? I recently looked at the $100 All-Clad slow cooker
at Williams Sonoma, but would like to hear from other crock pot
fans before spending anymore money.
A Slow Burn
I have put a lot of research into this question. The answer is
that *Bravetti* brand slow cookers don't cook too hot and are
much more solidly constructed than Rival or other typical store
brands. I bought a Bravetti slowcooker on Ebay and I'm thrilled
with it. They are a bit difficult to find, but I put in
a ''saved search'' on Ebay until one came up for auction.
We bought a Farberware FSC600 6-quart Oval Slow Cooker
a few months ago and are very happy with it. A friend of ours
uses the same model and likes it a lot. See also these
Hello, a couple of people I know are raving about their new slow cookers (formerly
known as crock pots). With two careers and two kids, my husband and I are at our
wits end trying to get a healthy dinner on the table, and I was thinking this might be
an alternative to constant take out food. Does anyone use one? If so, does it really
make life easier? Can you recommend a good slow cooker cookbook? What brand of
slow cooker do you have? I am dreaming about throwing some ingredients in at
breakfast time and coming home to a hot meal (or better yet, having the nanny
throw the ingredients in!). Also, any favorite recipes? Any other advice would also be
slow cooker wannabe
I've been a happy crockpot user for 7 years. Like you, I dreamed of a
simpler life with a crockpot -- and my dream came true(!), if only for a
day or two a week. It was especially handy when my husband (who doesn't
cook) and I juggled full- time jobs and two toddlers. For example, in
the morning, as the coffee was brewing, I'd put in a frozen beef roast,
pour in some warm water, add an envelope of Lipton onion soup mix and
turn the crock pot on. When we got home at 6 or 7 at night, dinner was
ready. You can also roast a whole chicken, and bake potatoes. If you
have a few minutes, cut up some vegetables to throw in. I've also
thrown in frozen vegetables a few minutes before serving -- the heat
will defrost and cook them.
Every person who's ever seen or heard me rave about my crockpot has
bought one -- including my very traditional mother, who sometimes will
cook 3 meals a day. Your slow cooker will come with a book of recipes
and a lot of good tips. That's how I learned I could put in frozen
meat. You can easily get additional recipes from the internet or
And there are complete frozen crockpot entrees that you can buy at the
grocery store, although I haven't tried any of them.
My slow cooker is standard sized -- I'm not sure how many quarts, but
the crock is as big as my largest stock pot. Be sure to get one with a
removable ceramic crock that you can serve from and later put in the
loves her crockpot
Be forewarned that food cooked in crockpots/slow cookers does not reach
a high enough internal temperature to kill off bacteria. It's probably
fine to use this for vegetables and beans but I wouldn't recommend it
for meat unless you pre-cook it right before adding (even then I'd be
careful, since the warm cookpot will only encourage the growth of
anything that didn't get killed off).
--thought this idea would save us too but returned ours in a hurry!
I really love my slow cooker. I have a Crockpot brand cooker. My only
problem is that I have no counter space and only a single outlet for the
entire kitchen. And when our built-in microwave died and the replacement
wound up on the counter, the slow cooker went back in the cupboard.
Until then, however, one of my favorite recipes was a roast. I'd take a
round or chuck roast and add a can of beef broth or consomme and a can
of cream of mushroom soup, a bay leaf, salt and pepper, fresh mushrooms
and assorted veggies and put it on slow for the day. The rule of thumb
is to put potatoes and carrots in at the last two hours. I've put them
in at the beginning, without a lot of problems.
The roast turns up extremely tender. Before serving, I'd reduce the
juices (and leftover broth-soup mixture) over the stove, add it to a
roux and then add some wine for a tasty gravy.
Another easy dish is to line the bottom of the slow cooker with wadded
up pieces of aluminum foil, put a whole chicken (cut in
parts) on top and then add salt and pepper and any of a variety of soups
(cream of mushroom, cream of celery, etc.).
Several companies are now making frozen slow cooker meals.
The problem you'll find is that, after a while, the rest of the family
starts rebelling at all the slow cooker meals. I think they start to
taste the same to the kids. My niece and nephews said their mom made
them so many slow-cooker meals, they wouldn't touch a stew again in
Bon appetit. :-)
Hi! I, too, dream of having a warm, delicious cooked meal waiting for me
when I get home, but I haven't found the perfect recipes - yet. I will
try again this winter, but here are some lessons that I have learned. 1)
Buy a small cooker because the cooker needs to be half full to cook
properly. I originally bought a large one and it was too big for my
family of four. 2) Don't use white meat because it dries out too fast.
Dark meat or stew meat is best for long cook times. 3) Use as little fat
as possible (i.e., take of the skin and trim off fat). I forget the
exact reason, but it is something about fat that makes cooking temps too
high; 4) Buy a cooker with a delay or set it up to a timer. Most recipes
call for about a 6-hour cook time. But if you leave the house at 7 a.m.
and get home at 6 p.m. - that is 11-hour cook time! I look forward to
Run, don't walk, to the nearest store and buy yourself a Rival Slow
Cooker. I have the 6 quart one, but I like lots of leftovers, so it's
really your call (although I will say that it's good to freeze the
leftovers and then you have a meal for another night). I LOVE my slow
cooker, and use it a lot. You can basically throw anything in it in the
morning and when you come home the whole house smells of home cooking
and the food is delicious. You need to always brown meat before it goes
in, but apart from that, it's a piece of cake. Recipe books for slow
cookers often have all kinds of fancy recipes, for bread, cakes etc, but
I pretty much use mine for stews, caseroles, etc, and then make rice or
couscous or noodles to throw it over when I get home. It really makes
life easier for me.
For example: Get stewing beef, or chicken thighs, whichever you prefer.
Saute an onion and some celery in olive oil, and add some garlic if you
like it. Brown the meat in the oil, all sides, and then tip the whole
thing into the slow cooker (drain off some of the fat if you're being
super healthy). Add carrots and any other root veggies you like, and
then tip in half a bottle of wine, a large can of chopped tomatoes, and
some stock (either a can of premade stock, or a bouillion cube, did I
spell that right). Throw in a bay leaf, oregano, whatever, put the lid
on, set it to 8 hours, and walk away. When you get home you'll have a
delicious meal and all you have to do is make a starch to go under it.
Or you can throw potatoes in at the outset and you're done. I could
rattle on at length about slow cookers, I think they're genius. They're
also cheap (like 50 bucks cheap) and who can say fairer than that. I use
mine at least once a week, and always if I'm entertaining, because then
I can make dinner in the morning and have a clean kitchen and nothing to
do when the guests are there. Not that I entertain all that much with
two little kids, but you know what I mean. A slow cooker takes the
pressure off that hellish period of time where you're trying to feed
everyone and get them off to bed etc. Good luck!
I have and use - occasionally - a slow cooker. The Slow Cooker cookbook
has good recipes. I too hoped to put the ingredients in the cooker in
the morning and come home to dinner. but most recipes call for a
shorter time period then the 11 hours between when I leave and when I
get home. So I've used it on weekends with good results - slow braised
short ribs, pot roast, etc. So if there is someone else - a nanny - to
put the ingredients in at the correct time, then it could definitely
work for you. the other thing is that you need to prep the ingredients
- often just chopping but sometimes there is some initial sauteing
involved that you would have to do the night before. Hope this helps.
occasional slow cooker
I bought one too, but haven't found it to be that convenient. Although
you can make some great meals in the slow cooker, they usually require a
lot of prep time in the morning, which sort of defeats the purpose.
Some of the best recipes require you to brown meat and veggies before
putting them in the slow cooker. I tend to use mine on the weekends
when I have more time.
We got a slow cooker as a wedding gift a few years ago and LOVE it! I
haven't used it as much in the summer months, but it is very easy to
make wonderful meals that freeze well and/or make good leftovers
(depending on how many people in your family).
Some of the recipes take a little longer than you would expect, given
all the chopping and prepping. But some are very easy and only require
We have a book called Slow Cooker Cooking by Lora Brody which was also a
gift - I believe it came from Williams-Sonoma. It has some very good
recipes. I've also searched on the web for slow cooker recipes and have
found a few good ones that way too.
One other suggestion for you is to try something like Dream Dinners (in
Pleasanton) or the Dinner Divas at Andronico's.
Both programs are similar - you select your menus in advance (via the
web - go to www.dreamdinners.com or
www.dinnerdivas.com) and then on the date you choose, you go in and
assemble all the meals in freezer-ready containers, then take them home
and use them as you like. Both places do all the chopping and prep
work, so all you have to do is follow a recipe and gather the
ingredients together, then cook them at home whenever you need a meal.
It's very easy, fun, convenient and the food is actually pretty darn
good - and healthy too.
We love our slow-cooker. the only things I wish were different about it
is its size. its 2 and half quart and I'd like soemthing bigger since I
like to cook large batches and then have lots of leftovers. and I'd like
one with a time that would turn itself off so that when some 9 hour
thing is done at 5 am it could just turn itself off and I wouldn't have
to worry about dealing with it at odd hours.
sloww cooking mama
I have found that crock pots cook food until it is tasteless.
Try a pressure cooker. You can order a Multirapid Plus Pressure Cooker
from shiptheweb.com. It comes with a steamer basket, instruction manual
and full color cookbook, ''Tastefully Under Pressure'' with more than 90
recipes. My mother has used her pressure cooker to cook a stew for
unexpected guests in twenty-five minutes starting with meat straight out
of the freezer.
take the pressure off
Slow cookers are great - especially during the cold months.
They usually come with small cookbooks for the basics. You can also
peruse epicurious.com for recipes. I'd pass along a couple of my
favorites to you directly. Feel free to email me.
My REAL recommendation, however, is for you to check out
thedinnersource.com. Dinner Source is a prep-kitchen in Emeryville
where you go to put together several meals at one time. Check out their
website. They do all the hard work, you go and throw it all together
for the freezer. They have absolutely saved my life at dinnertime -
yummy meals, happy kids and dad, EASY to make.
Get any brand that has a timer on it and one that has a removeable
oven-safe liner (like a ''Rival''), so you can bake with it and put it
in the dishwasher. That way, you can set it and not worry about it
burning your food, put a crust on top and bake it, etc. I do not
subscribe to the philosophy that leaving your crock pot while you go
off to work isn't safe. I've been using mine for 10-plus years with no
problems (just make sure you have one with a timer). Baked chicken,
short ribs, soups and stews all come out beautifully and with no effort.
Oh, and for parties you can put your hot cider in it and it will stay
--opinionated cook and former professional chef.
I just got an inexpensive Rival Stoneware Crock Pot at Longs myself as
I've had a difficult time making healthy meals lately. I am soooo glad I
did because it is soooo easy. Put the ingredients in in the morning and
by dinner time, its ready! I have just been using my imagination, (last
night was a simple potatoes, carrots, and chicken in a broth with some
herbs). But I did find a seller on ebay offering a crock pot recipe
book online for under $2. (the only catch is the file is not Mac
friendly). I would recommend going through half.com for used books as
they are usually in great condition for half as much. I have yet to get
a book though. Happy slow cooking!
Hi there. I am a working mom who uses a slow cooker some of the time. I
would not call it a miracle time saver, but is nice to come home to a
hot meal. I find that it's still easier to heat up a bag of Trader
Joe's meatballs and boil pasta for dinner.
Another drawback is that most of the recipes out there involve using
some kind of meat, but maybe there is a vegetarian crock pot recipe book
that I am unaware of. If you do buy one, they really aren't that
expensive, so if you find you don't use it, you could pass it on to a
friend. I have the large RIVAL crock pot. I would say don't bother
getting one that has recipes programmed in unless you are a serious fan
of ''white trash cooking'' and I say that with infinite humility since I
have never met a jello salad or cream of mushroom soup casserole that I
have not loved. It is just that it is not the healthiest or freshest way
to cook and that pretty much describes the programmed-in recipes. On the
other hand, there are some nice cookbooks with great slow cooker recipes
out there. Here is one that I really like, not many ingredients but
really great flavor.
Chicken and Carrots in Wine sauce
(from ''Cooking Light'' Slow Cooker Cookbook 11/04)
1 small bag of carrots (about 16 oz,) peeled and diagonally
sliced about 1'' wide (or use a bag of baby carrots)
3 lbs of chicken pieces, or just thighs, or just breasts, skinned
12 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup dry white wine (like a sauvignon blanc)
1 tsp dried thyme or a Tbsp of fresh thyme
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 ground black pepper
2-4 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2Cup-1 Cup of chicken broth
hot cooked rice, or egg noodles
Combine the chicken pieces, carrots, thyme and garlic in the slow
cooker. Pour the wine over. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Stir
gently. Cover with lid and cook on high-heat setting for 1 hr. Reduce to
low heat setting, and cook 6 hours.
Remove chicken, carrots and garlic with a slotted spoon to another bowl
and keep warm. Stir the 2 Tbsp cornstarch into 1/2 cup of broth, and put
this into the crockpot with the juices, turn heat to high and stir until
simmering and thick, about 20 minutes. (I sometimes cheat to quicken
this up and reduce the juices in a saucepan for about 5 minutes.) Adjust
the consistency of the sauce with more cornstarch and broth if needed.
Return chicken and carrots to sauce, stir, adjust salt and pepper and
serve over the rice or noodles. 6 servings. About 450 calories
(including the starches) per serving.
Good Luck with your crock pot
We have a really good slow cooker recipe book called ''The 150 Best slow cooker recipes'' by Judith Finlayson. There are lots of vegetarian recipes such as gingery chickpeas in spicy tomato gravy and dal and minestrone, soups, meats, appetizers, even desserts. I highly recommend the book, if you don't have a good recipe and/or you overcook the food you are going to end up with mush, which nobody likes!
Try ''Fix It and Forget About It''. This cook book has more crock pot recipes than you can shake a stick at.
Hi all. I'm looking for a crockpot cookbook that has good, healthy
recipes (i.e., recipes that don't call for ingredients like
powdered onion soup and bac-o-bits). Vegetarian emphasis would be
preferred, but I know that may be asking a lot... I really like
the crockpot cooking style, but truly need new recipes at this
I hear you about the crockpot recipes...We received one as a
wedding gift, but never used it because all of the recipes we
could find called for instant soup and other highly processed
ingredients (if you're using all these convenience foods, then
why do you even need to use a crockpot in the first place??).
Plus, most recipes were meat-based, and we don't eat a whole lot
of meat. Anyway, my mother-in-law gave us this book last year
called ''The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes'' by Judith Finlayson
(ISBN 0-7788-0038-5). The majority of recipes are still meat-
based, but you could probably make some substitutions. But there
are some vegetarian recipes and a chapter on vegetables. Good
I have yet to find a great crockpot cookbook, but I have found one that's pretty
good. It's called ''Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes'' published by Better
Homes and Gardens. Most of the recipes call for fresh, real ingredients instead
of canned mushroom soup, etc. Even better, it has a chapter (25 recipes)
called Meatless Main Dishes.
I don't know about a cookbook, but I recently discovered a website called
www.crockerykitchen.com where they have lots of recipes that use real
ingredients. I haven't tried them yet, but I sure intend to!
I received a slow cooker for Christmas. I think it will come in
handy and I am looking for recommendations for a tried and true
slow cooker cookbook. I have looked online and at bookstores -
and there are so many to choose from. I do like to cook. I am
looking to use the slow cooker for those days that I do not have
time to spend in the kitchen; but would still like a tasty, not-
bland home cooked meal.
I've been having great luck with the Better Homes and Gardens
Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes. I asked for it for
Christmas (primarily because it was the only one I'd seen that
had a bunch of vegetarian recipes) so I could finally start to
make use of the Crock Pot I'd received a year before and never
used, and now I'm using my Crock Pot at least four times a
week. Some recipes are definitely better than others, but no
real duds so far, and lots of yummy stews and soups. Plus all
recipes include nutritional info like calories, fat, fiber,
etc, per serving. I love assembling dinner while my 1-year-old
naps in the morning, then not having to think about it again
until it's time to eat.
Before the birth of my 2nd son, my Mom sent me a slow cooker
with a few cookbooks and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
I tried it, and now use it at least 2x a week!! I have made mac
and cheese one night, then the next night osso bucco for a
dinner party. Slow cooking is now even recognized by the Dining
In/Out section of the New York Times (Cover Story, January 29,
2003; see NYTimes.com).
The two cookbooks I use are:
Fix it and Forget it Cookbook; Feasting with your slow cooker
and Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes.
Also, www.justcrockpotrecipes.com has literally 1,000's of
Have fun, it is so convienent and I guarantee you will get
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