Slow Cooker Revolution Vol 2
I purchased my first slow cooker recently, and use it several times a week to make soups, breads, beans and whole grains. When I first started looking for slow cooker cookbooks, I checked out Slow Cooker Revolution from the library and was disappointed by the large number of recipes that called for lengthy prep both pre- and post-slow cooking, relied on canned/processed shortcuts, and microwaving ingredients. Enter the Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2: All 200 recipes have 15 minutes or less of prep, making it easy to get your meal started quickly. Yes, there are still some recipes that call for microwaving veggies (and raw pasta!) prior to slow cooking, and you could also choose to do it on the stovetop if you have a slow cooker with a nonstick insert. However, most of the ingredient lists are much more manageable. Yes, there are still some recipes like the macaroni and cheese with broccoli and parmesan or the chicken pizzaiola that use condensed soup or jarred pasta sauce, but many more recipes appealed to me, like the cherry-sage or apricot ginger glazed chicken, vegetarian entrees, and especially the meals for two. I'm usually only cooking for one and end up with far too many leftovers, so it's nice to have options for smaller yields without having to do the math (I tried the poached salmon and it was so easy!). I also liked the fact that the slow cooker size is referenced; in the dips chapter, for those of us with larger slow cookers (5-7 quarts), you're instructed to bake your dip in a souffle dish; I use my Pillivuyt Porcelain 6-Cup, 6-1/2-Inch Deep Classic Pleated Souffle Dish on top of a Spice Ratchet Blossom Multi-Use Purple Flower Trivet. There's also a wide range of international influences, from Mediterranean whole grain salads and Provencal chicken to Tex-Mex, Asian, and Italian favorites, that will keep me cooking happily for many months to come. Like other America's Test Kitchen books, you'll find recommendations for various brands and equipment or helpful tips for each recipe. I've already made several recipes including the garlicky shrimp, poached salmon, and warm lentil salad, and would definitely make all three again.