The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes

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9780778800392: The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes

Slow Cookers are the ideal appliance for today's lifestyle because they make meal preparation so manageable. An indispensable assistant, a slow cooker will help you prepare delicious food that requires a minimum of attention, while ensuring a maximum of success. But the recipes are key. In The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes, you'll find superb recipes that will exceed your expectations for not only preparing everyday meals, but also for entertaining -- from casual Friday nights to even the most challenging special occasions,

Everyone wants food that is easy and flavorful, whether it's an old favorite that evokes fond memories such as Classic Boeuf Bourguignon, Shepherd's Pie with Creamy Corn Filling or Pineapple Upside-Down Spice Cake. New taste sensations that reflect today's globalized world can be found in Pumpkin Soup with Shrimp and Lime, Stuffed Pot Roast in Cumin-Flavored Gravy or Thai-Style Coconut Flan. Old standards or new classics, The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes has an abundance of appetizing and dependable recipes.

150 Recipes -- 50+ Color Photographs
Dependable Tips and Techniques
Appetizers to Desserts
Make Ahead Ideas

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About the Author:

Judith Finlayson is a journalist, speechwriter, and author on the subject of women with a life-long love of cooking. Twenty-five years ago, she began her career writing feature food articles, reviewing restaurants and developing recipes for magazines. Now she has integrated a wide range of cooking influences into an eclectic collection of mouth-watering recipes for the slow cooker.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

To me, it makes perfect sense that the slow cooker, invented in the 1970s as an appliance for making baked beans, is enjoying a lively revival in the early years of the new millennium. Not only is it an invaluable tool for helping busy people manage their complex lives, it enables us to prepare delicious food with a minimum of attention and maximum certainty of success. Since discovering the slow cooker, I wouldn't make pot roast, beef brisket or short ribs and many kinds of stew any other way. Slow, moist cooking breaks down the tough connective tissue of less tender cuts of meat and allows the seasonings in complex sauces to intermingle without scorching. Moreover, the appliance does its work with virtually no assistance from me once I've prepared and assembled the ingredients and turned it on.

During the week, when we're often under pressure to meet the demands of scheduled evening activities, the slow cooker enables us to enjoy hot home-cooked meals just like those my mother used to make. The aromatic soups and stews that simmered on her stovetop are my idea of comfort food and they are deeply connected to my sense of family and home. I also love making steamed puddings and other old-fashioned desserts such as cobblers or "betty's" in my slow cooker. Not only are the results superb, it's unlikely the desserts will burn and I don't have to worry that the water bath required for many custards will evaporate, which happens all too easily in the oven.

As a convert to slow cooking, I decided to write a cookbook for a number of reasons, all of which revolve around my desire to communicate its potential to produce great-tasting food that people with even the most discriminating palates will savor. Naturally, I wanted to stress the slow cooker's value as an appliance that allows today's busy families to create nutritious and satisfying home-cooked food by sharing my recipes for everyday favorites, such as Shepherd's Pie with Creamy Corn Filling, Hot Italian Meatball Sandwiches and Pineapple Upside-Down Spice Cake. But once I discovered that my slow cooker was a great tool for entertaining, I also felt compelled to highlight its value as a hostess' helper, particularly since the appliance is so heavily identified with family-style cooking. Because I can get the preparation done for some dishes early in the day -- or even the night before -- the slow cooker also frees me up to entertain more often, including the occasional weeknight. For special occasions, I've made East-West Pot Roast with Shiitake Mushroom Gravy or Osso Buco with Lemon Gremolata. More relaxed evenings have produced dishes such as Southwestern Turkey Pot Pie with Cornbread Cheddar Crust or Great Goulash with Potato Dumplings. Since they are so easy to make, it's hard not to finish the meal off with a warm dessert such as Delectable Apple-Cranberry Coconut Crisp or Old-Fashioned Gingerbread.

Although I love my slow cooker as a helpmate, I also wanted to write a cookbook that would appeal to contemporary tastes by broadening the range of flavors and ingredients traditionally associated with slow cookers. Today, many food products, such as dried mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, coconut milk, curry powder and different varieties of chili peppers, are sold in most supermarkets. Not only can these ingredients enhance the flavor of slow-cooked foods, they also broaden the range of dishes that can be successfully prepared in the slow cooker, allowing for recipes with an international flair such as Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup, Pork Roast wit Chili-Orange Sauce, Turkey Breast Madras and Thai-Style Coconut Flan. Since many contemporary consumers are trying to reduce the quantity of meat they consume, for health and other reasons, I've also used a wider range of principal ingredients, such as fish, seafood and vegetables, found in recipes such as Snapper Vera Cruz and Eggplant and Tomato Gratin. Given the healthful properties of legumes, I've also expanded the range of recipes using dried beans and lentils beyond the traditional bean pot to include Indian, Middle Eastern and Italian influences, among others, in recipes such as Split Pea and Lentil Curry with Crispy Onions, Savory Chickpea Stew with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis and Tuscan-Style Beans with Rosemary.

Not surprisingly, since it has traditionally been associated with making soups, stews and beans, the slow cooker is usually linked with "winter" food. While it does a great job with these dishes, I've also found the slow cooker to be of value in warm weather, when turning on the stove and heating up the kitchen has no appeal. In the summer, when we're usually grilling meat or fish on the barbecue, I most often use my slow cooker to prepare a flavorful cold soup, such as Pumpkin Soup with Shrimp and Lime, or an extra vegetable, such as Cumin Beets or Creamy Mexican Beans, which is a great accompaniment to grilled steak. It's also wonderful for making desserts that are prepared ahead and thoroughly chilled, such as Crunch Almond Crème Caramel or Chocolacinno Cheesecake.

In writing this book, I've tried to include a wide range of recipes that will appeal to many tastes and requirements -- from great family food to more sophisticated recipes for entertaining. I hope you will try the recipes and that you will enjoy them as much as I -- and my family and friends -- have. Happy cooking!

Judith Finlayson

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