I recently purchased a slow cooker. It's great because it doesn't heat up the house or me on those hot summer days.
I wanted to expand my horizons beyond the cookbook that came with it, so I searched 'slow cooker' on Overdrive. I found two titles: The Art of the Slow Cooker and The Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook.
The Art of the Slow Cooker by Andrew Schloss has, as the title page says, '80 Exciting New recipes'. Some of Schloss' recipes will probably be a bit overwhelming for novice slow cooks. However, his creations are quite impressive. He takes slow cooking to a gourmet level, beyond tossing a bunch of ingredients into a pot and letting them cook all day. Most of the recipes are packed with ingredients and seem to be geared toward people who actually know how to cook, unlike myself. The recipes have prep times of between 5 and 45 minutes.
There are times when Schloss gets a bit pretentious. For example, his description of the 'glory of curry' in the recipe for Curried Vegetables and Dal: “The blend of aromas aerating your head and the cacophony of sensations titillating your throat are as complex as any food in existence.” I feel a bit light-headed after that description.
One dish I hope to try soon is a Corn Chowder with Jalapeno. It is one of the easier dishes to prepare, with easily found ingredients. Apparently, the jalapeno is included to titillate rather than burn. “Every bite should provide a tingle; every bowl should leave your lips with a characteristic jalapeno glow”, Schloss says.
The Art of the Slow Cooker is illustrated with photos of many of the dishes. However, unless you have the Kindle Fire, which has a color display, you will see, for example, a rather unappetizing black and white photo of a bowl of corn chowder.
The Everything Health Slow Cooker Cookbook by Rachel Rappaport is geared to a more general audience. It has 300 recipes for various occasions. The emphasis here seems to be on healthy meals with just a few minutes of prep time. Each recipe has nutritional information for a serving of that dish, something that The Art of the Slow Cooker lacked.
The book has 17 chapters including chapters with pork, beef, vegetarian, and vegan dishes. Chapter 6 covers one of my favorites, Chili. There are 16 Chili recipes!
'Secret Ingredient Beef Chili' looks to be particularly delicious. The 'secret' ingredient in the recipe is mango. Rappaport says, “The mango melts into the chili and adds a fruity depth of flavor.” The recipe serves 8 and it looks like a fairly nutritious dish with 200 calories per serving, just 3.5 grams of fat, sodium is 450 mg, carbs at 25 grams, 9 grams of fiber, and 19 grams of protein.
This book also has a chapter of breakfast recipes. With the slow cooker, one need never miss breakfast again. A number of the breakfast recipes in the book are started just before bed and are ready when you get up in the morning.
One of the best, in my opinion, is the 'Ham and Egg Casserole'. It only has seven ingredients and can be ready for the slow cooker in about 5 minutes. One just pours a mixture of eggs, spices, cheddar cheese, chiles and ham into the cooker over two slices of sandwich bread. Set the cooker to low and cook for seven hours. When you wake up, breakfast is ready! Just lift the casserole out of the cooker and slice it up on your cutting board. It serves six, and each serving has 140 calories and 11 grams of protein.
The Kindle won't replace paper, but for convenience it can't be beat. A search for cooking and food on Overdrive will bring up over twenty cookbooks. That's a lot of books to carry out of the library, but with a Kindle or whatever eReader you might have, you can leave your book bag at home and carry those books with ease.
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