Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ask the Internet: Upscale Slow Cooker Recipes?

Today's question comes from reader Marnie:

Q: I have sort of the opposite question from the one posted [last week]. I have several different size slow cookers and a couple of slow cooker recipe books from which I’ve mostly pulled relatively bland recipes. My husband and I are on a tight budget and we like to use fresh whole foods whenever possible. We don’t ever keep canned soups in the house nor jars of salsa or other short cut ingredients that are frequent staples in slow cooker recipes. We love flavor and are happy with meaty or meat free recipes as long as they are not bland and boring.

Any suggestions for great, flavorful and healthy recipes for the slow cooker that don’t use any short cuts?

A: Marnie, I've heard nothing but good things about Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker. The recipes are more complex and take a more international approach than your regular crockpot cookbook. Searching Saveur and Epicurious might also be helpful, since they're a tad more gourmet than say, All Recipe (Which I love! But not for everything.)


Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to Cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

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The Calico Cat said...


4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

dash freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 chicken leg quarters

1/2 cup dry white wine


Combine the garlic, oregano, salt, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper. Add olive oil and mix well. Use a mortar and pestle to make a paste consistency, or mash with a fork.

Wash chicken leg quarters and pat dry. Snip off any excess skin. Arrange the chicken pieces in the crockpot and pat the garlic mixture over each quarter. Pour 1/2 cup of dry white wine into the baking dish. Cook on low 6 or more hours.
Serves 4.

Sally said...

I would suggest using recipes you like (or think you would like) from other sources and use the slow cooker cookbooks for suggestions for time and temperature.

Jenna said...

I have to go with http://www.crockpot365.blogspot.com/

for great crockpot real food recipes. All the recipes on the site (and her two books - that I own) are gluten free due to family health issues, which tends to translate to no soup mixes and real food going into the crock. I've had really great luck with her recipes/.

Sassy Molassy said...

Italian beef: (Great on hoagie rolls with giardienera or in burritos)

1 3-5 lb inexpensive roast, like English. Not too lean
1 small jar pepperoncini peppers (won't use all)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
several cloves garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

Place roast in crock pot. trim excess fat from edges if needed. Sprinkle onion, garlic, and all seasonings over roast. Place 6 pepperoncini peppers on top of roast. Add water to pot around roast until no more than an inch of meat is uncovered. Cook on high 4-6 hours or all day on low.

Remove roast to platter and let cool slightly. meanwhile, strain broth, discarding solids, and return to pot. Shred meat and discard excess fat, and return to broth. Add 1/2 cup of brine from peppers (and additional peppers, chopped and stems removed if desired) and simmer another 30 minutes minimum.

mel said...

It's a cookbook, but I like Slow Cooker Comfort Food by Judith Finlayson. The only canned foods are tomatoes and beans (kidney & the like, not green). Some of the recipes require a few steps before placing in the slow cooker but are worth it.

Anonymous said...

Use whole rather than ground spices as the ground versions tend to loose their flavor during the hours of cooking. alternatively, add spices in the last hour of cooking.

Colleen said...


robbingpeter said...

I have the Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker cookbook and it is pretty darn good. As I recall there are no recipes that involve "convenience" food products.

Last summer I did a Great Cookbook Purge for a yard sale. I went from upwards of 150 cookbooks to around 25 - 30. This one is still on my shelf.

Gail said...

This is favorite in my house http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Honey-Curried-Roasted-Chicken-and-Vegetables/Detail.aspx
To turn it into a crock pot recipe just ignore all the stuff about roasting/basting the chicken. You can make the sauce and pour it over the chicken and veggies in a crock pot, leave it on low for the day and come home to kitchen that smells lovely.

Sara said...

Try the Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla...great recipes, and no canned soups or the like! :) There are good veggie and meat sections, alike.

Jen said...

I've actually started to experiment with putting stove/oven recipes in the crock pot. Take your fav recipe (or technique) and reduce the liquid, do some pre-browning if needed, and try it. The more you do it, the more you get the hang of what the ratios need to be. But I also recommend the Crockpot365 blog. That's actually what inspired me to start trying my own recipes! The blog author has written at least one book too--might want to check it out.

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker" by Robin Robertson. Fantastically varied recipes with not a single pot roast or "cream of" soup in sight!

Lynell said...

I commend your effort to avoid convenience (ie. processed) foods, I do the same as much as possible.
I have to add another recommendation for http://crockpot365.blogspot.com
Check out the index, there's dinners, breakfasts, yogurt, breads, deserts, everything, and the recipes I've tried have not been recipes using convenience items.

Karen H said...

I highly recommend "Slow Cooker Ready & Waiting" by Rick Rodgers. The recipes don't rely on convenience foods and do require some advance prep, but every recipe I've made from it has been wonderful. He states in the Introduction: "Don't ignore the basic standards of good cooking just because you're using a slow cooker." If you have a pressure cooker, his book (with Arlene Ward) "Pressure Cooking for Everyone" is fantastic too.