Although I have a few slow cooker recipe books I wanted to see what was new and interesting out there so I went over to the local Chapters store and found this very thick 500-plus recipe collection that comes in a sturdy 5 ring binder with lots of images both on the cover and inside.
The book is meant to be added to so you can easily make up your own recipe cards as there is still room to add at least several dozen more pages if you wish but with the variety this book offers, it's likely you won't have to go hunting for recipes on your own again for some time unless you really wish to. There are no specific dietary indications along with the recipes nor are there any caloric indicators or other markers that might guide those who are on restricted diets of any kind. The only indicator that appears for the recipes at the end of each are the number of servings and sometimes there are "tips" included. If you are seeking a cookbook that provides you with such things as Calories, Fat content or Diabetic substitute indicators I'm afraid this book may not be helpful in that arena - but if you are looking for great meal and food ideas - read on.
Although a slow cooker can cook just about anything that you throw at it :), it's always nice to have a lot of variety in your meals and this particular book from the Rival Slow cook maker, gives you that and much more. Each section of the book is divided by tabbed index dividers so that you can quickly see the section you want to get to just by glancing through the edges of the pages. The book begins with a section on Tips and Techniques and moves into Entertaining and Appetizers as well as the following:
**Dips and Spreads
**Game Day Munchies
**Soups and Stocks
** One Pot Meals
** 3-step recipes
** 5 ingredients or less recipes
** Prize winning recipes
** Family Favorites
** A section each on Main dishes: Beef, Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Vegetarian
** Simple Sides
** Breakfast and Brunch
** International Sensations
** Gourmet Cooking
** Light Recipes
** Cakes and Desserts
and a separate section entitled "My Recipes".
The majority of the recipes sound extremely easy to put together and most are comprised of no more than 7 ingredients while some do have a longer listing they are by no means complex or difficult to put together.
Recipes such as "Creamy Farmhouse Chicken and garden Soup" are ready in about 3 or 4 hours with some recipes such as the 3 step Burgundy Beef Po' boys with Dipping sauce taking a cooking session of between 8 to 10 hours and are quick to put together.
The recipe images all look extremely tasty and for the most part have ingredients that we usually have in our pantry anyway. One of the recipes my children are anxious to try is Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwiches and several Chili recipes. As for me I can't wait to try the gourmet recipes for Chipotle Cornish Hens and Jalapeño Brisket!
Desserts look fabulous and particularly inviting are ones such as the Glazed Orange Poppy Seed cake, Chai tea Cherries 'n Cream and the Fudge and cream Pudding cake which gives me a headache just looking at it, the image is just that scrumptious looking!
I have grown fond of Chai tea lately and was thrilled to see a recipe for Chai tea made in the slow cooker - it will make 8-10 servings in 2 to 2-1/2 hours with just water, black tea, sugar, cloves, whole cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, milk and optional cinnamon sticks. Even a recipe for Infused Mint Mojito's is included!
Overall, this is one huge and pretty weighty cookbook (if I had to guess I'd say it's close to 1kg in weight maybe even a little more) that is filled with scrumptious eye candy and recipes that will have you wanting to try almost every single one as soon as possible. For anyone who owns a slow cooker - in my opinion, this is a must have cookbook! Given that I have ingredients on hand for the Chili recipes, spare ribs - or even a chicken or pork dish - I'll be trying one of them for dinner tomorrow evening - I'll update my results here but if the recipes turn out as luscious looking as the images or as tasty as the ingredients suggest - I'll be carrying this book around with me a lot during the next week or so as I prepare my shopping list for the next few months. All indications are that we are going to be one happy-fat-cat family as we explore all the culinary delights this book has to offer.
I'll update tomorrow evening to give the low-down on another taste test.
Update On Jan 07, 2009: Jan 7/09: Made the first recipe from this book last eve - Country Garden Chicken vegetable soup - it was so easy to throw together - 2 chicken breasts (boned/skinned), asian stir fry frozen veggies, minced garlic, thyme, 900ml chicken stock cook 3.5 hrs on high, add egg noodles & half and half cream then cook 20 more mins add fresh ground pepper - serve with fresh garlic bread! Yum! Tonight is chili - 4lbs ground beef, kidney beans, Accents garlic/olive oil tomatoes, onion, green/red peppers, Slow cooker chili mix, Tex mex cheese and spring onion for topping w fresh garlic bread. Most is from cookbook w/added Accents & chili spice extra. Can't wait! Cookbook worth the money!
Update On Jan 31, 2009: Jan 31/09: Yesterday I "threw together" a meal my youngest has wanted for awhile - Cheesy Chicken Pasta - honestly it looked a little 'eww' to me - boneless/skinless chicken breasts, pepper, garlic powder, one can Cream of chicken & one can cheddar cheese soups, cook 6-8 hrs on low and place on top of pasta spirals, garnish w/parsley. Took me about 2 minutes to put together and the family loved it & had 2nds and 3rds even hours after dinner. I'm totally in love with this cook book - it makes me into a super chef and I have so much less to do! Perfect because I hate to cook.