Two Approaches to Slow Cookers


(review by) Donna McCrohan Rosenthal

Slow-cooker crock pots and budget-conscious, time-stressed households belong together. The humble appliances make cheaper cuts of meat taste tender and meld flavors beautifully. These two books add to the existing lore, one by emphasizing simplicity and the other, a Paleo diet.

“365 Winter Warmer Slow Cooker Recipes: Simply Savory and Delicious 3-Ingredient Meals” (Suzanne Bonet, Carol Hildebrand, Robert Hildebrand, full-color photos, 352 pages, Fair Winds Press, trade paperback, 2012, $19.99) presents easy recipes that require three ingredients. The authors manage this with short cuts such as packaged soups and mixes, achieving tasty results on everything from breakfasts, beverages and sauces to entrees, side dishes and desserts. The journey begins with a discussion of safety practices and other basics, then proceeds to recipes for Cinnamon-Spiked Coffee, Raspberry Cappuccino, Classic Shrimp Cocktail, Teriyaki Wings, Steak-Onion-and-Mushroom Noodle Soup, Chicken-Broccoli-and-Ale Soup, Barbecue 15-Bean Soup, Chicken with Red Beans and Rice, Crab Hot Pot, Parsnip and Carrot Medley, Polenta, Fabulous Foil Potatoes, Cinnamon Eggnog Bread Pudding and 352 more mouth-watering possibilities.

“The Paleo Slow Cooker: Healthy Gluten-Free Meals the Easy Way, Revised Edition” (Arsy Vartanian, full-color photos, 255 pages, Race Point Publishing, 2013, $27.00) tackles slow cooking from an entirely different perspective, shunning legumes, grains, added sugar and prepared products in favor of the Paleo philosophy’s “only consuming what was available to ancient humans.” Paleo adherents cite health benefits ranging from weight loss and more energy to regulated immune systems, reduced inflammation, super-charged metabolism and reduced risk of diabetes and osteoporosis.

Vartanian thoroughly explains the Paleo concept, offers tips for dining out and traveling, considers specifics such as post-workout nutrition, then gives 125 recipes that rely on meats, seafood, vegetables, eggs, healthy fats and some fruits and nuts: Honey Mustard Caveman Drumsticks, Traditional Beef Bourguignon, Paleo Beef Casserole, Prime Rib Chili, Indian Beef Curry, Crock Pot Korean Beef, Pear Ginger Pork Chops, Pork Goulash, Slow-Cooker Chicken Pesto with Macadamia Nuts, Indian Ginger Chicken, Turkey Chili, Seafood Bouillabaisse, Thai-Inspired Coconut Pumpkin Soup and more.

Consult your doctor – not a book review – before undertaking any dramatic changes in what you eat. But if you want new ideas for crock pot magic, both of these volumes share tips, techniques, advice and, best of all, satisfying dishes that taste fabulous and have your kitchen smelling wonderful for hours.

Story First Published: 2014-01-22