365 Slow Cooker Suppers

Friday, April 11, 2014

(Split Pea and Ham Soup)  

In January I started a new job and though I'm loving it, the hours and the commute are a bit longer. Consequently I'm not always in the mood to cook by the time I get home. After a couple weeks of getting home and just wanting to make frozen pizza or go out to dinner, I realized I needed to find another solution to eat a little healthier. I'm not a huge cookbook person and tend to just get the recipes I want online, but I'd had my eye on the 365 Slow Cooker Suppers cookbook for a while. I got a copy with the hope that I could combine the ingredients in the crock pot the night before (after I have time to relax after work) then in the mornings I would just need to start the slow cooker and it would be ready when I got home.

 (Honey Lime Chicken Soft Tacos) 
Every single recipe in the cookbook is made in a slow cooker and they don't require a ton of prep work, which I love. There's a great variety in the recipes offered, everything from Miso salmon to chicken piccata. So far I love it and it's a big improvement as far as saving my sanity after work. The cookbook starts with a huge list of ingredients that you might want to keep on hand, which is so incredibly helpful. It's also splits the recipes into your basic poultry, beef, veggie sections, so it's easy to navigate. One aspect I love is the author's notes on each recipe. She adds a few comments on each ones about her personal experience with it.

I read through the whole thing, bookmarking recipes I wanted to try, then I went through my pantry to check for ingredients and made a big grocery list of what I needed. I've already made half a dozen recipes from the book and have a few more I'm trying soon.

(Carrot and Coconut Bisque)

The split pea and ham soup is the runaway favorite so far. It's creamy and so good! We sprinkled some grated parmesan on top and it warms up really well the next day too. The honey lime chicken tacos had a great flavor and everyone liked them a lot. We used lots of cilantro and Nonfat Greek yogurt as toppings and we'll definitely be making those again! The honey Dijon beef stew wasn't as great. It turned out pretty well, but the red wine flavor was a little overwhelming and I have another beef stew recipe we like more.

The only bomb was the carrot and coconut bisque. It had the consistency of baby food with a weird spicy/sweet after taste. Honestly we are not picky eaters, but this one was awful. We ended up dumping it and making frozen pizza. You win some, you lose some.

Overall I'm really pleased with the cookbook and I am planning on making a couple of the recipes each week. We always end up with leftovers and that makes packing lunches easier too!
 (Mac and Cheese - not from the cookbook)
I also recently used my crock pot to make mac and cheese. I had never tried the crock pot liners before (the plastic sleeve you can put the crock pot in to make clean up easy) but it worked so well! I used the Reynolds brand. I won't use them all the time, but if I have a bunch of people over it would be perfect! That way you aren't scrubbing out a crock pot while you're guest are hanging out in the other room.
Anyway, a few people on Instagram asked for the mac and cheese recipe, so here it is courtesy of the Huz' cousin.
Mac n Cheese
- 4 oz cooked macaroni
- 6 oz evaporated milk
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/8 cup melted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 2 cups shredded cheese

Spray the crock pot first then combine all ingredients together and cook on low for 3 hours. I sometimes sprinkle bread crumbs on top.  (I mixed the both kinds of milk, butter, salt, and egg in a bowl before adding it to the crock pot.)

Photos by moi.                                                                                                         
p.s. I posted this as part of Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking!
p.p.s. I was not given the cookbook to review and I get nothing if you get a copy. I just wanted to share my thoughts on it.


Jillian said...

Carrot and coconut? That sounds too good! I have never been into slow cookers, but I definitely want to start trying it now. There are also so many slow cooker recipes on pinterest!

Kat @ NoPageLeftBehind said...

I love the ease of slow-cooker recipes! I'm going to have to try your mac and cheese - it looks delicious!

Kailana said...

hm... I wonder if I have any evaporated milk. I kind of want to try the mac and cheese right now!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Jillian - I thought it sounded good too... it was not.

Kat - It makes dinner so much easier when we don't get home until 6 pm.

Kailana - I was really good for a comfort food night.

Anonymous said...

My new favorite crock pot recipe is Chicken & Dumplings. They taste exactly like my Mom's but they are SO much easier! I don't use canned biscuits for the dumplings though, I make Bisquick dumplings (the recipe is on the box).

Unknown said...

I'm always looking for more awesome crock pot recipes to make life easier and for the leftovers! Thanks for this!

Unknown said...

And that was me...Andi. lol

thecuecard said...

I use the slow cooker a lot too -- so I should get this cook book. Just love the ease of the slow cooker! Hooray

Trisha said...

I am convinced that somewhere out there - unfound by me - there is a slow cooker cookbook without a single recipe requiring me to cook/saute/back/boil/etc. something before it goes in the pot. I just want to throw a bunch of uncooked food in and get a delicious meal at the end of the day. :)

Beth F said...

I love slow cookers too! I use those liners sometimes but I wonder about the plastic leaching into the food. Those tacos sound good!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

abibliophilesstyle - Oh yum! I just printed that recipe, it looks delicious!

Andi - I love having the extra leftovers too. We usually freeze half the meal unless we're making it for friends too.

thecuecard - Me too, I'm all about simplicity.

Trisha - I've found a few recipes that are just toss everything in the pot ones and I use those so much!

Beth F - I was worried about that too. I've only used it once and it seemed ok, but it still makes me a bit worried.