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August 31, 2014

The Great American Slow Cooker Book

A review by Spencer

By Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

500 Easy Recipes for Every Day and Every Size Machine.    

First of all, I was surprised on the thickness of this cookbook. I’ve ordered other crock-pot cookbooks that were magazine style, or contained only a handful of recipes. This book has 512 pages and the ‘Great American’ red-white-and-blue appearance looks attractive on my kitchen shelf.

Unlike many other cookbooks I own, I actually enjoyed reading the introduction. It contains a lot of interesting and valuable information, such as the range of slow cooker models, problem solving, kitchen tips and shortcuts, etc.

The Great American Slow Cooker Book is comprised of 7 sections: Breakfast, Soups, Meat, Poultry, Fish & Shellfish, Vegetables & Side Dishes, and Desserts & Party Drinks--Each section having a 2-4 page introduction (of sorts) pertaining to the particular meals at hand.

I’ve only tried one section so far (Desserts), because (1) I love my sweets, (2) I didn’t have to purchase any of the ingredients, and (3) The recipes were simple. 

Of the recipes I’ve tried, The Apple Walnut Crisp (pg. 490) is my favorite. I basically mixed the filling ingredients (with little preparation time), poured it in the crock-pot and covered it with the mixed topping ingredients. Easy peasy. (I didn’t understand the suggestion of placing paper towels over the top, so I didn’t follow that step.) Due to personal preference, I only made one ingredient modification, replacing the walnuts with pecans. The dessert was easy to prepare and tasted delicious. I plan to use this same recipe for a peach crisp, and might roast the pecans before adding them to the topping.

The few cons of this book are:
  • Some of the recipes include preparing some of the ingredients on the stovetop, i.e. Biscuits and Gravy on pg. 41, calls for you to prepare the gravy on the stovetop and pouring the mixture into the crock pot. Then you prepare your biscuit dough and place on top of the gravy mixture. This kind of defeats the purpose of using a slow cooker, in my opinion. When I use my crock-pot, I want to avoid dirtying additional pans and adding to my prep time. The biscuits and gravy could just as easily be prepared without the crock-pot.
  • There aren’t enough photos, and the photos that are included are placed in the center of the book, rather than with the corresponding recipe, so I had to flip back and forth looking for the recipe that went with each photo.
  • I don’t eat red meat or seafood, so I wish there were more chicken recipes or vegetarian meals. There are 10 recipes using chicken breasts, (my favorite cut of the chicken) but I wish there were more.

Overall, I like The Great American Slow Cooker Book, and plan to make recipes from more than just the dessert section. If it included vegetarian, and alternative recipes, such as gluten free, etc., and contained more strategically placed photos, I would’ve given a higher rating.

Publisher: Clarkson Potter (sold by Random House LLC)
Page Count: 512
Purchase Link: Amazon

Book Rating: 

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Disclosure of Material Connection in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: BloggingForBooks has provided me a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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