Slow Cooker: Amazing Meals with Minimum Effort
Amazing Meals with Minimum Effort
by Linda Doeser
I’m a big slow-cooker fan. I love coming home to an already cooked meal after work. Doesn’t happen often for those who live by themselves.
I followed all of these recipes exactly as written.
Tex-Mex Bean Dip
Honestly this could have been made on the stove top in about 20 minutes instead of slow cooked for 2 hours. A straight forward refried bean appetizer with cheese, chilies, and onion in it. Not a standout recipe but tasted good all the same.
It is a weekend of firsts for me. I have never had pearl onions before or knew how to peel them. A little web searching got me started. You blanch them for a few minutes the put in an ice bath, the skins come off easily after that. Make sure the onions you get are solid, most of the ones in may bag were hollow husks or rotten. I should have given them a squeeze first to make sure they were firm like a regular sized onion. The recipe called for a “braising steak” not knowing what that is I asked my butcher who told me it is an flat iron steak. When I got home and looked at the picture it was not flat iron steak but something more like stew beef. I looked it up online and found out according to Google they are both right:
A generic term for several cuts of beef that suit long, slow cooking. The most common cuts of beef sold as braising (or stewing) steak include chuck, skirt, leg and flank – all hardworking muscles that are tough and need long, slow cooking.
It tasted great but I do think if I used the other kind of meat it would have looked better in my photograph. It was a pretty rich beef stew with garlic, bacon, mushrooms, onions, and red wine. It saved great in the freezer and fridge and lasted me four more meals.
I used the variation on this recipe which used canned chipotle chilies in adobe sauce instead of fresh chilies. This recipe was in the low fat portion of the book and for a recipe like that it was pretty good. Chipoltle chilies brought the heat to chicken breasts, tomatoes, and onions. very simple and short preparation time. I liked it as an entree but I think it would be even better shredded in a taco. That’s what I plan to do with the left-overs.
Springtime Lamb with Asparagus
The lamb is tender and because it’s cooked so long the flavors start to resemble beef. The asparagus brings it unique flavor to the party then its layered with heavy cream and instead of making the dish too rich the cream is subtly cut by the lemons. It is a dish of contradictions that balance right in the middle between rich and light.
Many of the dishes have variations to alter the recipe if you like and cooking tips that help you get better results out of your slow cooker. With one exception I thought the recipes were fairly good. The book is broken up into Appetizers, Everyday Meals, Low Fat, Easy Entertaining, and Deserts. I made a recipe from each section but the desserts. Not a very big book only 96 pages but most recipes have a full color picture, variation options, and useful kitchen tips. As small servings go most of the recipes are for four or more people but the nature of slow-cooking is that most of the recipes are high in liquid so freezing the remainder in manageable proportions and eating it months down the road is easily doable.