Friday, May 27, 2011

Slow Cooker Revolution

I've been genuinely trying to control my Costco impulse purchase issues lately (rivaled only by my Ikea impulse purchase issues). My primary tactic to achieve this goal: don't go to Costco. However, sometimes you need a passport photo, or frozen organic mixed berries for smoothies, or a $5 rotisserie chicken for curried chicken salad, or a ginormous box of beer. You know what I mean. My impulse control issues are always most challenged in the book section; I swear, I buy a book every.single.time I go to Costco...then NEVER read them! 

So, when I stumbled across America's Test Kitchen's Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook, I did my darndest to resist. However, as I flipped through, page by page, I couldn't find a single recipe that didn't sound like it was worth trying (and I'm a picky little mama!) And you can be sure that Raf wasn't going to discourage this kind of purchase. The guy knows that his best eating since I started staying home has been when I fire up the slow cooker. Plus, I'm at my happiest in the evening on slow cooker days  because I had dinner done by 10am! Needless to say, we invested the $16.50. 

Thoughts thus far? Best impulse purchase I've ever made at Costco! I've only had time to try a few of the recipes, but so far they're all winners. Here's the thing, though...they require work. Prep work, follow up And we're kind of conditioned to expect slow cooker meals to consist of not much more than digging out the can opener and rifling through the spice cabinet. I'm still getting used to the time investment required for these recipes, but I will say that it's been worth it. Because, let's be honest: you get out what you put in. Much of the time, slow cooker meals are bland and over-done because they're not much more than frozen meat and canned randomness that's spent all day simmering away the tiny amount of flavor that they started with. So, if it takes a bit of work to get quality results, so be it! At least we're quickly expanding our list of keeper recipes.

Btw, this post was prompted because Mom and I made the Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings for family dinner tonight. (Sorry, way too many ingredients and instructions to post!) Next time I'll add more broth and make marble-sized dumplings, but the underlying flavor and texture was legit. Raf and I also fell in love with the Beginner's Pulled Pork...we were eating tasty leftovers out of the freezer on that one for weeks!

Love to use the slow cooker? Do yourself a favor and grab this book!


Jordan said...

I love making lasagna in the slow cooker, so yummy!! I made pork chops in there for Jake tonight, the ones mom used to make us when we were kids. Easiest recipe ever and everyone always loves them.

Julia said...

I have their "Best Light Recipe" book (technically by cook's illustrated, but it's the same people) and love it. Definitely time/energy intensive recipes, but they certainly know their way around the kitchen!