Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking. This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!
We spent Easter weekend in Rehoboth Beach, a local beach town, and visited our favorite bookstore there. I bought a cookbook, which is very unusual for me. As much as I love to cook, I rarely buy (or use) cookbooks. I mostly use recipes from Cooking Light magazine or create my own. And maybe this doesn't count because I bought a Cooking Light cookbook! ha ha
I chose Cooking Light's Slow Cooker Tonight!: 140 delicious weeknight recipes that practically cook themselves. I have had a slow cooker aka crockpot for many years, but I only have a few recipes that I make in it. I have bought crockpot cookbooks before but found many of the recipes high in fat and low in flavor. I would love to use my slow cooker more because of the ease. Also, it works well with my chronic illness. I am usually at my best in the morning and at my worst in the late afternoon, so cooking in the morning and having a delicious dinner all ready to eat at dinnertime is perfect for me! Another plus is that many crockpot recipes make enough for two meals, so I only have to cook every other night.
Now, one of the reasons I don't buy cookbooks is that I've found that when I do buy one, I end up rarely using it! I was determined not to let that happen this time, so I sat down and went through it, flagging any recipes I wanted to try with a little Post-It note. I included my own snapshot of the book here, instead of a publisher's photo, because I wanted you to see how many Post-Its I put in! Not sure how much good that did, but it shows you how enticing the recipes are.
I have tried two of the recipes so far. One weeknight last week, I made Spicy Chicken Stew (sorry I couldn't find this one online). It was very easy - the sort of crockpot recipe where you just put all the ingredients in the pot and turn it on. It seemed like it might be a bit bland, so I added a diced chipotle pepper in adobe sauce (one of my favorite flavors), and that turned out well. I would just add more liquid next time and cook it a bit longer (the carrots and potatoes were almost but not quite soft). I would make it again, with those adjustments.
This week, I tried another recipe from the book that was a huge hit. Tiny French Beans with Smoked Sausage was also very easy and soooo delicious! It required just a few minutes of prep time - some chopping, browning the sausage, and sauteing the onions. I used navy beans and added a thinly sliced red bell pepper and a pound of chopped carrots (I often add extra veggies to recipes!). It turned out perfect - very tasty with a creamy consistency - a hit with the whole family. We ate it with some crusty whole grain bread for 2 dinners, plus I got a couple of lunches out of it, all for about 15 minutes of prep.
I'm looking forward to trying more of the recipes in this book - so far, it is a keeper!