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on January 9, 2007
I'm not much for creating my own recipes. I think I have the skill to do it, but I simply haven't the time, particularly not for a slow cooker (isn't the point of having one, after all, that you have so much to do, see, experience that you don't want to spend anymore time than necessary in the kitchen?). So-o-o it was with some trepidation that I ordered this book. Truth be told, it was to bump the order over $25, so S&H would be free. Imagine my delight and surprise when I found actual recipes inside, not meat-or-veg-with-canned-soup-poured-over. In particular I love the recipe for a tamale pie, with cornbread crust and cheese topping. As with any slow cooker, the special taste you get from high direct heat is missing, but most of these recipes are juicy, stewy things with delightful combinations of flavors. Best of all, each is accompanied by a nutritional analysis which allows me to cipher Weight Watchers points. I have found that one of the things I miss most about living alone is opening the apartment door after work and smelling -- what? -- furniture polish? something gone bad in the trash? This book and my slow cooker let me open the door to the delightful aroma of a supper I know I will enjoy. Buy it; you'll like it.
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Here is the Cooking Light 57 essential recipes for slow cooking. As other slow cooking cookbooks, this covers the bases: appetizers, desserts, main dishes, etc.

The layout is exceptional: clean with two pages per recipe, with one page full color photo. Other nice feature (especially for the cook not too familiar with certain ingredients or techniques) is a highlighted ingredient or technique, e.g. water bath, kitchen shears, rice wine vinegar, etc.

So far tried the following and turned out remarkably nice, easy to prepare and equally nice to dine: Turkey Thights with Olives and Dried Cherries; Pesto Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms; Chicken with Figs and Lemons; Fudgy Caramel Pudding Cake; Thai-Style Pork Stew.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive collection for slow cooker, but the pick of the crop, what the editors have determined to be 'essential' recipes for the slow cooker.

Nice to have in collection.
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VINE VOICEon October 26, 2008
I recently bought a new crockpot with the thought of fixing meals that would be ready when I returned home from work. I was delighted to find this cookbook, which I hoped would combine convenience with lighter, healthier meals than you typically find with traditional crock-pot recipes.

So far, I've tried a few recipes which have been delicious. However, my hopes of stuffing the crockpot as I headed out the door were a bit naïve, as the ones I've tried have all required at least 30-60 minutes of preparation time. As a result, I've adjusted my methods and have begun preparing the meals on the weekend for reheating and serving during the first part of the week. Another alternative might be to measure and chop everything the night before for assembling the next morning. It's not that these recipes are complicated or difficult - it's simply that when I last used the crock-pot, my repertoire of recipes was quite limited and confined to only those that featured few ingredients and were extremely simple. An example is the one with boneless pork chops that you toss in the crockpot and throw a can of cream of mushroom over. Not exactly gourmet fare, but it doesn't get much easier and was quite tasty, believe it or not.

Most of the recipes are for 6 servings and since there is just the two of us, I freeze the rest in two serving containers to enjoy at another time. For the most part, the ingredients are those that are easily found in the grocery store or even in your pantry -nothing exotic or expensive. The crock-pot size indicated in all the recipes I've encountered so far is either a 3 or 4 quart. I recently replaced my crock-pot with a Hamilton Beach model that comes with 3 different quart size crocks - 2, 4 and 6 - which has proven to allow a lot of flexibility and perhaps even doubling the recipes.

For those wishing to watch the bottom line, the book provides the per-serving count of calories, fat, protein, carbohydrate, cholesterol, fiber , iron, sodium and calcium for each recipe that includes the side dish - such as rice or noodles - that they suggest serving with the entree.

We're fairly big eaters and the sad reality is that what some recipes consider a serving is about half of what we'd actually like to eat. So far, we've found the portion they've indicated to be a serving is adequate. Knowing how many servings each dish is supposed to provide helps us with portion control, which is our downfall.
I've enjoyed the results of this cookbook and am having fun trying different recipes and having most of the work done up front with little clean-up afterward.
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on January 7, 2007
I have tried several recipes from this cookbook as I love to use slow cookers. I have yet to find that "perfect" recipe that can be duplicated exactly as written for fabulous results. As the magazine, many of the recipes need some tweaking so that it can fit your taste. For instance the potato soup recipe was easy and produced a creamy soup (not as good as the Baked Potato Soup from Cooking Light - but the vegetable broth that I used gave it a sharp aftertaste. Next time I will use chicken broth. What I have always enjoyed about the recipes from the magazine is that one can go to the website and check out other readers experience with the recipe and read what they changed and why. I couldn't find any of these on their webpage so these recipes are uncharted territory. I don't think that this will become my favorite slow cooker cookbook but I will use it - with adjustments as I go.
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on May 25, 2007
I expected better from Cooking Light. This book is very different from the creativity and general reliability of the magazine. Obviously not written by the editors. It uses too many commerical short cuts, processed products, and the recipes do not look "light" at all. Visually it is poorly styled and photographed and produced on cheap paper. There are much better slow cooker cookbooks, and anyone with a little cooking experience can adjust to lighten them up. I'll stick with the magazine - they have a section on slow cookers. This book is not worth the money.
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on August 13, 2009
OK, so when I picked this book up, I thought "an entire book about salad? That's ridiculous." I've made six recipes for salad from this cookbook, and every single one of them has been utterly delicious, and completely different! Honestly, I didn't expect such a wide variety of salad ingredients and dressings. My favorite so far is a sort of gazpacho - tomato salad with home-made bread croutons - they suggest serving it with shredded chicken breast as a dinner salad and my kids have asked me to make it over and over again. (my KIDS, 11 and 13! Can't believe it!). The book also has delicious appetizer-type salads as well! If you're looking for some nice summery cool recipes, this is the book for you. Fabulous.
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on September 1, 2007
Each recipe takes up a full page and is accompanied by a full-page illustration, so the book is quite handsome, but has very few recipes compared to a standard cookbook. The recipes it does have rely too much on specialized, processed products that I, for one, do not keep on hand in my kitchen. Another drawback is that most of these supposedly healthy recipes are extremely high in sodium, which makes them unacceptable to me. I returned this book.
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on March 15, 2007
I received this as a gift and have already given it to others. I have several other slow cooker cookbooks and this one is my favorite. So far we've made the black bean with corn bread on top dish and the beef stroganoff which are both on the "top favorite recipe list". Looking forward to trying more recipes in the book!
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on February 8, 2008
I got this cookbook because I was looking for healthy recipes for my slow cooker. While the recipes are no doubt healthy, few-to-none of them are for what I would consider "common" dishes. I ended up getting the Betty Crocker Slow Cooker cookbook (which gives you a nutritional breakdown for every recipe at the bottom of each page) and like that one a lot better.
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on October 4, 2009
wether its chicken, fish, or even fruit, as long as you can make it into a salad you will find it in this very useful book. I loved the fruit salad section which is a A+ for this book because most salad books don't include them
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