on January 13, 2009
With 1,400 recipes, the Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook is the only book for slow cooker recipes you'll need. It will be your go-to cookbook when you're in a hurry for dinner. The recipes are SIMPLE: simple ingredients and simple preparation. You can throw together many of the recipes if you have 20 minutes before you run off to work in the morning. You are likely to have most of the ingredients in your kitchen -- no exotic, hard-to-find ingredients in this cookbook.
You also will save grocery money. Many recipes call for less expensive cuts of meat since cooking at a very low temperature all day will make meats as tender and juicy as the more expensive cuts.
The recipes are laid out in an easy-to-read style that not only identifies the serving number, but you'll know how long it takes to prep the ingredients. The directions are step-by-step and are very easy to follow.
Two features from the cookbook are worth mentioning. Recipes that are healthier and lighter are marked in the corner. You can use these recipes for a healthier meal (or appetizer, soup, etc.), and they are just as convenient and quick to put together as the traditional ones. Another standout feature is the surprisingly helpful little hints that author Phylllis Pellman Good put on the bottom of every other page or so. Though most hints are slow cooker-related, other hints are surprisingly helpful when preparing any type of food. At 658 pages of recipes, you'll find loads of hints -- worth reading on their own.
I also was intrigued with many of the appetizer recipes. Does anyone ever think, "I need an appetizer. I'll pull out my slow cooker"? Not me! But I have to say, "Irresistible Cheesy Hot-Bean Dip" and "Fruit Salsa" were recipes I marked for future party bring-alongs.
People like me who love to cook usually have scores of cookbooks on the shelf, and we probably regularly use only a couple of them. The Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook will be the the only slow cooker recipe book on your shelf. It has all the recipes you'll ever need for slow cooking.
on February 3, 2009
At first glance, this cookbook seems like a bad crockpot joke. Almost every recipe I flipped to requires cream of mushroom soup or a packet of dried onion soup. Seriously. Two of the five recipes for Sloppy Joes call for cream of mushroom soup.
Then it dawned on me. Two of FIVE recipes for Sloppy Joes. I started looking more closely and realized that most recipes in the book offer several different versions. Sometimes it's the ingredients that vary, sometimes it's the amount of preparation, sometimes it's both. You're bound to find at least one version of each recipe that works for your tastes and cooking style. You may find other versions that you're willing to try.
The recipes are arranged by type, and a small icon at the top corner of each page makes it easy to flip through the book and find the chapter you're looking for. There are also clear icons to indicate if a recipe is considered light, or if it's meatless.
The book is in the style of a hometown fundraiser cookbook. Each recipe includes the name and town of the person who submitted it, and some include a brief comment from the cook about how you might want to serve it, or to whom. The author also scatters random little kitchen tips throughout the book.
The recipes are well organized, with cooking times and recommended crockpot sizes clearly indicated at the top. Any recipe marked "light" includes nutrition information at the end.
I'm giving this four stars instead of five because:
(1) I don't love the binding. It's a large cloth-bound volume (think big dictionary) that is awkward to use in the kitchen.
(2) The organization is a little loose. For instance, all hot dog recipes are listed in the pork section, even those calling for all-beef franks.
(3) The definition of "light" isn't really fair. The nutrition analysis assumes you use the smaller amounts in any range and leave off anything listed as optional. This seems reasonable, until you notice that the light recipe for chicken and dumplings indicates that the dumplings are optional.
I plan to try many of the recipes, and to use this cookbook for inspiration for my own creations. The sheer variety of options for each recipe makes me want to experiment with ingredients and combinations I may not have come up with on my own.
on January 30, 2009
This cookbook is huge and full of recipes, and the variety is such that there is something for everyone in it. There are "light" and vegetarian options. However, the vast number of recipes in this book (at least half, I'd say) call for processed ingredients like canned soup and powdered soup mix. A recipe for applesauce where the first ingredient is a jar of unsweetened apple sauce is not a cookbook-worthy recipe by my standards. If you cook this way, you'll love this cookbook. It makes me wish I had had it (and a Crock Pot) in college, when my idea of alfredo sauce was a can of cream of mushroom soup.
Also use your discretion with the directions in the recipes and test your Crock out first. I've made one thing so far and found 8 hours on high to be far too much time for a pork tenderloin. It was done after 4. The book does tell you this too of course. It also is helpful by giving the ideal Crock Pot size for each recipe, with a good amount of variation.
on January 30, 2009
This book has about every recipe you can think of in it - way more than you'll use. As I am currently as student, I need quick and easy meals without eating a lot of processed foods. This is the answer. I put the food in the pot first thing in the morning and off I go. When I get home, dinner is ready!
Although there are quite a few recipes with processed food in them, it's easy to change them. I substitute real cheese for processed; low salt / unprocessed broths and soups from health food stores and skim milk for whole milk. Healthy, quick and easy!
on January 7, 2011
This is perhaps the most difficult to use, poorly organized cookbook I have ever used. It is basically a compendium of thousands of recipes from various individuals that appears to reflect no editing, review, or testing by the "author" whatsoever. Once you get beyond the main categories (beef, soups, etc.), there is no organization to the book whatsoever. What's worse is that there may be 10 different recipes for beef stew or something and they're not even together in the book. You might find one on one page, and then 10 pages later find another one. Why not group them together? And then the recipes may differ by one ingredient. This book would be much more useful if there was some thought given to organizing it AND some discretion as to selection of recipes to be included. I think it would also be much more useful to have one or a few recipes for a certain dish (grouped together in the book) that the author has tested and recommends than 10 or so recipes that appear to reflect no refinement by the author whatsoever. I'm baffled by the positive reviews.
on January 16, 2014
I bought this hoping to be inspired to bring my under-utilized slow cooker into heavier rotation. My heart sank as I flipped through the first pages of appetizers...the first 15 recipes are all for some variation of that ground beef + Rotel + Velveeta mess that inevitably turns up at potlucks. Several of these recipes are exactly the same as the others, and a few more are the same except for the addition of something insignificant like a dash of Worcestershire sauce. And there are actually many, many more than 15 versions of a very similar type of that dip...they are just then scattered randomly throughout the rest of the appetizers and dips section. Continuing to flip through the book (more for amusement's sake at this point), I found 9 recipes for taco soup. I didn't even know taco soup was a thing, and it's certainly news to me that I need 9 recipes for it. My interest in using a slow cooker is driven by the idea of tossing an array of vegetables and lean, economical cuts of meat into the pot and having it transform into something delicious and nutritious with minimal effort on my part. I wanted to get away from using processed ingredients that seem to infiltrate so much of convenience cooking. If any recipes containing velveeta, ground beef, or cream of XX soup were removed from this book, it would be reduced to a brochure. Why so many recipes with ground beef? What, even, is the benefit of slow-cooking ground beef? As other reviewers have noted, the rest of the book continues in much the same vein - pages of recipes for similar versions of vegetable-beef stew, pages of chili recipes, and so on. I'm super-irritated that this book exists.
on February 28, 2010
First I must say that I am a huge fan of the slow cooker and use it five times per week. I have about twenty slow-cooker cookbooks and use them all the time. This particular book is a collection of recipes with comments submitted by home cooks all over the country. Someone has calculated the nutritional content of each one. I am doubtful that most of these recipes have been tested by the author or by anyone actually involved with the publication of the book. It says on the book's cover "tested in real-life settings". I guess that means by the people who submitted them. I have prepared about a dozen of the recipes and have found none worthy of repeating. They tend to be bland, boring or worse. There are, as many reviewers have noted, multiple versions of the same dish. I can only guess that including all of them was easier and less painful than tasting them. It makes for a very big book which I'm sure will be probably find a new home at the library book sale.
on September 6, 2012
When I saw that this cookbook had 1,400 recipes, I thought "HOW AMAZING!". When I rec'd the cookbook, however, I was quickly disappointed. While it, is helpful to see a suggested size of crock pot for each recipe, it is somewhat disappointing that many of the recipes call for Crock Pot inserts. They are pans designed to fit inside of your crock pot and we don't own any of those. The crock pot insert substitute they offer, is using a metal coffee container. I dont think I would enjoy placing something like that in my crock pot, it just seems so odd. Additionally, some of the recipes are extremely repetitive. I don't think a cook book needs 30 variations on how to make queso, for example, when really the ingredient variation is so slight, it should not call for an entirely new recipe. I also think that many of the recipes are, well, for lack of better words,lame. For example, there is a soup recipe that calls for a can of V-8 juice, a cup of chicken broth and a can of green beans. I thought it was a little odd that something like that would even count as a real recipe. There are many more examples of things like that as well, but I don't have time to write them all in this review!
At any rate, I think that if you are an experienced cook, or crock pot user, you would find the majority of this cook book a little juvenile. However, for someone who is not as experienced in cooking, they would probably enjoy it more. If you don't have cooking inserts for your crock pot, there are many recipes you won't be able to use, so I would remember to take that into consideration as well.
on November 21, 2009
I bought a slow cooker after hearing gourmets say wonderful slow-cooked food is. I also bought this cookbook. A month later I haven't used my slow cooker. None of these 1400 recipes are anything I want to make. A typical recipe is "take a pound of hamburger and a can of cream of mushroom soup and 12 hours later you'll have beef stroganoff." Then the next five pages have ten slightly different variations of the same thing. Plus there's no table of contents and the index is a mess. This book is just a compendium of recipes people sent her, with little or no editing. I was hoping for a book like "Microwave Gourmet" by Barbara Kafka, which I bought at the same time and have used many times, because it shows how to make gourmet meals with less time and effort.
on January 11, 2012
I just got this cookbook in the mail today and am VERY pleasantly surprised. Due to many reviews that this book (unfairly, in my opinion) received, I was a little nervous and unsure about this cookbook. As a single working mom, I have to balance how quickly I can cook a meal with how healthy it is all the time, and I would much rather sacrifice speed than quality. Yes, it is true that there are recipes in the book that do have one, two, or at the very most three processed items, there are PLENTY that don't. And, since there is 1400 recipes in this book, it is very easy to simply avoid the ones that may not be quite up to your standard. I don't understand why there are so many critical reviews on this book; I was very hesitant to purchase it because of this. But, like I said, I am extremely happy with my purchase, and encourage anyone who is looking for quick ways to prepare meals for their family but is on the fence due to the reviews to please give this book a try!