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743 of 753 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2005
I love my crockpots (I have two oval ones in different sizes). I have several crockpot cookbooks in my bookshelf and have also read many others which I borrowed from the library. After reading these books, I came to a sad conconclustion that most people who use crockpot are not "real cooks" from many cookbook authors assumption; they write books for those who use a crockpot to make "canned soup+meat+frozen/canned veggie dishes."

I like quick and easy dishes and use canned soup occasionally but I don't want them to be the main item of my cooking.

With this thought, I was surfing the net a couple of days ago hoping to find a crockpot cookbook using fresh wholesome food and I came across this book.

The authors of this book created crockpot recipes for a cook like me (if you agree to my comment above, you will be happy to see this book!). After I read a couple of reviews by other Amazon users and bought this book (along with the Gourmet Slow Cooker Cookbook) from Amazon.

Yes, it requires more prep time and more ingredients but isn't it worth making that much efforts for healthier and tastier meals?! YES!!

Also, most ingredients appeared in this book are common items in my kitchen.

The only minus (4 stars istead of 5 stars) is the lack of photos of the recipes. I read cookbooks for plesure and those sumptuous looking photos are important to me. I know it makes the book more expensive if you have photos but it would be great if there are several pages of photos under each category to show how good these dishes look! I would definitely pay several more dollars for the photos for this book!
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301 of 307 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2005
I love cookbooks and I love to cook. Until now my least favorite cookbooks have been my crockpot books. BORING! So my crockpot only gets pulled out when I need to cook a pot of beans or take something to a potluck. What a shame. I mean, what could be more convenient, safe, and economical than cooking with an appliance that you can leave unattended for hours and that doesn't heat your whole kitchen?

"Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" is facinating and exciting. Why? Because of so many healthful, whole grain ideas, such as the "From the Porridge Pot" and "Rice and Other Grains" chapters. And soups! We will be eating soup all winter....I can't wait to try all of the recipes included in this section, including all of the stock recipes (chicken, turkey, beef, vegetable, and variations). From my bookshelves full of cookbooks, this has taken its place as one of my top two or three favorite cookbooks.

This cookbook is substantial, with over 500 pages of recipes and slow cooker how-to. Casseroles, poultry, beef, pork, fish, side dishes, stews and desserts are all included. The only pictures are on the front and back covers. They are beautiful and I do wish there were a few more pictures included.

It has been a while since I have been this excited about a cookbook (quite an accomplishment, as I do get quite excited about cookbooks). I wish there were a forum where I could read reviews of the various recipes, just to help me decide which recipe I will try next! Highly recommend.
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455 of 472 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2005
This is a great book for those new to slow cookers, or for those who have previously been disappointed with slow cooker recipes. The first 20 pages offer a solid body of information about all things pertaining to slow cooking: What is slow cooking? About the stoneware insert; Slow cooker shapes & sizes; how to use the new "smart pots"; temperature settings; breaking in a new pot; high altitude slow cooking; the basic "rules" of slow cooking; cooking times; adapting conventional recipes; useful cooking techniques, and more. Each section of recipes includes a nice introductory informational section, and each individual recipe has some introductory information as well. Recipe groups include soups, veggie stews, side dishes, a rice section, and there's a whole section on cooking various types of porridge...cinnamon apple oatmeal, overnight steel-cut oatmeal, maple oatmeal with dried fruit & spices, and various other grain type porridge recipes. Put all the ingredients in the pot at night before going to bed, and wake up to warm, creamy porridge of one type or another. Each recipe indicates number of servings, general type of crockpot to use, and cooking time. My main complaint, and the reason I can't give this 5 stars, is that nutritional information is not given for any of the recipes. Also, a minor layout complaint is that sometimes a recipe will start on one page and finish up on the next so you have to turn the page to see the rest of it. I would prefer to see one recipe per page. Other than these two things, this is a good cookbook with a nice selection of recipes, and definitely very useful for someone new to slow cooking as it will familiarize you with all the techniques necessary to successful slow cooking.
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153 of 157 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2005
As a new mother of twins, I was struggling to get dinner on the table every night. I tried the slow cooker, but all the meals were so heavy and they all tasted the same. I saw this book and decided to give it a try. I have made about 10 things from it and every one was so tastey. I have never been so happy with a cookbook, and my husband is thrilled. I am actually planning dinner parties as I can prepare the dinner during the twins' naps and let it cook all day, and serve a very impressive dinner when company arrives. I can't say enough about this cookbook. I have never written a review of anything before, but wanted to share this book with other busy mothers. It is your best weapon for getting a healthy and delicious meal on the table.
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105 of 108 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 11, 2005
Who knew there could be such a thing as a definitive slow cooker book, but I think this is it. This book is not only full of recipes (350 of them), but there is a slow cooker basics section that was absolutely wonderful -- more well written than the instructions for my new Rival Crock Pot.

I love that the book has such a large variety of recipes ranging from soups to desserts, vegetarian to meat, traditional to contmporary and simple to complex (not too complex). If you're only going to buy one slow cooker book, let this be the one. (This book along with a new slow cooker would make an excellent gift for the new cook or busy cook.) If you're a crock pot master and are really looking to shake things up, you may want to consider The Gourmet Slow Cooker instead of or in addition to. It has way fewer recipes, about 55, but they are certainly international and inspiring.
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341 of 365 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2006
I was incredibly disappointed in this cookbook. A large number of the recipes seem to be more about proving the varity of foods you CAN cook in the slow cooker, rather than foods it is USEFUL to cook in the slow cooker. Keep in mind that unless you're looking to soften tough meat, you can make almost any slow cooker recipe on the stove if you have an hour or two to babysit it. This is a book of recipes that require a lot of babysitting (adding ingredients, stirring, or doing something else in the middle of the cook time), run four to six hours, and require you to hang around the house all that time.

I'm a working foodie who uses the slow cooker to make fun, interesting meals that I can leave to cook during the work day. Between the babysitting required and the less-than-8-hour cook times, I was very disappointed in the number of recipes from this book I could use at all.

I highly recommend Judith Finlayson's books for a better alternative.
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86 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2005
I recently purchased "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" after purchasing a slow cooker. I am interested in using a slow cooker so I can still eat home cooked meals during times when I'm working a lot of hours. I generally prepare most of our meals from Cooking Light or Food and Wine. I was not interested in making slow cooker meals with condensed soups or other processed products and wanted an alternative to the meat and potato recipes most slow cooker recipe books featured. "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" fit the bill perfectly. There are numerous healthy recipes throughout the book as well as recipes from many different ethnic cuisines. While the traditional recipes you expect are in here, they are augmented with recipes such as Pork Tenderloin in Peanut Sauce or Orange Hoisin Beef. There is only one recipe which uses onion soup mix. None call for condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup! There are also numerous vegetarian meals. So far I have made the Beef Fajitas and the Black Bean Chili - both were excellent and very easy. I am also excited to try foods which I never expected to make in a slow cooker such as the cakes, breakfast cereals and chutneys. I also appreciated the information on high altitude cooking, as I live in Colorado. My one complaint would be the cooking times. Most are less than 8 hours so they are not practical for making while I'm at work. I have purchased a device made by Rival that allows me to program my traditional, two-setting slow cooker. I'm hoping this will allow me to make the recipes with shorter cooking time during the week.
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466 of 509 people found the following review helpful
`Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook' by expert bread cookbook author Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann is hands down the very best book on its subject you are likely to find. It is easily twice the size of my former slow cooker favorite, Judith Finlayson's `The 150 best Slow Cooker recipes' and easily more than twice as good, although this former favorite does have some virtues not in the current subject, such as both English and metric units of measure for all ingredients.

This is a cookery subject on which you do not expect to find a serious treatment by a major cookbook author. Like blender recipes and toaster oven recipes and grill pan recipes and pressure cooker recipes, you usually find books which are little more than one step removed from a manufacturer's booklet, published by the likes of Sunset Press or other speciality publisher, not by the Harvard Commons Press. But, like Jean Anderson's book, `Process This' on food processor cookery, this is a first rate addition to any good cookbook library. In fact, not only is it better than Finlayson's book, it is a lot better than Anderson's book on the food processor.

The quality of the book should be no surprise, given the track record of the principle author, Beth Hensperger. While she is not the leading currently active writer of books on bread (that honor would probably go to Peter Reinhart), she is easily one of the top three or four on the subject and has the James Beard awards to prove it. Co-author Kaufmann is less distinguished, but in reading her biographical sketch, it is clear this is a natural book for this pair, as they have already done a volume on rice cookers, and there are probably no two closer electrical cooking gadgets quite so close to one another as the rice cooker and the slow cooker. It probably also explains why there is relatively little in this book which tells one how to use a slow cooker as a rice cooker, since they already did a book on the subject AND, in spite of the strong similarities, there are enough differences to keep one from easily substituting one for the other.

Aside from the rice cooker stand-in role, this book has simply everything I expected it to have. Every single recipe and every single type of recipe you might expect is here. One thing I hoped for and found, in spades, was a group of recipes for stocks and broths. This is something I have found in no other slow cooker book, as obvious as it is to include it.

In spite of the fact that this is an excellent book which I would recommend to anyone wishing to cook with a slow cooker, I must insert the caveat here that while the slow cooker can be a modern version of time honored traditional cooking methods such as the braise, the daub, the tagine, and the Dutch oven techniques, many other recipes in this book are adaptations of techniques which may really be better done by other means. That is, the time saving gained by using the slow cooker may, in some cases, be gained by losing some culinary virtue. The best example I know is with the recipes for barbecued pork ribs. Adapting barbecue to the slow cooker is a natural, as both are low heat long cooking methods. But, you are approximating true barbecue and not producing a real barbecued result, as there is no smoke involved in the cooking. I will give one more plug to Ms. Finlayson's book on her pork rib barbecue recipe which I have done several times and I find it superior to the recipe for the same dish by Hensperger and Kaufmann. So, if you have Finlayson, Hensperger may not be a major advantage. But, if you have no slow cooker book and you want one, Ms. Hensperger and Ms. Kaufmann have given us the best one I have seen.

It is quite possible that the single most valuable section in this book is in the chapter `From the Porridge Pot'. This gives several different recipes for breakfast dishes with oats, granola, and other varieties of porridge. I saw Alton Brown do this on his `Good Eats' show on oats and I really wished I could find someone with some more details on the technique. Well, here it is. Everything you always wanted to know about making hot breakfast meals with oats, millet, wheat, rice, barley and corn set up the night before and ready for you in the morning.

The next best thing are all the general tips on slow cooking, including suggestions on how to adapt conventional braise, stew, and soup recipes to the slow cooker. One warning from this book which I will repeat here is that while the book includes recipes for several seafood dishes, almost all of them involve adding the seafood near the end of the long cooking period, so there are a fair number of recipes which require some mid-course or landing procedure intervention. But, the authors cover this point again and again.

I am happy to see that the authors avoid endorsing any one slow cooker manufacturer, although they do give some tips on evaluating and selecting a slow cooker and the size of slow cooker best suited to various requirements.

If you like to use the slow cooker or think it will fit into your lifestyle or just enjoy having a good book on every different cooking subject, then this is a book for you.

Highly recommended.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
I cannot tell you how happy to see so many great new books coming out in the past few years on slow cooking. For so long slow cooking has been looked down upon as being a relic of our parents time but I have become a huge convert to slow cooking in the past couple of years and as long as books like these come out I will continue to love my slow cooker. As a working family it just works out so well to toss something in it in the morning and have it done to perfection when you get home. I cannot stress enough the importance of buying a good slow cooker, particularly one that is programmable for time and temperature. Spend the extra few bucks.

As the book suggests, this is not your mother's slow cooker book with dozens of recipes for roasts or stews, largely tasteless. How does the Tex Mex enchiladas sound? Or Tortilla Soup, or Thai Pork with peanut sauce? And yes, there are many great recipes for roasts and stews...The comprehensive books includes chapters on: Soups, Chilis, Beans, Pasta, Poultry, Beef & Veal, Pork & Lamb, Ribs & wings, Fish, And desserts, among others. An outstanding introduction to slow cooking covers the history of slow cookers and just what slow cooking is, and covers the basics of types, sizes, temperature settings and more. Even longtime slow cooking fans will find the information valuable.

In all there are 350 recipes and while I've only made about a dozen or so, they have all been full-flavored and delicious. A wonderful addition to your cook book collection.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
I love to cook good, homemade food for dinner every night. (I don't like to, for example, clean.) However, I have been blessed with a full-time job, two-year-old twins, a nice but culinary challenged husband, a father-in-law who drops in for dinner upon occasion, and a neurotic dog. I don't have the time to spend in the kitchen that I once did.

But I'm still hungry.

Hensperger's book about the slow-cooker is miles ahead of the rest. The food is tasty, nourishing, and easy to pull off. As far as I'm concerned, this is the only cook-book for the slow cooker (other than the one published in the early 70's) that gives you information about how to use such a valuable tool.

We have particularly enjoyed the Mexican Pork and Black Beans, the oatmeal recipes (Who knew?), and the recipe for homemade tapioca. (A particular favorite of the father-in-law.)

Between this book, the slow-cooker, and my bread machine, we are living, as my grandmother used to say, "High on the hog."
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