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Customer Review

479 of 499 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Variety, Lots of Unexpected Ideas, February 3, 2009
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This review is from: Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook: 1400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes! (Hardcover)
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.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 20, 2009 9:51:51 AM PDT
JK says:
Fair criticism. I've had so many cookbooks that I've had to transcribe the recipe just to cook from it. Doubly irritating to have to go to the index to find recipes because the author has put them somewhere unexpected--

Posted on Jan 13, 2011 9:48:38 AM PST
Jessica says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Oct 7, 2013 1:25:16 PM PDT
Kellie says:
Thanks for the great review! I like that I have choices in the version of the recipe I choose. There are days when canned soup is my savior, and there are days when I want real, unprocessed foods. Since slow cooker cooking can be a little limiting as opposed to all of the other cooking options, the choices may be the difference between my fussy family loving or hating a dish. I think I may give this book a try!

Posted on Nov 19, 2013 5:30:35 PM PST
mattyd says:
Thanks for that review. From what you said, this might be right up my ally! I get some really good recipes by mining cookbooks that have mostly recipes I would never use. Cream of whatever soup, ketchup, garlic salt ... I just skim right over those.

One of my favorite recipes came from an impulse buy at the grocery store checkout when I had casseroles on the brain. If I had skimmed it first, I never would have bought it. A year or so later, I was looking for chicken pot pie done just so. Plenty of recipes online, but nothing quite right for me. I have 37 cookbooks, I only found 4 recipes for chicken pot pie, and the one that was closest to the thing I was looking for was the one in that book! I tried it exactly as written and it was really good. The only pre-fab thing about it was the store-bought crust. A few tiny modifications(like my own pie crust, for one) and now I make them eight at a time in 16-oz ramekins, freeze them unbaked, then I take them out and bake them and they are GREAT. That one recipe turned out to be more than worth the cost of the cookbook.

Too many of the cookbooks I own are either more like novelty books or coffee table books or too laden with the author's individual style or taste. A big collection of recipes by lots of different people is likely to have something in there I can work with. At 22 bucks, if I get 4-5 recipes that I use regularly, it will be worth it.
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