We’ve had a slow cooker in our kitchen repertoire for several years now and in that time we’ve made fewer than a dozen dishes in it. For those keeping score at home, that’s about one every three or four months. The reason we don’t use it as much as we probably could has to do with our lack of creativity in the slow cooking department. Our cooking is very much dominated by our ideas. We think of things we enjoy and we try to make them, or dishes similar to them, which leads us to a lot of stews, which take just as long to cook, but never to stews in a slow cooker. I chalk it up to having not grown up with a slow cooker (it’s not prominent in Chinese cuisine) but the reality is I’ve had no inspiration, since I love plenty of things I didn’t grow up eating.
So when I had the opportunity to check out Make It Fast, Cook It Slow by Stephanie O’Dea , I took it. O’Dea’s book is more than just a collection of recipes, which you can find by surfing online, it goes the extra step of categorizing her dishes by not only the actual food type (fish, poultry, side dishes, vegetarian, appetizers, etc.) but also by price – $7 and under, $10 and under, and $15 and under. That’s perfect for the budget conscious cook who has to feed an army. With each recipe she shares the “verdict,” which is what her family thought of the dish, as well as little tips and tricks that help preparation and cooking go a little faster.
Added bonus, every recipe in the book is gluten free.
If you’ve been looking for ways to use your slow cooker, as we have, this book is a great way to start. Not only are the recipes simple and fast, they give you a better idea of what can be done with a slow cooker since it’s filled with all sorts of recipes, from breakfast dishes to desserts. It really runs the gamut and shares tips on how to cut down on costs in preparing them. Best of all, they’re all set it and forget it type recipes that take 6-8 hours to make. It’s perfect for people who can’t cook because they are ultra busy – set it when you leave and your meal is ready when you get home.