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ISO slow cooker cookbook for non-cook

Kynnjo's picture

My youngest sis is a very stressed out single mom with limited cooking skills (our mom was not fond of the kitchen). Her job is very demanding, and her 10-year old boy is more than a handful. Due to time demands, she ends up resorting too much to fast food, and as a result (I think) both she and her son have a weight problem.

She wants to change this, and recently bought a slow cooker. I would like to give her a good slow cooker cookbook (or two!) for Xmas.

I looked around at my local bookstore and was disappointed. All the books I found (one by Hensperger and another by Finlayson) were filled with recipes that required so much prep work as to defeat the purpose of using a slow cooker. One of the books (can't remember which) had no pictures, which is a serious drawback for a beginner cook like my sister. And both books seemed more intent on showing off what the slow cooker *could* do (with sufficient help from the cook), rather than on solving the needs of the time-strapped cook.

Any suggestions would be most welcome.


Edited 11/29/2009 2:48 pm ET by Kynnjo <!-- KYNNJO1 -->

Edited 11/29/2009 2:49 pm ET by Kynnjo

Gretchen's picture

Just get one book, and then refer her to the innumerable and quite good websites.  If you could find a copy of the sort of original little paperback called Crockpot Cookery, it would be perfect--simple.


Jean's picture

Oodles of decent recipes on line if you wanted to do a little googling. You could print up a cookbook for her.

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TracyK's picture

As handy as the slow cooker can be for those who need the convenience of letting it cook for you for hours while you're away from the house, it is somewhat limited in capabilities. There are only so many stews and spaghetti sauces one can eat, after all, and lots of the stuff cooked in the slow cooker develops a certain sameness that can get really old really fast.

Have you thought about getting her a good basic cookbook focusing on quicker meals and techniques for the time-strapped? Rachael Ray's 30-Minute-Meal cookbooks are great for beginners and people looking for fast meals, and they all use real food.

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Adele's picture

What Tracy said.  You do have to prep for the crockpot, it's a matter of doing it before you go to bed and put it all together in the morning, or doing it in the morning.

Rachael Ray has a couple of books out as do others.  I have one wrapped for a friend, but it was titled something like:  Quick Meals for Busy People.  There wasn't a whole lot of prep involved, but they looked good.

It will come down to shopping.  You have to plan a bit before going to the store, to have the foods to make the quick meals.

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

wonka's picture

No cookbook recommendations, but I do go to this site for crockpot recipes.

Gretchen's picture

I second and third the Rachael Ray books.  Her recipes are really very very good, and as has been said, use REAL food.  She gives younger inexperienced cooks the confidence to do things that sometimes sound "intimidating", and she gives experienced cooks good shortcuts to good tasting food.

As Tracy said, the crockpot can be a convenience, but as a "go to" all the time, it isn't (it was when it first came out!!). The food is really basically a braise--you can do it in the oven by setting your timer.  And it begins to sort of all meld together as (maybe) overcooked stuff.

BUT if you do get her a slow cooker, make a cookbook for her. I gave our kids some tapas plates and pans, and gave them a little internet cookbook of recipes.  It is such a goldmine out there. And you can choose dishes that don't have a lot of prep.

shywoodlandcreature's picture

I'm not sure where you live, but Canadian Living Magazine has a new slow cook cookbook out, which I would recommend based solely on my experiences with Canadian Living recipes (never-fail, I've found). They also have a very handy website with FAQs about slow cooking:

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