When I was contacted about reviewing a crockpot cookbook, I balked. I have a lot of crockpot cookbooks. I have books of basic recipes, international recipes, gourmet recipes, and snack and dessert recipes, all of which are designed for use in the crockpot. Not a one of these books would I recommend. Over the years I have wasted a lot of time and ingredients, and consumed a lot of dry, chewy meat in the process of testing recipes. If your experience has been the same, you're going to want to pay close attention here, because I have found the crockpot cookbook of all crockpot cookbooks, a real winner, the crockpot Bible. The book in question is called Fix-It and Forget-It® Slow Cooker Magic, 550 Amazing Everyday Recipes by New York Times Bestselling Author, Phyllis Good.
This ample tome is comprised of recipes from cooks all over the country. Paging through this book makes you feel as if you are in a wonderful community of seasoned cooks who take pride in serving up sumptuous meals to friends and family while relaxing and enjoying their company. Recipes in all categories are featured aplenty in this book. I found something on every page that I wanted to make. You will find recipes for appetizers and starters, beverages, breakfast, breads, soups, stews, chilis, main dishes, vegetables and side dishes, sweets and desserts. Dishes for every season are represented as well as vegetarian and vegan recipes.
Most impressive for books of this type is that the recipes here are unique and varied, range from simple to complex, and not rely heavily upon cans of condensed soup. Can I hear a “Hallelujah?”
The layout is pleasant, easy to read, and while there are few pictures (generally a pet peeve of mine), there are charming illustrations, and engaging personal comments and tips from contributing cooks that make you feel as if you are chatting with each one personally, over a cup of coffee and fresh loaf of bread in your homey kitchen.
One of the recipes that I tried was for Refried Beans. I tried it because I just knew it would be a failure. Beans that aren't fried once, let alone refried, and that contain few ingredients and little fat just had to be tasteless. With my son coming over to help me with some heavy work around the house, I tossed the few ingredients into the crockpot and set the timer for 9 hours on low. As the day progressed, the most wonderful aroma wafted through the house. My son was so captivated by it that he agreed to do more work than he'd initially planned in order to sample the dish that smelled so wonderful. Experience told me that a great aroma doesn't necessarily yield a tasty dish, but it did in this case, the beans were wonderful! Creamy, delicious, and homemade! No more canned beans for me, and I can only imagine how delicious a batch of Jalapeno Bean Dip is going to taste using these homemade beans. I served them as a side to flautas and topped them with chopped scallions, minced cilantro, and a sprinkle of queso. Bueno!
If you enjoy crockpot cooking, and with soup season looming ahead, who doesn't, then you are going to want to add this delightful book to your library. Two enthusiastic thumbs up from our camp.