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Slow Cooker Revolution by The Editors at…
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Slow Cooker Revolution

by The Editors at America's Test Kitchen

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Since I work evenings [2p.m. to 10:30p.m.] and don't make it home until around 11 or so at night, my hubby and grown daughter are often left to fend for themselves with dinner. How can I say this as politely as possible? They are lazy. Well, lazy when it comes to cooking. Even if I leave a well planned menu and instructions on how to cook it, the ingredients may languor on the counter, or in the fridge, until I have to throw them away.

So, it was with high anticipation that I purchased this book. In hopes that I could make sure they ate something more nutritious than Cheerios™ or packaged burritos from the gas station!

I have always trusted America's Test Kitchens, finding recipes and equipment reviews to be right on. So, I didn't hesitate to purchase this book when it came up on one of my recommended reading lists!

I was NOT disappointed!

200 recipes that are to die for! Some, I will admit, are a little more laborious than a simple drop the ingredients into the crockpot and walk away, but nonetheless, these are some awesome recipes! From lasagna to rustic potato and leek soup to chicken with white wine, terragon and cream, to weeknight beef chili to easy barbecued ribs! And the desserts! Cherry cobbler, nutella bread pudding, chocolate fondue, and pears poached in red wine.

Easy to follow recipes, and simple ingredients. What more could a working woman ask for? I can get the meal started and put it in the slow cooker, and when it's dinner time, they simply have to serve it up!

I highly recommend Slow Cooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen.

And I give it Five Stars and a Big Thumbs Up!

****DISCLOSURE: This book was a private purchase and under no obligation for review. ( )
  texicanwife | Nov 26, 2013 |
If you're a fan of America's Test Kitchen (ATK), you won't be disappointed by the dishes in Slow Cooker Revolution. The year they spent researching and testing slow cookers and recipes shows in the quality and attention to detail that shines through in these delicious recipes. If you've never heard of America's Test Kitchen, be prepared to take some extra steps and spend a little more prep time than the usual slow cooker recipes require.

These are not throw-it-all-in-and-walk-away slow cooker recipes. These recipes contain techniques—like microwaving aromatics before adding them—that, while time consuming, enhance the flavor and texture of the ingredients. These people are serious about the science of cooking and how to make the best-tasting food possible. They are also aware that “anyone using a slow cooker is likely a time-pressed home cook.” To that end, they included many recipes that are marked “Easy Prep”. These easier recipes are marked at the top of the page and can easily be seen and thumbed to along the outside edge. I recommend at least trying some of the other recipes. Unless you're already an ATK fan, you'll never guess what they suggest adding to ground beef to keep it tender and moist. The rich flavors and firm textures are well worth any extra time.

The recipes are divided into thirteen sections: Soups; Stews; Braises; Chilis; Barbeque Favorites and More; Pasta Sauces; Meatballs, Meatloaves and More; Enchiladas, Tacos and More; Casseroles; On the Side; Eggs and Brunch; Desserts; and Basics. Each recipe begins with a paragraph on "Why This Recipe Works" and most end with a “Smart Shopping Tip” or other helpful information like suggested side dishes or a kitchen "how to".

Full-page “All About…” pages are peppered throughout the book. These informative pages tell you more than you knew existed about a variety of subjects such as “All About Tomato Products in the Slow Cooker.” Unfortunately, these tip pages aren't in the Table of Contents. They have to be discovered by paging through the book. They are in the index but aren't listed as you would expect. For instance, the page titled “All About Beef” is listed in the Index as “Beef: best slow cooker cuts”. These pages contain a wealth of useful information that you might not know you need until you come across them, so you won't be looking them up in the Index anyway. And intuition isn't always helpful. The “All About Herbs” page is in the Braises section, as is the “All About Chicken” page.

The book itself is beautiful with full-color photos on slick paper. One reviewer criticized the instability of the ink. She's right. I tested it by wiping a wet tissue across a page number. The ink lifted off completely. So be warned: DO NOT GET THE PAGES WET!

The biggest problem I had with the Slow Cooker Revolution was that all the recipes are for large slow cookers (6+ quarts) with no instructions for downsizing them for smaller slow cookers. The first recipe I tried was the Spicy Sausage Ragu with Red Peppers. With pasta, it filled a 7-quart pot. I cook for two. That’s a lot of ragu for two people. On the other hand, it was so full of incredible flavors (who knew microwaving peppers and adding them at the end kept them firm and tasty) we polished it off in three days.

Bottom line, if you want easy and average, buy a (Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook). If you want mouth-watering food that’s worth a little fuss, get yourself a copy of Slow Cooker Revolution. ( )
  LisaWharton | May 3, 2013 |
I love to watch America's Test Kitchen on my local PBS station. I have had many light bulb moments on how to fix many of my kitchen disasters by watching the program. When I saw that America's Test Kitchen had published a Slow Cooker cookbook, I knew I wanted to check it out. I love using my slow cooker but sometimes the end result doesn't turn out all that great. I do use the slow cooker every week regardless as it a huge time saver in a busy household like ours.

When I first received my cookbook I noticed that these were not the type of slow cooker recipes you can just dump in the slow cooker, plug in, hit the switch and be done. I must admit that I was disappointed. I am all about quick and easy when it comes to cooking. I decided to read on in the cookbook. Each recipe includes explanations on why they took the extra steps such as browning meats or veggies before adding them to the slow cooker. There is a paragraph before each recipe on Why This Recipe Works. For the first time in my slow cooker life I knew why some of my recipes did not turn out so well.

The first recipe I tried was Southern-Style Chicken and Dirty Rice. Rice and pasta in the slow cooker have been huge disasters for me in the past. I was skeptical at best. I read the explanation on using instant rice versus long grain rice in the slow cooker and moved forward making the recipe. I followed the recipe and found it really wasn't all that difficult. Sauces in the slow cooker have always turned out too watery for me but this recipe had me start the sauce in the skillet before hand along with the browning of the sausage and vegetables and it turned out perfect! I did double the recipe for my family of 5 large eaters.

I was very happy with end result! The extra steps made all the difference in the world! So much so that I would highly recommend this cookbook to those who really dislike slow cooker food. Yes, the recipes are a bit more work than your average dump and cook recipes. The helpful tips and explanations will help make your slow cooker cooking experience so much better in the long run. I can't wait to try more of the recipes in the cookbook. ( )
  bookaholicmom | Jul 16, 2011 |
Yes, I am a big fan of America's Test Kitchen. I love their TV show on PBS, I love their magazine, Cook's Illustrated, and I love their cookbooks. And there is none I love more that their new one, one that takes on the slow cooker. If you are a fan of the slow cooker...or someone who has one gathering dust on a pantry shelf...this is a book you will like. For fans, it will add a wide variety of well tested recipes to the favorites you are already making. For those of you that are not using your slow cooker at much as you might like, for any number of reasons, this book will answer all the questions that may be holding you back.

In that particular rather geeky way that I love, ATK starts at the beginning with how to buy a slow cooker and the keys that will make your recipes a success. Then it is into the 200 recipes, broken down into categories- Soups, Stews, Braises, Chilies, Barbecue, Pasta Sauces, Meatballs and Meatloaves, Enchiladas and Tacos, Casseroles (Mac and Cheese, using uncooked pasta), On the Side, Eggs and Brunch, Desserts (Nutella Bread Pudding..oh, be still my heart) and ends with Basics, which covers things like jam, applesauce, gravy and four different broths. There is quite a range of recipes here, and since the vast majority use fresh ingredients, some prep is needed in many. But there is also a number marked "Easy Prep" that are, well, easy prep.

This is a very attractive book, each recipe on a full page, many with a full page, full color photograph opposite. I tell you, if you look at the photos in this book, there is no way you will not want it.

But this is ATK, so you know they are going to throw in a lot of practical, useful information as well. A nice full page article of how to use the microwave to help out that slow cooker, "All About Herbs" and "Pasta 101" are a couple of examples. Many pages, in addition to a recipe will have one of ATK's "Smart Shopping Tips", like the best brand of canned beans, jarred tomato sauce or coconut milk, and "Quick Prep Tips", like the best way to cut stew meat, prepare your hearty greens or use lemon grass. And many recipes will have a nice little On The Side box on the page, giving a quick, easy recipe for something that would go perfect with the slow cooker dish, like Easy Mashed Potatoes, Caesar Salad or Cheese Toasties. Golly, they sounds so good....

And I love that ever recipe starts with a paragraph explaining "Why This Recipe Works", where they show what they learned in testing. Why use high or low in this recipe, why add this or that ingredient, and techniques to use that will really make the dish turn out it's best.

I have a long way to go with my slow cooker. Soup, especially a great sound onion soup with a surprise ingredient, may be my next attempt. Then something I would never think of, like the delicious cooking Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna (they use a foil collar and foil sling for easy removal of their lasagnas, like the sausage one on the cover). Or how about Coconut Rice Pudding?
But I started with the more classic braised Pork Loin with Cranberries and Orange...which was so easy and so delicious. ( )
  caitemaire | Mar 4, 2011 |
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The 200 recipes in this family friendly collection deliver a revolution in slow cooking--with added convenience, big, bold flavors, and America's Test Kitchen's guarantee!

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