This cookbook is a mix of slow cooker recipes and quick prep recipes with a focus on main courses. There are chapters that tackle breakfast, soups of all kinds, one bowl meals, pasta, taco night, poultry dishes, meat dishes, and seafood and meatless dishes. There are 2 short chapters of side dishes and desserts but this is really geared towards main dishes. At the beginning is the usual chapter of pantry products as well as some discussion about cooking in season, making menu plans, and getting the most out of your slow cooker. She also has a whole month of menus already prepared with 3 meals, plus snack and a treat as well as factoring a dinner out once a week.
Some of the recipes weren't for me because they require a pressure cooker which I don't own and am afraid of because apparently fears are genetic - my Grandmother was terrified of them too. Some in the taco or one bowl chapter feature shrimp which I can't eat. There are also some (like the Cauliflower-Potato Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Chutney) which just don't appeal to me.
However, many more do sound tasty like the Asiago-Crusted Chicken Breasts, or the Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala. The Zucchini Wedges with Lemon and Fresh Oregano sounds like a wonderful and different way to use up bumper crops of zucchini and the Pasta E Fagioli sounds pretty tasty on a cold evening. With the 2 recipes I've made (the Asiago-Crusted Chicken Breasts and the Tomato Soup listed below) both were tasty but I'm not sure that I would label them as super fast. These aren't dump and bake recipes and there is a decent amount of prep involved. It still qualifies as pretty fast but if you're looking for less than 30 minutes from start to dinner you might be disappointed.
Since winter has decided to show up here in North Alabama I thought it was the perfect time to try out this Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Soup recipe. I'm a big fan of tomato soup and really anything made in the slow cooker!
Slow-Cooker Creamy Tomato Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
3 1/2 cups reduced sodium or chicken broth
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1 bay leaf
Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese rind (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup 2% milk, warmed
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, celery, carrots, and onions, and cook, stirring until soft, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a slow cooker.
Pour the juice from the tomato can into the slow cooker. Roughly crush the tomatoes with you hands as you add them to the cooker. Add the broth, thyme, basil, bay leaf, and cheese rind.
Cover and cook on low for 5 hours. Remove the bay leaf and cheese rind. Puree the soup in the cooker with an immersion blender until smooth (or in a stand blender, in batches)
In a large skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour becomes golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the hot soup. Add the warmed milk and stir until smooth. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker and stir. Add the Romano, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low for 30 more minutes.
To serve, divide the soup among 6 bowls and garnish with basil.
My Results: This was a tasty tomato soup which definitely had a bit of a creamy touch. The one thing I will do differently next time is make sure the vegetables are REALLY finely chopped. I got a bit bored with the immersion blender after a few minutes and while it was mostly smooth there were a few tiny chunks that made the texture a little weird. I think if I had started with smaller pieces it would have been easier. I served this with cheese bread (recipe for another day - definitely NOT on the SkinnyTaste menu plan) and it was delicious.
I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads