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Slow and Easy: Fast-Fix Recipes for Your Electric Slow Cooker

100% Positive Reviews


Pros: Wide range of contemporary recipes for an old-fashioned appliance.

Cons: No photographs and the recipes are written for specific sized slow-cookers.


Reviewed by Sandra Bowens
When was the last time that you used your slow cooker? I had to move about seven things on the shelf to unearth mine. It was right where I put it after unpacking it from the moving van when we arrived here six years ago. 
Electric slow cookers are rather trendy right now, and I can see why. People are trying to cook at home more often while also stretching out those food dollars. Slow cookers are even "green" since they don't use much energy. It is a good time for Slow & Easy to show up. 
Natalie Haughton, food editor for the Los Angeles Daily News, gives us more than 250 recipes for using the appliance in the pages of Slow & Easy. In addition to the expected beef stews and pot roasts, we find surprises like risotto and cake. Or what about baked potatoes? I never would have considered that. What a great way to free up the big oven for other food. 
I so wanted to make the Pineapple-Coconut-Macadamia Cheesecake, but it turned out that my springform pan was too big and my crockpot too small. Ditto for the Spinach-Cheese Torte from the breakfast chapter. It is a clever idea, though, right? You place the springform pan onto a rack in the slow cooker without any water. It is such a moist heat, cheesecakes sort of steam themselves. 
I did prepare the Chocolate Fudge Cake with Peanut Butter Ganache. While mixing the ingredients, it dawned on me, I know this cake. It's the old mix-in-the-pan cake where you add the vinegar at the last minute. This time, the batter was mixed in a bowl and the poured into a buttered and foil-lined slow cooker. It smelled like popcorn when I ran the knife around the pot to loosen it. The cake was moist. The peanut butter ganache, a simple recipe combined in a measuring cup and microwaved, proved to be the perfect topping. 
While most of the time we think of slow cooker recipes as fix it and forget it, success with cakes, grains and casseroles require more precise timing and monitoring. Haughton points this out in the introduction, offering tables with the "most forgiving foods" and the "more demanding foods." 
The introduction to Slow & Easy is a comprehensive primer on using the electric slow cooker. The following pages are peppered with sidebars yielding cook's notes and helpful hints. I appreciated the cue that my chutney would thicken after it cooled. The recipes themselves are clear and concise with visual clues to compensate for differences from appliance to appliance. 
This is a big book without a single photograph. Some folks might have a problem with that, but it's not a big deal to me. I like the fact that all of the recipes fit on a single page or span two adjacent pages so there isn't any pesky page flipping between ingredient lists and instructions. Each of the 10 chapters begins with a list of recipes and page numbers. That is helpful if you know you want to cook chicken but haven't decided how.  
My biggest problem with Slow & Easy is that I'm not a harried mom cooking for an army. The recipes seem huge. Six to eight servings is not unusual, some even go to 12. Appetizers range from serving eight all the way to 24. 
Different sized crockpots became an issue as well. Although Haughton points out in the introduction that slow cooker enthusiasts often own more than one size, I wonder how many people actually do. I couldn't find any information on adjusting a recipe for a 6-quart cooker down to be able to prepare it in my 4-quarter. This limits the number of recipes I can use. 
I do like this book for pointing out uses for the crockpot I wouldn't have considered. Spiced Sweet Potato Sticks is a good example. These were tasty alongside burgers for dinner, a healthier alternative to regular fries. 
The Slow-Cooked Steel-Cut Oats was less successful. It was more like a disaster. I will take some credit for the ruined state as I overslept and let it cook for an hour longer than the recipe suggested. I think the problems may have happened before that last hour, however. The cinnamon rose to the top and burned a little bit while the surface took on that pudding-skin texture. I like that when it's chocolate flavored but this skin was gooey. I'll stick with my 15 minute oatmeal preparation next time. 
Slow & Easy is a good choice for the busy mom who just needs to get dinner, or breakfast, on the table, but maybe not so much for those of us who have the time to savor the process of cooking. 

Recipe: Mango-Ginger Chutney

Makes about 4 cups
2 large ripe mangoes, pitted, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed through a press
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons instant tapioca
Few dashes of cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  1. In a 4-quart electric slow cooker, combine the mangoes, onion, bell pepper, raisins, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, tapioca, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons of the lime juice. Mix well.
  2. Cover and cook on the low heat setting for 4 hours, or until the chutney is glossy and slightly thickened. Remove the stoneware insert. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to jars, cover with lids, and refrigerate the chutney for up to 1 month.  
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Slow and Easy: Fast-Fix Recipes for Your Electric Slow Cooker

Slow cookers are incredibly popular among home cooks, and with good reason -- easy to use and cost, time, and energy-efficient, slow cookers are an ideal way to get dinner on the table fast. This book will provide slow cooker aficionados with expert advice on choosing the right slow cooker, tips on ideal foods for slow cooking, and of course, a wide range of great-tasting recipes.Whether you're a busy working parent cooking for a family or a hostess preparing make-ahead appetizers for a party, there's no question that the slow cooker makes preparing any meal quick and hassle-free. Haughton includes chapters on Appetizers, Dips, and Drinks; Soups and Chowders; Pasta and Pasta Sauces; Chicken and Turkey; Beef, Pork, and Lamb; One-Pot Meals; Vegetables and Sides; Breakfast and Brunch; Preserves, Chutneys, and Salsas; and Great Slow Cooker Desserts. The huge range of recipes highlights the versatility of the slow cooker -- there are 253 recipes in all, for tempting dishes such as Hot Artichoke Dip, Sweet Corn Chowder, No-Fuss Lasagna, Turkey Mole, Hungarian Goulash, French Toast Casserole, and Chocolate Creme Brulee. All the recipes include straightforward instructions and call for basic, fresh ingredients, and most dishes require only one pot to prepare. With expert advice on all things slow cooker and recipes for beloved classics and innovative new dishes, Slow and Easy is a must-have for every slow cooker devotee.

AuthorNatalie Haughton
Dewey Decimal Number641.5884
List Price$22.95
Number Of Items1
Number Of Pages464
Product GroupBook
Product Type NameABIS_BOOK
Publication Date2008-12-22
TitleSlow and Easy: Fast-Fix Recipes for Your Electric Slow Cooker
FeatureNotes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Height1.38 inches
Length9.14 inches
Weight1.87 pounds
Width7.34 inches
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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