This is Part 7 in an ongoing series on menu planning. If you’ve missed anything, please click HERE.

I am really excited about today’s segment. I am absolutely in love with my slow cooker. I have a Crock Pot brand slow cooker and it works like a champ. Honestly, I’m already looking to get the next size up since I use it so often and want to make larger quantities for freezing.

If you are a busy mom and wife, I cannot recommend slow cooking strongly enough. In about 15 minutes in the morning, you can pop in all the ingredients for dinner, turn your slow cooker on and come home to dinner all ready for you hours later! It is awesome.

OK enough gushing. Let’s get down to business. I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite slow cooker cookbooks and a few tips to get you started and maybe correct a problem or two you might have. If you’re totally new to slow cooking and have questions, leave them in the comments section and I’ll answer you directly.

First off, cookbooks. I’ve said before that I have an insane stash of cookbooks and I do. Several of those are cookbooks specifically covering slow cooking. I took some snapshots of my slow cooker cookbooks. Let’s take a look:

The Crock Pot Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes cookbook is probably the one that gets the most use at our house. We especially love the recipes for pork ribs. We make them all the time. It’s also a wonderful teaching tool. Everything I’ve learned about slow cooking came from this book. If you want this one, check out the bargain books at Barnes and Noble. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it there. 

The Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook may sound like you can only use it once a year, but actually it’s a collection of hundreds of recipes for year round use. It does have holiday themed recipes too though. This is my only Fix-It and Forget-It cookbook, but I’ve heard that some of the recipes are duplicates from other editions in the line, so if you have any of these cookbooks, it might not be the one for you. The advantage of this book is the sheer volume of recipes and the simple, homey ingredients. Everything I’ve made from this book has come out perfectly.

The Taste of Home Slow Cooker cookbook is our newest addition and one I haven’t gotten into yet. I got this as part of a six ToH cookbook set from QVC and I have to tell you, every single ToH recipe I’ve tried from the 6 book set so far has been simple and scrumptious. I have no doubt this will be just as easy to use and very tasty!
Some slow cooking tips:
  • While it might be tempting, don’t open the lid to the slow cooker unless it’s absolutely necessary. Sure you’ll want to check or stir, but really, don’t. It takes far too long for the temperature to build back up inside the pot once you remove the lid, which means your dinner won’t be ready when you think it will be. If you have a circular cooker, just spin the lid. Ladies with an oval one (like me) can gently tap on the lid to knock some of the condensation off.
  • If you don’t currently have a slow cooker, make sure you get one with a removeable stoneware crock. It makes clean up super easy, and we even use ours to store things until they cool down enough to put into plastic containers.
  • Generally you’ll see a range of cooking times with each recipe. It might say “Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 5”, either is perfectly acceptable, but I know from experience that if you can wait the 6 to 8 hours you really probably should. Meat is just more tender and juicy when done low and slow. 
  • Not every recipe requires 8 hours. I was surprised to learn that. Truly. In one of those books up there it suggests mac n cheese in the slow cooker in 2 to 3 hours! So don’t think that you have make a big meal. Sides are great too, especially if you’re cooking for a crowd or a pot luck.
OK! Any questions about slow cooking? Leave me a comment and I’ll happily respond. 🙂 Below is this week’s menu plan. What’s for dinner at your house?

Week 4 Menu –

Monday 5/21
Italian Burgers RECIPE COMING SOON!

Tuesday 5/22
Turkey Noodle Soup

Wednesday 5/23
Shrimp Noodle Bowl

Thursday 5/24
Crock Pot Ribs

Friday 5/25
Steak and Sides

Saturday 5/26
Smoked Sausage and Sides

Sunday 5/27
Roasted Chicken, Stuffing and Veggie

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