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Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker: Reinvent the Slow-Cooked Meal; 77 Mouthwatering Recipes

Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker: Reinvent the Slow-Cooked Meal; 77 Mouthwatering Recipes

by Nicki Sizemore

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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on October 29, 2019

Overview

Countless home cooks remain loyal users of their slow cookers for preparing satisfying, low-maintenance meals. But the tried-and-true slow cooker recipe repertoire is about to change, with author Nicki Sizemore’s fresh spin on slow-cooked meals. Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker is filled with slow-simmered main dishes, plus 35 recipes for sauces and sides, that replace canned ingredients with fresh vegetables, boost flavor with aromatic herbs and spices, and feature a tantalizing array of global tastes in dishes that span the menu. Overnight Pumpkin–Brown Rice Pudding with crunchy pecans is a wholesome, hands-off breakfast treat, Thai Curried Chicken & Rice Noodles gets a spicy kick from curry broth, and Shredded Beef Mole Tacos are accented with the sweet heat of Quick Pickled Jalapeños. Whether you’re feeding a family or entertaining a crowd, each recipe highlights prep work that can be knocked out days in advance, making serving meals worthy of every occasion easy and delicious.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635861235
Publisher: Storey Books
Publication date: 10/29/2019
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author


Nicki Sizemore is the author of Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker and Build-a-Bowl and the creator of FromScratchFast.com, which features recipes that can be made from scratch in under an hour. In addition to hosting classes and shows online for Bluprint, she is a recipe developer for Fine Cooking, Parents, and All Recipes Magazine. Sizemore has a Grand Diploma in Culinary Arts from the International Culinary Center and lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and two daughters. 
 

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

VEGETABLES

These plant-based recipes are some of our very favorite weeknight meals. The slow cooker makes easy work of simmering up nourishing and nutritious soups, stews, and curries — including Lentil and Veggie Stew with Poached Eggs that tastes far more sumptuous than it would seem, my husband's favorite Thai Vegetable and Peanut Curry, and a superfood Vegetable and Quinoa Chili that my kids adore. We even bake sweet potatoes and make a fuss-free spinach lasagna right in the slow cooker! That's right, Monday; we've got this.

White Bean & Veggie Minestrone + Pesto

PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES

SLOW COOKER TIME: 8–10 HOURS ON LOW

SERVES 6

Whether it's a dreary day that's begging for something nourishing or a sun-filled evening that's calling for a light meal, this vegetable-heavy minestrone always hits the mark. Dried white beans provide substance and don't even need to be soaked before going into the slow cooker — a long, gentle simmer cooks them to perfection. A Parmigiano-Reggiano rind gives the broth a nutty complexity. Zucchini and greens go in near the end to retain their freshness, and cooked pasta is added right before serving, preventing the noodles from turning mushy. A dollop of pesto over each bowl brings the taste of the garden to the table, no matter the season (feel free to use store-bought pesto if basil is not in season).

STOVETOP PREP

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced Salt and freshly ground black pepper

SLOW COOKER

2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth 1 (400 g) can baby Roma tomatoes (such as Mutti brand)
or 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1¼ cups dried cannellini or Great Northern beans,
rinsed and drained
3 medium carrots, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (2- to 3-inch) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cups chopped Swiss chard or spinach
2 cups diced zucchini
(about 2 small zucchini)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

PASTA

¾ cup macaroni or ditalini pasta (regular or gluten-free)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

FOR SERVING

• Pesto (page 23)

• Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

SLOW COOKER JUMP STARTS

Up to 2 days ahead: Cook the onion and refrigerate.

Chop and refrigerate the carrots, garlic, zucchini, and Swiss chard (store the zucchini and chard separately).

PREPARE THE STOVETOP INGREDIENTS

1 Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. (Alternatively, toss the onion with the oil in a heatproof bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste, and microwave on high, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.) Scrape the onion and oil into a 4- to 7-quart slow cooker.

ASSEMBLE THE SLOW COOKER

2 Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, Italian seasoning, and pepper flakes to the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, 8 to 10 hours on low (high heat is not recommended, as the beans will fall apart).

3 Add the Swiss chard and zucchini to the slow cooker, and season well with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the zucchini is bright green and crisp tender, about 20 minutes.

COOK THE PASTA

4 In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain.

5 Add the cooked pasta to the soup, along with the lemon juice and parsley. Season well with salt and pepper (the beans soak up a lot of seasoning, so you'll need more than you think).

SERVE

6 Ladle the soup into bowls and dollop with a spoonful of pesto. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

STORAGE

The minestrone can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Pesto

PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES

MAKES: 1 CUP

This classic basil pesto is a staple in our house during summer. Toss it with pasta, dollop it on pizza, spread it on sandwiches and paninis, or spoon it into soups and stews. The pesto can be refrigerated for up to three days — press a piece of plastic wrap directly on its surface to prevent browning.

1 large garlic clove
2 cups lightly packed basil leaves
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, or a mix of both Juice of ½ small lemon, or more to taste Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 Drop the garlic into a food processor with the blade running. Add the basil, pine nuts, cheese, and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Process until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides.

2 With the blade running, slowly pour the oil through the feed tube and process until incorporated.

3 Taste and season with additional salt, pep- per, or lemon juice if needed.

TIP

Toasting Seeds I prefer to toast seeds like pine nuts, pepitas, and sesame seeds in a large skillet on the stovetop (as opposed to the oven), since they can go from browned to blackened quickly. Spread the seeds in a large pan, and cook them over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly browned (pumpkin seeds will start to puff up), 4 to 6 minutes. Toast more than you need, and store leftovers in the fridge or freezer (where they'll keep for months) so that they're ready and waiting to be added to sauces or sprinkled over cooked dishes as a garnish.

Greens & Cheese Lasagna +

Quick Green Salad

PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES

SLOW COOKER TIME: 2–3 HOURS ON LOW

SERVES 6–8

Lasagna used to be a weekend-only affair, before I discovered I could make it in my slow cooker. This simple spinach version is now on our weeknight meal rotation, much to the glee of my two Italian food–loving kids. A quick basil-flecked ricotta mixture gets layered with uncooked lasagna noodles, defrosted frozen spinach or kale, store-bought marinara sauce (I prefer Rao's, which tastes close to homemade), and fresh mozzarella. You'll want to buy mozzarella balls that are wrapped in plastic wrap or that are shrink- wrapped — not the balls in liquid, which could make the lasagna too watery. Also, be sure to buy a good-quality ricotta cheese (nothing with gums or stabilizers). You'll need a 6- to 7-quart oval slow cooker for this recipe. The number of lasagna noodles required will depend on the size of your slow cooker. A quick green salad rounds out the meal.

BASIL RICOTTA

1 (15- to 16-ounce) container ricotta cheese (about
2 cups)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 large garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg Salt and freshly ground black pepper

SLOW COOKER

Cooking spray or oil for slow cooker
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach or kale, defrosted
4 cups marinara sauce (one
32-ounce jar), such as Rao's
9–12 lasagna noodles, regular or gluten-free (from one
10-to 12-ounce box)
1 pound fresh mozzarella,
thinly sliced

FOR SERVING

• Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

• Chopped basil

• Quick Green Salad (page 27; optional)

SLOW COOKER JUMP START

Up to 4 hours ahead: If you have a removable insert, assemble the lasagna through step 4 (before cooking) and refrigerate.

MAKE THE BASIL RICOTTA

1 Combine the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, garlic, basil, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.

ASSEMBLE THE SLOW COOKER

2 Spray the inside of a 6- to 7-quart slow cooker with cooking spray, or rub it lightly with oil. Wrap the spinach in a thick layer of paper towels, and squeeze firmly over the sink to remove as much liquid as possible.

3 Spread ½ cup of the sauce over the bottom of the slow cooker. Arrange a layer of the noodles over the top, breaking them to fit and overlapping them as needed (they won't fit in an even layer, and that's fine). Spread half of the basil ricotta over the noodles, followed by half of the spinach and 1 cup of the sauce. Arrange one-third of the mozzarella on top.

4 Repeat the layers, using another layer of noodles, the remaining ricotta, the remaining spinach, and another cup of the sauce. Arrange another layer of mozzarella over the top (reserve the remaining mozzarella in the refrigerator).

5 Place a final layer of noodles over the top, and press down gently to flatten. Spread the remaining sauce evenly on top. Cover and cook on low until the noodles are tender, 2 to 3 hours.

6 Arrange the remaining mozzarella over the top of the lasagna. Wipe off any condensation on the inside of the slow cooker lid, then recover and cook until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

SERVE

7 Turn off the slow cooker, pull out the insert (if it is removable), and take off the lid. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan and chopped basil. Serve the lasagna alongside the salad, if desired.

STORAGE

The cooked lasagna can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Quick Green Salad

PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES

SERVES: 6

We make this one-bowl green salad almost nightly in my house. A garlic-lemon vinaigrette is whisked together right in the bottom of a salad bowl, and greens are piled on top then tossed before serving. Think of this as a formula rather than a strict recipe. Feel free to sprinkle in nuts, cheese, or chopped vegetables.

½ lemon
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 spoonful Dijon mustard Salt and freshly ground black pepper Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 head or bunch of salad greens
(the freshest you can find),
torn into bite-sized pieces if needed

1 Squeeze the juice from the lemon half into the bottom of a large salad bowl. Add the garlic and rub it around the bowl. If you like a mild dressing, you can pull the clove out, but I'm a garlic lover and always leave it in. Whisk in the mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in oil to taste — you're aiming for about twice as much oil as lemon juice. Dip a lettuce leaf into the dressing and give it a taste. Adjust the flavorings as desired.

2 Pile the lettuce leaves into the bowl. If you're not eating the salad right away, stick the bowl in the fridge without tossing. Right before serving, season the greens with salt and pepper to taste and toss them with the dressing.

Lentil & Veggie Stew with Poached Eggs

PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES

SLOW COOKER TIME: 7–8 HOURS ON LOW or 4–5 HOURS ON HIGH

SERVES 4–6

This stew is one of my favorite meals, no matter what time of year (or time of day — I've been known to eat leftovers for breakfast!). It's richly satisfying but seriously healthy, with loads of vegetables and green lentils. By puréeing some of the stew at the end, you end up with a luxurious, slightly creamy texture that isn't too heavy. While it's delicious as is, a drizzle of pesto lends welcome brightness (feel free to use store-bought pesto if you're pressed for time). An optional poached egg adds a boost of protein and even more opulence. I promise that this is one good-for-you stew that won't leave you hungry. If you're anything like our family, you might want to serve this with chunks of bread for mopping out your bowls.

STOVETOP PREP

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped

SLOW COOKER

5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1½ cups green lentils,
rinsed in cold water
4 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 large thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced lacinato kale (stems discarded)
½ teaspoon sherry vinegar

FOR SERVING

• Pesto (page 23)

• Poached eggs (see Tip, page 30), optional

SLOW COOKER JUMP STARTS

Up to 2 days ahead:

Cook the onion and refrigerate.

Chop and refrigerate the carrots, celery, sweet potato, and garlic.

PREPARE THE STOVETOP INGREDIENTS

1 Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. (Alternatively, toss the onion with the oil in a heatproof bowl, and microwave on high, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.) Scrape the onion into a 4- to 7-quart slow cooker.

ASSEMBLE THE SLOW COOKER

2 Add the broth, lentils, carrots, celery, sweet potato, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.

3 Remove and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Transfer 2 cups of the stew to a blender and add the oil. Blend until smooth. Pour the puréed soup back into the slow cooker and stir in the kale. Cover and cook on high until the kale is wilted, about 20 minutes. Stir in the vine- gar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

SERVE

4 Ladle the stew into bowls and drizzle with pesto. Top with a poached egg, if using, and sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper.

STORAGE

The stew can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

TIP

How to Poach Eggs With a few simple tricks, poaching eggs is quite simple — I promise! Here's how you do it: Fill a large straight-sided skillet or a wide pot with 3 inches of water. Add ½ teaspoon of white vinegar. Bring the water to a gentle simmer (you should see small, scattered bubbles).

Crack the eggs into individual small bowls or ramekins. Carefully slide one of the eggs into the water, keeping the rim of the bowl right near the surface of the water (this will help the egg keep its shape). If needed, use a spoon to swirl the white around the yolk. Repeat with the other eggs, spacing them at least 1 to 2 inches apart.

Let the eggs cook at a gentle simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary, until the whites are set but the yolks are still jiggly, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a plate or directly to your soup bowls.

Thai Vegetable & Peanut Curry

PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES

SLOW COOKER TIME:5–6 HOURS ON LOW or 3–4 HOURS ON HIGH

SERVES 6

Whenever we go out for Thai food, my husband, James, orders chicken massaman, a rich coconut-based curry with meat, potatoes, and peanuts. This lighter vegetable-packed curry takes inspiration from that dish, using peanut butter and coconut milk to thicken the sauce. It's now one of James's favorite weeknight meals — and mine, too. Cauliflower and red potatoes give the curry heft, while frozen green beans, which are added at the end, impart brightness and color (you can use 3 cups of baby spinach in place of the green beans, if you prefer). Roasted unsalted peanuts also go right into the curry, providing texture.

STOVETOP PREP

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons red curry paste

SLOW COOKER

2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
(preferably Red Boat brand)
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 large head cauliflower
(2½ pounds), cut into 2-inch florets
1 pound red potatoes (about
3 medium potatoes), cut into
1-inch pieces
½ cup canned coconut milk, well stirred
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups frozen cut green beans
1/3 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce Salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR SERVING

• Cooked rice or quinoa

• Coarsely chopped peanuts

• Chopped cilantro

• Sriracha

SLOW COOKER JUMP STARTS

Up to 2 days ahead:

Cook the stovetop ingredients and refrigerate.

Chop the cauliflower and potatoes, and refrigerate separately (store the potato in water to prevent browning, then drain before using).

PREPARE THE STOVETOP INGREDIENTS

1 Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and curry paste, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Scrape the mixture into a 4- to 7-quart slow cooker. (Alternatively, toss all of the ingredients together in a heatproof bowl, and microwave on high, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.)

ASSEMBLE THE SLOW COOKER

2 Stir in the broth, tomatoes, fish sauce, tamari, and brown sugar. Add the cauliflower and potatoes, and toss to coat. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high.

3 Combine the coconut milk and peanut butter in a small heatproof bowl, and micro- wave until warm, about 1 minute (alternatively, you can warm them in a small pot on the stove); stir until smooth. Turn the slow cooker to high (if it's not on high already). Pour the coconut milk mixture into the slow cooker, and add the green beans and peanuts. Cover and cook until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Add the sriracha, and season with salt and pepper.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Nicki Sizemore.
Excerpted by permission of Storey Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Rethink the Old
Slow Cooker Tips & Techniques

Vegetables
  White Bean & Veggie Minestrone + Pesto
  Greens & Cheese Lasagna + Quick Green Salad
  Lentil & Veggie Stew with Poached Eggs
  Thai Vegetable & Peanut Curry
  Squash Curry + Cilantro, Apple & Cashew Chutney
  Fajita Stuffed Sweet Potatoes + Guacamole
  Vegetable & Quinoa Chili + Skillet Cornbread
  Sweet Potato Potage + Spicy Maple Pecans & Toasted Cheese Baguettes
  Garden Ratatouille
  Black Bean Soup + Chipotle Crema

Chicken, Turkey & Pork
  Chicken Noodle Soup
  Thai Curried Chicken & Rice Noodles
  Garlic-Lemon Whole Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes & Fennel + Parsley Pesto
  Turkey Meatball Subs + Spinach, Shaved Fennel & Parmesan Salad
  Chicken Tikka Masala + Garlic Naan
  Chicken & Black Bean Chilaquiles
  Sticky Ginger Spareribs + Napa Cabbage Slaw
  Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps + Sesame-Scallion Sauce
  Pulled Pork Sandwiches + Red Cabbage & Sweet Corn Slaw
  Carnitas Tacos + Quick Pickled Red Onions

Beef & Lamb
  Best Beef Chili + Jalapeno-Cheddar Spoon Bread Muffins
  Braised Short Ribs with Gremolata + Creamy Parmesan Polenta
  Bolognese + Buttermilk Caesar Salad
  Bibimbap Beef Bowls + Garlicky Bok Choy & Sesame Carrots
  Asian-Style Pot Roast + Potato Puree
  Shredded Beef Mole Tacos + Quick Pickled Jalapenos
  Sriracha Braised Brisket + Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Pomegranate & Mint + Cauliflower Couscous
  Lamb Gyros + Tzatziki Sauce
  Lamb Ragu with Ricotta & Mint

Seafood
  Slow-Cooked Salmon + Cucumber-Caper Yogurt Sauce & Quick Pickled Shallots
  Slow-Cooked Cod + Tomato & Sweet Corn Salad
  Tamari-Ginger Glazed Salmon + Quinoa, Edamame & Cucumber Salad
  Swordfish Spaghetti + Fresh Puttanesca Sauce
  Fish Tacos with Sriracha Mayo + Lime & Cilantro Slaw
  Moroccan Braised Halibut + Mint & Pistachio Pesto
  Easy Bouillabaisse + Garlic Aioli Croutons
  Green Curry Shrimp Noodle Bowls

Breakfast & Brunch
  Slow Cooker Congee
  Overnight Pumpkin--Brown Rice Pudding
  Cheddar Cheese Grits + Bacony Greens & Fried Eggs
  French Toast Casserole
  Spinach, Prosciutto & Gruyere Strata
  Roasted Red Pepper & Artichoke Shakshuka with Feta & Herbs
  Slow-Cooked Applesauce
  Peach Butter

Acknowledgments
Metric Conversion Charts
Index