Cooking from Crock Pot's Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes.

There are a few books that I swear by (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and The Backyard Homestead handbook, to name a few), but after a recent trip to Half Price Books I think I found a new favorite in the cookbook category.

Here she is:

I was on the hunt for a slow cooker cookbook for a few weeks. I found myself coming home from work after an 11- to 12-hour day to face the exhausting task of cooking for another 45 minutes to an hour, plus clean up. And, um, for those of you who have similar work schedules, you know this is NOT fun. 

I use my slow cooker a lot on weekends because I can throw some food in it mid-morning and have something on the table for evening. And, I can forget about it and use my valuable weekend time for something more 'enjoyable'. For instance, this weekend I made chili (using canned tomatoes from my garden and spices from a local Amish bulk food store, and ground beef raised by my parents. The beans, however, were from a can. Don't judge me.).

Pair chili with a grilled cheese sandwich and you have a piece of heaven on Earth, my friends. Also, John and I ate at a fabulous local restaurant on Friday night (Ramsey's Metro Meat Market) and bought some of their garlic and dill cheddar cheese curds. What better way to enjoy those cheese curds than with my homemade chili?! 
However, because I work long hours on weekdays, I couldn't find many slow cooker recipes that called for a 10+ hour cook time. (I was able to find a few decent recipes online, but none of them were to our tastes.) 

Here's where this beaut will save my life. 

For instance, tonight I assembled a deluxe potato casserole that I can start up when I leave for work and it will be ready when I arrive home. To make it a meal, all I have to do is heat up an easy side, like some frozen vegetables from my garden.

INGREDIENTS: 1 can of cream of mushroom OR cream of chicken soup; 2 pounds of peeled, chopped potatoes; 1/4 cup of cubed butter; 1/4 cup chopped onion (I used a few tablespoons of minced onion); 1 container of sour cream. 
Mix up all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and top with dry stuffing mix. However, since I don't like stuffing, I topped this with a generous handful of French's Fried Onions. 
I am hoping this cookbook saves my life. Well, that might be an exaggerated wish. At the very least, I hope this cookbook (and my slow cooker) will allow me to enjoy my weeknights a bit more. The way I figure it, I get about 4 to 5 hours at home before I go to bed, so any moment spent doing something relaxing and enjoyable is a moment well spent. 

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