Join the Revolution with New Fresh and Flavorful Slow-Cooker Recipes
Did you know that the slow cooker is actually an ally when it comes to healthy cooking because it essentially steam-cooks food without the need for much fat? But simply putting ingredients in a slow cooker and pushing the button isn’t going to pay off in flavor. That’s where the test kitchen comes in. Focusing on fish, lean cuts of meat, vegetarian dishes, and many kinds of hearty grains (and even low-fat desserts), we re-engineered our approaches to slow cooking to deliver vibrant, fresh flavor—with less fat and fewer calories.
This well-rounded collection of recipes spans soups and stews; roasts, steaks and chops; chicken and turkey; seafood; pasta; casseroles; vegetable mains and sides; recipes for two; rice, grains, and beans; and desserts. Every recipe includes nutritional information, while easy-prep recipes (those that don’t require any stovetop work and that you can prep in 15 minutes) and vegetarian recipes are called out for quick reference. Order the book today.
Here are just a few things we learned about healthy slow cooking.
Build Flavor from the Outset: When trying to create flavorful slow cooker
dishes that were healthier, we relied on lots of aromatics and potent spice rubs. To intensify their taste we sometimes bloomed them in oil in the microwave for ease. We also kicked up the flavor of our brothy braising liquids with a higher concentration of aromatics, wine, and even whiskey. Seasoning doesn’t just come from a bottle or a jar—browning a roast or other cuts of meat before adding them to the slow cooker is sometimes necessary and is a small step toward big flavor.
Embrace Flavor Accents: Vinaigrettes, creamy low-fat sauces, slaws, and relishes add flavor and bright appeal: A simple glaze of honey, lime, and cayenne pepper, for instance, brings Curried Chicken Thighs with Acorn Squash (pictured below) to the next level, while an herbed yogurt sauce adds easy freshness to Turkish-Style Eggplant Casserole.
Salt Matters: In the test kitchen, we know that seasoning with salt is an easy way to boost flavor, but for this book we aimed to keep sodium to a minimum. We tested our recipes to determine the smallest amount of salt needed to bring out flavor. And for those who watch their sodium intake, we’ve provided nutritional information for using low or no-salt added alternatives for store-bought broths, canned tomatoes, and canned beans. We’ve also provided recipes for homemade slow-cooker broths, which are very low in sodium.
Cook Fish Without Fear: Fish can easily dry out when cooked in the oven or on the stovetop, but the gentle heat and moist environment of a slow cooker makes cooking fish nearly foolproof. From fish stews and tacos (pictured below) to poached fish, timing is key. Visual cues and doneness temperatures help ensure success. Spice rubs and fragrant poaching liquids infuse these simple dishes with big flavor.
Slow Cooking Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Long Cooking: Leaner cuts and delicate vegetables don’t take as long in the slow cooker as hearty braises and stews, so you’ll find a variety of cooking times in this book—some recipes may take as little as 1 to 2 hours with many falling into the 4 to 6 hour range. Using the slow cooker this way gets you out of the kitchen so you can do something else.
Transform Beans and Grains into Vibrant-Flavored Warm Salads: We cooked beans, grains, and hearty vegetables in aromatic broths then dressed them and added delicate vegetables or tender greens to create the ultimate salads like Warm Southwestern Lentil and Bean Salad as well as Beet and Wheat Berry Salad with Arugula and Apples. No one will suspect these salads started in a slow cooker.
Get Your Greens Easily—and with More Flavor: If you want to eat more greens, an easy way is to use your slow cooker because they emerge deeply flavorful; the slow cooker mellows the assertive flavor of Swiss chard and other hearty greens, and you can add flavor to them as they cook. We microwave the stems with aromatics and a little oil, then add the leaves to the slow cooker (For Sweet-and-Sour Braised Swiss Chard we added fig preserves too, plus a little vinegar and butter for richness before serving.)
With this latest collection from America’s Test Kitchen, it will be easier than ever to ensure that your cooking is fresher and healthier. We leave nothing to chance and spell out time ranges, slow-cooker sizes and shapes, and more to ensure that your slow-cooker recipes work the first time and every time.
- Publication Date: January 2015
- 328 pages, paperback
- 200+ recipes, 71 full-page photos, four-color throughout
- $26.95 (list price)
- ISBN 978-1-936493-95-1
- ORDER BOOK