If you’re like me, and cooking doesn’t exactly come naturally to you — even with the help of a super easy-to-use slow-cooker and cookbook —you’re likely well aware that following recipes’ step-by-step instructions and taking OCD-level precaution to measure out ingredients correctly is absolutely essential in the pursuit of not destroying dinner. I certainly wish that I was one of those culinary creatives that magically seem to be able to just “wing it” in the kitchen, infusing dishes with their own signature twist and tweaking ingredients to cater to certain dietary restrictions. Unfortunately, however, I am simply not gifted enough to risk the end result with experimentation. Fortunately, slow-cookers tend to be pretty user-friendly –even if you’re not exactly an expert chef. They’re also practically a life-saver for busy professionals and moms (at least for those with a more advanced skill set in the kitchen) because you can toss in the ingredients, run out the door and come home to a home-cooked meal.
Like most things in modern-day, it’s super easy to find recipes on your phone, whether you have an app, follow along on foodie Instagram accounts, or scour YouTube for follow-along tutorials, or add favorites to your Pinterest boards for later reference. However, unless you’re watching on a smart TV, cooking, and baking while trying to keep up with the instructions from a tiny screen isn’t an easy task, making the appeal of a simple, good old-fashioned cookbook seem more like a sensible solution rather than an outdated approach. Not only do you run the risk of your lock screen popping up every five minutes, but it’s also just messy. No one wants to accidentally slather sauce and other slimy ingredients over their phone screen and luxe phone case. Yuck.
So, whether you’re a newbie to the world of slow-cooking (or cooking, in general) or are well-versed, but bored of your current rotation of recipes you found online, these comprehensive cookbooks will help you re-invent your cooking routine.
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1. Taste of Home Slow Cooker Cookbook
This updated edition is chock full of a wide range of different types of meals that require little to no prep or planning. The chapters are organized by type of food, including meat and poultry, soups and chills, desserts and snacks and “Lighten up,” a new section with healthier recipes for those with dietary restrictions. If you’re looking for a book that has recipes for everyone, this is a solid choice.
2. Skinnytaste Fast & Slow Cookbook
For those looking for healthier meal options to make in a slow-cooker, this comprehensive book offers plenty of unique meal ideas, including diet-friendly desserts. Not only has it received rave reviews from customers, but it’s also a New York Times best seller as well.
3. Fix-it And Forget-It Big Cookbook
This giant cookbook literally covers all the bases — you’ll never get bored with a lack of new recipes to test out thanks to the selection of 1400 different options to try. Plus, according to the descriptions, it’s also “absolutely manageable for those who lack confidence in the kitchen.” Even for advanced cooks, this expansive book won’t let you down, thanks to the endless dinner ideas to add to your portfolio of specialties.
4. The Complete Slow Cooker
There are a whopping 400 recipes in this cookbook, ranging from savory apps to sweet treats and containing everything in between. Don’t fret if you’re not an expert chef though, the recipes inside can be prepared by beginners, too. Plus, all of these recipes are tested, so you know going in that they work.