Beth’s Slow Cooker Dishes For Families

Bruce Von Stiers

We all have a few favorite dishes that our families love. Some are easy to put together, while others take a while. There is a new cookbook that incorporates the use of a slow cooker while preparing some of these favorite dishes.

The cookbook is part of a series written by James Beard winning author Beth Hensperger. She has written Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook and several others. Now Beth has written Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Family Favorites. Like the other titles in the Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker series, this one was published by Harvard Common Press.

The book is soft-covered and has 262 pages. There are 125 recipes contained in 9 chapters.

After a brief introduction, Beth provides a chapter on the use of a slow cooker. Here she talks about the various slow cooker sizes and gives tips on their usage. The chapter has a table for adapting regular recipes for slow cookers and one for using a slow cooker in higher altitudes.

The first chapter with recipes is Hot Drinks and Dips. A hot fruit punch recipe has pineapple, lemonade and orange juice concentrates as main ingredients. And there is the standard hot cocoa with marshmallows recipe as well. And for the fondue lovers, Beth has includes a recipe featuring diced roasted green chilies, dry wine, Monterey and Swiss cheese ingredients.

Breakfast should be more than just a bowl of cold cereal. Beth has given us 11 great breakfast dishes in her breakfast food chapter. Four oatmeal recipes are there with one especially delicious dish mixing steel-cut oatmeal with both vanilla and maple extract. Yummy! A recipe for a tasty French toast casserole is also in this chapter.

Salads and sandwich makings are covered in the book. A couple of salad recipes have crock-poached chicken breasts, whose recipe Beth includes as a sidebar. A French Dip sandwich recipe calls for rump roast and 4 large green bell peppers. And for a slight Mexican flair, a flank steak tostada recipe that originated from cookbook author Lynn Alley is quite tasty.

Soup can be either a side dish or the main course in a meal. The chapter titled Soup; Beautiful Soup has a bunch of terrific soup recipes. The appropriately titled Not Your Mother’s Chicken Noodle Soup is full of interesting ingredients including ginger, celery, onion and a carrot. This is definitely not an ordinary chicken noodle soup. For a heartier soup, try out the Black Bean and Rice Soup with Salsa Cream. This one serves 6 and takes about 8 hours from start to serving time. In this chapter Beth does give you 3 rather quick soup recipes.

Pot roast, pork roast, ribs and meat loaf are covered too. I’m not a fan of mushrooms, but for those who are, the book has a couple of recipes with beef and mushrooms as main ingredients. A two-cheese meatloaf recipe features both mozzarella and Muenster cheese. This recipe calls for 3-day old sandwich bread as a binder instead of some kind of cracker. I really like sweet potatoes and pork roast. Beth has a recipe that combines both for a nice main course.

And what’s a good cookbook without some kind of fowl recipe? The book has several. Chicken legs with apricots and ginger recipe can be found next to one for Thai-style chicken thighs. Chicken wings fans might really enjoy the sweet tasting Maple Barbeque Chicken Wings recipe. For those needing more than just wings or thighs, Beth has a recipe for a whole chicken stuffed with raisins and rice.

Stews and chili recipes can be found in the book. There is a delicious sirloin steak stew along with a pork stew that has fresh ginger. I don’t eat lamb but there are a couple of nice recipes for lamb stew. Beth gives you a good chart to follow for the best way to choose cuts of meat for cooking in a slow cooker.

Not to be forgotten, the book has several side dish and vegetable main course recipes. An exceptional enchilada casserole recipe is there and one for stuffed bell peppers. A stuffing recipe with cornbread and challah bread might prove useful.

Spinach lovers will like the Deep-dish Spinach with ricotta and a creamed corn with Parmesan ricotta will prove tasty. I’ve liked chili-mac since childhood so the Turkey Chili Mac recipe was a nice find in the book. And Beth included a super easy to make rice and vegetable dish.

At the end of the book there is a handy-dandy two-paged measurement equivalent table.

This book may not have included all of the truly favorite slow cooker recipes for families but it indeed has enough to make any cook happy. From starters to full course dinners, the book has more slow cooker recipes than you might need in any given month.

Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Family Favorites can be found at selected online and traditional book stores. You can also get it from the Harvard Common Press web site. The site is


© 2009 Bruce E Von Stiers