That's thanks to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Slow Cooking by Beverly Lynn Bennett. There are few things easier than throwing some veggies and beans and stuff in a Crock Pot, turning the heat to low, and heading off for a long day's work. But the Complete Idiot's Guide series has now made it even easier.
The first chapter covers "Slow Cooking 101." Stuff like slow cooker shapes and sizes, food cooker safety, and why slow cookers are ideal for people looking to cook with less fat. There are even tips for converting standard recipes to slow cooker recipes and how to bake in a slow cooker.
But unlike some of the Idiot's Guide cookbooks, which can tend to be more words than recipes, this book is chock full of recipes. There are chapters on dips and appetizers (hot artichoke dip with buttery breadcrumbs anyone?), soups, stews, veggies sides and casseroles (the wine-braised cabbage is calling my name), bean dishes, and loads of desserts (there are separate chapters for fruity desserts, puddings, and cakes). I mean, how can you not love a cookbook with entire chapter on pudding?! The Sticky Date Toffee Pudding sounds so good!!
But I decided to make something savory for dinner. Now, mind you, this was last week. I've been busy all week with no time for cooking, and I'm a little behind on posting. But anyway, I found this recipe for Southwestern Posole with Cornmeal Dumplings:
The recipe header says it's a traditional dish eaten on Christmas Eve by some Mexican, Native American, and Southwestern cultures. So I made this to enjoy on the Winter Solstice.
It's a bean and veggie stew filled with all kinds of goodness. There's pinto beans, onions, bell peppers, hominy, squash, zucchini, jalapenos, and herbs and spices (chipotle chili powder!). The cornmeal dumplings are basically just cornbread. The batter is added to the top of the stew after about six hours of cooking time. So delicious!! I especially loved the hominy in this recipe. Hominy may be one of my favorite veggies. I can't believe I hated it when I was a kid!
Anyway, if you're looking for some simple slow-cooker recipes to make your life easier this winter, check out this book.