Book Review: Slow Cooker Dump Dinners

Slow Cooker Dump Dinners:  5-Ingredient Recipes For Meals That (Practically) Cook Themselves, by Jennifer Palmer

By and large, I am a fan of food that does not involve a lot of fuss on my part.  Growing up as a kid, I got used to eating a lot of crock-pot dinners, some of which I remain fond of (like pot roast with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots), and some of which I was never that fond of (like chicken cacciatore).  So, I am generally on the lookout for books that involve fairly simple and straightforward cooking to add to my own repertoire of items that I can make if I have to or want to [1].  Although this book is by no means a perfect one, as I will comment more at length about anon, there is a lot about this book to appreciate, most of all its goal to provide simple dishes that people can throw in a slow cooker and then cook during the course of work.  This is a cookbook made for busy people for whom cooking is not necessarily an act of artistic creativity but rather a necessary task that has to get done in the midst of a crowded and hectic life.

This particular book is a short one at just over 100 pages and a great deal of the book consists of beautiful photographs of the recipes in question, presumably from the author’s own cooking efforts.  The author discusses various dishes in five chapters after a short introduction, and begins with the most important chapter:  chicken (1), which contains the most dishes, including some very tasty ones that either are or should be a regular part of my own menu:  chicken thighs with potatoes and carrots, chicken noodle soup, Italian parmesan chicken, chicken curry, sweet potato and kale chicken stew, chicken and cashew medley, chicken tikka masala, slow cooker pot pie, and chicken-apple sausage with sweet potatoes, among others.  After that the author talks about pork dishes (2), which may be of interest for some readers, though not for me personally.  After that the author gives some tasty beef dishes (3) that include broccoli beef, beef brisket, corned beef and cabbage, easy beef stroganoff, hearty shepherd’s pie, and family-style post roast.  After that there is a short chapter on fish and seafood, including some poached salmon fillets (4) and a closing chapter with various vegetarian dishes (5), including black bean and corn enchiladas and a green lentil curry, after which there are acknowledgements and an index.

Although this is in general good book, it is not a perfect one.  In particular, I find that too many of these dishes include onions, an ingredient I am not very fond of.  To be sure, the onion can be removed (making the dishes even simpler, as they do really only include five key ingredients along with seasoning to taste) or replaced by something else, but it is really irritating to see onions appear over and over again in these dishes.  Other than that, these dishes in general are pretty solid.  To be sure, not all of these dishes will be to everyone’s taste–the dominance of beef and especially chicken was definitely of interest to me–but at least the author makes an effort at appealing to a wide variety of appetites with dishes that range from hearty and traditional food for Americans and Europeans to more exotic fare from Asia.  I would add options to this–like a peanut soup or more vegetarian options, but as a simple and straightforward cookbook for hurried people looking for decent meals this slim volume definitely has a lot to offer.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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