When I was at Costco a couple of weeks ago, I invested in a brand new cookbook that is something I've been looking for for quite some time: a decent slow cooker cookbook.
When I first began homeschooling, everyone on the homeschooling forums social network that I frequented swore by their crockpot. In theory, the idea is great, after all. Dump all the ingredients in the crockpot. Educate the Youth of America by reading fabulous books together, and all the while you are doing so, you and the kids are smelling the wonderful dinner that the crockpot is busy preparing for you. At the end of the work day, your fabulous meal is ready, and one day, your children will rise up and call you blessed for the stellar education you provided them, not to mention the delicious homecooked meals that came from your kitchen. SOUNDS like the homeschool Mom's dream come true, right?
It's a beautiful dream, no doubt about it, but in practice....not so much. The cookbook everyone seemed to own was entitled Fix It and Forget It. It was a book full of pretty pipe dreams, that rarely delivered. The recipes were collected from home cooks, and the vast majority contained a can of Campbell's Creamy Mushroom Soup, or some other processed goo that I didn't want to use. I realized, even then, that if you start out with processed crap, your end result will be: processed crap. I wanted more selections with FRESH ingredients and whole foods. There were a few recipes in that book that were written with fresh ingredients, but by the end of the day, after boiling/simmering all day long, the ingredients were tired and limp. They'd literally had the life cooked out of them. And all the flavor went with it.
What to do? What to do?
I checked out a bunch of slow cooker books from the library, and found a couple that I sort of liked, but nothing really rang my bell in terms of recognizing an invaluable resource. I tried some Slow Cooker recipes from Cook's Illustrated that I fell in love with, (their Beef Burgundy, for one) but it was more of a luck-related thing: I occasionally would stumble upon one, but there was no collection of them.
So head on over to the Fun Girls today, and you can get my adaptation of their recipe for Slow Cooker Texas Chili. It's pretty great chili, if I do say so myself.