For most of us on a Paleo diet, meals have to be cooked from scratch even when we’re short on time or energy. I’ve learned to keep a lot of leftovers on hand for just such occasions, but Paleo Slow Cooker by John Chatham presents an appetizing alternative. Slow cooker recipes can be quickly prepared at any time of day and left to cook while you sleep, go to work, or take the kids to their extracurricular activities. When you wake up or get home, your food is ready to eat! How nice does that sound?
Paleo Slow Cooker offers 100 pages of simple, mostly budget-friendly recipes with a large yield for plenty of leftovers. The instructions are clear and each recipe comes with a short paragraph detailing things like when to serve it or how to refrigerate leftovers. That soups, pot roasts, and pulled pork are included probably won’t surprise you. But there are also recipes for condiments, breads, frittatas, and granola bars. Did you know you can make a cake in a slow cooker? It’s just like using a dutch oven! The book doesn’t contain any photographs (which is usually a sticking point with me), but that didn’t keep me from wanting to try almost every single one of the recipes. I guess it helps that I’m a sucker for anything that is quick and easy to prepare!
I wound up making a meal out of the Southwestern Beef Brisket, Stuffed Acorn Squash, and Maple-Baked Apples. I adapted each of them for the AIP with a few easy substitutions, and it looks like most of the recipes in the book could easily be made AIP-friendly (the baked goods being an exception). Each recipe was easy to make, just as promised, and they were all fabulous. The fork-tender, juicy beef and acorn squash stuffed full of mushrooms, spinach, and seasonings made for a great meal. I sprinkled some of the extra dried cherries from dessert on the squash, which I heartily recommend. You could also easily add meat instead of or in addition to the mushrooms if you wanted to make it a one-dish meal instead of a side. Dessert — apples, cherries, and walnuts baked in maple syrup — was perfect for entertaining, because it took only a few minutes to prepare and cooked while dinner was served. It was ready in two hours and gone in less than five minutes.
Paleo Slow Cooker is a cookbook, not a guidebook for someone looking for an in-depth explanation of the Paleo diet. John’s summary of the diet is only a few pages long and is placed at the end of the book. He briefly discusses the reasons grains and legumes are eliminated, then highlights some of the potential health benefits of the Paleo diet. Because it’s almost an afterthought, I think the book would appeal to anyone on any diet looking to prepare more meals at home. John dives right into the recipes, not the reasons to become Paleo. He spends a little more time on tips and tricks for purchasing, using, and caring for a slow cooker. For example, it’s important to saute some ingredients for certain recipes on the stove before adding them to the slow cooker (even though this seems like a tedious extra step). If you don’t cook the fat off your meat before adding it to soup or the water out of your mushrooms before adding them to a veggie dish, the recipe will have a significantly different consistency.
If you are looking for recipes that can be quickly thrown together on a busy or low-energy day, you won’t regret picking up Paleo Slow Cooker (especially since it’s less than $10). The wide selection of recipes will certainly help you get the most out of your appliance!