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I own quite a few cookbooks and some of my favorites are those by Phyllis Good. She is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Fix-It and Forget-It series. When I first discovered slow cooker meals, I used those Fix-It and Forget-It books all the time. Some of my favorite recipes came from them.
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Phyllis Good’s newest cookbook, Stock The Crock.
As soon as the book arrived, I sat right down to read it. Yes, I am one of those people. I love reading through cookbooks and putting little post its on all the recipes I want to try.
I noticed right away that this book was full of recipes that used easy to find ingredient. Most of them are items that I buy on a regular basis. With 100 recipes, there was not anything in this book I didn’t want to try. I have been looking for a good Shrimp and Grits recipe because I am currently obsessed with it. There is one in here which has a few pieces of crispy crunchy bacon in it. I also have my eye on the recipe for Dry-Rub, Mustard-Glazed Ham. I love to use dry rubs on ribs, chicken and pork tenderloins but I never thought to try it on a ham. I like that a lot of the recipes have easy tips on how to make them vegetarian. My youngest daughter doesn’t eat meat so I can easily make vegetarian friendly meals for us all without looking in a different cookbook. I have not made any desserts yet in my slow cooker but the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with Sauce is calling out my name!
Lasagna In A Soup Bowl Recipe
Excerpted from Stock the Crock by Phyllis Good. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.
- 1 pound bulk sweet or hot Italian sausage or any link sausage, squeezed out of its casing
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup sliced or diced carrots
- 4 cups chicken broth (make your own, page 256)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, chopped
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 to 1 1⁄4 cups uncooked mafalda pasta
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- 2 cups thinly sliced ribbons of fresh spinach
- 1 1⁄2 cups diced provolone or mozzarella cheese
- 1⁄4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- fresh topper: 1⁄4 cup torn fresh basil
- 1. Grease the interior of the slow cooker crock with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
- 2. If you have time, cook the sausage in a skillet over medium, breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon. Stir in the onions after the sausage is no longer pink. Sauté the onions until soft. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat and onions to the prepared crock. Discard the drippings. Note: If you don’t have time, you can crumble the uncooked sausage straight into the crock. Stir in the onions, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.
- 3. Add the carrots, chicken broth, chopped stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce, stirring to combine.
- 4. Cover. Cook on Low 4 to 5 hours.
- 5. Stir in the uncooked pasta and garlic.
- 6. Cover and continue cooking on Low 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours or until the pasta is tender but not mushy.
- 7. Stir in the mushrooms. Cover. Cook another 10 minutes on Low.
- 8. Just before serving, stir in the sliced spinach. (No need to cook the spinach; the heat from the soup will wilt it.)
- 9. To serve, divide the diced provolone or mozzarella cheese evenly into bowls and ladle the soup over the top.
- 10. Top with the Parmesan cheese and torn fresh basil.
For spinach ribbons, stack fresh spinach leaves about 1 inch high. Roll them up and slice into 1⁄8- to 1⁄4-inch-wide ribbons.
Simple Swaps Use fusilli or rotini instead of mafalda pasta. Use 1 to 2 (8-ounce) cans of mushrooms with liquid instead of fresh mushrooms.
Make It Gluten-free Substitute broken soba or rice noodles, or brown rice pasta for the mafalda pasta. Stir it in with the mushrooms in Step 7 and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until the pasta is tender. You can also substitute shirataki noodles, adding them 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Make It for Picky Eaters Use sweet, not hot, Italian sausage, or substitute plain turkey or pork sausage, or ground beef. Omit or reduce the amount of onions and garlic. Add 1 cup additional carrots. Switch to plain stewed tomatoes.
A few tips for slow-cooker success from Phyllis Good, author of Stock the Crock
- A slow cooker does its best work when it’s 2/3 full. Less than that and it may dry out, especially around the edges and the bottom.
- Pack it full, and the longer it will take to cook, especially in the middle, where the food is furthest from the heat source. Jamming the cooker tight and full risks the food being overcooked toward the outside and undercooked near the center.
- The larger the pieces of meat and dense vegetables, the longer it will take them to cook. Read the recipe’s suggestion about whether to “dice fine” or “cube” those ingredients. The recipe’s recommended cooking time is partly based on the size of the chunks or thin slices it calls for.
- You can add more delicate and fragile ingredients later, if they’re toppings—or if the dish allows for mixing the ingredients together as it nears the end of the cooking time. Put fresh herbs in 5 minutes before the dish is finished. Or stir in peas 10 minutes before the end. By doing this you’ll have a fresher tasting dish—and you won’t be restricted by using only those ingredients that can hold up with hours of cooking.
- Pay attention, too, to the size of the slow cooker the recipe recommends. Brownies work best when made in a large oval slow cooker with more floor area than a round, tall cooker has. So when the recipe calls for a 6- or 7-quart oval cooker, that’s the reason. Yes, the brownie batter will fit in a round 5-quart cooker, but it won’t cook well if the batter is too deep and dense. (Expect the brownies against the wall to be crumbly and dry, while those in the middle will be limp and soggy.)
I really like that Phyllis encourages to write in the Stock the Crock cookbook. All slow cookers are not the sames and if you may notice that you have to let a certain dish cook a little longer. Or maybe you swapped some ingredients out. Make a note in the book for the next time you make that recipe.
What sets Stock the Crock apart from other cookbooks for me is all the extras. The variations have already been figured out for you. You don’t have to spend extra time trying to figure out how to make a dish gluten-free or Paleo-friendly. There are also easy tips to prepare a recipe for the picky eaters in your house.
There are also a few recipes that don’t require a slow cooker but can come in handy. They include:
- Homemade Chicken Bone Broth
- Gluten Free Noodles
- Quick and Easy Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Homemade Honey Barbecue Sauce
- Cooking Dried Beans
- Tomato Paste
- Homemade Taco Seasoning
I will am definitely trying the cream of mushroom soup recipe. I am always running out of it. Plus it has to be cheaper to make myself.
Stock the Crock can be found at Amazon for only $15.24 . Pair it with a slow cooker and you have a gift that will get lots of use.