For awhile there, the only Craftsy classes I had time to do were the cooking ones. After all, a girl's gotta eat even in the midst of writing papers! That being said, this is another class I finished awhile back while snow was still on the ground.
Let me clarify, since we had snow on the ground well into April. I finished Slow-Cooker Savvy: Make Your Best Meals with Michele Scicolone in early February. Just the [normal] season for slow-cookers. Nothing like smelling your dinner cooking all day long when the snow is falling outside your window. (Although by mid-April even the smell of dinner couldn't make me feel any better about that snow. But I digress.)
This was a good class, and I tried several of the recipes out of it. I do have to give you fair warning, though: These are not your typical "dump it in, turn up the dial, walk away" recipes. Some of them take a fair amount of work either before the slow-cooker does its job or after. The Beef and Beer Stew, for example, took me about half an hour to get everything ready just to go in the slow-cooker. (That also didn't turn out to be my favorite recipe, but you may enjoy it.)
I made her White Beans with Sage recipe, although I didn't have any sage so I did thyme and rosemary instead. I used them as a side dish with some other ingredients here and there over a period of days. I intend to use the techniques again with a variety of other beans as I like the idea of having beans on hand to use in other ways.
The Peking Chicken recipe was quite good. My husband even liked it, which is saying something since he approaches any slow-cooked meal with suspicion, plus I used the chicken thighs the recipe called for and he is not a fan of dark meat. This recipe is definitely a keeper. (That being said, I may do chicken breasts next time to cut him some slack.)
For me, the Beef and Beer Stew recipe, maybe not so much of a keeper. I've got other stew recipes I like better. Still, there are several other recipes in this class that I'm looking forward to trying, now that I have time to cook again. (Even the "dump and cook" recipes take too long when I'm on the road more than I'm home!) For example, there's a pulled pork recipe that's intriguing--I want to try it out to see if it beats my others. Hmmm. Maybe this weekend--more time for sewing if the slow-cooker is working for me!
Michele Scicolone is a polished instructor and has written twenty cookbooks--if you dig this class, you can pick up some of her cookbooks and have all sorts of slow-cooked recipes in your repertoire.
The first lesson talks about the varieties of slow-cookers on the market, and gives pros and cons to several of them. I already own three slow-cookers of varying sizes and after watching this lesson, I've started thinking about getting a fourth for some of the very handy features I don't have on any of the others. She also shares some cautions about using older slow-cookers, such as ones you might find at a garage sale. Michele goes through safety concerns and caring for your slow-cooker, as well as how to calibrate the temperature settings.
The rest of the classes walk through different types of meats, side dishes, and "fast slow-cooking" (frittata and creme caramel). In each, she not only talks about the one recipe used to show the technique but also shares substitutions and basic information about considerations you need to keep in mind for cooking that particular type of food using this method.
I don't tend to use my slow-cooker as much in the summer, for some reason, but I think this class may make me adjust my usual habits. After all, there are some great summer salads using beans, and a frittata would be a nice brunch dish. Something to consider, anyway!
- 7 lessons ranging from 16 to 30 minutes
- Lesson 1 is an introduction and includes lots of fantastic information about slow-cookers
- Lesson 2 is cooking a whole chicken (which includes good information about how volume affects cooking)
- Lessons 3-5 are various types of meet: chicken pieces, beef, lamb, and pork
- Lesson 6 is side dishes--mashed potatoes, beans, and polenta
- Lesson 7 is "fast slow-cooking," including an egg dish (frittata) and a creme caramel.
- The class materials include a brief list of some of the slow-cookers she talks about in the class, as well as 12 recipes.
I did find Slow-Cooker Savvy: Make Your Best Meals with Michele Scicolone very helpful. Recommended!
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