I have somewhat of an obsession with slow cooker cookbooks. I haven’t always enjoyed slow cooker recipes all that much (there are a lot of duds out there), but in recent years– as times have gotten busier in my house– I’ve given my slow cooker more of a chance. It turns out that there are quite a few slow cooker recipes that are worth making, and it’s a lifesaver for busy families who aren’t home to make a healthy dinner. On my cookbook shelf: The Big Book of Slow Cooker, Casseroles and More from the Betty Crocker Kitchens. This book has a ton of photos, and it includes nutritional information and healthy/ timesaver tips for every recipe. The recipes call for cans of things here and there (chopped tomatoes, beans) and some frozen (pearl onions, some veggies), but the focus is on using fresh ingredients. All of the recipes are considered “quick prep.” **NOTE: only a portion of this cookbook is devoted to slow cooker recipes. There are also skillet and casserole recipes included.
There are several recipes featured on the cover. I chose to try the Spicy Chipotle- Orange Squash since I’ve never tried making vegetables in the slow cooker! Other recipes that look worthy of trying in this book are: Chicken Enchilada Chili, Creamy Beef, Mushroom and Noodle Soup, Parmesan Chicken, Shrimp Alfredo Primavera, Seven Layer Rigatoni, Roasted Vegetable Lasagna with Goat Cheese, Baked Vegetable Risotto, Caramelized Onion Pot Roast, Honey- BBQ Glazed Pork Roast, Smoky Apple Butter Ribs, Southwestern Quinoa, Twice Baked Potatoes, Dulce de Leche Banana Pie and Toffee- Apple Turnover Pie. Doesn’t that all sound great?! I really look forward to trying more recipes in this book. Please see my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe…
Spicy Chipotle- Orange Squash
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15min
Cook Time: 3 hour
1 small buttercup or acorn squash (2 to 2 1/2 lb)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (from a 7-ounce can), finely chopped
1. Cut squash in half crosswise; remove seeds and membranes. Pour water into 5 to 6-quart slow cooker. Place squash halves, cut sides up, in cooker. (If necessary, cut off pointed tip so squash stands upright).
2. In small bowl, mix remaining ingredients; pour into squash halves.
3. Cover; cook on HIGH heat setting for 3 to 4 hours. Cut squash in half to serve.
*You'll definitely need to cut off the pointy tip of the squash to make it stand upright in the slow cooker.
*I found that 1/4 cup of water didn't seem like it was enough- I used more like 1/3 cup.
*There's a tip included in the book that you can skip the butter in this recipe if you're looking to cut calories.
*I used fresh oranges (I think that makes a difference).
*DEFINITELY scrape the seeds out of your chiles and discard them.
*My cooking time was perfect at 3 hours.
*I cut each half of the squash into 3 pieces- I let them cool slightly and then used a serrated knife to cut carefully. Upon serving, I spooned the juices back into the squash pieces.Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1/4 of the squash
Calories per serving: 190
Fat per serving: 7g
Saturated Fat per serving: 4g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">230mg
Fiber per serving: 6g
Protein per serving: 2g
Cholesterol per serving: 15mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 29g
I’ll admit, I was skeptical of this recipe. But I was delightfully surprised with the outcome! One thing to note: this recipe definitely does NOT serve 4 people… unless you’re looking to serve just a teeny tiny side dish (which, I guess, would be an option). I put this in my slow cooker at 9am and ate the whole thing for lunch. I was nervous about the chipotle chiles since those can be really, really spicy sometimes. It was all perfect and delicious and not too spicy. Next time I make this I’ll cut the butter to 1/2 tablespoon and the sugar to 1 or 2 tablespoons.
Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?
Yes! I think it’s a great way to show people that vegetables can be prepared in the slow cooker too (especially intimidating vegetables like acorn squash), and it was absolutely delicious.