I’ve been getting so many requests on Facebook and Breaking Muscle for information on slow-cookers and paleo cookbooks that I decided to all the information here in one easy-to-reference post. If you’re new to cooking for yourself, but committed to a healthier way of living, please read my How to Plan and Cook a Week’s Worth of Healthy, Tasty Meals article. It outlines how to create a meal plan and grocery list each week, as well as strategies you can use to make preparing dinner less stressful. I promise you, a few years ago I couldn’t cook at all and now I make great meals almost every day of the week (And no, I don’t make bad meals once a week, I just take part of the weekends off from cooking!)
So here are my recommendations to get you going toward a healthier, simpler experience in your kitchen:
My favorite slow-cooker:
Cuisinart PSC-650 Stainless Steel 6-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
Things to look for in a good slow-cooker:
- You should be able to program the time and temperature independently of each other.
- The more heat settings the better, i.e. simmer, low, and high, versus just low and high.
- If you’re cooking for more than one person, go for the larger size.
- Make sure it has a “keep warm” function that keeps food, um, warm once it’s done actually cooking.
I personally have two slow cookers and use them both some days. We have an older Crock-Pot, which isn’t nearly as nice, but it still works great, so I use it for side dishes or desserts. So don’t let the fact you have one you’re not quite happy with stop you from upgrading to a new one. If you get into the swing of things, you’ll be putting them both to work. But first you’ll need some recipes.
These are the two paleo slow-cooker cookbooks I recommend:
Paleo Slow Cooking: Gluten Free Recipes Made Simple – This book is a little more straight forward than the second one listed. So if you’re really nervous about cooking and can only buy one book, go for this one. There are a number of staples I cook out of this book regularly, including: Chili with a Kick, Chipotle Chicken Stew, Boneless Pork Ribs, Old Fashioned Beef Stew, and Aunt Robin’s Roast. There are also non-slow-cooker side dish recipes that are wonderful. And there are easy slow-cooker dessert recipes. We love the Berry Crumble!
The Paleo Slow Cooker: Healthy, Gluten-free Meals the Easy Way – I love exotic-tasting foods and this fabulous cookbook is full of recipes that are not typical American fare. If that’s how your tastes run, then you will love this cookbook, too. Some examples of recipes I love include: Beef and Bok Choy, Fesenjan (Persian Chicken Stew), Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Sauce, and Jambalaya. There are also some fabulous appetizers, sides, and desserts, including the to-die-for Banana Coconut Foster.
And then there are those times you won’t be using your slow cooker. While I dearly love mine, I cook a few meals each week on the stove-top or in the oven. So here are the recipe collections I love for those times and why I love each book specifically.
My favorite paleo cookbooks:
Make it Paleo: Over 200 Grain Free Recipes For Any Occasion This cookbook has the BEST collection of dessert recipes of any paleo cookbook I’ve seen. Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, Carrot Cake, Lemon Poppysee Muffins, you name it.
Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat The recipes are spicy and the writing is sassy. Makes for a great combo and some lovely dinners. Make the Czech Meatballs, for sure! And the Cumin-Roasted Carrots and Cocoa-Toasted Cauliflower are also favorites of mine.
Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen And you thought Southern food couldn’t be paleo. The Turking Loafing (meatloaf) and Pot O’ Chicken Pie are just amazing. Oh, and the Sweet Potato Casserole, too!
Weeknight Paleo: 9 Weeks of Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Meals This might not be your daily cookbook, but when you have friends over for a nice dinner, this will totally be the cookbook you use. Elegant, tasteful dinners and side dishes, including many seafood recipes.
Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle If you’re trying to understand the philosophy of paleo the first half of this book is a must-read for you. It also has some of the best veggie/side-dish recipes of any of the cookbooks I’ve used.