Recipes from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook

A review and recipes from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comEvery slow cooker  cookbook I own has variations on the same recipe, but no new ideas. I was getting tired of making the same old slow cooker variations on chili and roasts. Then I came across Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook [affiliate link] by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann.

First, I was sold on it because it has a venison recipe. (My husband, Paul, hunts, and we have a freezer full of Wisconsin whitetail.) Now most of the time I treat venison like very lean beef and haven't had problems with a gamy taste. Well, most of the time, anyway! Even so, a slow cooker venison recipe was rare.

Then my curiosity was piqued when I saw Beef in Guinness and Japanese Curry Rice. I thought, “How unique. How different. How not-another-boring-recipe-for-chili!”

Join me while I make four recipes from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook and review this fabulous cookbook!

Sloppy Joes

The first slow cooker recipe I made was for Sloppy Joes, a slow cooker classic but much more sophisticated take on it. The results were terrific. I liked the recipe because it was full of veggies, like diced red pepper and celery. It also gave the option of adding more vinegar or sugar depending on your personal tastes. Amazingly, my kids LOVED this. Lucie liked hers with spaghetti squash. And Nathan liked his on the traditional hamburger bun. This could also be served on mashed potatoes.

(Serves 4 to 6)


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 large bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large rib celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon cider vinegar, or more if needed
  • 2 tablespoon firmly packed light or dark brown sugar, or more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • hamburger buns or other soft sandwich rolls for serving


  1. In a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the beef with the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic, stirring to break up the meat.
  2. When the meat is cooked through, transfer the meat and vegetables to the slow cooker.
  3. Add the remaining Sloppy Joe ingredients and stir to combine well.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 7 hours.
  5. Taste and add more vinegar or sugar, if desired.
  6. Serve the meat mixture spooned on to the buns.

Braised Beef in Espresso

The second dish I tried was the Braised Beef in Espresso. Yes, a slow cooker roast made with coffee! Don't worry, it really doesn't taste like a tall latte. Instead, the coffee super-tenderizes the meat and gives it a bit of a smoky flavor. Unfortunately, the dish was rather bland because the turnips, carrots and potatoes didn't add much flavor. Also since the cookbook recommends seasoning with salt and pepper after cooking, it needed a healthy dose of garlic salt to make it just right.

(Serves 6)

Cooker: Medium or large round or oval

Setting and Cook Time: LOW for 7 to 8 hours


  • 3 pounds beef site meat trimmed of fat, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks, and blotted dry
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium-size onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, cut diagonally into 2-inch chunks
  • 4 new red or white potatoes, diced
  • 6 small turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine


  1. In a zippered-top plastic bag or a bowl, toss the beef with the flour, salt, and pepper, shaking off the excess.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil until very hot.
  3. Add half the beef and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  5. Repeat with the remaining oil and beef.
  6. Add the onions to the skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer to the cooker and add the carrots, potatoes, and turnips.
  8. Add the coffee and thyme to the cooker.
  9. Pour the wine into the skillet and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the pan.
  10. Pour into the cooker and stir.
  11. Cover and cook on LOW until the meat is tender, 7 to 8 hours.
  12. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve.

Honey and Apple Bread Pudding with Golden Raisins

This was the next slow cooker dish I cooked up. I was intrigued since it was a bread pudding without eggs as my daughter was allergic to eggs at the time. This one wasn't so successful with my family, however, as they thought it was weird. I liked it even though it tasted and looked like turkey stuffing. I think it was the lemon juice and zest. There was just too much of it. Orange juice and zest and possibly more honey would have worked better.

(Serves 4 to 6)

Cooker: Medium round
Setting and Cook Time: LOW for 5 to 6 hours


  • 8 slices of your favorite bread
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted margarine, softened
  • 3 cooking apples, such as Golden Delicious or Gala, peeled, cored, quartered, and sliced
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 1/4 cups unfiltered apple juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup honey, to your taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg Ice cream, whipped cream, or nondairy whipped topping for serving


  1. Coat the slow cooker with butter-flavor nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Preheat the broiler. Butter the bread on both sides and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place under the broiler and lightly toast both sides; cut the warm toast into chunks.
  3. Put the bread in the cooker, then add the apples and raisins.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the apple juice, honey, lemon juice and zest, and spices.
  5. Pour into the cooker and stir to moisten the bread evenly. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours. If possible, gently stir halfway through the cooking process. Pierce the apples with the tip of a knife to make sure they are soft.
  6. Turn off the cooker and let stand, covered, for about 15 minutes.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream, whipped cream, or nondairy whipped topping, if desired.

Beef In Guinness

I made this with Murphy's Irish Stout and not Guinness since Murphy's was on $2 cheaper than Guinness, and the liquor store was donating $1 of the sale towards cancer research. Since there are more vegetables in this than in the Braised Beef in Espresso, this was a much tastier dish. The only drawback on recipe preparation was that you must brown the meat and sauté the vegetables before cooking it in the crock pot. Many cooks feel browning gives the dish a wonderful flavor, but it does add an extra step and another dish to wash, too! If that’s a deal breaker, you may want to look into investing in a West Bend Slow Cooker [affiliate link]  which you can use both on the stove top and as a slow cooker!

(Serves 6)

Cooker: Medium or large round or oval – this is a huge amount of food and it just barely fit in my 6-quart slow cooker. So beware!
Setting and Cook Time: LOW for 8 to 9 hours


  • One 2 1/2 pound chuck roast, trimmed of fat, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks and blotted dry
  • 3 to 4 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 medium-sized yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • One 14.9 ounce can or bottle of Guinness stout or any good stout
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 3 medium-size turnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium-size (1 pound) eggplant, peeled or not, diced
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • zest of 1/2 of a large orange, cut into strips
  • 1 bouquet garni: 3 or 4 springs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme, 1/2 bay leaf, one 2-inch piece of celery, tied together in a cheesecloth square


  1. In a zippered-top plastic bag or bowl, toss the meat, in batches, with the flour, salt and pepper, shaking off the excess.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil until very hot.
  3. Add half the meat and cook until browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes total.
  4. Transfer to crock.
  5. Repeat with the remaining oil and meat.
  6. Transfer to slow cooker.
  7. Add the onions to the skillet and cook, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the pan, until softened slightly, about 3 minutes.
  8. Transfer to the cooker.
  9. Pour in the beer and in layers add the carrots, turnips, eggplant, mushrooms, and garlic on top of the meat.
  10. Nestle the orange zest and bouquet garni into the center of the meat and vegetables.
  11. Cover and cook on LOW until the meat is tender enough to cut with a fork, 8 to 9 hours.
  12. Remove the bouquet garni, then taste for salt and pepper, and serve.

I look forward to making more dishes from  Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook soon!

8 thoughts on “Recipes from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook

  1. Tanya Dennis

    I have this cookbook, but am disappointed. It has no pictures! I want to know what my food should look like before I make it. :)Also, I’ve only found two recipes my family really likes: the Corned Beef and Cabbage (SOOO good!!) and the Pork with Apples. Maybe I’m trying all the wrong recipes? I’ll have to go back and find some more. Thanks for the suggestions!!

  2. Lara

    I tried the Sloppy Joe recipe on my first foray into the book. I wound up with Carbonized Joes instead. I have soaked my slow cooker insert for almost 6 days and there is still burnt meat to pry from the surface. Maybe my “low” is not low enough. I’m glad that the recipe worked for other people.

  3. ns

    One of the complaints I’ve read about this book is that most recipes require doing something mid cooking, perhaps more than once so you can’t use it on a workday when you’d put it on in the morning and be gone all day.

    Also, what’s the problem with cooking a whole chicken? I’ve not heard that one.


  4. Cathy

    Thanks for sharing the recipes. I tried the Sloppy Joe recipe, and you’re right, the veggies made it very moist and delicious, and we both enjoyed it a lot. Thanks! Cathy

  5. Laura

    Thank you for your comments about whole chickens, I have since tried it and they have been delicious! I have a question about using chuck beef – has anyone used a more leaner cut of meat and gotten good results. Chuck seems so fatty to me.

  6. Linda McDermott

    Hi Laura,

    I noticed your question about whole chickens. I have also read warnings and wondered, but I have cooked many, many whole chickens and never had a problem. You can buy one which is prebasted and just throw it in there (first remove wrapper and giblets, of course!). You can rub it with some seasonings and insert chopped onion and celery into the cavity but it will be just as good with absolutely no fuss. Just do it in the morning before work, and leave it on all day, then come home to a wonderful meal.

  7. Laura

    I just purchased this cookbook, but haven’t tried anything yet. I’m concerned because many of the recipes are for cooking whole chickens. I have read numerous warnings about the safety of cooking whole chickens in slow cookers. Any comments?

  8. montereyham

    I just gave this cookbook to my daughter, who first told me that slow-cooker “Low” = 200 degrees and slow-cooker “High” = 300 degrees. With that knowledge, I often use my Dutch oven for slow-cooker recipes: I brown meat and veg as needed on the stove-top, and then move it into the oven pre-heated to “Low” or “High” and cook it slow-cooker style. This gives me lots more capacity than my (relatively small) slow cooker. An example of one of my recipes is oxtail stew, which I often make with short-ribs and oxtails, half and half.


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