Is it ever 3 o’clock, and you have no idea what to make for dinner, and you wish like heck that you would have put something in the slow cooker earlier in the day? Happens to me All. The. Time. Especially now that school has started. Where does the day go? Yes, I’m a food blogger, but I’m human; I don’t always have dinner planned. (We’re friends, I can tell you these things.) And because we’re close, I’m really excited to let you in on this amazing new resource for those mid-afternoon “I don’t have anything planned for dinner” panic attacks: the Slow Cooker Revolution Cookbook Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition from America’s Test Kitchen.
You know America’s Test Kitchen, right? These folks work tirelessly to test and retest recipes until they have the best version possible for home cooks. I love having someone else do all the trial and error for me. So of course their latest cookbook intrigued me because 1) making food in my slow cooker is so convenient on busy days, and 2) the title says “Easy-Prep”. What’s not to love?!
But before I publicly declared my love for this cookbook, I had to give it a road test. So I made this Penne with Chicken, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Spinach in my slow cooker last week, and it was da bomb! I popped it in my slow cooker at 3:00, did my taxi service to and from soccer, and – bam – dinner was done when we pulled in. No more kids raiding the fridge for snacks while I hustle to get dinner on the table. I was skeptical of placing pasta in a slow cooker, but it was cooked perfectly thanks to a microwave blistering technique that you do with the dry pasta before you put it in the slow cooker. My kids love any form of pasta, but couple it with tender chicken pieces and rich alfredo sauce, and even the spinach was eagerly devoured.
The Slow Cooker Revolution Cookbook Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition is filled with recipes that are quick, usually less than 10 ingredients and tasty to boot. I use my slow cooker year round, but it is especially put to a ton of use during the school year. Nothing makes dinner time more pleasant around my house than when we walk in the door from a busy day, and dinner is ready to go. Ready for your own copy? You’re in luck! America’s Test Kitchen is giving away one copy of Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition to one of our lucky readers. Simply enter below. Not the lucky winner? No problem. You can still get your own copy at Amazon.
So tell us below: Is it a slow cooker or a crock pot? And what’s your favorite thing to make in yours?
Penne with Chicken, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach (And a Giveaway)
Line Slow Cooker with aluminum foil collar. To make a collar fold a sheet of aluminum foil in thirds the long way and line all the way around the sides of the slow cooker. This prevents hot spots and items cook evenly. Spray sides and bottom of slow cooker with cooking spray.
Place the chicken broth in a microwave safe bowl and heat until steaming (about 2 min). Set aside. Place Penne and Olive OIl in a microwave safe bowl and heat at 50% power for 3 minutes or until penne is blistered looking.
Transfer the hot pasta to the slow cooker and pour the chicken broth over it, pasta will sizzle.
Add ½ cup Alfredo sauce, tomatoes, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Season chicken tenderloins with salt and pepper and add to pasta, stirring gently to combine. Cover slow cooker and cook on high until pasta is tender. Time will vary with your slow cooker-mine was done in 1 hour 45 min.
Remove the foil collar and discard. Stir in remaining Alfredo sauce. Add hot water if necessary to get sauce to desired consistency. Add spinach and stir; let sit until spinach is wilted, about 5 min. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve immediately.
A cookbook was provided to us to sample from America’s Test Kitchen, all opinions are my own.