The Magical Slow Cooker Review

The Magical Slow Cooker
Until recently my slow cooker used to sit on the side, occasionally being used for my Blanquette de Veau or maybe my Chinese Style Beef, but it wasn’t an appliance I used regularly or really considered an important part of my kitchen. Then Sarah Olson very kindly sent me a review copy of her new book The Magical Slow Cooker.

Sarah’s book has completely transformed how I use my slow cooker, turning it into an appliance I look forward to using and making busy days so much easier!

The Magical Slow Cooker is a wonderful book, chock full of recipes, photographs and valuable hints to help you get the best out of your slow cooker. For example did you know that you really shouldn’t open your slow cooker while it is cooking? I was forever lifting the lid, peeking and stirring. Sarah explains that you really shouldn’t need to stir unless the recipe specifically tells you too – and encourages you to keep the slow cooker lid firmly shut!  The results speak for themselves.

Poor Mans Steak Diane

From breakfast and brunch to appetizers, main dishes, sides and desserts, Sarah has all your recipe needs covered in this well written, beautifully photographed book. During the review process I tried a number of Sarah’s recipes and they all turned out well. Family favourites included the Chicken and Gravy on page 142, Marinara Primavera (page 181) and the recipe Sarah is very kindly allowing me to share with you today, Poor Man’s Steak Diane (page 134).

Sarah Olson The Magical Slow Cooker
Before I share the recipe, I want to introduce you to author Sarah Olson, who started her blog, The Magical Slow Cooker, back in 2013. Sarah lives with her husband and daughter and works full time as a rural mail carrier for the United States Postal Service. The Magical Slow Cooker is her first cookbook.  (My questions are in ordinary typeface, Sarah’s replies are in italics.)

With a busy life, a full time job and a five year old running around, how did you find time to write a book?

I pretty much made a meal everyday, most of the meals cook for 8 hours, which is perfect for my work days. There was a lot of late night shopping and chopping.

You mention in the book that you don’t put uncooked pasta in the slow cooker because it turns to mush (I totally agree with this by the way!). Is there any other ingredient / recipe that you wouldn’t consider cooking in a slow cooker?

I don’t make rice in the slow cooker either. It turns out gummy. But I have had luck with wild rice, which I add to soups.

There’s such a wonderful selection of recipes in the book, I’m finding it hard to choose a favourite! Which recipe from the book is your favourite?

My favorite recipe would be the Pork Carnitas. This meal tastes like a restaurant meal, without the high cost.

I’m so happy that Sarah joined us virtually today and especially to have discovered just how magical my slow cooker can be.

Poor Mans Steak Diane The Magical Slow Cooker

As promised, here is my favourite recipe so far from Sarah’s book The Magical Slow Cooker, Poor Man’s Steak Diane.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Poor Man's Steak Diane
Serves: Makes 6 servings
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cubed
  • 1 (1.25 oz) packages brown gravy mix
  • 1¼ cups water
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup minced shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • prepared mashed potatoes or steamed rice for serving
  1. Place the stew meat into a 4-quart or larger slow cooker.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients, except the sour cream, in a medium bowl and pour over the stew meat.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours without opening the lid during cooking time.
  4. Add sour cream and stir.
  5. Serve over mashed potatoes or steamed rice.
From The Magical Slow Cooker by Sarah Olson
Recipe reprinted with permission

I received a copy of The Magical Slow Cooker for review purposes.

Shared with Simple Supper Tuesday

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1282 great articles for us.

April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.

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  1. Hi April! The Steak Diane looks so good! Thank you very much for the book review! This meal is one of my favorites. 🙂

    • Hi Sarah! Thank you so much 🙂 I’m really glad you like it! I loved your book and was so pleased that you asked me to review it. Thank you for the interview as well!

  2. I love my slow cooker, although I admit it gets used more in winter than summer, and I probably rotate through 3-4 trusted recipes. Thank you for the reminder to explore more! For me, the slow cooker means I can leave the house just after 6AM, and return to the welcome smell and blissful knowledge that a nutritious dinner is already taken care of. A wonderful feeling at the end of a long day.

    • I agree, Pauline, it is such a lovely feeling knowing that dinner is ready and waiting! I definitely recommend The Magical Slow Cooker – it’s really expanded my slow cooker recipe repertoire 🙂

  3. Looks delicious April and Sarah’s cookbook is terrific as I was privileged to review as well! YUM! Pinned and shared!

  4. The “Poor Man Steak Diane” sounds so good, April, and Sarah’s book sounds so interesting, looking forward to getting my hands on a copy!

  5. I love Sarah cookbook as well. This steak Diane looks and sounds awesome! I am featuring you this week, over at Simple Supper Tuesday. We hope you can join us again, staring Monday night at 8pm EST.


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