In trying to find  ease in weeknight cooking, I can tell you that I have become attached to my slow cooker. Hamilton Beach sent 8 from our Virtual Potluck team the 6-quart programmable Set ‘n Forget cookers , and each of us also received a different copy of Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann’s Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker for review from Harvard Common Press.

I love the slow cooker as it has handles that snap over the lid to hold it in place if you need to take it somewhere. I have faint, yet still horrifying memories of attending a Christmas party in Alabama more than 15 years ago, where I arrived to the hosts door clutching my slow cooked Creamy Crab Dip that was dripping down the front of my holiday attire. Nice.

Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker, Remodelista

This slow cooker also has an attachable meat thermometer that really comes in handy.

Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker offers over 350 recipes and demonstrates how invaluable the slow cooker is as a tool for entertaining. The recipes are designed to serve anywhere from 6-20 people, and is the perfect book to pick up  for this holiday season.


Since October is National Cheese Month, my husband fired up the grill this weekend and made some great steaks while my Blue Cheese-Sour Mashers slow cooked away, making for a super easy meal and clean up.

Some of our favorite cheeses come from owners and cheese makers Alyce and Doug of  Sweet Home Farm in Elberta, Alabama near Pensacola, Florida. The coveted Bayside Blue gets rave reviews for taste and texture. All cheeses are made from hormone, herbiside and pesticide free Guernsey raw cow milk, and the cows are grass fed. The cheeses are aged at 60 days before being sold in the cheese shop on the farm. It is worth the trip.

Alyce and Doug in the Cheese Shop
Alyce and Doug in the Cheese Shop, open since 1985.

Blue Cheese-Sour Cream Mashers

Recipe adapted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker: Recipes for Entertaining

Blue cheese and potatoes are one of those surprisingly successful culinary marriages. This is a very special version of mashed potatoes. You’ll want to season the potatoes with freshly ground pepper, but because blue cheese is fairly salty on its own, you probably won’t need any additional salt. You can multi­ply this recipe as many times as needed.  Serves 6

COOKER: Small, medium, or large round, depending on the amount of potatoes (use medium if making the volume below)


2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup hot half-and-half
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well and return to the pan on the stove top to evaporate any extra water, if necessary. Pass through a food mill or mash with a potato masher. Stir or mash or beat in the butter, sour cream, and milk until fluffy. Do not use a food processor. Gently fold in the blue cheese and pepper.

2. Lightly coat the inside of the crock with butter or nonstick cooking spray and spoon in the mashed potatoes. If you like, press a pat of butter into the top. Cover and keep on KEEP WARM or LOW for 4 to 5 hours. Serve at the table in a bowl or right from the crock.



Hamilton Beach is offering 8 readers, one from each of the Virtual Potluck blogs participating, the chance to win a slow cooker and cookbook of their own. Just enter below!

The recipes will be going live at different times during the week,  so keep browsing.

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