Favorite slow cooker cook book, recipes, or websites?
I like the crockpot365 blog for ideas as well. The author is also very honest about how the recipes turned out & how her family liked them. If you poke around on the side bars (and get past the numerous advertisements), you can find some really good tips on general slow cooking methodology. I also like a site: ww.allrecipes.com. It has all types of recipes, including a good section on slow cooking. you can search for words like "slow cooker chicken" or slow cooker Mexican".
I have Andrew Schloss's "Art of the Slow Cooker" - http://www.amazon.com/Art-Slow-Cooker...
It has some interesting recipes. Though I actually use my slow cooker mostly for what dkenworthy calls "dump and cook " on days when I know I'll be short of time, and the recipes in "Art of the Slow Cooker" often need too much preparation to fit the "dump and cook" paradigm.
It took me awhile to get used to the slow cooker as a tool, and it is probably not my favorite tool in the kitchen, but can be useful. I tried a bunch of google searches when I first got mine, just to get ideas about techniques. There are many threads here at Chow that are helpful. There are basically 2 schools, the dump and cook while you are at work/errands vs. the make a real braise (using a skillet to brown), and let cook largely unattended, but generally not as long as a full day of work plus commute.
I avoid the dump and cook forever recipes, because I find the results reflect the lack of effort.
If I am going to fuss with browning in a skillet, and need to check the food within 3-4 hours, it is sometimes just as easy to use a good dutch oven (brown and braise in the same vessel). The great advantage of the crock pot is it doesn't heat up the house like the oven, so some things that I would normally only do in the winter I can now do in the summer.
http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ will give you some ideas, especially in the dump and leave mode.
If you belong to Cooks Illustrated there are some "just a braising" tool ideas.
I have had some success with Lynn Alley recipes. There is also a good book called the Indian Slow Cooker if you like Indian food.
I probably use it the most to make polenta. Start on high, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Once it has started to thicken, leave it unattended on low for about 6-8 hours. Perfect creamy polenta without stirring continuously for an hour at the stove.
If I had to evacuate my kitchen, there are other tools I would take first, but I find it can be a useful adjunct in a fully stocked kitchen.
Congrats on the slow cooker. I suspect you'll find it a joy to use; it certainly makes meal preparation less complicated.
If you're new to the slow cooker, or even if you're not, here's a point that might give you a new direction on "recipes" and "cookbooks" the are touted to be somehow special.
A slow cooker is essentially a braising vessel. Whatever you can braise in an oven or on the stove top you can cook in the slow cooker. Same results, different cooking vessel. Because it's thermostatically controlled the slow cooker braises somewhat better, IMO, that other methods, but it isn't unique cooking technology in the general sense.
Earlier this summer I bought the Crock-Pot Original Slow Cooker "Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes" at Barnes & Noble as one of their bargain books. Author listed is Publications International, and when you enter that title in Amazon, it was the second book down. I've been really pleased with everything I've made in it so far, and it has a good variety of recipes.