Something that seems to be constant, no matter what day it is, holiday or otherwise, is the stress of cooking. First you have to gauge other’s food interests, then head to the grocery store (and you will of course forget one vital ingredient), put said groceries away, and then find the time to prepare and cook a delicious meal for your family, along with the 1,000,000 other things you have to do on a daily basis. So I’m here to reacquaint you with something you probably had on your wedding registry and only take out of your dusty cabinets a few times a year: your slow cooker.
Yes, this huge beast will take up alot of room on your countertop, but it will make up for it in all the work it does while you go about your day and will provide you with a delicious slow cooked dinner with very minimal effort. If you never picked up one of these “miracle dinner makers,” I suggest you head over to your local Bed, Bath, and Beyond (don’t forget your 20% off coupon) and snatch one up so you can indulge in some of these AMAZING recipes.
Here are a few are tried and true ones that please my little and big guys (but come to think of it, the hubby will happily eat anything, thank goodness) and the others are from some other fantastic bloggers. Please be sure to visit their site for more than just one mouth watering slow cooked meal!
Our Lazy Man Pulled Pork
- Pork shoulder or two pork loins (really, whatever Costco has on sale)
- One Vidalia or Spanish onion (or just one HUGE onion), thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup of vinegar or other tart liquid (apple juice, apple cider, even HARD cider works great)
- One large bottle of BBQ Sauce–18 oz or so (we are partial to Sweet Baby Ray’s in our house)
Put your huge chunk of meat in the crock pot and cover it with your seasonings, liquid, onion slices, and 1/3 of your barbecue sauce. Cook pork for 6 hours on high or 10 hours on low (crockpot temperatures may vary), basting meat occasionally and adding a few more dollups of BBQ sauce. After about five hours, you should be able to easily shred the pork with a fork and then coat the shredded meat with your remaining barbecue sauce. We like our meat very saucy, but you can add to your liking. We think the pulled pork tastes even better on a Hawaiian roll, but any bread will suffice.
Heartwarming Thyme Infused Chicken Stew
- 2 bone in chicken breasts
- Handful of fingerling potatoes, diced
- 3 ribs of celery, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups Chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 can of diced tomatoes, or even better, fresh tomatoes
- 1 can white kidney beans, drained
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
Brown the chicken breasts in a pan with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Once browned on both sides, put them in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add all of the veggies (except for the frozen peas and beans) and make sure that everything is covered by the broth. Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 9 hours. About 15 minutes before serving, add the frozen peas, drained beans, and fresh thyme. Serve hot (in bowls, since the broth is so delish you don’t want it running off the plate) with a side of crusty bread. We typically leave the chicken breasts whole but you can also shred it to make it a little neater to eat.
Delish Slow Cooked Apples
(thanks to my FAVORITE pastry chef for this one!)
- 8 apples (Granny Smiths are my FAVORITE)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup nuts
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark, doesn’t matter)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp apple pie spice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup water
Wash, core, and cut apples so they have an open top and a flat surface. Mix together the raisins, nuts, and brown sugar and put this mixture inside each apple. Line up all apples in the slow cooker, sprinkling the spices on top of the apples and mixture. Dot each apple with butter, and pour the water around all of the apples, careful not to let them float in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve warm with ice cream.
Tara recommends her Taco Chicken Chili Recipe:
- one onion, chopped
- one 16oz can kidney beans
- 2 cans corn
- taco seasoning
- one tbsp cumin
- one 16 oz can black beans
- one 16 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles
- one tbsp chili powder
- 2-3 boneless chicken breasts
Combine all ingredients in the crockpot. Place chicken on top. Cook 10 hours on low or 6 hours on high (crockpot times may vary). A half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Stir into soup.
Hope you enjoy these tasty recipes and stay warm this winter…I mean, fall. Because it is still fall, yet there is snow on the ground. Back off, Mother Nature, we aren’t ready for Christmas yet!
Like this article? Check out my other top recipes!