Simple Slow Cooker Recipes

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Has your slow cooker been collecting dust in a corner cabinet or pantry? You might just want to consider bringing it out of retirement. As one of the most underutilized tools in the kitchen, crock pots are willing to do most of the work for you – often times, making a meal can be as simple as tossing in ingredients, closing the lid, and walking away. Whether you are always on the go and have little time to cook or you’re just looking for a warm meal, a slow cooker can come in handy. Listed here are a few simple recipes that nearly anyone can make.

1. Steel Cut Oats

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What better way to start off the day than with a warm bowl of oatmeal? A gluten-free grain, oats are an excellent source of fiber and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. With the help of a crock pot, oats can be slow cooked overnight and ready to eat first thing in the morning. Although they’re perfectly acceptable on their own, mixing in seasonal fruits and spices is an easy way to highlight and enhance your breakfast.

INGREDIENTS:
8 ½ cups water
2 cups oats
14 oz coconut milk
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

2. Chicken and Dumplings

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The ultimate comfort food, chicken and dumplings has been a North American staple for decades. Even internationally, nearly every culture has its own take on the recipe. After all, rich, buttery dumplings cooked in chicken broth are hard to resist. The addition of protein packed chicken and vegetables is sure to fill up the family warm up the coldest winter night. Using a slow cooker, putting this recipe together is incredibly convenient

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs boneless chicken breasts
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions
4 celery stalks
4 carrots
2 tsp poultry seasoning
¼ cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup white wine
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup milk
4 tbsp melted butter

3. Loaded Vegetarian Chili

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Everyone loves chili. Using a slow cooker makes it easier to make than ever before. This vegan friendly version omits meat and replaces them with beans and sweet potatoes. Hearty and flavorful, carnivores and and herbivores alike are sure to be satisfied. Consider adding poblano, serrano, and jalapeno peppers for an added kick.

INGREDIENTS:
1 red onion
1 green bell pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp cocoa powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
28 oz diced tomatoes
5 black beans
15.5 kidney beans
1 sweet potato

4. Creamy Potato Soup

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Put some of your winter root vegetables to good use! This potato soup recipe is easy and filling, making it an ideal dish at the end of a long, hectic weeknight. Simply throw in a handful of potatoes and let the slow cooker tenderize the spuds in rich cream. For a bit of an extra bite, additional cheese, bacon bits, and chives can be used as a garnish.

INGREDIENTS:
6 potatoes
1 large onion
32 oz chicken broth
3 garlic cloves
¼ cup butter
1 ½ tsp herbes de provence
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup half and half
1 cup cheese

5. Split Pea Soup

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Dating back to antiquity, peas were first cultivated as early as 4800 BC. It’s no wonder – these sweet seeds are filled with protein and strong enough to endure cooler climates. Dried split peas are inexpensive to buy in bulk, making this soup budget friendly as well as effortless to make. The addition of a ham bone simmering in the mix makes for a smoky, meaty flavor that makes second servings hard to resist.

INGREDIENTS:
16 oz dried split peas
1 ½ lb ham bone
3 carrots
1 yellow onion
1 shallow
2 stalks celery
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock

6. Spicy Black Eyed Peas

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Whether it’s a simple side dish or the main course, these black eyed peas are sure to please. Hot peppers and and fresh herbs add delicious, irresistible flavors to the otherwise plain beans. In some parts of the United States, consuming black eyed peas is said to bring good luck. There may be some fact to this folklore – not only are black eyed peas delicious, they may also prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes!

INGREDIENTS:
3 cups black eyed peas
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups sweet onions
2 tbsp jalapeno chile
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
¾ lb turkey leg
Red pepper sauce

7. Chicken Tinga

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This Mexican treat is well worth the wait that comes with slow cooking. Chipotle chilis in adobo give the tinga its trademark flavor. Not only does the crock pot make the chicken mouth wateringly tender, it infuses the chili flavor into the meat itself. Spread across a tortilla with plenty of taco fixings, this chicken tinga recipe is worth holding onto.

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs chicken thighs
1 (14.5 oz) tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can green chiles
½ yellow onions
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tbsp of adobo sauce
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp taco seasoning
½ cup chicken stock

8. Boeuf Bourguignon

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A sophisticated French dish, this may seem like an intimidating meal to undertake. However, a slow cooker can make the job incredibly simple. While the crock pot is rarely considered sophisticated by any means, it does an impeccable job at tenderizing meat. Paired with a red wine base, this stew is surprisingly elegant. With complex, complementary flavors, this dish is sure to excite guests.

INGREDIENTS:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 lb beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp flour
1 bunch fresh thyme
½ cup cognac
2 cups beef stock
2 cups red wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion
3 carrots
1 lb white potatoes
8 oz mushrooms
Frozen pearl onions
Splash of red wine vinegar

9. Homemade Applesauce

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There’s no better way to bring in the changing of seasons than with a fresh batch of homemade applesauce. Slow cooking is the perfect way to tenderize apples with minimal supervision. In fact, this recipe is so simple that it doesn’t even require peeling off the fruit’s skin! The best part? No sugar is added to this recipe, making for a guilt-free sweet treat.

INGREDIENTS:
3 lbs apples (McIntosh, Fuji, or Jonathan)
½ cup water

10. Sweet and Savory Pork Chops

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Many amateur chefs avoid pork chops entirely because of how tough the meat can sometimes be. What they don’t realize is that the crock pot can drastically simplify the cooking process. In this recipe, apples, honey, and dried cranberries create a sweet base that beautifully compliments the pork. The addition of onions and thyme bring out some of the meat’s savory components. Allowing these components to work their way into the pork through slow cooking makes for a rich, multifaceted tasting experience.

INGREDIENTS:
1 onion
1 cup applesauce
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried apples
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp salt
6 boneless pork chops
3 tsp thyme

11. Honey BBQ Spare Ribs

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Who doesn’t love a well cooked rack of ribs? Most people reserve ribs for the hot summer months, when it’s possible to cook outside on the grill. However, with the help of the slow cooker, it’s possible to enjoy ribs at any time of year! Slow cooking ensures that the tender meat will cleanly fall right off of the bone. To get an extra bit of crispiness, simply stick the ribs into a broiler for a minute or two after the slow cook is complete.

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs pork spare ribs
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp water
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp salt
½ cup water

12. Slow Cooked Stroganoff

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A staple in many households, beef stroganoff is a known crowd pleaser. Originating in Russia, Stroganoff has made its way around the world. Why? Because creamy mushroom sauce poured over fresh egg noodles is the perfect remedy for an empty stomach. The slow cooking process compliments Stroganoff beautifully, tenderizing the beef while allowing the creamy base to simmer.

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs beef
1 yellow onion
1 clove garlic
10 oz cremini mushrooms
1 cup beef broth
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¾ tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp constarch dissolved in ½ cup beef broth
6 oz cream cheese
¾ cup sour cream
¼ cup fresh parsley

13. Classic Marinara

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This hearty tomato sauce is absolutely essential in a number of Italian dishes. Whether it’s used for layering between vegetables or topping off your favorite pasta, it’s a recipe worth keeping close to the heart. Sweet and simple, the longer this sauce is allowed to simmer, the better the end result. With the addition of ground beef or spinach, marinara sauce can easily be altered to fill up a hungry crowd.

INGREDIENTS:
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of red pepper

14. Mushroom Marinade

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Garlic, herbs, and butter is a trio that rarely goes wrong. Paired with fresh mushrooms, it makes for the perfect summer side dish. Normally, crock pots are confined to soups and stews in the bitter cold. However, this tool can be the perfect companion during a summer heat wave. Since it doesn’t require a stovetop or oven, you’ll actually cut down on the heat inside of your kitchen

INGREDIENTS:
24 oz cremini mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup half and half
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fresh parsley

15. Shredded Buffalo Chicken

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Spicy buffalo chicken is a must have at any game-day gathering. When bright orange buffalo sauce is used to flavor tender shredded chicken, the possibilities are endless. Paired with a roll, it makes for a perfect sandwich or slider. Tossed into a dip, it tastes heavenly with tortilla chips. With this recipe, you’ll be sure not to disappoint hungry guests.

INGREDIENTS:
3 lbs boneless chicken breast
12 oz Buffalo Sauce
1 pkg Dry Ranch Mix
¼ cup butter

16. Dark Chocolate Lava Cake

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Moist and decadent, this ultra chocolatey delight take only a few minutes to assemble. A chocolate trio, this particular recipe calls for chocolate cake batter, chocolate pudding, and chocolate chips. Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s the perfect fix for those with a sweet tooth. Better yet, this dessert can be enjoyed year around with the help of a crock pot. Just be sure to line your cooker with parchment paper – this recipe can get a bit messy!

INGREDIENTS:
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 ¼ cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 package of instant chocolate pudding
2 cups milk
12 oz milk chocolate chips

17. Mixed Berry Cobbler

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There’s no better way to showcase fresh summer berries than a crisp or cobbler. Tossed in just a pinch of sugar, blueberries, strawberries, and any other berry you might be able to get your hands on needs very little help to shine. A cobbler utilizes a biscuity topping that, believe it or not, can be cooked right inside of the crock pot. Even if berry season has long since passed, frozen berries can produce in absolutely delicious cobbler when allowed to simmer inside of a slow cooker.

INGREDIENTS:
6 cups berries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
3 tbsp flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp maple syrup
¼ tsp sea salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tsp sugar (optional)

18. Brown Sugar Baked Apples

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Sweet, simple, and to the point. Baked apples provide all of the goodness of a pie or crisp without all of the fuss. Decked out with a golden brown topping and adorned with cinnamon, this treat can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But this recipes versatility isn’t its only redeeming quality. Drastically cutting down on sugar and butter, it also makes for a dessert that’s quite low in fat.

INGREDIENTS:
5 medium apples (Cortland, Mutsu, Honey Crisp, or Macintosh)
½ cup flour
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup coconut sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp sea salt
2 tbsp butter
¾ cup water



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