A good friend of mine recently went back to work full-time after spending the past five years at home raising her two young girls. She has understandably been a bit frazzled as she gets used to a fuller schedule. This week, she posted a comment on Facebook asking friends with full-time jobs and kids how in the world they balance everything, including meals.
Many people left her messages with some great advice, and I noticed several mentioned that the Crock Pot had been an immense help to them. They said they prep slow-cooker recipes the night before or early that morning. In addition, I’ve noticed some ideas on Pinterest that involve prepping several Crock-Pot meals at once, putting each one in a gallon-sized freezer bag and putting them all in the freezer for easy meal options.
Autumn is a nice time to drag out the slow cooker if you’ve let it collect dust over the summer. As it gets darker earlier in the evening and we all have gym, errands and household chores to attend to after work, that lovely smell of slow-cooked goodness sure is welcome!
I’ve gathered a few interesting Crock Pot recipes in the hopes you’ll find something here that will make for a nice and easy dinner in the coming months. Do you have a favorite slow-cooker recipe that would be perfect for fall?
Click “Read more” to see the recipes.
Slow Cooker Vegetable and Pork Stew
No-Stick Cooking Spray
2 cups baby carrots
1 pound small red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes, drained (or one large or two medium fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped)
1-1/2 pounds thick cut boneless pork chops, cut into 24 chunks
1 can (24 oz each) Hunt’s® Garlic & Herb Pasta Sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 can (14.5 oz each) cut green beans, drained
1. Spray inside of 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add carrots, potatoes, drained tomatoes, meat, pasta sauce and sugar to slow cooker.
2. Cover; cook on LOW 8 hours or until pork is tender. Stir in green beans just before serving.
This dish cooks quickly so it would be a good one to start on lunch break or cook on the weekend. From Crockpot365.blogspot.com.
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 sliced green onions–one is for garnish
1 tsp. dried minced onion (or 1/2 fresh onion, diced very small)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1/2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. molasses
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 t red chili pepper flakes
1/2 Tbsp. peanut butter (if allergic, use black bean paste)
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch (to dredge meat–don’t add to sauce mixture)
1. Slice your meat in thin strips and toss in a zipper-lock bag with cornstarch.
2. Add all of the liquid and dried spices to your crockpot, and the peanut butter, and mix well. Add the garlic and three of the sliced green onions. If you are using fresh onion, add that now, too.
3. Put your meat on top, and toss gingerly to coat.
4. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Flank steak is thin and have very little fat, and will cook quickly. There isn’t a lot of liquid in this dish, so if your crock tends to cook hot, please check it after 3 hours.
5. The meat is done when it is no longer pink and has reached desired tenderness. Serve over steamed or fried rice, and garnish with freshly sliced green onion.
Chicken with Bacon and Orange-Cranberry Sauce
Serves 4 to 6
This is the epitome of quick and easy because you can toss frozen chicken breasts in the slow cooker and save on thawing time and mess. Adapted from Schwans.com.
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts frozen
3/4 cup Russian salad dressing
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
6 strips fully cooked bacon slices, chopped
1/4 cup orange juice
1 can (16 oz.) whole cranberry sauce
1. Place chicken in a lightly sprayed medium (4-5 qt) slow cooker.
2. Mix together dressing, soup mix, bacon, orange juice and cranberries.
3. Pour mixture over chicken. Cover and cook on high 4-6 hours.
4. Serve over garlic mashed potatoes, if desired.
Slow Cooker Autumn Harvest Chili
1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large leeks, cleaned, cut in halve lengthwise, and sliced into 3/4-inch thick half-moons
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or about 2 cups cooked chickpeas)
1 tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Sea salt, to taste
3-4 cups kale, thick stems discarded, leaves chopped
1. Combine tomatoes, sweet potatoes, leeks, carrots, chickpeas, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and salt in a slow cooker. Stir once to combine all ingredients. 2. Cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 6-8 hours). About 30 minutes before the chili has finished cooking, stir in the kale.