It's undeniable - there's nothing like a home cooked meal. But when life gets too busy, sometimes there's just not enough time. Thankfully, crockpots can be a great solution when you're trying to juggle a heavy to-do list.
To help you get through the tough days, here are seven recipes you can make in a crockpot:
Prep and cook time: About 4 hoursServings: 4-6
1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 (28 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
12 oz cottage cheese (we like 2%)
½ cup grated parmesan or asiago cheese
12 oz lasagna noodles, uncooked
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- Brown ground beef, onion and garlic in frypan.
- Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and oregano.
- Cook long enough to get it warm.
- Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and top with cheeses.
- Repeat with sauce, noodles and cheeses until all are used up.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.
Prep and cook time: About 5.5 hoursServings: 4
1 large onion, diced
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of celery soup
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
black pepper to taste
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups frozen vegetables or peas and carrots, defrosted
1 can (8 pieces) refrigerated biscuits (Buttermilk, Country or Homestyle)
- Add onion to 6 quart crock pot. Top with chicken breasts.
- In a small bowl, combine cream of celery soup, cream of chicken soup, parsley, poultry seasoning and pepper. Spread over chicken breasts. Top with chicken broth. Cook on high 5 hours.
- Approximately 60-90 minutes before serving (after four hours of cooking time), roll each biscuit thin and flat. Cut into 4 strips. Add vegetables to the slow cooker and stir. Add biscuit strips on top. Replace lid as quickly as possible.
- Remove chicken breasts and slightly shred. Add back into slow cooker and stir (this will break up the dumplings somewhat which is ok). Cook an additional 10 minutes and serve.
Prep and cook time: About 6 hoursServings: 6
1 cup dry wild rice
½ sweet onion, diced
6 carrots, chopped
5 cups low-sodium veggie or chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme + 3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 parmesan rind + ½ cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
1 cup whole milk or heavy cream
salt and pepper
2 pounds mixed mushrooms, roughly torn
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
zest from 1 lemon
- In the bowl of your slow cooker, combine the rice, onion, carrots, broth, wine, thyme, bay leaves, paprika, crushed red pepper, parmesan rind, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- During the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in the ½ cup grated parmesan and the milk. Cook until warmed through. Remove bay leaves and discard.
- About an hour before serving, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a 9x13 inch baking dish, combine mushrooms, garlic, butter, thyme sprigs, lemon zest, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 40-45 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking, until the mushrooms are golden and caramelized.
- Mash the garlic with a fork, then stir the mushrooms, mashed garlic, and any butter left into the soup.
- Serve topped with fresh thyme and parmesan.
Prep and cook time: About 6.5 hoursServings: 6
1 package andouille sausage
½ pound uncooked shrimp (peeled and de-veined)
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded to even thickness
3 bell peppers (one each of green, red, and yellow or orange), diced
1 white or yellow onion, diced
2-3 jalapeños, seeds and stems removed
1½ cups uncooked white rice
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can (30 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons cajun seasoning
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper, or to taste
cilantro or parsley, for topping (optional)
- Slice sausage into sections (about ¼-inch slices). Remove tails from shrimp if they are still on. Chop chicken into 1-inch pieces.
- Add sausage, chicken, bell peppers, onion, jalapeños, chicken broth, tomatoes, minced garlic, cajun seasoning, and salt and pepper to greased slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on low. Stir in rice and cook another 1-2 hours until rice is fully cooked and tender.
- About 20 minutes before serving, uncover slow cooker, stir in shrimp, re-cover and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Stir contents of slow cooker, sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley if desired. Serve hot.
Prep and cook time: About 8.5 hoursServings: 8
2 cups beef stock
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 lb carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 (8 oz) package cremini mushrooms, halved if large
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
2 large celery ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 lb pot roast, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
¼ cup tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving
- Whisk together stock, flour and mustard in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add carrots, mushrooms, onion, celery, garlic and thyme. Stir to combine.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides (10 to 12 minutes). Remove to slow cooker. Add tomato paste to skillet and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add wine and cook, scraping up browned bits, for 30 seconds. Add to slow cooker.
- Cover and cook until beef is tender (7-8 hours on low heat or 5-6 hours on high).
- Discard thyme. Remove beef and shred; return to cooker. Stir in butter.
- Serve topped with parsley.
Prep and cook time: 4-7 hoursServings: 6
For the enchilada sauce:
Neutral cooking oil, such as canola or safflower
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Mexican-style chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
For the soup:
1 (15 oz) can yellow corn, drained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 to 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Heavy cream (optional)
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, fresh cilantro for serving
- Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and jalapeño and cook until softened (5-7 minutes). Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar and stir until fragrant (about one minute). Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and broth; season with salt and pepper; and bring to a gentle boil. Transfer to a 5 quart slow cooker.
- Stir in corn, beans and chicken. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through (6-7 hours on low heat or 4 hours on high heat).
- Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Stir in a splash of heavy cream if desired. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and cilantro for garnish.
Prep and cook time: About 8 hoursServings: 8
1 lb ground beef
¾ cup diced onion
¾ cup diced celery
¾ cup diced green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10.75 oz) cans tomato puree
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans with liquid
½ tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon dried basil
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Hot pepper sauce
- Place beef in a skillet over medium heat and cook until evenly brown. Drain grease.
- Place beef in a slow cooker. Mix in onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic, tomato puree, kidney beans and cannellini beans. Season with chili powder, parsley, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper and hot pepper sauce.
- Cover and cook eight hours on low heat.
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