Crock Pot Recipes: Give Yourself a Break in the Kitchen

December 28, 2009 at 8:00 am 4 comments

It’s the week after Christmas and I feel like I’ve been cooking non-stop. It was fun, and I know my family and friends appreciated the effort, but I’m ready to spend a bit less time in the kitchen and bit more enjoying the family while I recover from the holiday rush. However, I don’t really want to rely on take out for the next several days. Ordering in can get expensive fast, and most restaurant food has more calories than my family needs just now, particularly after we’ve (over) enjoyed more than our fare share of holiday treats. Instead, I’m going to break out my trusty crock pot for a couple of nights and let it do the heavy lifting for me. Besides the fact that almost all crock pot recipes are of the “start it and leave it” variety, many use inexpensive cuts of meat that do best when cooked long and slow. Given the expense of the holidays, our grocery budget can use a break as well.

While I was doing my menu planning this week with crock pot cookery in mind, I thought I’d put together a collection of my family’s favorites to share with everyone. Hopefully you’ll find one or two here that will help you get a break in the kitchen too.

  • Easy Beef Burritos: Who doesn’t love burritos? My family’s favorite thing about them is everyone can make their burrito their way. I like mine fully loaded, but my daughter just likes cheese – with extra cheese on the side. If you still have holiday visitors these will be a hit, and if you don’t, make a bunch up anyway and use the leftovers for lunches and even on top of a salad.
  • Slow Cooker Chile: Chile is always a hit and freezes beautifully, so you can make a big batch and put some of it away for another night after school starts. This recipe is fun because it uses pizza sauce to give the chile a different flavor. You can substitute your favorite beans or leave them out entirely if your family prefers chile without. For a fun lunch, open a bag of Fritos, spoon in some chile, and top with shredded cheese for a homemade Frito Pie.
  • Simply Braised Chicken: If you braise chicken in a crock pot with minimal seasoning, it can become so many different dishes, including chicken salad, tacos, and BBQ chicken. This recipe from Carolyn Wright is really four recipes in one. From one pot of braised chicken thighs, you can make three different meals. This is a particularly great way to make use of chicken thighs on sale when they are on sale as the market, and the braised chicken freezes well too.
  • BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Sometimes a hearty sandwich is just what the family needs for a casual and relaxing dinner. This recipe is very simple, and don’t worry about finding the specific spice blend mentioned. Any pork or rotisserie spice blend from the spice aisle will do. This is yet another recipe that freezes well, so make extra and put it away for a busy evening later in the month.
  • Orange Chicken with Potatoes: This recipe just feels like winter to me. Chicken thighs, potatoes, and butternut squash cook together for just a few hours and are perfect with rice or buttered noodles. I also like this recipe because it doesn’t take all day – just 3 hours or so. You can start it at lunch time and know it will be ready that evening.
  • Beer and Cheddar Fondue: I love fondue night because it gets everyone around the table and involved in an active meal. This recipe has sausage mixed into the cheese, so it can serve as a hearty main course along with a salad.

While this list is mostly focused on main dishes, you can make dessert in the slow cooker too for a special treat when you run out of holiday cookies. The My Recipes site has a lovely collection of Desserts from the Slow Cooker to get you started. Finally, if you really love your crock pot and are looking for new ideas, or if you’re just getting started with your crock pot and need some inspiration, I highly recommend looking at the crock pot section at CDKitchen. You’ll find recipes from everything from appetizers to dessert, as well as every kind of protein you might imagine.

Do you have a favorite crock pot recipe? If so, please share it in the comments.

Happy crock pot cooking!

Slow Cooker on Foodista Learn more about crock pots

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Entry filed under: Recipes, Tips & Tricks.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amy  |  January 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    We do the pulled pork BBQ a lot. Its great for family events.. less work, less mess. I love the crockpot!

    Reply
    • 2. Natanya Anderson  |  January 3, 2010 at 8:08 pm

      The pulled pork is one of my favorite football party foods. The guys love it and they can eat at it all day!

      Reply
  • 3. bugys  |  January 26, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Some very interesting information here, and a very interesting blog too.

    I will have to bookmark this and stop by more often.

    thanks.

    Reply
  • 4. Melissa  |  February 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    I love using my crockpot, especially for roasts that I’m turning into another meal.

    Reply

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