Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ask the Internet: Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

Today's question comes from reader Tanya:

Q: I would like some slow cooker recipes where I can just dump canned or frozen foods into the slow cooker, turn it on, and walk out the door. No slicing, dicing or browning. I would like them to be healthy and mostly vegetarian. And, oh yeah, I am sick sick sick of chili!

I am looking for these to save me from going out to eat. I would rather pay a little bit more for the price of pre-chopped veggies than the price of dining out.


A: Tanya, I'm happy to introduce you to A Year of Slow Cooking, Stephanie O'Dea's extensive blog dedicated exclusively to simple crockpot recipes. She also has two cookbooks out, including More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, which was just released in December.

Phyllis Pellman Good's crockpot series is also full of dump-and-walk recipes, but I find the dishes themselves can be hit-or-miss.

Readers, whaboutchoo?

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to Cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

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18 comments:

carrie murphy said...

here's a recipe from my blog you might like. it's decidedly mexican, but not chili! you do have to shred chicken, but other than that, it's plop and go.

http://masteroffineeats.blogspot.com/2010/11/crockpot-chicken-enchilada-soup.html

carrie

Muchadoaboutnothing said...

If you don't mind using packaged foods to make your slow cooker meals, 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Comfort Foods: 200 Recipes for Flavorful Favorites Slow-Cooker Style by Bob Hildebrand and Carol Hildebrand is a good resource.

Adrienne said...

I don't have any specific recipes, but I will say that just about any recipe that wants you to brown or cook something before putting it in the crock pot- you can leave that step out. I nearly always do- IMO it defies the point of being able to throw stuff in the crock pot if i have to cook it first!

Leanne said...

I was JUST Googling slow cooker recipes then saw your post on my blogroll. THANKS!!!

I'm So Pretty said...

I think the easiest recipes for a slow cooker involved:

--a hunk of meat (pretty much anything, and it can still be frozen)
--sauce (I use sugar-free ketchup to coat, others use a bottle of your fave BBQ sauce)

cook on low for 6-8 hours

eat

Limecloud said...

I love my crock pot and one of my favorite things to make in it is tacos- put two chicken breasts or a beef roast in the pot, add taco seasoning, one can of tomato sauce and one can of water (more if it doesn’t cover the meat). Let it cook all day – pull it out and shred it and use it to fill taco shells or as a topping for nachos. I’ve also made this Sloppy Sam recipe in the crock pot (add all of ingredients uncooked plus more water for the uncooked lentils)-

http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/sloppy-sams/Detail.aspx

It’s vegetarian if you add veg. friendly Worcestershire sauce. Good luck!

Arlene said...

I've tried and can recommend this recipe, using Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Barbecue Sauce and Newman's Italian dressing:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Zesty-Slow-Cooker-Chicken-Barbecue/Detail.aspx

I didn't use frozen chicken, added some minced garlic, cooked on high for about 3-3.5 hours, shredded the chicken, and added a slurry made with a tablespoon of tapioca starch to thicken it just a bit. Served on potato bread rolls with salad on the side and made some teenagers very happy.

Marcia said...

WEll, I have a good vegetarian slow cooker cookbook, but it's not dump and go. In fact, in order to develop the good "flavor" that you miss by not including meat, all of the recipes require some advance preparation.

Example: Sauteing, etc. But they are good! And in many cases, you can do the prep at night and plug and go in the morning.

Anonymous said...

This isn't vegetarian, but absolutely the simpliest tasty slow cooker recipe I've ever found:

1 lb frozen chicken breast
2c salsa
15oz black beans, drained
1c frozen corn

Dump them all in the crock pot and cook low 6-8 hours. The longer you cook, the more shred-able your chicken will be. Serve in tortillas, over rice, etc. Vary it up depending on your salsa - sweet, hot, etc.

Anonymous said...

Easy peasy are bean recipes. I buy a Trader Joe's bean soup mix in a bag that is super. Ok, it does help to sautee the onions and other veggies you might want to add first, but if you don't want to do that you could just chop some carrots (or plop in some frozen chopped veggies that you like) and throw them in. You don't even have to presoak the beans if you don't want to. Black beans are also so easy to cook in the slow cooker, and can be the base for many vegetarian recipes: soup, burritos, tacos, etc.

Josephine @ Creating a Positive Life said...

allrecipes.com has some good ideas under their slowcooker section. Can't wait to check out the Year of Slowcooking blog!

Sally said...

If you add chicken broth to the leftovers of the chicken recipe Anonymous posted, it makes a great tortilla soup.

Also,
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz) or salsa
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Combine in slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low. Use in tacos or over rice or quesadillas.

Kris said...

Most of my recipes also involve a large chunk of meat! My family loves this super easy pot roast:

1 3 lb beef chuck or blade roast
2-3 cans diest cola
1 package onion soup mix.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Anonymous said...

My sister gave me an awesome book Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. I use it all the time as well as 1001 Low Fat Vegetarian Recipes by Sue Spitler. This book doesn't have a slow cooker section but I usually can make 80 of them in my slow cooker. I have two and they are an absolute lifesaver. Also, the Whole Foods website has a ton of budget friendly recipes that can be adapted for slow cooking, I do this at least once a week.

I also don't recommend a lot of frozen stuff because slow cookers use condensation to cook and the extra water content of frozen veggies will impact how the food comes out. If you must use frozen wait to add the ingredients towards the end of the cooking process.

Anonymous said...

I had great success with dropping in two frozen chicken breasts and covering them with sauce (I've used honey bbq, smoky bbq, teriyaki, but if it's sauce, it should work). When I get home, I fill a bowl with frozen veggies (corn or peas usually), stick it in the microwave for about 2 minutes, go change into lounging-around clothes, and by the time I'm back in the kitchen, it's dinner time!

Beans & weenies are easy too... can of baked beans, package of cocktail weenies. Add brown sugar or whatever your regional /familial traditions dictate, if you wish. Not a very round meal, but every once in a while, I feel like I'm allowed to have Superbowl party food for dinner.

And of course, I second the recommendation for the Year of Slow Cooking blog... It taught me how much my slow-cooker can do!

Leanna said...

This Slow Cooker Bean and Barley Soup is great. You just chop your veggies and dump it all in. Right before serving, you add in some spinich and parm. Veggie, easy and very tasty.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/slow-cooker-bean-and-barley-soup-recipe/index.html

chris c. said...

I am actually on the hunt for (vegan) slow cooker recipes, too, but here are 2 that I use pretty often.

(1) rice and lentils. Cover with about an inch and a half of water and add a chopped onion and some chopped garlic and let it cook all day on low. High will cook off too much moisture.

(2) potato & cauliflower curry. For this one, just buy the already chopped but fresh cauliflower and if you don't want to chop potatoes, buy frozen but you will lose some texture. Add chopped onion and curry powder. cover with vegetable broth plus an inch. I like to add coconut milk, too. My partner adds diced tomatoes from the can.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all who posted. I am going to check out Fresh from the Veg slow cooker by Robertson! And special thanks to Chris C and Leanna, those were exactly the kinds of recipes I was looking for.
- tanya