Autumn tends to make us crave warm, hearty meals. But if you’re like me —pressed for time and lacking culinary skills— making them can seem like an overwhelming task. Thank goodness for slow cookers.
Arguably one of the best cooking appliances ever invented, the slow cooker (also known as a Crock-Pot) is ideal for making dishes that would otherwise be boiled (and require much more attention), like pot roast and stew. For three easy dishes that are perfect on a crisp fall day, try these yummy slow cooker recipes.
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup via Gimme Some Oven
You Will Need:
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
- 1 medium (uncooked) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
- pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1/2 cup canned (unsweetened) coconut milk
- optional garnishes: extra coconut milk and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper (or smoked paprika)
1. Add vegetable stock, garlic, carrot, apple, butternut squash, sage, onion, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon and nutmeg to a small (4-quart) slow cooker or large (6-quart) slow cooker. Toss to combine.
2. Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high, or until the squash is completely tender and mashes easily with a fork. Remove and discard the sage. Stir in the coconut milk.
3. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. (Or you can transfer the soup in two batches into a traditional blender, and puree until smooth, being very careful when working with the hot liquid.) Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper and cayenne if needed.
4. Serve warm, with optional garnishes if desired.
Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie via Creole Contessa
You Will Need:
- 1 1/2 lb chicken breast tenders
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 celery ribs, sliced
- 2 cups carrots, frozen, sliced
- 1 cup peas, frozen
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium, organic
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon creole seasoning
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Tabasco to serve
To Prepare Puffed Pastry:
- Puffed Pastry, defrosted
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
1. Mix seasoning blend together and set aside.
2. Rinse chicken, pat dry.
3. Place all the vegetables EXCEPT the frozen peas in your slow cooker.
4. Add the chicken breast to the slow cooker.
5. Top with all the seasonings, bay leaves, mix well.
6. Mix chicken broth with flour, whisk well. Pour over chicken/veggies in the slow cooker.
7. Cook on high covered, for 3 1/2 hours.
8. After 3 1/2 hours break up chicken with a spoon or shred with a fork.
9. Remove Bay leaves, discard.
10. Allow puffed pastry to come to defrost at room temperature for 40 minutes.
11. Mix heavy cream with corn starch, whisk well.
12. Add peas to slow cooker, pour in heavy cream.
13. Leave slow cooker uncovered and cook 30 minutes more.
To Prepare Puffed Pastry:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Roll defrosted puff pastry on lightly floured surface.
3. Cut puffed pastry into 6 squares.
4. Brush with egg/water mixture.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
Slow Cooker Chili via Gimme Some Oven
You Will Need:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 medium red or yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped (add more for extra smokiness and heat)
- 2 (15 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (black beans, pinto beans, and great northern beans can all be substitutes)
- 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles
- 1 cup beer or beef broth
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips or strips, thinly-sliced green onions, sour cream, salsa
1. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. (Or if you are using this Crock-Pot slow cooker, heat oil in the ceramic stovetop-safe bowl on the stove over medium-high heat.) Add the ground beef, onion and garlic and cook for about 7-10 minutes or until the beef is completely browned, crumbling the beef with a spoon as it cooks. Drain and discard the excess fat/grease. Then transfer the beef into the bottom of a slow cooker. (Or transfer the stovetop-safe bowl back into the slow cooker.)
2. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper or seasonings if need be.
3. Serve warm, with desired toppings.
If you like to cook, consider living at one of these fabulous apartment communities, which have fully equipped kitchens and/or stainless steel appliances:
Southern Pine Apartment Homes in Virginia Beach, VA
The Clarion Apartments in Decatur, GA
Park on Clairmont in Atlanta, GA
Cross Creek Village in Hattiesburg, MS
Radius at the Banks in Cincinnati, OH
Velocity in the Gulch in Nashville, TN
The Bernardin in Chicago, IL
Metro 59 Apartments in Aurora, IL
For more delicious dishes that can be made in a slow cooker, check out these Crock-Pot Recipes For Every Meal.