Clay loves to lovingly tease me about my cooking. Well – not my cooking per se because my experience as a prep chef at an upscale bistro and my love for well-prepared food have proven me to be damn good cook. He gets a kick out of the fact that I almost never use recipes. I use a dash of this, a pinch of that, and add a little pizazz when needed. I’ll follow a recipe to a T when baking but when it comes to cooking – all bets are off. Therefore, whenever someone asks me for a recipe of a dish I made, I always seem to respond along the lines, “Uhhh…well – I use a little bit of this, a lot of that, add butter at this time (because it’s law that butter makes everything better), and do this right at the end!” A food blogger I am not.
Seeing as how spring is our busiest season and baseball practices and games are ridiculously long, our slow cooker gets used the most this time of year. And as delicious as eating Five Guys may be on a weekly basis, our heart health is important to us so we try and keep our meals there to a minimum despite it being so easy to grab a bite there on our way home. I am always on the hunt for delicious meals that utilize the slow cooker because on the days when we have Little League practices from 5pm – 8pm, it’s impossible to find the time to cook a meal for the kids that doesn’t involve chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.
Below are some of our favorite slow cooker recipes that our family enjoys during this time of year (click the heading to see the original recipe). All of these yield leftovers and some of them can easily be repurposed into another meal (tacos, nachos, etc…) later on in the week. How can you not love that?
I discovered the recipe about five years ago and it has been a staple in our house ever since. We will eat it as a pot roast the first night and then shred the meat for tacos later on in the week. I’ve modified the recipe over the years to accommodate our tastes (see notes below) because I’ve found the au jus packet unnecessary and 1/4 cup of butter to be superfluous.
- 1 ranch packet
- 1 jar of pepperoncini juice (we like a bit of a kick so I also add at least half the pepperoncinis in the jar)
- 1 tablespoon of butter
There are a lot of slow cooker recipes for chicken and dumplings but unfortunately, a lot of them call for cans of condensed soup, which we don’t consume in our household. The ingredients in this linked recipe are what I typically use when I make chicken and dumplings in the slow cooker except I use a can of cut-up (raw) biscuits instead of making homemade dumplings. Because if I’m using the slow cooker, it means that I certainly don’t have time that day to make dumplings. Ha.
- 4 chicken breast
- 1 container of chicken stock
- chopped celery, carrots, and onions
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- salt and pepper
Slow cook the above ingredients. When done, use an electric beater to shred the chicken or pull apart with forks. Then add a couple of cups of milk and more broth/stock/white wine if desired (you get the choose the consistency…it’s all part of the fun of cooking!). If you are going to be away from home for awhile, you can always add the milk and extra broth/stock in the beginning.
About 45 minutes to an hour before dinner will be served, I add the cut up pieces of biscuit dough and close the lid. See this Pillsbury recipe for details about using biscuit dough as dumplings. But don’t actually use these ingredients because mushrooms are nasty and don’t belong in chicken and dumplings.
This is another staple in our house and a crowd-pleaser. I follow this recipe fairly close. I add more seasoning than it calls for because more flavor is always a good thing. And I also add Tajin Clasico Seasoning with Lime because it’s amazing. I tend to use chicken stock instead of chicken broth for more depth of flavor. Additionally, if we have limes on hand I’ll add a few fresh squeezes because acidity in soup is wonderful.
This is another recipe that I follow pretty closely as written. I use beef stock, add a few more cloves of garlic, and omit the oregano. I also add Tajin Clasico Seasoning with Lime seasoning.
Even if you’re not a fan of Indian food, chances are you’ll like this recipe…it is a great primer into the world of curry. I don’t use the heavy whipping cream – we always have sour cream in the refrigerator so I almost always add a cup of that instead. My preference is making chicken tiki masala in my cast iron pot but when we have a million activities going on in the afternoon and evening, I’ll toss the ingredients (including yogurt) in the slow cooker that morning with great results come dinner time.
Okay – I showed you mine, now you show me yours. What are some of your favorite slow cooker recipes?