Slow-Cooker Delights

Slow-Cooker Delights

Awhile back I mentioned I live by my slow cooker. There’s something appealing about throwing a bunch of ingredients in there in the morning and having a meal when we get hungry in the evening. What I love most is modifying recipes to taste and still ending up with an excellent dinner with minimal effort. I make lots of bookish and geeky lists here, but I decided to devote this one to the wonderful recipes I’ve discovered online. Here are five of my favorite new slow-cooker recipes (in no particular order).

One Pot Mac and Cheese
Why I love it: I’ve spent ages trying to replicate the mac and cheese my mom made when I was a kid to no avail. Every time I try to make a cheese sauce, I manage to curdle the cheese. This is exactly the kind of recipe I wanted. It makes a thick, creamy, custardy type mac and cheese. It only takes about 3 hours in the slow cooker and only about 5 minutes of prep.
Where I found it: Pinterest
Tips: Use penne style noodles instead of macaroni. They’re thicker and so absorb more moisture before turning to mush (a common complaint in the comments section of the original recipe). I also stir at regular intervals to keep the sides from getting crunchy (and to gauge how close it is to finished).

Cream Cheese Chicken Chile (or White Chile as we often call it)
Why I love it: My husband is a huge chile fan. It’s by far the dish he requests most. And don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I get sick of it before he does. He loves this version just as much and it gives us a bit of variety.
Where I found it: Pinterest
Tips: I use red kidney beans instead of black beans (I don’t like black beans) and it works well. Also, you can use Philly’s ranch cream cheese dip instead of cream cheese and a ranch dressing packet.

Hawaiian Meatballs
Why I love it: My grandmother used to make Hawaiian hotdogs when I was a kid and this has a very similar taste. I’m a big fan of anything sweet and sour.
Where I found it: Pinterest
Tips: It also tastes great with chicken! (I also leave out the cornstarch because I’m not a fan. All it does is thicken the sauce anyway.)

Chicken Chili Tacos
Why I love it: Tacos is another of my husband’s favorites and again, this provides variety. I guess this could be considered a ‘cheat’ since you still have to prepare the rest of the taco dressing outside the crock pot, but it’s too delicious to pass up.
Where I found it: A Today’s Parent article about quick and easy family recipes.
Tips: I use chicken breasts (instead of thighs) and it only takes 3-4 hours on low heat (but then I’m also only cooking for two people).

Cheesey Vegetable Chowder
Why I love it: I’m a huge fan of soup as a meal. I’m aware some people thing soup is a side, but a hearty soup is perfect comfort food for a dreary day. I was looking for some variety over the usual vegetable soup and chicken noodle soup when I found this.
Where I found it: Pinterest
Tips: Instead of flour, chop some extra large pieces of potato and crush them up about a half hour before serving. That will thicken the soup (if it needs it. I find it usually doesn’t, but then I’m a broth girl. I like a lot of broth in my soup). We add cheese to our bowls so that everyone can add cheese to their own preference (hubby likes way more cheese than me). And it goes without saying you can use veggie broth instead of chicken broth to turn this one vegetarian.

Share your favorite slow cooker recipe; I’d love to try it!

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