3 Delicious Crock-Pot Recipes (Tasty & Easy)
Crock-pots are one of those appliances that seem like you fall into two categories for people; either a die-hard fan that uses it consistently, or it is in a constant state of storage, shoved in the back of the pantry or cabinet collecting dust. I generally fall into the second category myself, but when the cooler temperatures come around, some warm and slow-cooked food does sound amazing. Yes, you do have to be premeditative with your planning and prepping, but at the end of the day, you can have a slow-cooked meal full of flavor that has been cooking for hours with minimal effort! Cooking your meals at home is always cheaper than eating out. Also, cooking with a crock-pot instead of the oven can help keep your kitchen cooler, which in turn can save you money on utilities!
Save yourself the stress and time of clean up, and don’t forget crock-pot liners! These can generally be found in the same aisle at the grocery store as the ziplock bags and tin foil. Reynolds Kitchen liners are probably the ones you spot the most while you are shopping. Using your crock-pot for dinner is the general go-to because you can throw everything in at breakfast time and have a complete meal by the end of the day. But here are three recipes that are not only tasty and easy but also a bit off the beaten path. Hopefully, these ideas will help inspire more use out of your crock-pot!
1. For Breakfast: Serve Up a Breakfast Casserole
Planning breakfast for a large crowd can feel overwhelming. Of course, this need arises when you are hosting for a holiday or overnight guests when you do not want to be stuck in the kitchen for longer than necessary. A breakfast casserole can be pretty versatile to the preference of your group. The other benefit to a breakfast casserole cooking in a crock-pot vs. a traditional casserole in the oven means you can set it and forget it the night before and now try to wake up before all the masses to put everything together and preheat the oven. Anything you would put in an omelet can be thrown into the crock-pot the night before for a near labor-free warm breakfast of goodness first thing in the morning.
Prep Time 20 minutes // Cook Time 8 hours
- 1 dozen eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 package frozen hash brown potatoes (32 oz.)
- 1 lb breakfast meat (sausage or bacon, uncooked)
- 2 cups of shredded cheese (generally cheddar or Colby jack work best)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- -Add preferred vegetables: An array of veggies can be added as well, tomato, spinach, onions, peppers, dice, and keep to an average of ½ cup per item.
- -Add preferred spices and herbs: A 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard would add an extra kick. I like adding 2-3 tablespoons of parsley personally.
- Prep crock-pot with liner
- Layer frozen potatoes, breakfast meat, your choice of diced veggies, and 1 cup shredded cheese in the crock-pot in layers.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese over the top evenly.
- Beat the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and select herbs and spices together.
- Pour the egg mixture evenly over the cheese in the crock-pot.
- Cook on low heat for 7 to 8 hours or until the eggs become cooked fully. Do this at midnight and wake up to a delicious breakfast!
2. For Lunch: Serve Up Mac and Cheese
Crock-pot meals for lunch probably are not the first thing that comes to your mind, but it can be a huge help if you have a large social gathering, play-date group, or potluck lunch. Yes, the kids would probably be content with the basic boxed powdered cheese, but a bowl of hearty mac and cheese is always a crowd-pleaser for all ages. The biggest thing you need to watch out for when cooking any pasta in the crock-pot is that it does not become overcooked and mushy! Depending on what type of pasta you use will determine how quickly it cooks. Fusilli is a pretty common shaped pasta that looks like a corkscrew. It may be your best bet since it takes longer to prepare. I have used the standard elbow noodles with just as good results.
Prep Time 15 minutes // Cook Time 3 hours
- 3 ½ cups milk
- 1 can of evaporated milk (12 oz) (Note: Do not sub with condensed milk, consistency may be the same, but it is way too sweet, and you will end up with candy cheese, not ideal)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or mustard powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 box of pasta (16 oz)
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (16 oz)
- 8 oz Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Prep crock-pot with liner
- In a bowl, beat milk, melted butter, mustard, salt, and peppers with a whisk.
- Add mixture, pasta, 3 1/2 cups of the Cheddar cheese, the cubed cheese and Parmesan cheese into the crock-pot
- Cover; cook on Low heat setting, general it will take 2-3 hours to cook thoroughly. Check on the mac and cheese every 30 minutes or so, and stir well to ensure even cooking. Be sure not to overcook the pasta.
- Stir until mac and cheese combine and become creamy. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese on top. Cover; let stand until melted or for 15 minutes.
3. For Dessert: Make Your Fondue
Halloween season is nearing, and you are most likely going to end up with extra candy. Collect all of them and make a candy bar fondue! The setup is simple enough but still will wow your guests or even your kids for a special family treat.
For smaller batches or to create different flavors at one-time, place candy in a mason jar. Place jars inside the crock-pot and add an inch of water to the bottom of the crock-pot, this will turn your crock-pot into a double boiler. I would recommend still using the liner in case there are any spills. Making fondue is also a fun project to gift others with. Once you have the combined items in a mason jar melt together, you can carefully remove the jar to cooled, place a lid on top, and gift with a bag of pretzels or other food items to share a fondue night with others!
Once you are ready to dip, the options are pretty much endless, some of the most common items used for dipper are fruits like strawberries, apples or bananas; bite-size pieces of pound cake brownies, crispy rice treats. Pretzel sticks and graham crackers also make for perfect vessels to dip.
Prep Time: 10 minutes // Cook Time: 2 hours
- Milk chocolate
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Caramels cubes
- Your candy of choice: Milky Way, Reese’s Cups or other candy bars (Note: Stay away from candy with nuts or cookies inside to keep the consistency smooth)
- Prep crock-pot with liner
- Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 1.5 to 2 hours or until melted and smooth,
- Stirring every 30 minutes. Stir until combined. Dip your treats, and enjoy it!
Try these Crock-Pot choices we handpicked just for you!
Crock-pots are great to use during cold month holiday parties or gatherings. Making a large batch of hot apple cider or even hot chocolate will be a crowd-pleaser for sure! I have seen some people use the double boiler method with jars even to do non-food projects like body scrubs, body butter, and even to melt crayons and wax! How about you? Do you have any crock-pot hacks or unconventional uses?
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