Updated on 12.06.13

The Frugal Magic of the “Five Ingredient Crock Pot Meal”

Trent Hamm

crockWe use our crock pot all the time. Rarely does a week go by when we don’t use it at least twice. It enables us to simply put some ingredients in the crock pot in the morning, turn it on “low,” leave it for the day, then enjoy a home-cooked supper with our family at dinner. Often, we’ve got enough food left over that it serves as a solid lunch for me and my wife the next day (or the day after that).

A long time ago, I wrote an “introductory” post about crock pots entitled The Art of the Slow Cooker. In it, I mention the following:

Don’t have any idea what to cook? I’d recommend starting off with one of the spice packets sold in the grocery store, usually near the soup mixes. McCormick’s slow cooker packets are quite good for what you pay for, and the recipes usually involve dumping in the packet and four or five ingredients, turning it on low, and walking away for eight or nine hours. If you need to be away longer than that, add a quarter cup of additional water to the mix.

What’s amazing is how easy it is to create a truly tasty meal with minimal ingredients. Even if you don’t choose to pick up a spice packet at the grocery store, you can still create a wide array of great recipes with just a few ingredients in the crock pot.

In fact, my wife and I often strive to come up with great crock pot meals that require only five ingredients. With such a small list of ingredients, it takes only a minute or so to pull the crock pot out of the cupboard, toss in the ingredients, turn it on “low,” and leave for the day, only to come home to a deliciously prepared home-cooked meal.

Here’s one such recipe from The Art of the Slow Cooker:

here’s the simplest really tasty recipe I know of for a slow cooker.

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (chicken & herbs if you can find it)
1 small can mushroom pieces (a 4 ounce can, drain off the water first)
1/2 chopped red onion
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cut into strips if you’d like)
1/4 cup white wine (optional)

Put them all in the crock pot. Turn it on low. Walk away for four hours. For every additional two hours it will cook, add a quarter cup of water.

This makes for a delicious little chicken dish that I like to call “creamy chicken casserole.” It takes about two minutes to prepare in the morning and fills your belly right at night.

Like that one? Here are five more recipes, all of which we’ve eaten in the last few months. The directions for each are easy:

Combine all of this into a crock pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn it on low and walk away for eight hours. Add a quarter of a cup of water for every additional two hours you intend to cook it.

Got that? That’s all you have to do for each one. Here are the ingredients.

Crock Pot Chili
1 large can tomato sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cans beans (kidney beans are fine, but you can use whatever you like)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 cup diced onion (or onion salt)

Simple Pot Roast
1 2 to 2.5 lb. roast
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
3 cups beef broth or beef stock

Ham and Potato Casserole
4 red potatoes, sliced
2 red onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds cubed ham
1 can condensed cream of celery soup, diluted according to can directions
2 tablespoons flour

(This one is very good with cheese on top just before you serve it.)

Shredded Beef Sandwiches
2 pounds beef brisket
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 cups beef broth or beef stock
2 cloves minced garlic
1 chopped red onion

(Serve this on buns – magnificent!)

Breakfast Apple Cobbler
4 medium-sized apples, peeled and sliced (try Honey Crisps)
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups granola cereal

(Start this one at 10 or 11 PM – ready for breakfast!)

It takes only five ingredients and a few minutes to come home to (or wake up to) a delicious home-cooked meal that doesn’t cost you very much money at all.

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  1. Kristen says:

    BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

    2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (we like the dark meat, but you could use breasts too)
    1 can of cola (coke, pepsi, whatever, just no diet due to the artificial sweeteners breaking down)
    1 large onion, sliced thin
    1.5 cups ketchup
    1/2 cup mustard (any kind you like)

    Great on buns!

  2. M says:

    We love our crockpot too!
    I need to use it more.
    Thank you for the recipes – I cant wait to try them out!


  3. JB says:

    Yes, a recipe! I got a crockpot last year and love it. It takes alot of the stress out of cooking for me. I’m going to try the chicken casserole, sounds good.

  4. These all sound delicious. I’m gonna have to give them a shot. I love trying to create dishes. I’m still trying to master the basics of cooking before I get too adventurous(last month I messed up Taco’s… yea… lol)


  5. Johanna says:

    I would not have thought that the honeycrisp would be a good cooking apple – its distinguishing feature is that the cells stick together more strongly, so that when you bite into the raw apple, the cells rupture instead of sliding apart, and the apple seems juicier even though it isn’t. But maybe they’re good cooked too – I’ve never tried.

  6. Tiphaine says:

    kristen you recipe sounds great!!
    For all BBQ amateurs out there I would totally recommend the cheater bbq book (I borrowed it at the library but I think I’ll get my own copy)
    it’s all about smoke in a bottle and crockpot.

    I usually DO NO follow recipes, but this time I had no idea how to do it, I followed the easy steps and we were SO happy with the results!!


  7. liv says:

    Oh man, I love using the crockpot. I need to use it more often…

  8. Jamie says:

    My personal favorite needs a 5qt (large) slow cooker, but is absolutely outstanding:

    2 cups brown sugar, along the bottom
    1 Picnic ham (picnic specifically – others can be too dry)

    Start with 1.5 cups brown sugar at the bottom of the slow cooker, ham on top. Score the ham across the top, then pat in another 1/2 cup brown sugar into the top. Cook 8 hrs on low, the sauce works best if you siphon the fat off the top, then stick it in the fridge ~15 minutes to congeal it rather than leaving it as just a liquid.

  9. CPA Kevin says:

    Those sound great. We’ve been doing whole chickens with just a few spices of our choosing. Eat some of the meat with a side or two for dinner that night and use the leftover meat for lunch the rest of the week. Very frugal at around $4-5 per chicken.

  10. This is a pretty elementary question–how safe is it to leave a crockpot on all day long with no one home? I’m nervous about doing this, afraid that it would catch fire or burn and set off the smoke alarm or otherwise damage or disturb my apartment building.

  11. Super Tender BBQ Chicken Wings:

    Toss wings in Crock
    Add 1 1/2 cups BBQ Sauce
    Add 1/2 cup Water

    Cook on high 4 hours

    Drain wings, add more BBQ sauce and microwave till sauce is hot…enjoy, fall off the bone wings!

    This works great for party prep too, just cook them in the crock then refrigerate until party time, add fresh BBQ and microwave or return to the crock for warming….yum!

  12. Johnny says:

    Great point. I am in love with my slow cooker… Only I quit using spice packets as they are loaded with MSG.

    I lookup recipes to make such combos on recipezaar and allrecipes. They come out even better, cheaper (over time) and without MSG. MSG is an excitotoxin that damages neurons in the brain and causes gross obesity in test animals.

  13. AK says:

    This is why I love your column! I/we receive real life advice and I won’t waste money when I have to throw all a dish that doesn’t turn out at all.

    my mom has bought me 4 slow cooker recipe books. I tried French Onion soup with 6 cans of beef broth and 6 large onions.
    Except the 6 cans will not fit into my slow cooker. I did not know that my slow cooker is small one. I had to throw all of those ingredients out. And it makes me scared to tried something unknown!

    This is how you save me/us money. Tried and proved recipes.

    Thank you thank you thank you

  14. CPA Kevin says:

    Johanna – you sound like Alton Brown with all that scientific food talk.

  15. Saver Queen says:

    The crockpot is great and I love making soups & stews with very few, simple ingredients.

    I actually did a price comparison between my delicious carrot, ginger soup and Campbell’s on a half price sale… mine came out cheaper, not to mention packed with flavour & nutrition.

    CPA Kevin & Johanna – you’re so right, Johanna you sound just like Alton Brown. Good ol Alton… he’s the best!

  16. Saver Queen says:

    Kristen – never would have thought of using cola. Very interesting.

  17. Lisa says:

    Can anyone tell me how I can gauge the amount of food a crock pot makes in terms of its quart size? I live alone, and would like, when I make something, to be able to get several meals out of it. Is 3 1/2 quarts good? 5? Help, please, cos I have *no* idea!

  18. Heidi says:

    2 ingredient chicken:
    1 whole young chicken
    1 bottle beer
    fill with water or chicken broth to cover chicken

    Come home, slide the meat off the bones and done. Serve with salad and bread or mac & cheese.

  19. Jenni says:

    One thing Trent doesn’t mention that makes my crockpot my single favorite item in my VEGETARIAN kitchen – it’s great for cooking beans. And as we all know, beans are dirt cheap and very healthy. A couple cups of dried beans in a crock pot for four hours with several cups of water and a few other ingredients (mostly herbs and spices), and they’re perfect (sorry, I’m no good with recipes; I’m one of those cooks who just adds stuff until it tastes good). I can also make soup with dried beans (which are far less expensive than canned ones) – just toss all the ingredients in with plenty of water and let it work its magic.

  20. Grant says:

    Sounds tasty. Do you have any recommendations on an actual crock pot? I don’t own one. Do they vary in sizes, features and quality, or are they all pretty much the same?

  21. JT says:

    These sound freakin awesome – can’t wait to try.

    Any recommendations on a crock pot?

  22. oneofnine says:

    Grant, 5-6 quarts is a great size for a family. You might need smaller if you’re only cooking for one or two people. Prices vary but the basic cooker has a high, low and keep warm setting. You won’t need much more than that!

    I had the same thought as Johnny– make sure you look closely at your spice packets b/c they’re often loaded with MSG. Also when choosing canned soups, get the low-sodium kind. Regular soups, stocks, and even bouillon cubes usually have upwards of a thousand mg of sodium per serving.

    You’d be better off starting a winter herb garden in a sunny windowsill or using dried spices so you can experiment with flavor and go easier on the sodium and preservatives of powdered flavor packets.

    Great post! I just got a crock-pot and we use it 2-3 times a week. It is a godsend for our family because it has saved us from eating out on the days when my husband and I don’t get home from work until 6:30 or 7pm. Love it!!!

  23. CPA Kevin says:

    Grant – I can’t remember what model we have – but it has a lockable lid. It is great when we want to take it somewhere…or making sure little kids or dogs don’t get into it.

  24. leslie says:

    I have used my crockpot for pulled pork and also for meatballs. The pork comes out amazing!

    I put pork butt in the crockpot with some water, cover, put on low and go to work. Come home from work, the house smells incredible and the meat is done! Just make the sauce (coke & ketchup works for starters), pull the pork off and shred it with a fork, and serve on buns!

    @Little Miss Moneybags I have never ever had a problem leaving my crockpot on while I was at work (9 hours). I think the low setting is about 100-200F. I pull it away from the wall and make sure that nothing is near it. I also don’t have any pets to worry about getting into it. Instead of putting water in every two hours, I just put a bunch in to start.

  25. Dar says:

    My easy fave: Beef in red wine gravy
    1 1/2 lbs stew meat
    3 cups red wine
    4 tbsps corn starch
    2 beef boullion cubes
    1 chopped onion
    dash of salt
    dash of pepper

    Low: 8 hours, or
    High: 4 hours

    Serve over favorite pasta.

    The rockin’ slow-cooker I bought from Amazon last year is excellent–has a digital readout and can be set to low or high at 15-minute increments, after which it trips over to the warm setting.

    It’s not a bargain, but I’d recommend any of the other programmable slow-cookers too, because it’s nice to know your meal will not be overcooked if you can’t get home in time.

  26. F2O says:

    Kristen – my wife and I have switched over to thighs as well. It’s amazing how much more flavor they have than a breast. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had a dry piece of chicken since we started buying them. The best part is, you can substitute thighs for breasts in just about any recipe.

  27. michael bash says:

    I read “The Simple Dollar” every day, lots of good information. But as a serious amateur cook, I have to tell you you’re a bit out of your depth when you get in the kitchen. “Frugal” has been a word for us foodies for generations; we’re for “slow food” as opposed to “fast food”. I suggest strongly you read David Kamp’s THE UNITED STATES OF ARUGULA.

    The point would be: crock pot = good; canned soup = bad. THE FRUGAL GOURMET, Jeff Smith, helped us along 25 years ago. You make stock and freeze it either in jars or icecube trays. You don’t buy cans of almost anything, you make it. Put another way, I don’t own a crock pot, but I do owm a stock pot.

    This is a huge subject with 100s of blogs if you want. You’re on the right track saying people should eat at home more. Very good. But one of the greatest pleasures of eating your own stuff is to make it. It doesn’t take that long; I’ve been doing it for almost 40 years now. Start with names like Child, Hazan, Rodin just to name three. Remember cooking is the only art you can eat. Michael Bash

  28. What kind of granola do you use, Trent? Can you use homemade granola? I find that store-bought granola is awfully expensive(and rarely goes on sale)and so I’m loathe to buy it.

  29. Bev says:

    I’d love to try these recipies but it seems like most (not all) slow cooker meals involve meat. Part of our family’s frugal living goals for this year are to eat less, and preferably relatively little, meat.

    This is NOT a judgment on the choices of other families or individuals. My husband and I just consistently felt we had two choices. 1) Buy cheap meat which is either bad for the environment or bad for our health. 2) Buy expensive meat which is bad for our budget and simple living desires.

    So, I’d welcome links or ideas to use our slow cooker for non-meat meals. The breakfast idea is nice for a weekend, but on a weekday our usual oatmeal routine suffices. There must be some other types of meals out there, right?

  30. Penny says:

    I use my crockpot a lot. For one thing, it makes even game meat tender, and my husband hunts a lot…I mean a lot. I have a great recipe that is rotisserie chicken, but uses the crock pot. I use that same recipe for squirrels with much success. For freestyle cooking, just add some sort of liquid (be it water, beer, juice, etc), some corresponding spices, and the meat. You can’t go wrong. Orange juice, cinnamon, clove and chicken is awesome, as is beer, garlic, onion and venison (beef for you nonhunting families). I have never had something turn out gross by cooking this way.
    The next best thing about the crockpot is that dinner is ready by time you get home and you only had a few minutes of prep time in the morning. It’s like having your very own cook.

  31. Judy says:

    Yes I remember Mom using the “slow Cooker” to prepare healthy dinners without spending hrs in the kitchen. Another really good time/money saving device is a pressure cooker. It’s great for quick and delicious home made soups or cooking dried bean dishes in a hurry.
    I prefer pressure cooker for bean-based vegetarian dishes and crock pot for inexpensive (tough) meat dishes.

  32. michael bash says:

    See what I mean? Comment #21, perfect example. Of course you can – and should – make your own granola. Nothing could be simpler, and it’s better, fresher and certainly cheaper. Thank you Kristen@The Frugal Girl for proving my point. DIY.

  33. Candi says:

    I too love my crockpot and use it about once a week (or more). I like to make my spagetti sauce in the crockpot, roasts, soups etc!

    As for the type of crockpot, just about any kind will do. I personally have two. One is family size 6qt and a smaller 3 qt. I use whichever accomodates my recipe better. Thrift stores usually carry several if you are looking for one super cheap.

    I have never had an issue leaving mine. Though if you wished to be extra careful you could plug it into a surge protector and be sure nothing was near it, away from the wall etc.

  34. Kt says:

    I never comment on blogs (thought I follow a ton of them) and while I always enjoy this blog in general, I LOVE this post. I heart crockpots & the less complicated, the better!

  35. cv says:

    Here’s another crock pot question: are they worthwhile for vegetarians? The recipes I’ve seen all seem to be centered around meat, with veggies just thrown in for flavor or to round out the meal a bit. I love the idea of coming home to dinner already made, but I’m not sure they fit the kind of food I tend to eat (mainly veggies, whole grains, beans, tofu, etc.).

  36. leslie says:

    CV – my sister is a vegetarian and she loves her crockpot. I have no idea what she cooks in it but she uses it all the time.

  37. eaufraiche says:


    crockpots (and pressure cookers!) are fabulous for vegheads! go to fatfreevegan.com and google crockpot… AND the recipes are inherently healthy – low fat, tasty and generally low sugar, too.

    re: brands – never met one i didn’t love. when shopping, just compare features and consider your needs. a 3.5 is big enough (and not too small) for one or 2 people.

    off topic: TRENT, HOW CAN WE FIND OUT WHAT, SPECIFICALLY, IS IN THE OBAMA STIMULUS PLAN??? Very sketchy details out there!

  38. Jillian says:

    Huh, I never thought of using it to make breakfast. Now I’m going to have to experiment with porridge and things too. Thanks!

    We like making thai curries with ours – throw in some meat, random veggies, a spoonful of curry paste, can of coconut cream and enough water to cover. Or, double the coconut cream, add some cooked noodles at the end, and you’ve got laksa.

  39. Linda says:

    I got an unused hand-me-down crockpot and made chicken stock overnight in it. It was so easy and delicious and I could control the ingredients and the salt. No more canned stocks for me! I just have to see if I can get beef bones from the local grocery without buying meat cuts. I had it on high for 3 hrs and the exterior was not even warm to the touch. When I went to bed I switched it to low and woke up to great smells and great stock. If you Google crockpot stock you’ll see.

  40. Charlotte says:

    I have a slow cooker, rather than a crock pot. I think the main difference is that the slow cooker will cook at a higher temperature (it has a 1-5 setting) and, therefore, is somewhat faster and will even cook at a slow simmer. I cook dried beans and/or rice at least once a week. I also cook different one-dish meals, such as chili or soups. I’ve never left mine all day, but it is easy to be home with it several hours on a Saturday or Sunday. My favorite recipe is

    2 pounds or so of a cheap cut of beef
    2 cans cream of mushroom soup
    1 can water
    1 can milk

    Cook for 4-5 hours. Sometimes I add red wine or sour cream to the leftovers to make an entirely different dish.

  41. Cyd says:

    anybody got any good ovo-lacto vegetarian crockpot recipes???

  42. MaryAnn says:

    Hey, thanks. I always appreciate new ways to make an easy dinner. As my children know, having a home-cooked dinner together is the best time of the day.

  43. Johanna says:

    @CPA Kevin (#10): Is that good or bad?

  44. Melissa says:

    If you are looking for more crock pot recipes, a fabulous place is http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/
    She uses more than 5 ingredients, but makes everything under the sun (Gluten Free)

    I am lobbying for a small crock pot from DH for Valentine’s Day.

  45. Amanda says:

    Yea crockpots! Nice, simple recipes : )

  46. Jamie says:

    @ Grant, and whoever is contemplating a crock pot-

    Make sure you get one with a digital timer so that you can set the times for it to come on and off.
    Sounds like a no-brainer but many crock pots do not have this feature.

  47. Susan says:

    I love my crockpot so much that I have three! My son has one up at college. They are made to be left cooking without supervision, so don’t worry about using it when you aren’t home. Also, you can buy them very inexpensively ($4-$5) around here at any Goodwill store. Just plug it in and set it on high and wait to be sure it warms up before you leave the store with it. One more note about making stock–put in 1/2 to a cup of white vinegar when cooking the meat, bones, etc. The vinegar leaches the calcium out of the bones and makes the broth an excellent source of calcium and you can’t taste the vinegar at all!

  48. ed says:

    @Johnny – unless you underwent trepanation and are dunking your head in the crockpot, i wouldn’t worry too much about damaging the neurons in your brain with MSG, as ingested glutamate doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier and the tests showing neuron damage involved injecting the stuff directly into the brain. i can’t for the life of me figure out why there is so much misinformation out there on MSG.

    now as for the cans of soup mentioned in the recipes, i’m not sure what those will do to you…

  49. Karen M says:

    For those looking for vegetarian slow cooker recipes, I use “Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.” I use it at least once a week, and have now made about 10-12 of the recipes from it, and have not had a dud yet.

    I love my slow cooker/CrockPot. I’ve even found a way to make boiled peanuts in it. (My husband lived in South Carolina for years and is borderline addicted to them.)

  50. colleen c says:

    Lisa, I think a 3.5 quart crockpot is a fairly small one. I have a 5-quart and it is about average and I think the 6-quart ones are the large ones. If you go to a Target or Kohl’s where they have a few set out, you will be able to sort of eyeball it and see the difference. One limit with the smaller ones is that some food will not FIT — like in the smaller ones you could not physically jam a whole chicken in there and get the lid on.

    If you go to Allrecipes — which is a site I LOVE — you can look up crockpot recipes and see how many servings a recipe makes. You can also change the amount of servings and the recipe will show the new ingredient amounts, so you can play around that way too. In general, I think a 5-quart crockpot would be a good middle ground and these can be bought very cheaply.

    Good luck!

  51. Elissa says:

    For some really good recipes, check out another one of my favorite blogs: A Year of CrockPotting (crockpot365.blogspot.com/). Stephanie used her crockpot daily in 2008, got invited onto the Rachael Ray show, and is planning a book based on her year-long experiment. All the recipes I’ve tried from her site have been great. Her year of crockpotting is over but she still adds recipes occaisionally.

  52. Derek says:

    I’m going out to buy a crock pot tomorrow and try some of these out. Most of my questions have been answered but I’ve never used one and am slightly concerned about cleaning it. Is it a hassle?

  53. Sharon says:

    Derek, get one with a removable interior.

  54. Camille says:

    It’s amazing what flavor you will get by just simmering a chuck roast in a pint of chopped tomatoes. Add a little garlic, salt and pepper, and oh baby, it’s good.

    (You could sear the meat in a frying pan to get a good carmellized glaze on it first. Then deglaze the pan with some of the juice from the tomatoes or even a little wine or water.)

    As for vegetarians, except for a few grains that could use long term cooking, most veggies cook too quickly for a crock pot to be worth it. A rice cooker with a timer might be as much of a convenience tool. (One thing I have used a crock pot for is making yogurt. I keep the yogurt warm by placing a jar of it in warm water in the crock pot, and turn the crock pot on for short periods of time when the water gets too cool.)

  55. Christine says:

    My easiest crockpot recipe ever.

    1 Chuck Roast
    1 jar pepperochini peppers in vinegar.

    Put the meat in the CP and pour jar over it. Cook all day on low. Serve over noodles-Spicy beef noodles! I like it with salt :-) This literally takes 30 seconds to prepare!

  56. jgodsey says:

    a can of soup is NOT AN INGREDIENT!
    it’s mostly thickeners and salts!
    learn to cook people.

  57. Mike says:

    Found an interesting food blog about CrockPots with tons of good recipes. http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/

  58. Jules says:

    You got any vegetarian recipes?

  59. michael bash says:

    “Spice packets” from McCormick, right next to the “soup mixes”. Trent that’s exactly what we/you want to get people to give up. You must take the same attitude in the kitchen as you do at your desk. How can you encourage people to make their own laundry detergent and then send them out to buy “soup mixes”? Do both, but if only one, make soup/stock. RSVP everybody.

  60. kristine says:

    Question- these same recipes could be made in the oven, in a cast iron dutch oven, cooking for about 1.5 hours.

    Is running the crockpot for 4-5 hours less energy consuming? I have a gas stove.

  61. karen says:

    We had the crock pot potroast last night. It was wonderful! I did not use celery, because I did not have any (hard to find here), but we enjoyed it!

  62. Lenore says:

    Trent, do you brown the hamburger first for chili, spaghetti, etc. or just toss it in raw? We’ve been microwaving the ground turkey but wonder if we could skip that step.

    I’ve never seen a crockpot with a digital timer, but sounds like a good idea. Definitely opt for a removable crock, the lighter the better. You can find these at thrift stores and yard sales all the time, or put a request on Freecycle or Craigslist. They take up space, but the convenience and comfort food is worth it. (Ditto on Foreman-style grills with removable plates for easy cleaning. Grilled cheese heaven!)

    My favorite NO WORK recipe is stew meat (lean if you want)plus canned sliced potatoes, canned sliced carrots, parsley flakes and salt to taste. We add sliced celery or cabbage and baby carrots or unpeeled new potatoes if we’re feeling real ambitious. May also toss in mushrooms, peas, corn, beans, etc. If you dump cans in, liquid and all, it saves time and tap water while enhancing the flavor and vitamin content. Add a little cornstarch or flour if you want thicker sauce. Serve with some hot biscuits or cornbread and ooh-weeee!

  63. Suzie says:

    I know people have already asked about vegetarian recipes, but I have a slightly different question. What kind of vegetarian protein-filled foods can you put in a crock pot? It seems like lentils, beans and tofu would just disintegrate after a few hours into a mush.

  64. Great recipes!

    We love the set it and forget it of the crock pot!

  65. Merry says:

    Beans come out really great in the crockpot, but here’s our favorite simple recipe:

    Meat of choice (we usually use a cheap cut of beef)
    Jar of Salsa (we like the frontera chipotle)

    Pour salsa over meat. Cook until done.

    Serve with mashed potatoes or shred meat and serve on buns or over toast.

    If you have a fatty cut of meat, put it in the fridge and the next day the fat will have floated to the top and hardened and you can just pick it up out of the sauce. Reheat and its even better than serving it the day it’s made. Freezes well, too.

  66. Chapeau says:

    @Suzie (#42)
    I use mine to rehydrate dried beans and I love it. Also, it’s much, much cheaper and takes up less space in the pantry to buy a bag of dried beans and re-hydrate them as needed. 1 cup of dried beans means at 2-3 cups of canned beans (depends on the size of the beans).
    And I cook kidney beans for chili, or black beans and lentil soup (canned or rehydrated) in mine all the time. The beans and lentils are soft after a full work day, but not mushy at all.

  67. Chicky says:

    I am trying the Chili today. Instead of 1/4 an onion, I’m using 1/2. I’m also adding a green pepper and a clove of garlic.

    Thanks for the recipes! I’m going to try at least 4 of the 5 recipes soon.

  68. Leslie says:

    We got our first crockpot as a wedding present in 1972! It’s a 3.5 qt. size and we STILL use it. Once I had kids we switched to a 6 qt. size but now we’re empty nesters and I’m back to using the smaller one. It’s definitely a working person’s best friend. Our favorite recipe is beef stew. I buy the frozen stew vegetables – the pkg contains potatoes, carrots, celery and onions. It only takes a few minutes to cut up some sirloin (or in a pinch you can buy it already cut into cubes or just buy a cheap cut of beef). I used to buy McCormick or French’s pkg of stew spices but then when I didn’t have one on hand I looked at a couple of stew receipes and just used the recommended spices. Turned out just as good so I throw in my own spices now. As Lenore mentioned, I add in some cornstarch mixed with water at the end to thicken the sauce.

  69. gilora says:

    I love my ancient crock pot and use it 1-2 times per week. It does not have a digital timer, but an inexpensive lamp timer works just as well. My all-time favorite easy recipe is the following:

    1.5 to 2 lbs. London broil
    1 can tomato soup, undiluted
    1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
    1/2 to 1 packet powdered onion soup mix.

    Put London broil in the bottom of the crock pot. Dump cans of soup over the top and stir in the onion soup mix. Cover and cook on low 8 hours. Delicious and so easy!

  70. Kelly says:

    thanks-we are always up for more crockpot ideas!

  71. beth says:

    Couple of things I have found hanging around crockpot-using groups online:
    The older ones tend to run at a lower cooking temperature, so if you are using your mom’s recipes with your crockpot, you may need slightly more liquid or to use Low instead of High. However, if you’re using a modern recipe and mom’s crock, you may need to cook longer or turn it up for the first couple hours.

    My chili recipe is almost identical to yours, except that I throw in a jar of salsa (easier than chopping veggies) and copius amounts of chili powder– usually a few tablespoons. I typically brown the ground beef, though I hear it cooks fine going in raw too.

    From what I’ve heard of ground beef in the crock, when you put it in raw, it cooks in to finer grains but isn’t as textured (more like Taco Bell taco meat). YMMV.

    I’m also a huge fan of any old cheap hunk of meat thrown in (except London Broil- I personally have never had luck with it in the crock), with either a marinade or BBQ sauce plus liquid smoke. Roasts, steaks, pork chops, poultry anything. Just keep in mind that anything with bones will practically fall off the bone as it cooks, leaving you to fish the bones out of your plate.

    Beans are great too. I usually do a traditional overnight soak & drain, then throw in just like you would on the stovetop. Can make vegetarian, but I typically do chili, white chicken chili, or ham & beans.

    I’ve read recipes for everything from baked chicken to chocolate cake in the crock, so it’ll do just about anything! And we use ours probably twice a week most of the time.

    Oh, and mine is a 5 qt., which will snugly fit most dinner-sized recipes (like a double batch of chili). A full-sized ham or turkey breast is a tough squeeze though.

  72. Kim says:

    Big fan of the slow-cooker here.

    Using the slow cooker-liner bags makes clean-up a snap (actually, clean-up is eliminated completely). But the liners add to the cost – and to the landfills too.

  73. leslie says:

    I wanted to add that I got my crockpot (a nice Rival one) for free using FreeCycle. Crockpots seem to be things that people get for gifts and don’t always use them. I would definitely check that first before going out and buying one.

  74. Mary says:

    I’m curious to know whether plain old oats could be substituted for the granola in the apple recipe. I have no granola, but lots of oats from my food club. I’m thinking I’d need to add more liquid for the oats, or put in fewer than 2 cups.

    These recipes all sound great, and I do plan to try at least three of them in the very near future! Thanks!

  75. Suzie says:

    @Chapeau: Ah, dried beans – of course! How silly of me. I was still thinking of tins of beans that one just heats up. :)

  76. I still have not had a chicken recipe in the crock pot that I life. But Chili….ahhh that’s my favorite!

  77. Wayward says:

    Our crockpot doesn’t get used as much as it should. We mostly use it for making kalua pig.

    We like very flavorful foods, and most crockpot recipes I find come out pretty bland. A couple of these recipes sound worth a try. Thanks, Trent.

  78. MegB says:

    I actually advise against getting a crockpot with a digital timer. I used to have a digital one after my husband insisted on replacing my old 70s crockpot (even though it worked just fine). We tried two different brands, but they always scorched our food. So, I went back to the basics and got a Hamilton Beach crockpot that had just plain old “low/high” settings. I’ve not had any problems since.

    Also, I have left my crockpot on for up to ten hours and have never had a problem. It’s a lifesaver for busy families!

  79. Shevy says:

    I use my crockpot pretty well weekly because, as an Orthodox Jew, I don’t cook on the Sabbath, yet must serve hot food. I make cholent (kind of a meat stew with beans and barley) or a regular meat stew or a meat and potatoes based soup. Pretty well everybody I know uses one and we all keep ours on for the full 25 or so hours of Shabbat (on low, of course) and there’s never any problem. We sleep while it’s on and we leave the house to go to services, so I certainly wouldn’t worry about leaving it on while you’re at work or whatever.

    In fact, I know that some working mothers like to start dinner before they leave the house and come home and just be able to dish up.

    Our food is prepared Friday afternoon and served for lunch on Saturday. You take the liner out to serve the food and then just leave it out at that point, but the crockpot doesn’t get turned off until after dark.

    I have heard that some of the newest ones are problematic though (i.e. the digital ones and some others don’t allow you to leave them on indefinitely) so read the operating manual beforehand if that’s important to you.

    As an aside, this is also what’s happened with electric stoves since their clocks all became digital. The oven starts an annoying beeping to be turned off at the 12 hour mark. So appliance manufacturers now sell stoves with “Sabbath Mode” ovens that will stay on for up to 72 hours continuously without any noise or other problem.

  80. Carmen says:

    @Shevy – are you saying Jews cannot turn an oven/crockpot off during the Sabbath? If so, does that apply to other appliances such as kettles?

  81. Tricia says:

    Hi just made the chili this morning for a Boy Scout Superbowl party tonight. I added green peppers in addition to the onion. Smells great right now!

  82. Cathy says:

    I love crock pot recipes! They are so versatile – you can throw in the pot anything you have on hand. Here’s my beef stew recipe:

    1 pound stew meat, cubed
    1 diced parsnip
    2 diced carrots
    1 medium onion
    5 small red potatoes, cubed
    1 can diced tomatoes
    1/2-1 cup water
    1 tablespoon thyme
    2 teaspoons steak seasoning
    1/2 tablespoon rosemary
    2 tablespoons dried gravy mix (I use El Bisto)

    Put potatoes, parsnip and carrots at the bottom of the crockpot. Season stew meat with salt and pepper. Brown quickly in a skillet. Add to top of vegetables. Put onions over the meat. In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes with water and seasoning. Pour over top of meat. Heat on medium-low 8-10 hours. Yum!

  83. marc says:

    try one 2-3 lb boneless pork roast and a bottle of barbecue sauce. Set it and forget it. It makes a great pulled pork sandwich. My kids love it.

  84. Zovette says:

    This is a great party recipe.

    1 Can Cranberry Sauce
    1 12 oz bottle of Chili Sauce
    1 2 lb bag of frozen, pre-cooked meatballs

    Combine Cranberry Sauce and Chili. Mix till smooth. Pour over meatballs. Cook on High for 4 hours.

    Tastes GREAT!

  85. Rick says:

    Save even more money.Crock pots are a dime a dozen at flea markets and garage sales and last forever.

  86. Lynne says:

    Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    canned or homemade chicken broth/stock/boullion (your budget, your choice)
    taco seasoning mix (we make our own, but you can use store-bought, too)

    cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4. Fork-shred. Load onto tortillas with slotted spoon. Enjoy!

  87. Emmett says:

    @Wayward. Would you care to share your recipe for the kalua pig?

  88. Either of Paula Deen’s pot roast recipes work perfectly in the crock pot, assuming that you add enough liquid to cover the beef. I get my roasts at Costco, and they draw raves every time.

    season and brown the roast in a skillet, then put in the slow cooker

    Then add two crushed garlic cloves, one sliced onion, two crushed bullion cubes, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a bay leaf, a tablespoon of worchestershire sauce, a couple of cups of red wine, and enough water (or more wine) to cover the brown roast. Cook it for six to eight hours on low, and you’ve got pot roast with gravy, ready to go.

  89. Lauar says:

    Crockpot uses same wattage as average lightbulb.

    Our favorite crockpot recipe for Sauerbrauten:

    2 lbs. beef pot roast, 3-4″ thick
    1 c. vinegar
    1 c. onions, sliced
    8 whole cloves
    1 T. sugar
    1 c. water
    2 bay leaves
    1-1/2 t. salt
    Dash of pepper

    Cover meat with above ingredients. Let stand in refrigerator 24 hours or more. Remove from liquid; wipe dry. Brown meat in skillet. Add to crockpot with 1-1/2 cups of strained marinade liquid. Let cook 8-10 hours on low. Remove meat. We thicken the drippings with crumbled gingersnaps for a delicious gravy.

    This recipe was originally made in a pressure cooker, but the lazy daughter that I am converted it to a crockpot with great results.

  90. Laura says:

    Crockpot uses same wattage as average lightbulb.

    Our favorite crockpot recipe for Sauerbraten:

    2 lbs. beef pot roast, 3-4″ thick
    1 c. vinegar
    1 c. onions, sliced
    8 whole cloves
    1 T. sugar
    1 c. water
    2 bay leaves
    1-1/2 t. salt
    Dash of pepper

    Cover meat with above ingredients. Let stand in refrigerator 24 hours or more. Remove from liquid; wipe dry. Brown meat in skillet. Add to crockpot with 1-1/2 cups of strained marinade liquid. Let cook 8-10 hours on low. Remove meat. We thicken the drippings with crumbled gingersnaps for a delicious gravy.

    This recipe was originally made in a pressure cooker, but the lazy daughter that I am converted it to a crockpot with great results.

  91. db says:

    IMHO a crockpot is the perfect tool for making foolproof bean/pea/lentil recipies. The trick is not to use canned, always use dried. Those are better anyway.

    Also, I have a recipe for a great vegetarian morrocan stew that I’ll have to hunt up and post. It’s so good It’s made meat-eaters forget to look for the meat.

  92. sr2 says:

    i recently bought a crock pot and have made different kinds of chili and things. But I want to learn how to cook real food (non-liquid?), mainly italian sausage with peppers and onions. Can i just throw in raw sausage or do I need to brown it first? Any tips appreciated. Thanks!

  93. Cathy says:

    Be careful when using dried kidney beans in a crockpot. Make sure to fully rehydrate them 8 hours in water, then throw away the water. The kidney beans must be cooked at 212 degrees F (boiling temp) for at least 10 minutes. Dried kidney beans contain a toxin called glycoprotein lectin that is destroyed when boiled for 10 minutes. It can cause food poisoning type symptoms if it isn’t cooked properly. Just make sure your crockpot reaches an internal temperature of at least 212 degrees F and all will be well.

  94. Shevy says:

    Yes. We cannot turn on or off any type of electric or battery operated device during the Sabbath. Some items can be controlled by timers that are set prior to the Sabbath (like a lamp) but most things are set ahead of time (like remembering to turn *on* the light in the bathroom and to turn *off* the light in the fridge) and that’s it.

    Instead of a kettle we use a big metal coffee urn that holda 40 or so cups but just fill it with hot water for making instant coffee. (I just tossed the rod and basket that holds the coffee filter in place.)

  95. Shevy says:

    Blinkety blink typo daemon.

  96. Kathy says:

    To transport a crock pot that doesn’t have the locking handles, I use 2 thick rubber bands (that my mail carrier often uses to bundle my mail). Hook both over the center knob and stretch each one to a side handle or where the crock lip protrudes out slightly.

    I use the same method to secure casserole lids for transporting as well as storing back in the depths of my cupboards.

  97. Sally says:

    My biggest complaint with most crock pot/slow cooker recipes is the use of condensed “cream of whatever” soups and other convenience products. Having said that, I do use them every 3-4 months or so.

    Above someone recommended Robin Robertson’s “Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker”. I second that recommendation. I’d also recommend Beth Hensberger’s “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker” and “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two”. Also, the “Fix It and Forget It” series, but they rely a lot on the convenience products.

    I do nearly all my soups in the slow cooker, cook all dried beans in it, and quite a few other dishes. Just about anything you would simmer on the stovetop or requires a long baking or braising time can be done in a slow cooker.

    These two are helpful:



    My basic bean recipe:

    Here’s one of our favorites:


    Yield: 4 to 6 servings

    2 cans (14 ounces each) black beans, drained
    1 1/2 cup frozen corn
    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1 jar (12 to 16 ounces) of your favorite salsa


    1. Place all ingredients in a crock pot, layering beans, corn, chicken and salsa on top. Cook in crock pot on low for 8 to 10 hours (or high for 3-4).

    Optional: Can be served over rice, in tortillas or by itself. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, or guacamole, if desired.

  98. BeyondRandom says:

    mmmmmm….now im craving chili! Im gonna have to try this one night this week! Thanks for the post and Im loving the blog!

  99. EGD says:

    Great recipes, all! I also like to use a lamp timer on my crock pot, until I upgrade to a digital one someday. Works wonders for chicken, which often doesn’t need to cook as long as beef.

  100. Sarah says:

    I’m the oh-so experienced veteran of exactly two crockpot attempts… one of which I cooked to a brown and gummy mess haha! I only bought the crockpot right after Christmas though, so I’m still enthusiastic about learning to use it more. Thanks for incorporating some awesome simple/affordable recipes, and for the instructions about adding the additional water if you’re going to be gone longer… armed with that knowledge, I should be able to successfully avoid ruining any future meals…

  101. Sally says:

    Your ham and potato dish reminded me of another one I like to do:

    a chopped onion
    Green beans
    Ham (or ham bone)

    I put the potatoes, onion and green beans in the crock pot with water (2-4 cups — depends on how soupy you want it) and let them cook. If using a ham bone, put it in at the start of cooking. If using ham, I put it in after the vegetables have cooked for a few hours.

  102. Becky@FamilyandFinances says:

    I saw someone else ask this, but didn’t see an answer:

    For the chicken and beef recipes, am I putting in raw meat or cooked meat????

  103. Sally says:

    Becky — if you’re using ground meat, it’s generally cooked first. I think this is primarily because even if you break up/crumble ground meat before putting it in the crock pot, the texture is still different compared to when you brown it first.

    Various cuts of beef and chicken go in raw. Some recipes call for browning first, but it’s for flavor.

    I’ve done beef stew and pot roast, for instance, both ways. Some times I brown it first, some times I don’t. It depends only on what I feel like doing!

  104. almost there says:

    Follow up on the featured Apple Cobbler. I used the exact recipe last night except with granny smith apples. Put it on at 10pm and had a black carmalized mess at 7am. I used a 1 year old crock pot 4 qt on low setting.

  105. Nick says:

    I will echo the problems with the Apple Cobbler. I put it on at 11pm and by 7am it was a black mess. This seems like a good idea, but I think it might need something else to make it work…

  106. Rick says:

    We love the crock pot. I suggest you watch what you buy in the “spice packets” as many are mostly salt. You could pick up 2-4oz containers of the spices and seasonings your family enjoys and better control your seasonings and salt intake.

  107. J Farber says:

    A good crockpot type starts on HIGH and later it turns ITSELF down to LOW. “Smart Pot”. You just: 1) put raw, real food into it, 2) fill with cold water to about an inch, or inch and a half, from the top, 3) cover, 4) leave for work. At night, you will come home to a meal. You can freeze what you don’t need right away. Put in a jar of tomato sauce: this makes ANYTHING good. You can put meat in, even FROZEN SOLID MEAT. Or, a few meat bits for flavor. When you are still learning, put in salt LATER, after it’s done. 1) A bag of rinsed little carrots, 2) a bag of little potatoes UNPEELED, 3) two sticks of celery with the leaves, 4) a small onion, or not, 5) a bag of rinsed dried beans, and you are fine. Don’t be scared. Place the machine carefully, so it is on a heat-proof surface, and away from everything, no twisted cords, and you CAN leave this machine alone all day, or all night. That is what is meant for. You can go to sleep or work and let it alone. If you need to add water, add boiling water. Don’t open it much while it’s cooking. Trust it and leave it alone. FOR SAFETY FROM FOOD POISONING, do NOT add anything to it, once it is done.

  108. J Farber says:

    If you put some cooked pasta, and a LOT of food-processor-grated SWISS, or SMOKED, cheese into a crockpot, with a little tomato sauce, and some water, it will give you a melted-cheese hot dish all weekend. For the lacto vegetarians.

    This is, absolutely, the time to buy a food processor, a Cuisinart if possible. It will pay for itself very well. Machines like this also may not be within reach later, after current supplies are used up! A lot of Chinese factories have closed! Get gear NOW! A warming tray, and a LARGE coffee urn are good to have. We are all going to be entertaining at HOME. If you want a rice cooker, go for it; it could be useful for having a lot of company. Get stacking, not folding, chairs, at STAPLES.
    A pressure cooker is the opposite of a crockpot: little time, a lot of precision. The crockpot: a lot of time, no precision.
    Look at Overstock.com website.

  109. Jack says:

    Tried the Apple cobbler in a 6qt and ended up with a black carmalized mess too. I am guessing the size of the crock pot played a part in this, but 8 hours on low on a modern crock pot seems like it’s too long.

  110. Brian says:

    The recipes look VERY interesting, but I have one problem. Or should I say five. My wife and I have five 16 to 25 year old kids. Most of them good eaters.

    My problem is how do I convert all of these recipes so that we can use them with our large family. None of them seem to have how many servings the recipe produces when cooked. Two? Four? You mention you and your kid(s) have eaten these meals in the last six months, but you don’t say how many kids you have and how old or good of eaters they are. Please help.

  111. Catherine says:

    I made the Apple Cobbler for breakfast this morning and it was pretty awful. I wouldn’t recommend this recipe. I’ll probably end up seeing if anyone else likes it to use as ice cream topping (it was completely crumbly) or else it’s going in the garbage.

  112. Gabriel says:

    All this talk of crock pots reminds me of a joke of my parents. The very first Christmas they were married, my mom bought some really nice things for my Dad like well made sweaters and cologne.
    Did my dad get mom some pretty jewelry or perfume?


    A mustard yellow crock pot.

    In spite of all the teasing, Mom ended up using it way more than Dad ever used his sweater or cologne.

  113. Melinda says:

    One of our favourites is Salsa Roast.

    Put a beef roast, as big as you like, into the slow cooker. Pour over a jar of salsa. Cook on low for about 8 hours. I generally pull some of the sauce out and thicken it with cornstarch, however you don’t need to.

    Leftover roast gets sliced thin and dunked in batter and fried for meat fritters. Or chopped and then put through the food processor with carrots, onions, eggs, mint, mashed potato and made into rissoles. Yummo!

  114. Margaret says:

    I hate touching raw meat, so the night before I will put a frozen roast in the crock pot. I take about a cup or cup and a half of water and but in some beef boullion (probably a teaspoon or two, but I don’t really measure), liquid browning, maybe a spash of worchestershire sauce (cause I like how it smells), maybe a dash of BBQ sauce or something like that, if I remember some pot roast seasoning that I bought once, dump it on then set on low and leave it until supper the next day. If the meat is thawed out, I do the same thing but in the morning. For Chile, I brown the ground beef first. Actually, if I have a big pack, I will brown up whatever there is then freeze it in smaller bags, so I would just plop in a chunk of browned then frozen ground beef. Or skip the meat if my husband isn’t around. I also add a can of corn and usually a can of mushrooms.

  115. Cindy says:

    I made the Breakfast Apple Cobbler recipe and it turned out fantastic! Maybe part of the trouble is the type of granola being used. I did not pare the apples and it was rather dark but it tasted great. The second time we made it I used plain old rolled oats (not the quick type) and added extra cinnamon and a just a splash of water because the apples were sorta dry. This came out fine and it wasn’t near as dark. This method of cooking oatmeal has certainly taken the place of shredding the apple into a pot of water in our house.

  116. Kathie Allen says:

    In researching healthy meals for my 8 year old son with arthritis, I learned that foods typically cooked at high temperatures, like meats, may contribute to the risk and exacerbation of chronic diseases linked with inflammation, such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. Research at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York shows that frying or grilling certain foods at high temperatures produces compounds that can increase inflammation in the body. It is recommended that you limit your exposure to meats cooked at high temperatures and cook with lower temperatures, hence another reason benefit to using a slow cooker. This information was taken from:


  117. Kay says:

    If you don’t want to use canned soup, make your own white sauce- what the soup does is basically bind everything together. Look in any basic cookbook for instructions- I usually just throw mine together without benefit of measurements. It’s basically just flour cooked in butter or another fat until fragrant, with milk or broth added, and then cooked until it’s thickened. You can steep fresh herbs in the milk or broth for more flavor, and when it’s done, add some onions/garlic/herbs/etc.

  118. Mary Ellen says:

    We love our crockpot too, but I am on a low-sodium diet so I try to avoid prepared sauces, salad dressings, beef stock, etc. My family loves pot roast done our way: I put sliced carrots and potatoes in the bottom of the crockpot, then a roast, some dried minced onion and garlic powder, and I top it all off with a 6 oz can of low-sodium V-8. Tastes great!

  119. Kyle says:

    Let me add to the list of people for whom the breakfast apple cobbler was a disaster.

    It was charred beyond recognition on the edges, merely burned in the middle, and the few edible bits just tasted like bland apple oatmeal.

    Oh wells, that’s the first of many Simple Dollar recipes I’ve tried that dudded out, so it’s still a good batting average! :)

  120. Jenna says:

    If you’re having an issue cooking the Breakfast Apple Cobbler, try using rolled oats instead of quick oats. Rolled oats (also called old-fashioned oats) have a chewier texture than Quick oats, so they’ll probably hold up better for a longer period of time.

  121. ed says:

    #57 Mike: YOU ROCK! I was beginning to think the sacrifice of mammal, fowl, or finned creature was a prereq for using a crockpot. I’m new to crockpots, not vegetarian eating, and, since I was raised by a TV dinner kind of family (part of why I went veg) have very limited training cooking, let alone converting recipes from one form of preparation to another. The very thought of trying puts me in a cold sweat. Anyway, this site has all kinds of recipes for tasty-looking vegetarian crockpot recipes, most of them not requiring a special trip to places that sale products unfamiliar to the western palate. Thank you for posting this site!

  122. deRuiter says:

    These sound great. You can enhance the taste if you saute the onions first to carmelize them, and brown the beef before starting. In the case of chopped meat, I’d brown it first to get rid of the extra fat, and also to enhance the taste.

  123. RobD says:

    Re #98: I have Fresh from the Vegetarian Crockpot, and use the chili recipes quite a bit. It’s main problem is that there are a lot of dishes that call for additional prep (e.g., sauteing onions and peppers prior to adding them to the chili), which tastes good but does slow things down and add to the dishes to be done.

    I’ve also got the Big Cookbook compilation of the Fix It and Forget It series. Yes, a lot of convenience food input, but there are a LOT of recipes, so even what’s left if you don’t want to use those is a lot.

  124. Harry says:

    Hey guys,

    Love crockpots. Problem I have is that I am away from the house all day (7am till 6pm – 11 hours). I am afraid that any dish I put on will be overcooked or dried our. Most of the recipes call for 4-8hrs of cooking time. Any ideas? Thought about putting the crockpot on a “light” timer and starting it to go on at noon or 2pm but don’t know if there would be any health issues to the food sitting in the crockpot on the counter for 5-7 hrs….


  125. I’m bummed to hear that the apple dish was a bust for so many people. Trent, do you have any tips? I’m assuming this recipe works well for you!

  126. Karen says:

    Great recipes! That breakfast cobbler looks amazing!

  127. Jo says:

    I’ve never had a problem with food drying out in a crock pot – just the opposite, I have to resist the urge to add liquid, because in a covered crock pot, the liquid does not boil away, so the water and fat in the meat and water in veggies raises the level of the liquid so that if you don’t resist adding more liquid, everything you cook ends up being soup.

    I make delicious chicken & dumplings in my crock pot. Put whichever chicken parts you like in the crock pot, enough per person, season to taste,cover with liquid and cook on low until you get home from work. If you’ve used boneless chicken you could add 3 or 4 chicken bouillon cubes.

    When you get home, take the chicken out of the pot, turn the pot to high to get broth to boil. Remove meat from bone, tear it into bite size pieces, then put it back into the broth. Add liquid if necessary so it looks like a big pot of soup. Then mix 1 cup baking mix with milk until it’s a doughy consistency just like biscuits and then drop by tablespoonful into the boiling broth. Cover and let cook 5 minutes, take a spoon and flip each dumpling once, turn heat to low, cover & cook a few minutes more. The more stirring you do the thicker the broth becomes, so don’t worry about breaking a few, make sure you’ve got plenty in there.

    This is such a simple recipe, yall are lucky I’ve shared this secret, I won’t tell my family because they think it’s so good, they fight over the left overs! They think I make homemade dumplings! And I let them think it! lol

    Bye now!

  128. Susan says:

    Workday wonder:
    cubed ham
    1 can cream of chicken soup
    1 can great northern beans
    dried rice or frozen hash browns
    1 can sweetened milk
    salt and pepper, garlic and onion powder

    Put all ingredients into the crock pot. Simmer on low at least 8 hours.
    Add shredded cheese the last 30 min of cooking.

  129. Jen says:

    Sheesh, commenters are so judgemental about what others eat. Eat what you want, let others do the same. Not everyone will or wants to spend all day simmering quinoa with kale flakes. In fact, for most Americans, making something in a crock pot with canned soup would be a step UP from their normal dinner.

  130. Juliana says:

    Nobody really needs to buy a crockpot new. There are “new” ones at the thrift store waiting to be had for almost nothin’. I think people must get them as a wedding gift and send them there without knowing the treasure they gave up.

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