By BethAtStructure on February 17, 2014
This winter is just about driving me insane! The snow and cold temps are a little more than I can bear these days. I have a definite case of the winter blues. Which is why I am especially grateful for my trusty crockpot. I can have a warm dinner ready when I walk in the door from work. So I can slip into my fleece pj’s and be as lazy as I want!
Below are a few of my favorite crockpot meals. Most of them are simply dump and cook type meals – dump everything in the crockpot and let it cook all day. A couple require browning meat first, but not so bad if you choose a weekend day to make those. Here’s my round-up of my crockpot favorites:
1. Chicken Tacos. These are a family favorite. I’ve seen several versions of them on Pinterest. My favorite is to toss a bag of frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot. Then toss in a can of Rotel tomatoes (drained) or a jar of salsa, a can of corn (drained), a can of black beans (drained), and two blocks of cream cheese. I recommend a chunky salsa so it doesn’t get too “soupy.” About a half hour before serving, mix everything up well and shred the chicken. This makes enough for us to have two+ meals of chicken tacos, or you can use it over rice for southwest chicken bowls, or you can use half to make chicken taco chili (I modified this recipe so I just have to add beans, onion, tomato sauce, and chili powder). It’s pretty versatile and does freeze well!
2. Pesto Ranch Chicken. The great thing about making this is the many, many uses for the leftovers! When I make this we have the chicken with a side of pasta and vegetable for dinner that night. Then the leftover chicken I shred or dice to use in chicken pot pie, chicken salad, or any other recipe that calls for a couple cups of diced chicken – which is most casserole recipes!
3. Spaghetti Sauce. This works perfectly to cook a crockpot full and then freeze some for a quick weeknight dinner another time!
4. Sloppy Joe’s. I use The Pioneer Woman’s recipe and it never fails! I’ve also made it using ground turkey instead of ground beef, which works just as well! This is another one that you can make a large batch of if you are feeding a crowd, or you can freeze for another meal later!
6. BBQ Pulled Pork. I have no real recipe for this, because it is just that simple. Toss a pork loin in the crock pot and season with some salt and pepper. Pour a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce over it. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Shred the pork and serve on hamburger rolls. I’ve also made this with a half can or can of soda poured in as well, such as Dr. Pepper or Diet Pepsi. You can also add some water in if you like a thinner BBQ sauce on your pork.
7. Apple & Honey Pork Loin. Again, I have no recipe for this because it is so darn simple. Make slices in your pork loin about every couple inches, and slice about half way through the loin. Place apple slices in each of the cuts you made. Then drizzle honey over the pork loin until coated nicely. I add about 3/4 to 1 cup of water to help keep the loin moist. Then cook on low for 6-8 hours.
8. Pot Roast. Another simple, no-recipe one here! (Can you tell I like my crockpot meals simple?) Simply place a chuck roats in your crockpot. If you want the whole meal in there, you can cut up potatoes, onions, and carrots and put those in the crockpot first. My kids prefer mashed potatoes and honey glazed carrots, so I usually do mine separately. I do often add some onion in the bottom of the crockpot, though, for flavor. Then season your roast – you can either use a good steak seasoning, or I sometimes use a packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix. Add a can of beef stock. Then cook on low all day. This is the best way to get a really tender roast. It literally falls apart it is so tender!
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