If you get home late at night and are too tired to make something, a slow cooker can be a lifesaver. It is simple to make your meals in the morning and come back to a ready-to-eat meal. Using a crockpot enables you to work on other things while it cooks without having to watch it. Cooking with slow cookers does not demand many skills; all you have to do is adopt one of the several basic slow cooker recipes and switch it on!
So if you want to make the most of your energy and money then crockpots and slow cookers are your best friends. Something is going to get kicked out of your house if your slow cooker isn’t already your favourite thing ever. If you need to, you can prepare breakfast, lunch, supper, and dessert in one of these inexpensive crock pots. Just make large quantities of wonderful soups, stews, or slow-cooked meats to store or consume throughout the week. At minimal cost and work, these slow cooker recipes will ensure your fridge never runs out of yummies!
What is a crockpot?
A slow cooker or a crockpot is a kitchen appliance with certain versatile culinary features that can prepare dishes at relatively low temperatures for longer durations. The vessel or pot, the base, and the lid are the three items that constitute the unit. Handles are usually included to make moving and holding the appliance easier. There are heating bands within the base liner that produce energy for cooking the items inside.
Slow cookers may be configured to prepare a variety of dishes by the built-in processor, based on the version and model. Slow cooker cooking is precisely calibrated to provide homogeneous cooking without the chance of burnt or overcooked food. By simply pressing the delay button, you may postpone the initiation of the cooking process if your model comes with this functionality.
Other features, such as “keep warm,” enable you to retain the warmth of the food cooked. This appliance is perfect for people with hectic lives or who are already too occupied with a lot of things and want to set it up and cook without having to keep an eye on it. If we are honest, these crockpots have been a mainstay in busy and stressful households for years.
A space between the crockpot’s base and the liner enables ventilation to avoid overheating.
So how do crockpots or slow cookers even work? As stated in the preceding paragraph, they cook food gradually at low temperatures. The amount of time it takes to cook hinges on the time you have planned for, i.e. it relies on the food and the recipe. In an appliance like a crockpot, meals might take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours to cook. The time it takes to cook the food uniformly is determined by whether it is cooked on a low or high setting.
Are there any advantages to cooking food in crockpots?
Hands-off cooking, conserving energy, and drawing out the taste in most dishes are just a few of the advantages of using a slow cooker. They also encourage nutritious cooking and are more user-friendly than other kitchen gadgets. Lets us know why they should be ruling your kitchen countertops already!
1. Hands-off cooking
Slow cookers, unlike many appliances, enable you to just put your items and let them simmer on their own, which is a wonderful feature since it lets you to concentrate on other things without worrying about how your meal cooks. All you have to do is toss the food in the slow cooker, select your desired settings, and leave the rest to the slow cooker. This function is very handy for individuals who have hectic schedules and don’t have a lot of time to spend cooking meals.
2. Intensified taste
Slow cookers are well-known for bringing out a much richer taste of a dish. It fuses the diverse attributes of the ingredients involved, resulting in a burst of aromas and real, additive-free flavours.
And, because the contents simmer at such low temperatures, a slow cooker allows for appropriate flavour distribution, resulting in a mouthwatering feast.
3. Tenderizing meat
With a slow cooker by your side, you can effortlessly tenderise tough meats or poor cuts, leaving them soft and flavorful after a long cooking period, which is why several venison meals are made in this manner.
You can tenderise less-lean beef, roast, or chuck steaks in a slow cooker without paying more for the pricier cuts.
4. Easy to use
Handling a crockpot does not take much expertise in cooking or electrical devices. All you have to do now is toss everything into the slow cooker, specify your settings, and switch it on.
A slow cooker may make a masterpiece even if you have never used one before since it doesn’t take long to learn how to operate it. It is sufficient to read the user instructions to be completely informed to prepare a delicacy with this helpful culinary device. For first-timers, a slow cooker guidebook is very helpful.
5. Healthy Cooking
High heat is infamous for breaking down nutrients in meals, significantly lowering the nutritional content of a cuisine. High temperatures might cause the release of potentially toxic chemical compounds, which can cause kidney problems and even diabetes.
Slow cooking allows nutrients to be preserved while preventing the creation of unwanted, potentially poisonous substances due to the relatively low temperatures involved. Since you won’t be heating at high temperatures as you would while boiling or frying, the possibilities of overcooking are substantially minimised when using a slow cooker.
6. Saves energy and money
Slow cookers consume less energy than a conventional electric oven, saving a considerable amount of money in the long term. Although using a slow cooker to prepare all meals is unrealistic, it can lead to savings on expenditures that would otherwise be incurred if you engaged other devices to cook the food.
Since slow cookers are typically used to cook meals in abundance, you may save money on energy that would otherwise be spent on making separate meals. Food prepared in slow cookers is typically served in many doses, allowing you to save money on ingredients.
7. Easy to clean
When compared to using an electric oven, the low cooking temperatures limit the likelihood of food clinging to the bottom. You will also like the fact that cooking using a crockpot means washing lesser utensils.
8. Available in many options
Slow cookers have become more sophisticated as technology has advanced, with some even having programmed settings. Most slow cookers come with basic controls, such as hot, medium, keep warm, or low, and must be manually adjusted or turned on and off.
Newer slow cookers are equipped with electronic timing features that enable the cooker to execute many tasks while making meals, and the existence of diverse settings allows you to make food per your preferences.
9. No need for reheating
It takes more time for food cooked in a slow cooker to cool entirely. Even better, most new slow cookers include ‘keep warm’ modes that keep your meal toasty after it has finished cooking.
10. Time saving
When you are occupied with other activities, a slow cooker is an excellent method to cook a meal. It doesn’t need much commitment or attention, so it is ideal for when you are too tired to handle anything else or simply want to avoid adding an extra responsibility to your to-do list.
When all of the contents are placed in this gadget and turned on, there is no compulsion to keep an eye on it or monitor once every few minutes – in fact, many recipes recommend not lifting the lid at all during the cooking process!
This implies you can enjoy some valuable time doing something else while your food cooks away inside its own small pot-shaped home, such as getting closer on chores around the house or perhaps getting a quick nap before mealtime swings around again.
Cheap crockpot meals to get you rolling with your newest kitchen addition!
1. Buffalo Chicken
This Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken dish is soft, fiery, flavorful, and rich all at once, and it can be used in a number of different ways! Sandwiches, dips, salads, pizza, and more. We are certain you will want to cook this time and time again during bowl season and Christmas.
Buffalo sauce is a zesty, hot, and somewhat thick sauce made from a blend of hot sauce and butter that is used to glaze fried chicken, among some other items. We have taken it a step beyond and included ranch seasoning mix to this slow cooker buffalo chicken, which is a delicious combo of buttermilk powder, herbs, and spices. The ranch dressing gives the sauce a big boost of flavour and makes it a little creamier. It is simply delicious!
2. Chilli rubbed pulled pork
Trust us when we say- there is nothing quite like slow-cooked shredded pork that’s soft and juicy. You will want to make a big batch of this Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork to have on standby for convenient lunches later because it is versatile and freezes wonderfully. This richly spiced pulled pork is ridiculously easy to make, with the slow cooker taking care of everything, and the outcomes are incredible!
Pulled pork is really simple to prepare, particularly if you use a slow cooker. Slow cooking maintains hydration in the meat and disintegrates connective tissue slowly, resulting in meat that comes apart and tears at the mere scratch of a fork. When you couple those amazing results with the fact that slow cookers are almost hands-free, it is no surprise that this is a very popular technique to create pulled pork.
3. Mashed potatoes
Recipes like this Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes will make more room on your cooktop and, since they don’t need supervision, will keep your hands and eyes free to attend to other dishes. It also avoids boilovers, drying the potatoes, inspecting them with a fork to see whether they are tender, and needing several pots and dishes, as well as giving you an extra burner on your kitchen stove. With slow cooker mashed potatoes, all you have to do is throw ingredients in the pot, push a button, and walk away. They will be fine even if you can’t get to them immediately when the timer beeps! Garlic, pepper, butter, milk, and cream cheese can all be used to garnish and add more flavour to them.
4. Hamburger Stew
This week, prepare this very easy Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew to start off the cosy chilly season. This is nothing special; it is just a plain, tasty, and comfortable meal! You will appreciate how easy this recipe is to make and how versatile it is. It is the perfect item to have cooking on the weekend while you are doing chores or relaxing and enjoying the season change. Hamburger stew is similar to conventional beef stew, except rather than stew meat, it uses ground beef. It is a little less pricey to use ground beef instead of stew meat, and you would appreciate how you get a little piece of beef in every bite.
5. White Chicken Chilli
This Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili is the epitome of why crock pots are so popular. Simply throw everything into the slow cooker, stir it gently, then switch it on and take a break. When you return, you will have a delicious white bean chicken chilli waiting to be topped with gooey cheese and devoured with tortilla chips. And when the sky is gloomy, the weather is chilly, and you are suffering from the winter blues, quick meals like this come in handy!
6. Chicken noodle soup
Among the most beloved comfort foods is homestyle chicken noodle soup from scratch. Not only is it extremely simple, but the aroma of it stewing away is relaxing and completely hygge-like. This is the ideal winter Sunday meal to have cooking while you take care of other errands or watch movies. This may be cooked in a 6-quart slow cooker. If you have a smaller slow cooker, simply adjust the number of portions.
7. Giant Meatballs
Giant Slow Cooker Meatballs are a great way to spice up a traditional spaghetti and meat sauce dish. The charmingly oversized meatballs stew in marinara salsa, the flavours from each mingle together to provide a luxuriously thick sauce for the pasta. This is a wonderful recipe to make beforehand to for a week’s worth of dinners! The pasta, sauce, and meatballs wrap up quickly and easily, reheat nicely, and each day may be served with an easy side salad. It’s done!
8. Vegetarian Lentil Chili
Although the delicious chilli recipe is vegan, you may add non-vegan garnishes or personalise it to your preferences. It is really freezer-friendly, so you can separate it into equal portions as soon as you are finished cooking it. Put at least a couple of those servings to your freezer for extended storage once they have cooled fully in the fridge. When you have a hankering for chilli, take one out at a time and warm them up in the microwave or in a pan on the burner.
9. Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken
If you are facing one of those days when your chore list is a foot long but your mind just wants to snuggle up and enjoy Netflix the whole day, you can make the simplest thing imaginable, which is this Slow Cooker Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken.
This is one of those dishes which prepares itself, so you can watch Netflix, do cleaning, or anything else you want while it simmers, and then return back to serve it and savour. Great for a hectic or quiet Saturday, or even for eating during the week while you are at work.
10. Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken
Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken is a quick and easy slow cooker meal that you can prepare before heading off to work and have to wait when you come home. Slow cooking, which is one way of maintaining hydration while cooking on heat, is emphasized in this meal. The bone-in chicken thighs’ fat and connective tissues are broken down in medium, slow, and wet cooking conditions, resulting in excellent taste and a melt-in-your-mouth feel. The honey’s sugars caramelise in the slow cooker, giving the chicken flesh a lovely rich taste and almost candy-like texture. It is like being in paradise. With some cooked rice and steamed vegetables, you have got yourself the simplest meal prep ever!
11. Chicken Tortilla Soup
Although it may seem unusual to be eating soup in the springtime, we know that at least half of you are still dealing with bizarre January-style winter blizzards. Plus, because this Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup is made with clear broth, it is light in weight enough just to savour in the summer. You won’t mind the heat if you add some lime on top and combine it with an icy cold drink.
This Chicken Tortilla Soup, as with most slow cooker dishes, is insanely simple and flexible, making it a fantastic dish to make when you realize you won’t have to devote your entire concentration to the burner. It is fine if it takes a bit longer to prepare than the recipe calls for. Your meal is not going to be harmed. This is a soup for folks who are always on the go.
12. Hot buttered Apples
Simply add freshly peeled and diced apples into the slow cooker with a sizable amount of hot spices, a tad of sugar, cornstarch for a thick consistency, and a handful of generous slices of butter. Doesn’t that already sound appealing?
The apples will turn soft, fragrant but not too sweet after some hours in the slow cooker, and your apartment will smell like an October fantasy! The combination resembles the stuff for an apple pie and may be used in a variety of ways. Dish it à la mode, dollop it over crepes, waffles, or oats, use it as a filling for a dessert “quesadilla,” or even have it alongside pork chops.
13. Sesame Beef
How can you not love slow-cooked meat? They are always soft and flavorful, and it is incredibly easy to make. As beef is pricey, you can use it minimally in your meal and blend with other cheaper components, which is ideal since this Slow Cooker Sesame Beef utilises only a few items and diffuses a lot of flavour.
This delectable shredded beef can be combined with a variety of dishes. It may be used in a bowl meal, such as Bibimbap, or as a basic side dish with only heated rice and broccoli florets. Tacos with Asian overtones are usually a hit, or simply place on top of a crisp cabbage salad. You may add it to a bowl of Fried Rice or serve it over a pot of creamy Garlic Noodles.
One more thing to mention regarding the meat. Since an eye of a round roast is rather lean, the resultant meat will have a much more flaky feel. A chuck roast or brisket would be a superior choice since they have a bit of extra fat and connective tissue, making the shredded beef more soft and juicy. You can use a 3-quart or larger crockpot for making this mouthwatering dish.
This may be the finest slow cooker meal you will ever make! The delicate spices, tangerine aroma, and thickness of the carefully cooked pork are a match made in heaven. Don’t be alarmed if the combination of cinnamon and orange with pork seems a bit strange. The tastes are minimal, but they offer levels of flavour that you wouldn’t expect from beef. It is not sweet; it is just incredible.
You should stew the beef in the slow cooker until it becomes soft and moist, then wrap up it in a pan to achieve some golden borders. To brown the flesh, wait until right before dishing; if you won’t be serving the full 3 pounds of beef at once, put the rest in the cooking liquids. After cooling overnight night, you may divide the slow-cooked beef in two and move half of it to the refrigerator. The other half may be perfectly cooked in a pan and used to make fantastically meaty tacos with pickled red onions.
15. Salsa Verde Chicken Bowls
When it relates to leveraging a slow cooker, salsa is a type of powerful weapon. In one fluid motion, it adds flavour, colour, and texture to the pot. In a slow cooker, you could simply throw meat and salsa together and enjoy a fantastic meal. Just make absolutely sure it is a green salsa you have tasted and remember you appreciated it because the salsa is the dish’s dominant flavour.
16. Refried Beans
Have you ever tasted refried beans so amazing that you simply needed to eat them straight from the bucket? If you’ve been eating refried beans out of a tin jar, we are guessing you have not yet.
That is how good these refried beans are. Because of the jalapeno, chilli, and other spices, they have a genuine depth in their flavour. You will be compelled to offer the beans as your entrée since they’re so tasty and delicious. You can create a bowl out of them if you add some roasted corn, crumbly cheese, and maybe some fried zucchini.
Since it mixes tasty and affordable cuts of meat with substantial and affordable items like rice, onion, celery, and bell pepper, jambalaya is a perfect cheap crockpot dish. With the addition of a few seasonings, you have got a super filling and pleasurable food that freezes well and defrosts easily in the microwave. Everything in this Slow Cooker Jambalaya, such as the rice, is prepared in one pot. Rice cooked in a slow cooker may seem to be a soggy mess, but if you throw it in at the very end, you may regulate the texture a little better and achieve wonderful results.
This recipe is heavily reliant on the kind of sausage you purchase, which contributes a lot to how the dish will turn out to be. Bear in mind that the sausage in this dish may make or ruin it. Even though you could simply omit the chicken thighs to lighten the dish’s meat content, don’t leave out the smoked sausage.
18. Coconut Curry Lentils
Slow cookers are fantastic not just because they are basically hands-off, but also because they keep the temperature under check and avoid the terrible external heat increase in the kitchen. While you can certainly boil these Coconut Curry Lentils on the cooktop, preparing them in a slow cooker will save you the heat and effort.
Top these Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils with thinly sliced red onion and a generous sprinkling of snipped cilantro to spruce them up a little. If you really do not like cilantro, try substituting diced green onion for the cilantro. Add a spoonful of plain yoghurt and a dash of lime juice for added zest.
19. Italian chicken and peppers
This Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Peppers is out there to charm its way into your kitchen. It is just as quick, tasty, and adaptable as everyone’s favourite Slow Cooker Taco Chicken Bowls, but with a marinara overtone and Italian herbs and spices.
This spicy shredded Italian chicken and peppers can be spooned over a serving of spaghetti or rice or served over Garlic Parmesan Polenta. It can be easily slow-cooked in a 3-quart crockpot.
If you don’t have enough budget to purchase a trio of colours, you may use three green bell peppers instead and it will turn out to be just fine. Regardless of how you prepare it, it will be delicious. It is not necessary to use a gourmet sauce. For this recipe, you may use any basic, cheap jarred pasta sauce. Furthermore, you can purchase chicken while it is on sale, making it at least reasonably priced. You could even make it with just one chicken breast and more onions and peppers to save even more money.
20. Black Bean Soup
The black bean soup is fantastic. It is scrumptious on its own, but it is also a great deal of fun to go adventurous with the toppings and transform the soup into a colourful concoction. This deliciously tasty and simple slow cooker black bean soup nearly cooks itself, which is a lifesaver during warm summer days when you would not want a bowl of soup on the burner steaming up your entire house.
What else does this soup have going for it? It is vegan, quite satisfying, low in calories, rich in fibre, full of protein, loaded with vegetables, and it is dirt cheap. Do we need to say more?
What about those very fascinating toppings? Crisp tortilla strips, green onions, cilantro, pepitas, cheddar or pepper jack cheese, or even a spoonful of boiled rice are all options. In fact, everything that works well in a taco would definitely be fantastic on top of this soup. Let your imagination run wild!
Slow cookers always rank top whenever it pertains to culinary efficiency. After all, in any hectic household, having the freedom to leave meals to cook unattended is a massive benefit. You may use your slow cooker all year, but we particularly appreciate it in the winter. Is there anything better than a nice toasty dish of homemade oats in the morning or a hearty bowl of chilli or slow-cooked beef in the evening? This is the season to make the most of your crockpot, and we pulled up a list of 20 unique and budget-friendly ways to do it in this article.
The trick to a low-cost meal is to use inexpensive ingredients. Use budget-friendly basics like beans and lentils to fill up a regular entrée. The ideas discussed above include recipes that call for inexpensive meat pieces such as chicken thighs, sausages, and mince. Alternatively, you can forego meat entirely and go for vegan choices. These meal ideas are inexpensive, simple, and flexible to be paired with any meal.