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Slow Cooker Recipes and How to Use Your Crock Pot

Slow cooker recipes are inexpensive time savers. It's the best appliance you’ll ever own.

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If you’re a beginning cook, you’ll find slow cooker recipes are easy, time saving and a great way to experiment with family meals. Just fill the crock pot, turn it on and a few hours later dinner is ready.

My crock pot was my best friend when my son was in the marching band. We always had hot, tasty meals ready when we got home from practice, concerts, or other events.

My son Lee marching in Rooster Days Parade...Broken Arrow, OK
He's the one with the trumpet.
(He also had a cast on his leg that day)


Did I mention, I love my slow cooker?

The crock pot lost some of its popularity during the 90’s. Now, with more people working longer hours, kids participating in after school activities, and home cooking becoming more popular, it’s making a comeback. With the return of its popularity, come some great improvements.

Starting a Slow Cooker Love Affair

First, let me put any fears to rest about the safety of this indispensable cooking appliance. It won’t set your house on fire and it delivers scrumptious meals with little effort.

Slow cookers are affordable, with prices ranging from $20 to $200. Most have similar features but, for easier cleaning, buy one with a removable liner. Most inserts are stoneware while a few newer models have Teflon coating. I also recommend picking a cooker with 2-3 heat settings and a warm setting. Some cookers are programmable. Mine, I can program to cook up to six hours, with several heat settings, then it turns to warm once it’s done cooking.

Your next consideration is size. Slow cookers come in various sizes ranging from tiny for one person recipes and dips to large, 8 quart sizes for group meals. Size is important. If you buy one too small, some recipes won’t fit and if the cooker is too large, your food will burn. I have 5 cookers of varying sizes and I use them all. For a family of four the best size slow cooker is 4 quarts.

Also consider the shape and height. Crock pots come in oval or round shape. I prefer using my round cookers for stews and soups and my oval ones for large cuts of meat like roasts.

Recommended Slow Cookers

Finally, read your instruction manual and familiarize yourself with your cooker, try some of my easy, beginner recipes and just have fun.

*Tip* Food sticks to crock pot surfaces. I highly recommend using crock pot liners. They prevent food from baking on and staining your crock pot dish.

I order my liners since they are hard to find locally, and I actually like them better than the Reynolds liners.

Recommended Crock Pot Liners

Slow Cooker Recipes

Lazy Day Pot Roast

One of my son's favorite slow cooker meals is pot roast. This slow cooker recipe is easy to make, just put it in and let it cook all day. When you come home you’ll have a juicy and tender roast that makes its own gravy.

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Ingredients

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 2-10.75 oz cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 roast, 5-6 pounds

*Tip* When buying a roast, don’t choose the leanest cut. The fat adds flavor and moisture to the meat. You can always remove any fat after cooking. If your crock pot is large enough to hold it, I find the best flavored roast is a bone in roast, like the 7 bone chuck roast.

Instructions

  1. Cut onion into strips. Spread onions and chopped celery across bottom of crock pot and place roast on top.
  2. With a whisk, mix together cream of mushroom soup, dry soup mix, and water. Pour soup mixture over roast and onions.
  3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 8-9 hours.

*Tip* You can add vegetables, like carrots and potatoes, to your roast. However, I recommend adding them half way through the cooking time. These vegetables have a tendency to lose their flavor and texture if cooked too long.

Chicken and Veggies with Gravy

We love chicken and fix it more often than beef and I’m always trying to come up with different ways to fix it.

One day I had some chicken in the refrigerator that I planned on freezing. After digging around in the pantry I found a hodgepodge of ingredients to mix together and throw in the crock pot.

This slow cooker recipe is now one of our favorite comfort foods and I make it frequently.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 can mushrooms, 4 oz
  • 3 large boneless chicken breasts or 3 lbs cut up chicken
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • ¾ cup chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Place carrots, celery, and onions in bottom of slow cooker. Lay chicken on top of vegetables and sprinkle with pepper.
  2. Combine soup and chicken broth and stir in sliced mushrooms. Pour over chicken.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

If you prefer thicker gravy, thicken with cornstarch: Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in ¼ cup water. Stir well until completely mixed. Add to gravy while stirring. If you want the gravy thicker, repeat the process.

Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

*Note* With most of my slow cooker recipes, I prefer adding my carrots half way through the cooking to keep a little firmer, however this is still good by adding them at the beginning of the cooking process. It's really just a matter of preference.

Have a Great Slow Cooker Recipe to Share?

Do you have a great recipe for slow cookers? Share it!

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