Crockpot recipes –
the busy person’s answer
to meal planning
A crockpot – and a supply of good crockpot recipes – is a life saver when you need supper on the table in a hurry.
Do your preparation work in the morning, plug in the slow cooker, and enjoy your day, secure in the knowledge that supper will be ready when you get home!
There are thousands of crockpot recipes out there. Many of them are full of processed ingredients like a can of cream of mushroom soup, a can of cola or a jar of artificial cheese product!
Fortunately, there are also lots of healthy crockpot recipes that are full of delicious and nutritious ingredients. Here are my favorite healthy crockpot recipes.
All of these crockpot recipes were tested in my 3.5 quart (3.5 L) model. They will all, with the possible exception of the Chocolate Pudding Cake, work equally well in a larger model.
What could be nicer than coming home to a cooked supper? Some of these entrées are complete meals. Others need just a side dish of vegetables and rice.
- Beans and Legumes
For an economical and filling meal, try one of these crockpot soup, stew or casserole recipes made with healthy beans or peas!
- For a comforting winter meal, there's nothing better than
with toast and a salad!
- I love pea soup!
Hearty Split Pea Soup
made in a slow cooker is easy and delicious.
- Chicken and Seafood
If you have a crockpot, you'll want to have some great crockpot chicken recipes. Here are four - as well as a delicious recipe that uses canned salmon.
My whole family loves dessert, but at the end of a busy day, I rarely have the energy or inclination to make it. Using a slow cooker solves that problem! I can mix up dessert early in the day when I'm still full of enthusiasm.
- Put together
Chocolate Pudding Cake
in the early afternoon. By late afternoon your house will smell heavenly, and by the time you have finished eating dinner, a decadent chocolate dessert will be ready!
- Rice Pudding
with cardamom has a delightful flavor and aroma. It has become a family favorite!
"Crock-Pot" is actually a trademarked brand name - but since most people call any slow cooker a crockpot, I do too!
- Small (about 1/2 quart/.5 L)
These are nice for making dips and sauces, or for serving chocolate or cheese fondue. They aren't large enough for making a main dish or complete meal, though.
- Medium (about 3.5 quart/3.5 L)
This is what I have. It is big enough for most of my needs.
- Large (about 6.5 quart/6.5 L)
This is what I wish I had! If you are shopping for your first crockpot, and if you have a family, this is what I'd recommend. Not only will it cook all of the recipes on this page, but it will even accommodate a roast beef or a whole chicken.
- A removable stoneware liner is a must. The stoneware can go straight to the table, and cleanup is easy. You can even do some of your prep work the night before! Just put the ingredients in the crock and put it in the fridge. In the morning, put the crock in the pot and plug it in.
- A warm setting is a great idea. (I wish I had one of these!) When your meal is ready, but you're not, just turn the dial to "warm". Your meal will be warm but not overcooked when you are ready to eat.
- A programmable crock pot (or a "smart crock pot") would be even better. You can program these to switch to "warm" after a certain length of time. This is perfect for those people who are out of the house for 10 hours and want to cook a dish that needs just 8 hours of cooking time.
Be sure to read the manufacturer's directions for complete instructions. Here are some guidelines that I follow based on my own experience.
- Lift the lid only when absolutely necessary. Each time you do so, heat will escape and you'll need to add another 20 minutes or so to the cooking time.
- Add these items only in the last 30 minutes of cooking:
- dairy products (They tend to curdle with longer cooking.)
- tender vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes and mushrooms (Otherwise, they'll get mushy.)
- spices (They'll lose their flavor if cooked all day.)
- Fill the crockpot only up to three-quarters full. I always wondered about this recommendation, and finally decided to test it. Sure enough, my pea soup didn't cook in the time that it should have. If you are just warming something, you might be able to get away with overfilling the crockpot - but if you are actually cooking food, be sure to follow the rule!
- If you need to speed up the cooking, use the HIGH setting. As a general rule, 1 hour on HIGH equals 2 hours on LOW.
Return from crockpot recipes to healthy quick meals.