Crockpots, also known as slow cookers, have been a staple in kitchens for more than 80 years. For many, the slow cooker is present in the recollection of childhood, either delicious meals their grandmother made in the Crockett or something moms whipped up for delicious and memorable dinners. Tangy meatballs, snack-sized sausages, rich stews, and comforting casseroles are often associated with the slow cooker, but a crockpot is so much more than a warm memory. There are many time-saving, convenient benefits to cooking in a crockpot.
- Home-cooked meals that eliminate the craving and temptation of take-out.
- Mostly a one-step preparation for an entire meal, with all ingredients added, saving time, effort, and clean up.
- Useful any time of year. Hot soup in winter, less heat than an oven in summer.
- Long, slow cooking process tenderizes less-expensive cuts of meat to become fall-off-the-bone.
- Low and slow cooking better flavors foods and spices.
- Slow cookers use less electricity than an oven.
Moreover, if you find yourself struggling with a hectic or busy day and the time needed to make meals is not feasible, a crockpot is a perfect way to set it and forget it. Place your ingredients in the morning, enjoy the meal by dinner. Or, place ingredients in at bedtime and enjoy a cooked meal for the next day.
Here are some of our favorite crockpot meals that will surely save you time while still tasting as warm and comforting as a meal from childhood.
Creamy Crockpot Chicken Noodles
- 1 and ½ to 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cans (or boxes) of your favorite cream of chicken soup, 10.5 ounces roughly. (Do not add water).
- 1-2 tsp dried parsley to taste
- ½ tsp seasoned salt
- ½ tsp poultry seasoning
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ stick of butter
- 3 and ½ cups chicken stock
- 8 oz. package of wide egg noodles, uncooked.
- Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Cover with both cans of soup, without any water, and sprinkle spices. Slice the ½ stick of butter and place the pats of butter on top, then pour in stock.
- Cook over low heat for 5-6 hours, or high heat for 3-4. Remove chicken from the pot when no pink is left in the thickest part of the breast, and shred into large chunks.
- Add the shredded chicken back into the crockpot and add the dry egg noodles. Stir to cover them as much as possible and cook for 15 minutes on high, or 20-30 on low. Check frequently as doneness of pasta depends on noodle size, shape, and brand.
Easy Crockpot Rump Roast
Comforting, warming, and a classic of good, old fashioned home cooking, rump roast is easier than ever to cook in the crockpot, as the low and slow temperature means succulent, fork-tender beef every time.
- 2 or 3 lbs. rump roast, excess fat trimmed.
- 2 cups of water
- 1 packet of onion soup mix
- 1 1oz packet of gravy mix packet
- 1-pound carrots, cut into rounds
- 1-pound Russet potatoes cut into chunks and peeled or use yellow potatoes with skin on.
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- Add your trimmed roast and the 2 cups of water to the slow cooker. Sprinkle the gravy and soup mix packets inside.
- Cover and cook on low. If cooking the roast with the vegetables, allow the roast to cook for 6 hours, then add the vegetables and allow them to cook 4 more hours. If cooking just the roast, let it cook on low for 10 hours.
- Remove lid, place vegetables in the dish of choice with roast.
- If desired, to make gravy, turn crockpot empty of roast and veggies, but water and juices remaining, on high. Make a cornstarch slurry using 2 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk well until smooth, then add the slurry to the crockpot. Cook until thickened and serve the gravy with the roast.
Crockpot Garlic Balsamic Pork Loin Roast
Low maintenance and incredibly flavorful, fall-apart tender and juicy pork loin will sure to be a huge hit for your next meal.
- 3 to 4lb pork loin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled then smashed
- ½ tablespoon of Italian Seasoning
- Pat pork loin to dry thoroughly with paper towels.
- Combine salt, paprika, onion powder, black pepper, stir to combine.
- Take your combined salt and spices and sprinkle, then rub all over the pork loin.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet set over medium heat, then add pork and sear for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
- Add chicken broth to crockpot.
- Place pork loin, fat side up, in the slow cooker.
- In a blender or food processor, combine remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic until thickened. Add Italian Seasoning and stir until just combined.
- Using a pastry brush, spread the garlic, vinegar, and spices from blender over the pork loin.
- Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours, or on high for 3 hours. Check for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Pork will be done with the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove from crockpot and plate, covering with foil. Let it rest for 15 minutes, then slice and serve.
As you can see, crockpots are the perfect addition to cooking a meal with little fuss, easy cleanup, and less preparation without sacrificing flavor. A crockpot is ideal for those who simply do not have the time, or perhaps, are feeling a little overwhelmed or uninspired and want something nearly hassle-free yet home-cooked.