TO SLOW COOKER, OR NOT TO SLOW COOKER?

Pretty sure the dream is to ‘set it and forget it’ just like whatever infomercial that comes from says. The slow cooker, around for as long as I can remember, does just that. Only I have only JUST started using it in my life after experiencing some Facebook jealousy from a mother of 4 who repeatedly posts her delicious looking slow cooker recipes/results.

I get almost all of my recipes just from browsing around the internet, and I’ve found 5 that have really stuck with me and have become household favorites. Sharing them with you today! Don’t forget that slow cookers are not only easy meals, but can be extremely low cost + frozen for later use.

1) 15 Bean Soup [http://www.theyummylife.com/Slow_Cooker_15_Bean_Soup]

The Yummy Life absolutely crushes it with this soup. It can be tweaked to be vegetarian OR vegan, and no matter how you make this, I always feel healthy having it as a meal. Reheats perfectly as leftovers or even frozen. Just a small bowl keeps you full! Check out the nutritional facts they’ve provided:

Nutritional Information. The beans and veggies in this soup make it a meal that is loaded with nutrients. It is high in fiber, manganese, magnesium, potassium, thiamin, vitamin C, & iron. It is very high in vitamin A with 100% of the daily requirement in a single serving. Here’s the nutritional breakdown for 1 cup of this hearty soup:

  • With ham and chicken broth. 175 calories, 2g fat, 381mg sodium, 27.4g carbs, 6.8g fiber, 3.8g sugars, 11.8g protein. Weight Watchers Points Plus: 4.
  • Without ham and using vegetable broth. 160 calories, 2g fat, 331mg sodium, 30.3g carbs, 7.6g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 8.9g protein. Weight Watchers Points Plus: 4.
    15_bean_soup

    15 Bean Soup [theyummylife.com]

2) Spicy Slow Cooker Beef Chili [http://www.chow.com/recipes/30669-spicy-slow-cooker-beef-chili]

Chow.com provides an absolutely delicious recipe for beef chili – a staple in our household and the ultimate comfort food. It’s low cost using dried beans and can be made healthier using a ground turkey (I’ve even done a crumbled tofu!) and keeps you filled up and satisfied. Another great recipe to freeze or reheat!

spicy_beef_chili

Spicy Beef Chili [chow.com]

3) Macaroni and Cheese (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/crockpot-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe.html)

Trisha Yearwood with Food Network provides the ULTIMATE comfort food made with a slow cooker with this one. It’s so easy to make a quick box of macaroni and cheese, or even bake one in a casserole dish, but I can promise you that this is worth the wait! I’m not even going to pretend this is a healthy recipe, but what I can tell you is that it’s absolutely delicious and a sure win crowd pleaser.

macaroni_and_cheese

Macaroni and Cheese [http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/crockpot-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe.html]

4) Bolognese Sauce [http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-slow-cooked-bolognese-sauce-recipes-from-the-kitchn-69968]

The Kitchn is a go-to for recipes in my life. Bolognese sauce is a really easy recipe – ground beef + tomato sauce = that’s it. The Kitchn boasts that there is really something special that comes of an all-day, slow cooked sauce; causing the beef to become incredibly tender and all the flavors infusing into one glorious sauce. After trying this one, I can’t disagree – it’s incredible. Throw it on some pasta, or, a healthier option – add it to spaghetti squash and bake (amazing!). Make a huge batch and freeze it for later use – you won’t regret it!

bolognese_sauce

Bolognese Sauce [http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-slow-cooked-bolognese-sauce-recipes-from-the-kitchn-69968]

5) Chicken and Dumplings [http://www.budgetsavvydiva.com/2012/03/crock-pot-chicken-dumplings-recipe/]

Growing up in the South, it’s hard to make something more down home than Chicken and Dumplings. Budget Savvy Diva not only takes into account cost, but provides a melt-in-your-mouth experience with this one. Perfect recipe for a ready to serve dinner for the family.

chicken_and_dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings [pillsbury.com]

Happy slow cooking! Enjoy!

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