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Ask the Readers: Do you use your crock pot?

Crockpot

Patti emailed in:

I would like to buy a new crock pot, especially since there is a terrific
coupon in the October All You magazine, but I have not been successful
in finding recipes that my family enjoys and I hate to make such large amounts
of food only to discover they hate it. Do you or any of your readers have
other uses for their slow cookers such as cooking up meats or beans for use in
other meals? Or recipes that are not so full of fat and carbs?  Any
ideas would be greatly appreciated as I ponder this purchase.

When I'm not in the middle of morning sickness and pretty much avoiding the kitchen (!), I'm an avid fan of the crock pot. Since I'm more of an "experimental cook", I love to make up a pot of soup in it by just throwing in some veggies, cooked beans, potatoes, onions, spices, salt, pepper, garlic, and cover with water and cook on low all day long. Or we often make beef sausage, onions, potatoes, and carrots in it. Another favorite use for our crockpot is making applesauce in it. So easy and so good!

I've also made Mexican dishes, lasagna, oatmeal, breakfast casseroles, and even cake in my crockpot! There are thousands of recipes out there and many of your family favorite can be adapted to be made in the crock pot. I'd encourage you to check out the Fix-It and Forget-It recipe book series or other similar crock pot recipe books from your library for some inspiration.

I also highly recommend the blog: A Year of Crockpotting. The blog's author is using her crock pot everyday in 2008 and her recipes and ideas are mouth-watering. If you weren't a fan of the crock pot before reading her blog, you'll likely be motivated to pull it out and try using it after a visit there!

What about the rest of you? Do you use your crock pot on a regular basis? If so, what are some of your favorite ways to use it? Any scrumptious recipes to pass along? (If you've posted them on your blog, feel free to leave your links in the comments section.)

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136 Comments

  • Laura says:

    One of the easiest and very good recipes I make in the crockpot is to slice some onion and lemon and put it in the bottom, top with boneless skinless chicken breasts (or other chicken if you prefer) and top with bbq sauce mixed with a little bit of cola. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for most of the day. You dont even have to thaw the chicken if its frozen.

  • Melanie says:

    I love that blog! She has some incredible ideas!

  • Janet Eyring says:

    I personally like the crock-pot cookbooks “101 Things to do with a Slow Cooker” and “101 More Things to do with a Slow Cooker”. The books sell for less than $10 and they call for things I usually have in my pantry.

  • Shannon/MrsCoach says:

    I use mine all the time! I must say though that I can never get it right with lasagna, so I just finally stopped!! You can get cheaper cuts of beef and cook them in the crock pot (such as chuck or bottom round) all day and they just are so tender, they fall apart!! Mouth watering! Add some veggies, potatoes, etc half way through the cooking and voila!!
    Also, you can use it to keep foods warm during parties, etc. Pre cook your dish and transfer it to the crock and keep it warm throughout your hours of partying!!

  • Mrs. J says:

    I’m not really a good cook and since I got married, I had to cook. We got 2 crockpots from the wedding and since I already put one out in the kitchen, I decided to try cooking our beef in there. Man oh man, the beef turned out so great! That begun my friendship w/ Crockpot and my DH thinks I’m great, well sort of :p

  • LANA says:

    We love to make ribs in the crock pot:
    1. sear the ribs either on BBQ OR in the oven
    2. layer ribs in the crock pot
    3. cover with your favorite sauce (BBQ sauce, sweet and sour or whatever-store bought sauce works just as well)
    4. cook for at least 5 hours or until desired (longer if you want the meat falling off the bone)
    ENJOY!

  • LANA says:

    We love to make ribs in the crock pot:
    1. sear the ribs either on BBQ OR in the oven
    2. layer ribs in the crock pot
    3. cover with your favorite sauce (BBQ sauce, sweet and sour or whatever-store bought sauce works just as well)
    4. cook for at least 5 hours or until desired (longer if you want the meat falling off the bone)
    ENJOY!

  • Petra says:

    I use mine alot, although my husband doesnt like it too much (he says he s damaged goods, growing up in a “crockpot-Household” lol)
    My favorite recipe is Chicken and Dumplings
    cut up chickenbreast, two cans cream of chicken soup, carrots, celery and onion and a cup of water, mixed together, salt, pepper, i use a little nutmeg, too. Then on low for 6 hours, and half an hour before its done, throw little pieces of refrigerated biscuit dough in it. That on rice is just delicious!!

  • Robyn says:

    I wait for a big, fat sale on pork butt or shoulder, then buy a ton and throw one in the ol’ crockpot on high all day. No salt, no pepper, no water, nothing but the roast. By the time I get home from work, it’s almost full of liquid, and fall-apart tender. Pour off the excess liquid, shred it with forks (getting rid of any large pockets of fat you may find), add your favorite BBQ sauce, and you have the best pulled-pork sammies ever. Makes enough to freeze several containers worth, too. Cheap, easy, and good; we call that a Slam Dunk!

  • Robin says:

    We do use our crockpot! At first I was skeptical as all the recipes I could find online seemed to prominently feature huge quantities of meat, which we do not eat.

    But I found that bringing unsoaked dried beans to a boil on the stovetop, then pouring the whole boiling mess into the crockpot and leaving it on low, was by far the easiest, best-tasting way to prepare the dry beans, and got them to be the same texture as canned beans, which my family had preferred (but the canned cost more).

    Also you can make apple butter with a crockpot, yum! Just mix applesauce (homemade or store) with sugar and let it boil down (lid off) until it is the color and texture of apple butter.

  • Amanda says:

    I would recommend the book Fix it and Forget It Light. Most crockpot recipes are very fat filled, usually calling for cream of something soups and other high fat, very processed ingredients. In the Fix it and Forget It Light many of the recipes are for fixing meat and vegetables in the crockpot. This is the best use of the crockpot in my opinion. the book gives me hundreds of ways to cook healthful, non-processed meals for my family. I just serve bread and maybe a salad along side the crockpot meal and we are good to go!

    BTW, my crockpot is cooking up my dinner right now.

  • sara says:

    I use my crock pot probably once a week. I agree with Crystal – go visit Stephanie’s blog for lots of inspiration. My favorite things to make are roast beef, beef stew, stroganoff, garlicky chicken thighs, chili, steak and chicken for tacos, many kinds of soup etc.

  • Kristine says:

    I own a 3.5 quart crock pot. Not one of the huge 6 quart models that can hold a large cut of meat with ease! So our recipes are necessarily scaled back because of the space available.

    The macaroni and cheese recipe from the Fix-it cookbook is delicious. We also enjoy a potato soup recipe I got from my grandmother. A roast with potatoes, carrots and onions is nice to come home to (we use a small pork roast). We make a taco filling in the crockpot as well.

    One of my heating elements appears to be not working correctly. So I’ve got a new model on my wishlist. One manufacturer has a model with different sized crocks – how handy would that be?!?

  • W says:

    I make roast beef by pouring in a cup of water with my roast, a couple of beef bullion cubes, and an envelope of lipton onion soup mix.

    I make pulled pork by putting in a pork roast (all by itself or sometimes rubbed with garlic powder) and shredding it and mixing it with barbeque sauce after it’s cooked.

    These are the two favorite recipes for my family–so easy and so good.

  • Sandy says:

    I make large limas (dried). I sort and rinse the bag, put it in the crockpot with ham bullion and/or ham (I use ham steaks or diced – I’ve even thrown leftover ham luncheon meat in it) and fill up with water. They are great by the end of the day and it’s a pretty healthy alternative.

  • Molly says:

    I use my Crockpot all the time, at least once a week. It is great for soups, stews, and chilis (any regular soup, stew or chili recipe can be used in a crockpot, just dump the ingredients in set it to low and leave it cook all day) but I use mine most to roast chickens. Here is my favorite recipe:

    1 Whole Chicken (4-6 pound chicken)
    Olive Oil Cooking Spray
    Seasoned Salt (or whatever spices you want/have)
    Aluminum foil

    Clean chicken inside and out. Spray with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with seasoning.

    Spray inside of crockpot with cooking spray. (Do not put any water in the crockpot).

    Roll some wads of aluminum foil into balls and put them in the bottom of the crockpot. The chicken is going to sit on these.

    Put chicken back side down in crockpot on top of aluminum balls. Cook on High (will not come out the same on low), 4-6 hours.

  • Carrie says:

    I have had very good luck just throwing regular recipes into my crock pot. If using a fatty meat I might brown it first in order to pour off some of the fat. the other thing I might adjust is to make sure the liquid is sufficient — if i peek at it halfway through the day and notice it’s going dry, just add some broth or wine.

  • Suzy says:

    My favorite thing to do with the crockpot is cook a whole chicken once they go on sale. Place breast-side up, add a little water, cook for 8 hours or so on low or until your thermometer hits 165. Then I cool the meat, shred it, and freeze it in 2-cup portions. I use it in everything from chicken salad to chicken enchiladas. Super easy!

  • I absolutely love my crockpot! I use it for soups, steaks, roasts, and chicken mostly – but I’ve also found some great recipes for desserts and breakfast dishes.

    I cannot recommend Stephanie’s blog (crockpot365.blogspot.com) enough. She definitely breaks every crockpot stereotype out there – plus ALL her recipes are gluten-free, so it’s a great resource for families who have to avoid gluten.

  • Lori says:

    I own TWO crockpots, and they are indispensible for OAMC (once-a-month-cooking). And, yes, The Fix-It and Forget-It books are a must have.

    If you entertain at all, crockpots are wonderful for keeping cider hot or filling with mashed potatoes or other food to keep warm.

  • Amy says:

    Funny! 🙂 I’m making beef stew in my crockpot as we speak. It smells so yummy!

    I don’t use my crockpot as often as I wish. I usually forget until I want something like stew or a really good roast. My top 3 recipes in the crockpot are: a very simple old-fashioned beef stew, bean & ham soup, and roast(pork or beef). We also do a chicken noodle soup. All are just amazing and simple to throw in and let cook all day. I sometimes even prep everything the night before and stick the crock in the fridge. Then in the morning all I have to do is take it out and turn it on. Then, when the day is done, so is dinner! No fuss. 🙂

    Good luck in your search. There really are a ton of recipes out there.

  • Leisa says:

    I love making pulled pork in the crockpot, and I also make a KILLER ham in the crockpot – just put a 4 – 6 pound ham in the cp, mix 3/4 cup brown sugar with 1/2 cup cola and 1 tsp. dry mustard and 1 T. horseradish. It’s the best ham you’ll ever have. I slice the leftovers up to use for sandwiches and it’s WAY cheaper than buying ham at the deli.

    Crockpot is also great for a whole chicken, just season with your favorite seasonings and add about 1 cup chicken broth and let it cook. Falling-off-the-bone tender and delicious and again with our family of 4 it’s cook once, eat twice because of the leftovers (and whole chickens can be gotten for $.79/pound when they are on sale).

    I try to crockpot at least twice a week in the winter, and it’s also great in the summer when you don’t want to bake your meat because of the heat.

    Check out http://www.allrecipes.com for lots of great crockpot recipes…

  • Heather says:

    YES! I LOVE my crock pot(s)! I use it at least 3 times a week. I am an avid fan of the crock pot because I can get supper ready in the early part of the day and forget about it till supper time. Afternoons and evenings tend to be a little crazy… homework, practices, etc. I also find my crock pot to be very money saving because I can cook the cheaper cuts of meat (and the venison my hubby gets) into very tender meals. As the creator of http://www.SimpleFamilySupper.com I include crock pot directions along with stove top or oven directions to many of the meals on the menu.

    Here is an easy way to cook up a roast (Beef, pork or venison) or chicken pieces:
    Place the meat in the crock pot. Mix up a packet of dry Italian dressing mix according to package directions and pour over meat. Cook on LOW all day! Enjoy!

    A Simple BBQ chicken recipe is just dumping a bottle of BBQ sauce over chicken meat and cooking on low ALL DAY! yummy!

    All of my Crock pots are “old” and are not the push button kind. Mine turn either to LOW or HIGH. My sister has a “newer” one and says she doesn’t like it as much….. As with any thing, you just have to learn it… some cook hotter than others.

  • Gina says:

    I love my crockpot! Once a month, I put several large boneless, skinless chicken breasts in and pour a can of diced tomatoes on top. After cooking, I shred the chicken and use it for tacos that night, then make a pan of enchiladas to freeze, quesadillas for lunch, you name it! I’ve written about it several times:
    http://sahmmoney.blogspot.com/2008/02/recipes-with-diced-tomatoes.html

  • Rachel says:

    I can hardly imagine living without my crockpot. I use it for all the things already mentioned, or almost anyway. I have a large one so I make enough to put half in the freezer. The way I do beans is to put 6 cups of dried beans such as pinto or kidney, add 14 cups of water and cook on high all day. Makes enough for supper plus plenty to bag up and put in the freezer.
    My microwave recently began shooting out fire so it got put out in the trash and I do not plan to replace it, but don’t ask me to do without my crockpot.

  • MJ says:

    I love my crockpot. I pretty much only cook chicken in it, as DH is VERY picky. But I don’t use anymore chicken in the crockpot than out of it. I think a big part of it is making sure you either make a complete meal in the crockpot or adding sides. My crockpot is never full, since there are only 3 of us big enough to eat from it.

    One of my favorite things to do with my crockpot is to cook some chicken with a can/bottle of something. I use salsa, barbeque sauce, salad dressing, marinade . . . whatever I have on hand to keep things moist. It’s usually healthy (just watch the nutritional content of the liquid) and there are endless options.

  • Laurel says:

    Easiest crock pot recipe ever –

    1 roast – any type of meat, cheap cuts work GREAT
    1 jar of salsa
    1 packet of taco seasoning mix
    additional liquid (water) as needed to suit your particular crockpot

    Cook on low all day, then shred it up. Use as a filling for tacos, burritos, etc. Customize as you like with extra veggies (onions, peppers, tomatoes).

  • Jessica says:

    I just recently pulled out my crock pot for the first time! I’m really trying to give it a fair shake. So far I’ve made applesauce, apple butter, hamburger soup, chili, and a recipe that didn’t turn out too well (that was my first one!). Here is one blog post:
    http://momforhim.blogspot.com/2008/10/crock-pot-applesauce.html
    I also recommend the Crockpot Lady on Year of Crockpotting! She’s hilarious–I just love her writing, even if I don’t try all the recipes!

  • Bethany says:

    Here are a couple of my favorites from my recipe blog.

    The best beans in the universe … http://fortheloveofgrub.blogspot.com/2008/08/refried-beans-without-refry.html

    Comfort food for a dreary day …
    http://fortheloveofgrub.blogspot.com/2008/08/cajun-sausage-beans.html

    Easy peasy granola for breakfast or snacking …
    http://fortheloveofgrub.blogspot.com/2008/08/tams-granola.html

  • Heather Hunt says:

    My lands! YES! I use my crockpot(s)!
    My favorite recipe is italian chicken:
    place 4 chicken breast ( you can do as many as 6) in the bottom of your crockpot (I use my 6 quart) and sprinkle 1 package of italian dressing mix over top, Set on low for 3 hours. Meanwhile, mix together 1 can cream of chicken soup and 8 oz of cream cheese. After the 3hours pour cream cheese mixture over chicken and let sit on low for another hour. Serve over rice. This one is delicious, and if you forget about supper, I have done it in 2 hrs, and also 4 hrs w/ frozen chicken breasts!
    I actually own, a 1/5 qt, 4 qt and (2) 6 qt crockpots,there have been meals where I have used at least 3 of them! Soup, dinner, and even dessert! Also, the best Sunday dinner ever is soup in the crockpot and fresh bread from a bread machine, no work for lunch after church! Definitely invest in any of the Fix-it-and-forget-it cook books, my favorite is the 5 ingredient one!

  • JBLeach says:

    One of my family’s favorite recipes is pot roast.
    Place pot roast in pot, sprinke one package of dry onion soup mix on top. Cover, turn on Low and by dinner time you have an awesomly tender roast.

  • Amy says:

    I love my crock-pots! I have four and usually have at least one, if not two, going at any given moment (I have a teen and tween boy, though, so they eat LOTS!)

  • Leslie says:

    I love my crockpot and I do NOT like soggy fattening food. I use my crock to cook a lot of meat…whole chickens, (and broth), pork roast and chops, rump roast, chicken breasts, drumsticks, and of course a lot of soups, chili and that sort of thing. I hardly ever cook meat in my oven. We live in TX so it is nice way to keep the kitchen cooler, too.

  • Kelly says:

    What about pot roast, that is always a winner at our house. A pot roast, carrotts, and potatoes….mm.

    I also do a really good and easy pork tenderloin in the slow cooker. Take a 2lb pork tenderloin, cover it with one onion soup mix, one cup of water and one cup of red wine (or chicken broth, I’ve never tried it with the broth but they say you can). Cook on low for 4 hours. Serve the tenderloin and use the extra juice on the side au jus. We loveeee this one in our house.

  • Katy says:

    I love a good whole chicken or pot roast in the crockpot! I never, ever cook on High, because it just doesn’t come out right. I always cook on Low for 8 hours or more.

    Just a reminder for those who may not want to plunk down cash for a brand new crock pot, if they aren’t sure that they’ll get their money’s-worth: Shop the local thrift store! Just about every kitchen appliance can be found at a thrift store, most in near-new condition, for $5 or less. That’s where I bought my bread machine, since I wasn’t sure I’d use it enough to justify spending $30 on a new one. What a deal!

  • I use mine all the time. In fact, I have stuffed green peppers in mine right now.

  • susan says:

    I love the crockpot but don’t get around to using it all that often! Thanks for posting the blog of crockpot recipes – it will motivate me to use mine more often!

  • I use mine all the time. One of my favorite things to cook in mine is a chuck roast. The meat comes out so tender and juicy and I will use it for beef and noodles, tacos, beef and mashed potatoes.

    I never cook a roast in the oven anymore. Only the crock pot.

  • Helen says:

    I LOVE it. You can buy cheaper cuts of steak and use them as stew meat. They are so moist when done! Sear your meat in a pan first, if you like that bit of color.

    I’m asking for the Fix it and Forget it newly released BIG book…I think it combines old recipes and incorporates new ones. I can’t wait to flip through it. Even with just the two of us, we have the big 5qt model and it’s wonderful for making leftovers.

    One of my favorite meals is rice, cheese soup (add some water…don’t add milk at the start!) and chicken. Then you add a bag of frozen broccoli florets maybe 30 minutes before serving? Delicious!

  • Honey says:

    I love using the crockpot. Our family is 7 people, so I am going to be buying a 2nd crockpot soon (and use the $5 rebate!) I make oatmeal (recipe at about.com: busy Cooks), baked potatoes, soups, roast, bbq, etc in mine. Here’s a recipe for chicken tortilla soup a friend gave me:
    4 chicken breasts
    2 cans rotelle
    1 can green chilis
    2 cans black beans with juice
    1 can diced tomatoes
    1 cup salsa
    Defrost chicken. Put all ingredients into crock pot. Cook all day on low. Shred chicken with two forks. Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips, cheese etc. Very tasty!

  • Denese says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I use my crockpot quite a bit, mostly for “one-pot” meals, especially when we have to go out for the day.
    I’ve never cooked just vegetables in it but have cooked almost about every type of meat- BBQ ribs, beef stew, chicken stew, deer roast and even squirrel. The wild meats come out sooo tender.
    I make homemade salve and I’m going to buy one of the tiny crockpots for making it in, and I haven’t tried it but I’d say you could use a crockpot for making candles, too.
    Love all the other recipes and ideas, I’m definitely going to try making apple butter and oatmeal in one. 🙂

  • I use my crock pot EVERY. DAY. I have chucked most oven cooking to the curb. There are lots of resources online for cooking low carb and low fat. You just have to be more diligent in hunting for these recipes. The are cookbooks for MANY styles of cooking and the great part is you can modify almost any recipe to what you need. My family has to eat low sugar and low carb because of health restrictions, candida and diabetes, and I have found a stink load recipes that I have modified and that we all LOVE.

    In my opinion, you have to do the experimenting before you find a good amount of recipes that your family likes. I have made at least 15-20 that I will never eat again. I also have about 8 that I do every 2 weeks(some even more often!)

    I just got the Fix it and Forget it book on Sunday at Sam’s club. It was 18.xx dollars. I am excited to try and share lots of new things.

    I also lurve the blog, a year of crockpotting. She is so funny and candid. Today I am making her buffalo lasagna. On Saturday I made her mac and cheese with low carb pasta. (w/o the mustard) and it was a huge hit.

    I am finding that I want 2 more crock pots so I can make things in while the main meal is cooking. Applesauce, macaroni, mushroom soup for other meals, etc….

    I would not recommend getting a crockpot with a plastic lid, or one that has a hinge on the back.

    My favorite recipes are cheesy chicken enchiladas, stuffed peppers, mexican beef(like a mexican spiced roast), heroin wings, stroganoff meatballs, and low carb chili.

  • Sally says:

    I made bbq pork for my husband. He loved it. I took pork shoulder, and covered it with a bottle of bbq sauce and let it simmer for about 6 hours on low. I don’t remember where I found the recipe but it had called for onion, carrot, and celery for the base, then the pork on top. My husband doesn’t like vegetables much so I just put a layer of sauce, then the pork, then more sauce. The meat just feel apart and made great sandwiches the next day. I made that about a year ago, and it was the only time I used my crock pot since receiving it for a wedding gift, now 4 years ago.

  • Stefanie says:

    I love using my crockpots. I own two 6quart cookers and one little dipper that can be used for sauces, dips, etc. I am a huge fan of the “Fix It and Forget It” books but I would also recommend any cookbook from Dawn Hall. Every recipe in her book “Busy People’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” is low fat. My favorite wedding present to give: a crockpot and a crockpot cookbook.

  • anonymous says:

    I have the exact crockpot in that picture! lol.

    The easiest thing I make is either roast or chili. For the roast I just throw a small english roast in the pot with a little bit of water and packet of Lipton onion soup mix. After a few hours I dump in lots of potatoes and carrots. I use the leftovers to make soup for the next day. I put the whole pot in the fridge and in the morning heat it back up, adding frozen veggies (usually the steamfresh mixed veggies I can pick up for pennies!) and a can or two of tomatoes. (usually free Muir Glen ones. 🙂 I also add V8 or tomato juice. Bake up some cornbread to go with it.

    For the chili just add all your ingredients. I precook my ground beef or chicken on the stovetop first though.

  • Sheila says:

    My crockpot has Pizza Rice in it right now! 🙂 It’s a new to me recipe I am trying from More with Less. The recipe says to bake it, but I’m using the crock pot because I have to be away from home when it should be cooking. Two things I especially love my crock pot for are baked potatoes (white or sweet) and for fixing a huge pot of beans that I then freeze and puree in my food processor for ‘refried’ beans. I will never buy another can of refried beans – there is no comparison! While I don’t care for many of the traditional crockpot recipes (no cream of anything in my house!) I tend to use my crockpot more as a slow oven. It’s much more energy efficient.

  • Marsha says:

    We bought a crockpot when I returned to work full-time about 18 months ago. I wouldn’t say that I love it, or even like it but it does serve a useful purpose. I’m a faithful reader of the Crockpot 365 blog and enjoy the writing, but cannot escape that much of what the slow cooker turns out has a “crockpotty” taste to it- it’s all pretty much the same.

    Part of the issue is that I don’t use cream o’ anything or packets of salad dressing or commercial sauces or spice mixtures in daily cooking (even when they’re very inexpensive – I don’t consider them healthy and I’m privileged that using them isn’t an economy I’ve had to make so far) and many of the recipes require such ingredients. And while the recipes featuring so much tin foil are clever, I wince at the cost (and waste) associated with them.

    Much of my use is to put a cut of meat in the crock, cover it with broth and, perhaps, diced onion and/or garlic and cook. The result is served over rice or pasta (like another commenter I cannot get pasta right in the crock so I cook it separately) and an accompanying veg.

    It is useful for cooking dried beans, as someone else said, and warming soups. With these uses and preparing the meat as described once or twice a week it earns it’s keep as a convenience but somewhat at the expense of variety in meals and versatility.

  • Lana says:

    Just a comment on the Fix It and Forget It cookbook series. I have 2 of their books and by and large the recipes are not great. I was dissapointed over and over and finally gave up on them. Crock pot recipes from the Taste of home magazines and cookbooks are way better. Also Americas Test Kitchen recipes are really good.

  • Sarah says:

    I made some really good pumpkin butter and pear butter for our bread last week. Tonight, I am cooking an entire chicken (overnight) to be used in other recipes. YUMMY!!!!

  • Emily says:

    There’s a great, fast and easy white chili crock pot recipe on America’s Handmade Homefront’s blog. Feel free to try it out.

    http://www.1ahh.com/blog/?p=125

  • Trixie says:

    Hello!

    I love all the delicous crock pot recipes. There are several that will have to find a way on the menu next month.

    One of my favorite things to make in the crock pot is bbq pulled pork sandwiches.

    Here is the link to my recipe.
    http://farmhomelife.blogspot.com/2008/08/perfect-pulled-pork-bbq-sandwiches.html

    Take Care,

    Trixie
    http://farmhomelife.blogspot.com/

  • Kate says:

    I have FOUR crockpots. One has dinner in it right now. Any time I have something I don’t know what to do with, I google the meat and the words recipe and crockpot. Love it!

  • cara says:

    love my crockpot! There is crockpot chicken and dressing cooking in mine as we speak… I did several meals to put in the freezer a few weekends ago and this was one I’m trying…love having stuff I can pull out of the freezer and put in the crockpot!!!! I’ve gotten alot of recipes from recipezaar.com

  • Lorie says:

    I go through seasons where I use my crockpot more at times than I do other times. I think I use it more in the winter for making soups & chili. Whether I’m using it a lot or not I love my crockpot & would never give it up. There are definitely a lot of crockpot recipes out there. You can cook “baked” potatoes in a crock. Just wash, cover with oil, wrap in aluminum foil, place in crock, come back in a couple of hours, & they’re done. No liquid required. So easy if you need to just leave it on to cook without worry. I’m about to have our second child so I anticipate using my crock more in the coming months. I can’t wait to check out the “Year of CrockPotting” blog.

  • Amy Flanegan says:

    I love to make pulled pork in the crock pot as several people have described above. I also use the crockpot for roast and lots of different soups.

    Whenever whole chickens are on sale I buy a couple then cook them on low all day in the crockpot. Then the meat just falls off the bone and I can freeze it for use in casseroles, etc. I drain the drippings and freeze those to make chicken gravy. Then I take the bones, break them in half and throw them back in the crockpot along with a whole bunch of water (fill it up) and about a tsp of vinegar (to pull the calcium out of the bones). Cook on low overnight and you have homemade chicken broth – delicious, cheap and very good for you.

  • Jeannette says:

    I love using my crockpot, I am actually saving to replace the one I got for christmas last year, you could brown the meat, set the timer, and it would stay warm. Unfortunately as I was carrying it down to my basement where I keep it, I dropped it and the insert broke. To replace would cost as much to purchase a new.
    I love all the suggestions, but tomorrow can we do soup recipes???
    thanks

  • Thank you so much for the link to my blog and for your kind words. I am getting such a kick out of this year—and I really appreciate the cyber-love. I am beginning to think that Baby’s R Us should include crockpots on their registry…

    xoxoxo
    steph

  • Heather says:

    Oh yes! My CrockPot got daily use when my kids were little. I still use it for all sorts of things. Pretty much any soup or chili recipe could be cooked in the CrockPot. Just use a little less liquid and brown any onions on the stove first (otherwise they are a little crunchy).

  • mamajuliana says:

    My crockpot is my favorite kitchen appliance, and I use it for dinner at least once a week. (We actually have three -little-bigger-biggest!)

    Right now there is Chili cooking in Mr. Biggest!

  • Shannon says:

    This post has got me all excited about my crock pot! I love using mine and use it regularly, however I have a few recipes I use all the time (chili, roast, applebutter, ribs, etc.) But I am so excited about the blog you linked to and some of the recipes I have read here. I can’t wait to get cooking! Oh, and I love the new Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. I know these aren’t the cheapest but they are a splurge I buy. They clean up sooooo easy!

  • Jill says:

    I used my camping for baked potatoes about 2-3 hours on high actually I just put them in and forget about them on low also until I’m ready for them.

    My favorite beef is one can of beef broth and one can of mushroom soup with a pot roast. MMmm good!

    I like the oval shape better but I have the tall shape for beans/stew too.

  • Michelle says:

    Love it! Here are my tips:

    http://www.leavingexcess.com/2008/10/crock-pot-tips.html, with a link to a lot of recipes.

    My advice – stick to ingredients that you like and you will be fine!

  • Lisa says:

    My crock pot is my best friend! As a homeschooling mom who works part-time, I use my crock pot a lot. I like throwing a soup together too with what I have on hand. I also really like to roast a chicken breast in there with some spices and then use the broth for soups afterward. There are so many things you can do.

  • Oddly enough, it seems like we typically use our crock pot only in the winter. Never thought about it until now, but for us…it seems to go with cold weather. LOVE it though when we are using it!

  • Katharine says:

    here is a recent post on my blog of a simple delicious way to cook inexpensive cuts of chicken (i.e. thighs for .49/ lb. anyone?!) to eat plain or have handy for all your favorite chicken recipes.

    http://mommasmagic.blogspot.com/2008/09/chicken-in-pot.html

  • Vickie says:

    I am a believer that less is better. You can over season your foods with too many herbs and sauces. I use muy crock all the time to cook meats. I will place a whole turkey breast in it with only a stick of butter, salt and pepper. No liquid and cook on low. Will melt in your mouth. Do the same with pork roast. When the roast (boston butt) is done it will just fall apart. Pull it apart and fold in a bottle of your favorite bbq sauce and serve on a bun. Jusy about don’t have to chew it!

  • Maricar says:

    I love my crockpot! I make the absolute best fall-off-the-bone ribs in it, which is always a hit:
    http://www.keepingthecastle.com/my-best-recipe-for-ribs-thus-far/
    I broil the ribs for about 4 minutes after they cook in the crockpot, for a wonderful slow-roasted taste and a moist interior.

  • Whitney says:

    I usually cook whole chickens in the oven, but after I’m done I throw the bones, fat, grease, everything left over but the meat into the crockpot. I fill it with water, and add a bit of pepper and vinegar and slow-cook it overnight. In the morning, I strain the bones and skin out and put the chicken stock into a bowl in the fridge. Later, after the stock has cooled, a layer of fat rises to the top and solidifies. Before using the stock, I just scoop the fat off the top. It’s delicious and so much better than the MSG-laden broths in the store.

  • Carol McHorse says:

    Slow Cooker Beef and Bean Burritos (from Cooking Light)

    Ingredients

    1 (2 lb.) London Broil (any other roast will work too)
    1 (1.25 oz.) package taco seasoning mix
    Cooking spray
    1 c. chopped onion
    1 T. white vinegar
    1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles

    1. Trim fat from meat. Rub seasoning mix on both sides of meat. Place meat in slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Add onion, vinegar and green chiles. Cover with lid. Cook on low heat for 9 hours. Remove meat from slow cooker; reserving cooking liquid. Shred meat with two forks. Combine meat and cooking liquid. Stir well.

    2. To make burritos, warm a can of fat free refried beans. Warm tortillas. Spread 2T. beans down the center of each tortilla. Spoon a heaping 1/3 cup of meat mixture on top of the beans. Top with 2 T. cheese, 2 T. tomato, and 1 T. sour cream. Roll up.

    Of course you could add whatever toppings you like. Guacamole is good, queso….I better stop. You get the idea. This makes a lot. You can freeze the leftovers or use the meat to make nachos or a taco salad.

  • Brittany says:

    I recently got the bags that go in a crockpot for easy cleaning. They’re from Reynold’s (like the foil). They’re like big plastic baggies and they fit into the pot and over the sides. It makes for very easy clean-up and also if it’s not soupy, you can use a twist tie or rubberband and put the leftovers in the fridge for re-heating the next day.
    http://www.epinions.com/review/Reynolds_Slow_Cooker_Liners/content_224936234628

  • june says:

    How much is the coupon in the mag? I haven’t been able to get the magazine yet. My new WalMart is super ghetto. I have been thinking about getting a crock pot though.

  • Catherine says:

    I bought a crockpot at a yard sale over the summer for $0.25! It is probably from 1960 but it works well. I didn’t really know what to do with it, but when I found that year of crockpotting blog, I was hooked! Definitely worth an investment – just make sure you buy one that you will have storage space for.

    Also – to anyone who is looking to buy a crockpotting cookbook, check half.com or amazon marketplace for barely-used books at a great discount. 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    I’ve foudn some incredible slow cooker recipes this autumn – chicken enchiladas; sausage and white bean cassoulet and a “to die for” sauerkraut, sausage, bacon apple, white wine dish – SO GOOD!

    Here’s a link of all my posted slow cooekr recipes:
    http://johnstonesvinblanc.blogspot.com/search?q=slow+cooker

  • karen says:

    here’s how I cook bean in the crock pot–
    1 pound dry beans, 1 tsp salt, cover with water, cook on low until almost done. measure 1 cup portions into freezer bags, freeze flat. Thaw in fridge and use in place of canned beans.

    I usually cook black beans, kidney beans, or garbonzos. Freeze garbanzos in three cup increments for hummus. Delish.

  • Laura says:

    I’m not a huge crockpot user, but do love two dishes made with McCormick Slow Cookers packets: Savory Pot Roast and BBQ Pulled Pork. Here’s the link for more info:
    http://www.mccormick.com/content.cfm?ID=11717
    I buy them at Super Target.

  • Becky H says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE my crockpot! In the winter I make a beef stoup (thicker than soup, thinner than stew) with beef broth or stock, beef stew meat and any veggies I have and seasonings. All day in the pot and it’s delicious!

    I also make a week’s worth of steel cut oatmeal (great receipe here: http://www.recipezaar.com/101101 ) and then seperate it into individual servings for breakfast at work during the week. I will NEVER go back to instant after this!

    Roasts also go in there with some water and a onion soup mix packet.

    I can’t wait to try some of the recipes suggested by the other commentors!

  • Katie L says:

    We love to make baked potatoes in it (poke holes, wrap in aluminum foil, cook on high 4-6 hours), especially for times when we need to bring a meal. We top them with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and sour cream, or whatever leftovers we have (chili, spaghetti sauce, broccoli, etc). Another really easy recipe we do often is pulled pork– boneless pork, BBQ sauce, and honey (or honey BBQ sauce), cook on low ~8 hours. We serve it on hot dog or hamburger buns. It reheats really well for leftovers! (In fact, it would also probably be tasty on a baked potato…)

  • Melissa says:

    Heads up!
    There is a new website up for women! They are having a $500 card giveaway contest for new members (Walmart, Target, or Amazon). There are lesser gift card prizes too. You can find the link here:
    http://totallyher.com/forum/register.php?referrerid=6

  • Katie says:

    I love the idea of the crockpot, but haven’t found too many recipes that don’t taste bland and mushy at the end of cooking so long. However, I do use my crockpot frequently for making homemade stock. Whenever I roast a chicken I throw the carcass into the crockpot with a few of whatever veggies I have in the fridge like onions, carrots, celery, the ribs of greens like kale or chard, etc and cover it all with water. I let it cook on low all day, then strain the stock and put it in the fridge overnight. The next morning I skim off the fat from the top and possibly salt to taste. I freeze it for later use and/or use some for making yummy homemade soup.

  • Lindy :) says:

    I use my crock-pot a lot in the winter months. Matter of fact, made pulled pork yesterday for dinner! I also like to make chili and chicken and rice dinners in it!

  • Brittany says:

    white chicken chili is my fav. thing to fix in the crock pot

  • Melodie says:

    Yes! I love crockpoting! Any meat dinner cooks so nicely in the crockpot. Makes meats so moist and tender. If you didn’t have time to marinade, crockpots help soak the flavor right into the meat while cooking. And it is great for those days that you forgot to thaw out the meat from the freezer since it thaws it out for you in about an hour. The only meat that has been a bit finicky for me is chicken. Don’t cook that one too long or it gets chewy.

    Rice casseroles, bean casseroles, soups, and pasta meals all cook nicely with crockpots. It is ideal for lunchtime meals like sloppy joes or shredded pork sandwiches too. Most of your favorite recipes can be adjusted to work in a crockpot fairly easily. Just check the conversion times in the crockpot instruction manual and make adjustments accordingly. When you have leftovers, bag it up and stick it in the freezer for another meal in a couple weeks.

    I especially love using them when I have company. It cuts down on prep that must be done as guests are arriving. That way, I don’t have to worry about hostessing and cooking all at once. The preparations can be done ahead of time, and I can focus on entertaining and fellowshiping with our company.

  • Roxanne says:

    I too love using my crockpot!

    But I understand the poster’s concern about healthy recipes. Many or most traditional crockpot recipes are full of convenience foods (cans of soups, seasoning packets).

    You really have to just experiment with your regular recipes and try new things in the crockpot. I make tons of healthy reacipes in my crockpot!

  • Jennifer Kaiser says:

    We LOVE to cook our ribs in the crock pot. It takes about three hours on high then I turn it down and let it slow cook until time to eat. I put liquid smoke and worchestershire sauce in it. SO easy and SO good!

  • Saralyn says:

    I love my crock pot, but it took me a long time to get it right. I found that a lot of the recipes overcooked the meat, especially chicken came out dry and tasteless, and that we like things more seasoned than many of the recipes made. So now I always cook to the lowest reccomended time, use chicken thighs instead of breasts, and add additional seasonings. Here’s the link to our favorite crockpot stew http://theplacebeneath.blogspot.com/2008/09/whatcha-got-cookin.html

    (Crystal–why won’t your blog allow html comments so we can post direct links?)

  • Jan says:

    BIG crock pot fan- I have two! My favorite recipes are:
    “Rotissere” Chicken
    buy a whole roasting chicken when they are on sale
    remove all “innards”- rinse and pat dry
    run skin with butter
    place in crock pot butt side down
    add one dry packet Good Seasons salad dressing (DRY!)
    no water or liquid
    cook all day on low- comes out just like rotissere chicken

    Pulled pork
    buy a large pork butt roast when on sale
    place in crock pot with one packet taco mix and 1/2 cup water
    cook all day on low
    pull meat apart with 2 forks
    use for sandwiches or fajitas

    BBQ ribs
    buy 2 packs country ribs (boneless) on sale
    brown in oven first
    put in crock pot with 1 bottle BBQ sauce
    cook all day on low
    we serve over mashed potatoes

    BTW- Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners are the Best Invention Ever!

  • Lora says:

    My favorite things to make in my crockpot are: roast with carrots & potatoes, bbq beef, chicken & dressing and pinto beans.
    (It looks like there are some great recipes in these comments–I’m definitely going to be checking these out!)

  • Save100ADay says:

    I saw a cool slow cooker on clearance at target. It had 3 different size crocks, 2- 4- and 6-cup, that fit in the same heater. There was a button to set which size crock you were using so it would adjust the temperature controls accordingly. It was $25 which was half price, and it was a name brand I recognized but couldn’t tell you what. I may have to go back and get it with my birthday gc!!

  • FishMama says:

    Sounds redundant, considering all the other posts, but I LOVE my crockpot. Am using it today to make shredded beef for tacos. Just toss in a roast with spices and that’s it.

    I hosted a recipe swap a few months ago and readers came up with some great crockpot dishes: http://www.lifeasmom.com/2008/08/recipe-swap-whats-in-your-crockpot.html

  • Bonnie says:

    I am 100% sold on crock pots! We have 3 and use them every week. My husband and I run a bus for church on Sundays. We leave at 8 and don’t get back until 2:30… and husband is HUNGRY!!! The crock pots have been a lifesaver. I can cook an entree, side, and dessert at the same time, and it is ready to eat right away. There are so many good recipes out there, and some of them are better than convenient that conventional ways of cooking. I will never cook a baked potato in the oven again! Give it a try!

  • Yolande says:

    the crockpot has changed my life! “a year of crockpotting” blog got me going after previous failed attempts. I did not find fix it and forget it to be helpful. Slow-cooking for dummies is actually quite good-explains the ins and outs. I have venison stew in the crockpot today. Now I have more time for homeschool and doing other thrifty things to save money!

  • Dona says:

    One of our favorite crockpot recipes is this one
    a taco bean casserole–My husband loves to dip scoop tostitos into it! He took it to work and it was a huge hit
    Here is a link to a pic on my website and the recipe

    http://helpfulhomemaker.blogspot.com/2008/04/yummy-soft-taco-bean-casserole.html

  • Liz says:

    We’re vegetarian, which pretty severely limits what we can do with a crockpot. (Most recipes call for meat). Most of the meatless stews more closely resemble cat food than people food when they’re done! However, I’ve found my crockpot to be worth the investment. I cook dried beans of some kind at least once a week. I just sort and rinse them, put them in the crockpot with enough water to cover them by two inches, and add salt and a little vegetable oil. I also use the crockpot to make baked potatoes- it cooks more evenly than the microwave and doesn’t heat up the house like the oven does!

  • Janel says:

    I don’t use my crockpot often because it seems like too often the recipes I try are duds. I would love to find some good recipes because I do like the ease of the crockpot. Yesterday I did make a crockpot Beef Stew that I found at http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Diegos-Special-Beef-Stew/Detail.aspx and it was very good.

    The other thing I use my crockpot for is to keep mashed potatoes warm at Thanksgiving. It keeps a huge batch piping hot!

  • Kendra says:

    We use ours a lot, but like Patti, we are not fond of many of the recipes out there. My favorite crock pot cookbook is The Gourmet Slow Cooker. You’ll need to do a bit more prep work than simply throwing stuff in the crock pot, but then that’s why the recipes are so good.

  • Angela says:

    Without a doubt, we LOVE our crockpot! We use it at LEAST once a week. It comes in handy when you need to get dinner made (or breakfast) and you have more time in the morning (or right before you go to bed). We too love A year of Crockpotting…………now I am off to find some pumpkin crockpot recipes!

    Angela

  • Org Junkie says:

    I absolutely love my crockpot although haven’t been using it as much lately as the one we have has gotten too small for us. I do have several tried and true recipes though to share which can be found on my Family Favorite Recipe Index:

    http://orgjunkie.com/family-favorite-recipes

  • Laura M says:

    We love using the crock pot around here! Besides many of the ideas mentioned, we find it a great tool at Thanksgiving, keeping warm make-ahead mashed potatoes (I make them the afternoon before). We also love making apple butter in it. Our favorite crock pot meals are Pizza in a Pot and Crockpot Enchiladas.

  • Patti says:

    Wow! Thank you for all the ideas!! This is the best blog I’ve found because of all the great readers comments. These recipe ideas should keep me busy all winter. Think I’ll start looking for a crock pot tomorrow.

  • Amy says:

    Another great crockpot cookbook is Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. It is vegan with options to make things vegetarian. Even if you aren’t vegetarian you could easily add small amounts of meat to the recipes. I really like that none of them call for cans of creamed soup and other processed food.

  • Nicole--to die for Taco Soup says:

    I make this at least once a month . . . and it makes enough for supper, lunch leftovers, and some to freeze.

    1 lb. meat (depending on your likes: chicken (can be frozen), ground turkey, or ground beef.
    1 can rotel
    1 28 oz can diced or whole tomatos
    1 can corn (including juice)
    2 cans beans including liquid (pinto, chili, or kidney)
    1 packet taco seasoning
    1 packet ranch dressing mix
    Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6 hours.
    My family eats it topped with sour cream or cheddar cheese, and fritos. It is always a Sunday football watching dinner winner!!!

  • Tovah Certain says:

    One recipe that I do in the crock pot is a yummy cheesy ham and potatoes meal.

    Layer in crockpot:
    slices of ham
    slices of peeled potatoes
    shredded cheese
    sliced onion

    Then dump a can of cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 can water on top. I usually cook mine for 6-8 on low…or until potatoes are tender. The cheese mixes in with the soup and makes a SO delicous cheesy gravy.

  • jill a. says:

    I LOVE my crockpot & use it a few time each week. I cook dried beans, stews, meat (yummy pot roast) and all kinds of meals in it. Today I threw in the carcass of a rotisserie chicken (after I picked it and made chicken salad with the meat left over from last night’s meal), covered with water, added an onion and a few carrots and let it go all day on low — voila! Delicious chicken stock for future use.

  • Jennifer says:

    My all-time favorite, never-fails crock pot recipe is for Teriyaki Pork Roast. My whole family loves it! You can get the recipe on my blog: http://savingandgiving.blogspot.com/2008/10/crock-pot-recipe-teriyaki-pork-roast.html

  • Dawn says:

    When chicken breasts go on sale (BOGO) I fill the crockpot with frozen chicken breasts and sprinkle with seasonings cook on low and wehn it is cooked through I cut it up and freeze in 1 cup portions to use in recipes that call for cooked chicken.

  • niki says:

    BHG makes a cookbook with low carb recipes that is excellent! Even when we have guests who aren’t watching their waistlines, these recipes are well-received and yummy!

    🙂

  • kim says:

    I love, Love, LOVE our crockpot and as a working mother of three I use it as often as possible. I am always looking for “layering” recipies. ie: chicken on the botton with foil wrapped corn on the cob layered above. Nothing like coming home and the majority of the meal is already cooked!
    When I have no specific plan in mind or are low on groceries and time, I foil wrap large baking potatoes and set the crock pot on low. I know, you can them quicker in the microwave but I usually have veggies going while we are stuffing our potatoes with our favorite toppings.
    Another easy one is the whole chicken, skinned ( I struggled with the skinning part while I was expecting) stuff the cavity with quartered onions and sprinkle top with seasonings .. . yum!

    Kim

  • Katie says:

    I’m not a great cook, but I can pull of some fantastic things with the crock pot. It’s my magic kitchen tool. 🙂 Meats come out so tender and juicy! This weekend we had chicken drumsticks in the crock pot. We got a bunch of them for around $5. I took off the skin, and put them in the crock pot with some italian seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper, and about 1/2 cup of water. I left them on low for 6 or so hours and they came out quite tasty, and the house smelled wonderful too.

  • Kristel says:

    I learned a new crockpot trick recently at http://www.dianadyer.blogspot.com. She recommended saving clean parts of veggies that we usually throw in the compost, things like onion and garlic skins, green pepper innerds, squash: skin, seeds and the stringy stuff, etc. Save it all in the freezer bag until it is full (bones can be added too). Then when you have a full bag dump it in the crockpot, cover with water and cook several hours. When it is cool enough to handle scoop out the vegetable parts with a slotted spoon and put them in your compost bucket. Pour the rest through a strainer or coffee filter and you end up with a really flavorful vegetable broth for a soup base. I’ve done this twice now and used the broth to make tortilla soup and chili. Both were very good. She has creative, healthy recipes on her blog.

  • I use it to save us $$$

    It takes inexpensive cuts of meat and makes them melt in your mouth tender.

    I’ll share one of my super easy, but super duper tasty crock pot staples. And if you’re in FL you can take advantage of this week’s sale on the two ingredients:

    Chicken Leg Quarters
    Lawrys 30 Minute Marinade – Teriyaki w/ Pineapple

    Marinate the chicken in the marinade over night in the fridge. I use a plastic bag so I don’t need to use much of the marinade which helps me stretch it over several uses. In the AM just pull chicken leg quarters out of the bag and put into crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours.

    Delicious.

    Chicken leg quarters are on sale for .59/lb at Publix, and Lawrys is on sale buy 1 get 1 at Publix as well.

    I also make it with chicken thighs when those are on sale.

    The crockpot is a must have in my kitchen :).

  • Katherine Liddle says:

    I recommend “Healthy Crockery Cookery”, by Mable Hoffman. My family enjoys many of the recipes, including several vegetarian ones. I also cook lentil soup or split pea soup in the crock pot at least once a week during the cooler months. I use my regular recipes but add a bit less liquid. Herbs and spices may need to be adjusted a bit, too – ground herbs tend to loose their flavor over long cooking periods, so either add them later on or use more. Whole herbs can intensify in flavor, though, so you may need a bit less of them.

  • Amy West says:

    I made vegetable beed stew in mine today! LOL

    I also made soup beans with ham last week.
    and Chicken Tortilla soup ( if you know Don Pablo’s mine is VERY similar. I have worked hard on it! DH’s favorite recipe! )

    I like using it occasionally.

    One of my concerns ( and i am surprised it hasnt been mentioned yet) is the possible lead content in the pot.
    So I dont use it more than once a week.

    🙂

  • Laura says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time! Our oven died yesterday!! We’re not sure what to do, yet. Don’t have the money to replace and we know what’s wrong; it will cost at least $150. Using the Crock Pot while we figure it out is a great idea!

    Thanks for your timeliness!

  • Heather says:

    I just got a crockpot and I really like it. Our 2 family favorites (I have a picky husband and child) are
    -Chicken breasts with broth cooked all day and then -shredded to make soft tacos.
    I also make roasts with it.
    We are actually heading to the apple orchard today to pick apples and I’m going to try and make applesauce in it. Apples – water – brown sugar and cinnamon! It sounds easy enough!

  • Sarah Abbott says:

    Here is a link to a lasagna recipe I posted on our blog that I love!
    http://jon-sarah.blogspot.com/2008/09/quick-lasagna.html

    I also love just throwing veggies and meat in mine for a soup. Another easy thing to do is put in a few chicken breasts, a packet of onion soup mix, and a can of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup. Put it on low for a few hours–really yummy!

  • Joanna says:

    I love my crockpot! I don’t use it a whole lot (maybe 2 or 3 times a month), but I usually stick with making roasts (pork or beef) or chicken. As mentioned, the roasts make great sandwhiches when shredded. My DH loves the beef roast (a little water and onion soup mix is all I put in). Bonless, skinless chicken breast (can be frozen) with a packet of ranch or italian dressing mix and some water makes a great main course and yummy chicken salad with leftovers. I also make chili a lot for potlucks in the fall/winter.
    For those who don’t use their crockpot a lot or need to transport their crockpot I highly recommend Reynolds Slow Cooker liners. You can use a twist tie and seal off(to some extent) the crock before traveling. Not having a mess to scrub out at the end of dinner is wonderful too. =o)

  • Jennifer Alexander says:

    I love using my crock pot and use it often. I am always on the look out for new crock pot recipes. Recently I discovered this blog http://www.crockpot365.blogspot.com. She is using her crock pot everyday as part of a new year resolution and posting them on her blog. Check it out.

  • Jenny says:

    Let me preface with the fact that I hated “crock-pot-ish” tasting recipes with overcooked, dry, soggy, or fatty results. But I’ve had some great luck with these recipes lately:

    *Whole chicken “rotisserie” chicken is fantastic–cheap, easy, delicious, versatile. Rave reviews from people who formerly hated crock-pot meals. To save on foil, use very small heat-proof ramekins or some other method of raising the chicken out of the collecting juices.

    *BEST EVER recipe: French Dip. Cheap cut of meat (trimmed), 3 cups of water and an Au Jus packet (I’m still looking for a non-packet recipe). Cook all day on low, or even as early as the night before.

    *Everyday Food Recipe for Spicy Pulled Pork — great for tacos, also super easy. http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/spicy-pulled-pork?autonomy_kw=spicy%20pulled%20pork&rsc=header_1

    *Real Simple has a whole series of slow-cooker recipes, my favorites of which are the Bolonaise sauce and the bacon chicken.

    *America’s Test Kitchen has several slow-cooker recipes, though I have yet to try them–but I trust their recipes more than almost any others.

  • PJ says:

    I love my crock pot! If you are a fan of meatloaf (I know some are not) just mix up your loaf as you would for the oven, put it in the crock pot, set it on low, and let it go all day. No need to turn on the oven for meatloaf at dinner time. It’s wonderful if you want meatloaf in the summer without the heat of the oven. Also, I use my crockpot to bake potatoes. I wrap mine in foil, they seem to cook better that way, put them in the crock pot in the morning, set it on low, and come dinner time the potatoes are baked. I also use it, as someone mentioned, for entertaining. I make cheese dip, then put it in the crock pot on low and the dip stays in its liquid form for the duration. However, you do have to keep an eye on it if the event is lenghty. After more than a couple hours it tends to start to scorch.

  • René says:

    I don’t like to cook, and would not call myself a good cook, but the crock pot seems to make everyone happy! It makes frozen meatballs (marinated in spaghetti sauce for 3-4 hours) taste like I made them from scratch! You can make meatball sandwiches or just spaghetti.
    Another favorite is chicken tortilla soup – just throw in the ingredients, let them cook for about 5 hours, shred the chicken, add the tortilla strips and some avocado (if you can find them on sale!), and viola!

    2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts,
    1/2 cup chopped onion,
    4oz can chopped green chilies, drained (or 1 fresh)
    2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
    1 can chicken broth
    1 tsp ground cumin
    Salt & pepper to taste
    cilantro as a garnish, if desired

    If you’re a big fan of cheese, like me, you can garnish with that too! A big hit in my house!

  • Lori says:

    There were a lot of comments that I didn’t read, so I hope this is not a repeat.

    I have used the “Fix It and Forget It” crock pot cookbook for a few favorite recipes. I will admit that many of the recipes didn’t sound too good because of all the fat and processed foods that were required for them. But I know that a newer “Light” edition of the book was published, so you might look for that at the library.

    Crock pots are very versatile. I know someone who wraps potatoes in foil and throws them in the crock pot. Baked potatoes are done at dinner time. Soups, stews, lasagnas, beans, even desserts. So much you can do. And I recommend the “year of crockpotting” blog too. She is so creative!

  • I thought I knew a lot about crockpots, but reading these comments has given me many new ideas.

    I’m a working mom, and I use all 3 of my crockpots several times a week to save time and money. You just can’t put a price on walking in the door at night and having a hot meal ready to eat.

    Someone mentioned white chicken chili. This is one of my favorites and in fact, what I have cooking away in my crockpot today. It is SO easy and delicious. Here’s my recipe:

    1 large jar of salsa
    8 oz shredded Monterrey jack cheese
    2 lbs cooked, shredded chicken (or turkey)
    2 cans Great Northern beans – do not drain
    Chili powder, garlic, spices to your taste

    Mix everything together in crockpot, and cook on high for 3 – 4 hours

  • Morgan says:

    I can’t find the coupon in the All You magazine.
    Does anybody know what page?

    Morgan
    mvalencia@astoneagency.com

  • Jessi says:

    I love, love, love my crockpot. For the original question, instead of trying out all these new recipes she’s not sure her family will like, she should stick with their favorites first. So many can be converted into crockpot dishes with half the effort. For example, beef stroganoff….throw in all the ingredients (minus the noodles) and let it cook to its heart content. When it’s time for dinner, cook the noodles and it’s ready. Or sweet and sour chicken, casseroles, or pretty much any recipe out there that can be cooked for a while without losing its yummy parts. I love cooking roasts in it, too. Mmm.

  • Kris says:

    Someone told me they keep their crockpot on and filled with water to warm up baby bottles. Not a bad idea!

  • Calidaho says:

    I use mine at least once a month. I don’t eat meat but hubby does so it is an easy way for me to make him something yummy without having to get to involved in preparing the meat. Dump the roast in the pan, throw on some seasoning and maybe some veggies and he has something to hit his meat loving spot.

    One easy meal I like to make involves freezer ravioli (from costco) spaghetti sauce and cheese. I layer all this in the crock pot and cook for a few hours and I have crock pot lasagna.

    I am not a fancy crock pot cooker. It is solely used when I really don’t want to take too many steps to make something that tastes like I have spent time making it. Except chili, I go crazy prepping for chili and then let it cook all day. Soooo good!

  • Bonnie says:

    I have to say that I thought I would use my crockpot more for stews and such…one pot meals I could cook all day in cool weather…but I found that we didn’t like these meals very much. If you do soups or stews starting out with raw meat you are cooking in the fat that will be stirred up into your dish instead of drained off. I do like roasts in the crock because you can drain off the fat. I do not like chicken in the crock. It has a very mushy taste to me that I don’t care for. I have done chicken noodle soup that I liked using bits of leftover chicken and it was good…it doesn’t matter if the chicken is mushy in soups. But I don’t like whole pieces of chicken in the crock. My b-i-l does a whole chicken in the crock with a bottle of BBQ sauce poured over and it is disgusting to me. All in all I do not use the crockpot as much as I thought I would when I bought it.

  • Viki says:

    I have 5 crock pots in assorted sizes from small to 7qts. I like to make roasts, BBQ, soup, chili, melt chocolate and cheese dip. True some recipes turn out so so but if you are going to be gone all day it is a wonderful appliance. I personally don’t like the kind with attached timers they are to limiting for me, I use a timer that you would plug a lamp into for vacations and that lets me turn on/off so my recipes don’t get overdone.

    Some really great uses for a crock pot is keeping mashed potatoes hot and refried beans hot also a great bun/roll warmer. We have eaten meetings at church once a month and it really helps to keep the food warm.

  • Viki says:

    I wanted to follow up with my last post. Crock pots are the very best for baking potatoes and yams, just scrub and place in the pot and bake for 2 1/2- 3 hrs on high or 4-6 hours on low. When cooking yam/sweet potatoes add 1/4 c water. Sure beats the cost of heating an oven and you can fill the crock pot with a lot of potatoes which freeze well by the way.

  • Jill says:

    I practically do ALL my cooking with my crockpot. As a mom of three, I have found making meals to be easy, cost-effective, healthy and delicious. I actually never really “cooked” before I started crock-potting. I only use recipes that have about 5 ingredients (Fix It and Forget It Lightly and Fix It and Forget It 5 Ingredient recipes are my crockpot bibles) or less (to save time), and only recipes for which I know the nutrition info. to be sure they are healthy and low-fat. I have a 6 yr. old and twin 4 yr. olds and they love crock pot food more than chicken nuggets, pb & j and mac and cheese! Here’s my fave, go to recipe:

    6 chicken breast halves OR 3-5 pieces pork loin (frozen is okay)
    1 can diet soda (any kind-I’ve even used diet dr. pepper once)
    1 med. onion chopped (OR onion powder to taste)
    1 cup BBQ sauce (OR ANY kind of sauce or marinade–I have used teriyaki; ginger marinade; raspberry chipotle; etc… anything works)
    Cook on high 4-6 hours. With 1 hour to go, take out meat, shred and put back into crock pot. Serve on buns, over rice, over potatoes, in burritos, etc.. Enjoy!!!

  • Amy says:

    I love to make chicken or turkey stock in my crock pot. I even use it on Thanksgiving day! I just put it on the counter while I am pulling off the rest of the turkey to put in the fridge. I throw in the bones and a carrot, onion, celery – whatever I have. I turn it on and forget about it. The longer it cooks, the richer it is. When I have the time a few hours later, I strain and then put in the fridge to let the fat rise to the top. Easy!

  • Justina says:

    The slow cooker is an amazing invention! Here’s my fav. recipe for a whole chicken:

    Carrots, peeled and cut
    Whole chicken
    4 T butter
    2 tsp. parsley
    2 tsp. basil
    2 tsp. paprika
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    Salt to taste
    Pepper to taste
    1 cup water

    Put carrots on the bottom of the slow cooker. These are my husbands favorite carrots in the world…=)

    Rinse thawed whole chicken in cold water; pat dry. I cut slits in the skin throughout the chicken and stick butter in there along with all of the other ingredients listed, except the carrots. I also stick some of the ingredients in the cavity. Add water around the chicken.

    Cook on high for 1 hour, then cook on low for 8-10 hours. (If you can’t cook for 1 hour first, then just cook on low for 10-12 hours). I put mine on for this recipe last night at midnight, and we enjoyed this for lunch after church today around noon.

    Have a side salad with this, and YUM!!!

  • Patti says:

    Hi, Crystal,

    Just a note to let your readers know that I bought my new slow cooker -the Hamilton Beach 3 in 1 Cooker –at Target for $24.99!!! It lists for $62.99 on the HB web site and was at Sears on sale for $53.99 (the only other store I could find that stocked it here). I asked why it was on sale and was told it was because a new model might be coming in. All I know is that in all the research I did, this one was a favorite because it has the 2 qt., 4qt. and 6 qt. stoneware inserts making it quite versatile. Thought your readers might want to know!!

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