Great slow cooker recipes that don't require fancy ingredients.

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My fiance and I both live in Northern Indiana and commute over an hour one way to Chicago. Needless to say, the midweek days are long and leave little time for cooking dinner, let alone packing nutritious and low-cost lunches. I love using the slow cooker, as the meals are hot and deliciously done by the time we get home. But I'm running out of recipes and find that those in some cookbooks call for such out of the ordinary ingredients. Are there any readers out there who have some good ideas for slow cooker dinners?

Slow Cooker Beef and More

2-3 med potatoes peeled & diced
4 carrots peeled & sliced
1 med onion peeled ( slice ip you wish or leave whole)
1 can tomato soup
1 lb. raw stew beef ( frozen is fine)
4 bay leaves
5 beef boullion cubes
dash of oregano
dash of pepper

Place all ingredients in slow-cooker and fill with water. Cover and if the beef is thawed, cook 6-8 hrs on low. if beef is frozen, cook 6-8 hrs on high. To save time on cutting vegetables, do them the night before and store in a pot of cold water to keep them fresh. ENJOY
Diane B.

Slow Cooker So Simple

The best slow cooker meal I ever made was so easy that it didn't require a recipe. I put a thawed pork roast in the slow cooker, covered it 2/3 with water, added one jar of barbeque sauce and one large sliced (chunks) white onion. Add some seasoning and cook all day. It was great with potatoes and a vegetable side dish, but the leftovers made some incredible sandwiches! Try it!
Jen T.

Related: Feeding the Hungry Family

Two Family Favorites

I have 2 slow cooker recipes that I love. The first one is very simple. Throw pork chops (the cheaper shoulder cuts turn out great) in the slow cooker with a can of spaghetti sauce. Cook on low for about 8 hours. The meat falls off the bone!

The other recipe is as follows (we call it Hoey's Hamburger Humdinger):

Layer in the slow cooker in the following order:

1 large potato, sliced
salt & pepper
small can of peas
2 medium onions, sliced
1 pound lean ground beef, browned & drained
1 can tomato soup
1 soup-can-full of water

Make sure you brown the ground beef before you put it in! Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Tracy H.

Mexican Chicken

One of the best and really easy ways is to throw some boned, skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips into the slow cooker along with taco seasoning. When you get home, simply heat some tortillas, use some grated cheese, and you have WONDERFUL meal. You can use the juice for rice the next day or that night, and you'll be in love.
Nancy M.

Whole Chicken Slow Cooker Recipe

One suggestion I would make is to prepare a whole chicken in the slow-cooker. First, I add miscellaneous vegetables into the pot. I use carrots,potatoes, and celery. (I must admit I do not eat these vegetables only use them for seasoning). Then I wash a whole chicken and remove the inside "parts". Then I gently pull the skin away from the bird so that I can place my had underneath it. I then place small pieces of low fat margarine, crushed garlic and rosemary under the loosened skin. I feel this adds flavor and moisture. Then place the chicken into the slow-cooker. If you do not have a large oval pot place the chicken neck up, in my oval pot I simply put the chicken horizontally in the pot. Add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups water. Then I simply let it cook all day. You can serve the chicken that night. I would suggest saving the remaining chicken and use it for a casserole. I add about 1 cup chicken to 8oz. of cooked egg noodles. Then add 1 can of reduced fat cream of chicken soup and cheese and bake at 375 for approximately 45 minutes. Often I add two carrots to the mixture to try and increase our vegetable intake. Another substitution is to use reduced fat cream of mushroom soup in place of the cream of chicken soup and add additional sliced mushrooms.

I realize the casserole would not be cooked upon your arrival from work but perhaps you could pre bake it the night before, baking until not completely done. Then warm it in the oven upon your return from work. Use some of the remaining chicken to make a fried rice dish. I use my steamer to make large quantities of rice, then freeze serving portions in zip lock bags. I then place a moist towel over the rice, place in the microwave and heat until the rice is completely heated. You could then use the rice and chicken in your favorite fried rice recipe. It would be a quick and easy dish. Don't throw away the broth from your slow-cooker chicken either. Place the container of broth into the refrigerator. Once cool skim away the fat and place the remaining broth in ice cubes trays and freeze. Once frozen place into freezer bags. You can use these "broth cubes" in soups prepared in your slow cooker.

You may also want to consider adapting your family favorite recipes to the slow-cooker. In the Rival instruction book I received with my slow-cooker it states the following; if a recipe calls for 15 to 30 minutes cooking time this equates to 4 to 6 hours on low - 1 1/2 to 2 hours on high, 35 to 45 minutes cooking time equal 6 to 10 hours on low - 3 to 4 hours on high, 50 minutes to 3 hours of cooking time equate to 8 to 18 hours on low - 4 to 6 hours on high.

Black Bean Soup (visit to Cuba not required!)

Stir these ingredients into that slow-cooker:

2 cans beef broth
2 cans black beans
2 cans diced tomatoes with Mexican seasoning
1 lb bag of frozen mixed vegatables

Cook all day. Serve with any peasant bread and some cheese. Couldn't be simpler! For impressive buffet supper, serve big baked potatoes, too. Bake together in your other slow-cooker, if possible!

Feel free to experiment. Add a pound of browned ground beef if you have it. Vary the tomatoes to the level of spiciness you prefer. You can use Ro-Tel for leathermouths or plain diced tomatoes for the less adventurous. More frugal if you buy dried black beans, soak overnight, rinse well, and use instead of canned beans.
Jean M.D.

You might also like: Recipe Organization

Lazy Stroganoff

Here is one my family loves:

2 lb beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small jar/can mushrooms
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (I use 1 can and a half cup of milk)
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix (I use store brand)
1/2 cup sour cream (stirred in at the end)

Combine all ingredients except sour cream, cook in slow cooker on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. For an immediate meal, add sour cream. I usually make 2 batches and freeze one before I add the sour cream. Serve over buttered noodles or rice.

Soy and Onion Roast

We have found a delicious slow-cooker recipe for roast that can be eaten as french dip sandwiches or as flavorful roast:

1/3 cup soy sauce
1 packet onion soup mix
any size roast(s) to fit in your slow-cooker

Combine soy sauce and soup mix in slow-cooker. Add the roast, then add water to cover the roast. Cook on low for 24 hrs. (The aroma will drive you nuts!) Put the meat into sandwiches and dip into the juice it cooked in, or eat the roast as is.
Pat H. in Yankton, SD

A Favorite Cookbook

I also use the slow cooker a lot because I have three children and I hate to cook so I got a book called Crockery Cookery by Mable Hoffman. I love it. I try out a new recipe every week.
Terri S.

Golden Mushroom Chicken

1 can of Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup
1 bottle of fat-free (or regular) Italian salad dressing
2-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves

Chicken may be cut into strips or used whole. Combine all ingredients into slow cooker. Make sure chicken is covered with liquid. Cook on low for extended length of time (from morning till that evening) or cook on high for 2-3 hours. Serve over boil-in-bag rice and you've got a delicious lowfat meal.

Soup Plus

The easiest and tastiest slow cooker roast recipe is as follows: Your favorite roast--it can be an inexpensive one--this recipe makes all cuts very tender 1 can of Cream of __________ soup--use your personal favorite. I've used several and each one gives a slightly different flavor, but so far, all have been good. Optional: package of dry onion soup mix --don't do this if you're watching salt intake Cook in slow cooker for 8-10 hours and then enjoy!

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Pepper Steak and Fajitas

Slow Cooked Pepper Steak

1 1/2 to 2 lbs steak strips
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ginger
16 oz. can of chopped tomatoes, undrained
2 large green bell peppers, sliced
1/2 c. cold water
1 T. cornstarch

Brown strips (if desired, I often just put the strips in frozen). Put strips in slow cooker. Combine next 7 ingredients and pour over beef. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Add tomatoes and peppers. Cook for one more hour. Combine water and cornstarch; stir into slow cooker and cook on high until thickened. (about 15 min.) Serve over rice.


1 1/2 lbs. beef strips
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper in strips
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
8 oz. can chopped tomatoes

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or on high 4-5 hours. Serve on flour tortillas and add your favorite toppings.

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