Using your Crock Pot or slow cooker–or even your InstaPot pressure cooker–is a great way to make easy slow cooker recipes and get meals on the table without spending a lot of money. It’s a time saver and it’s a money saver.
I first fell in love with my slow cooker when we were renovating the kitchen in our house. In order to survive without a kitchen, I had to get creative with the tools I already owned.
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So my slow cooker, rice cooker, George Foreman grill, microwave and outdoor grill went into heavy rotation. I used at least one of them every night to make dinner. Again, even without a functioning kitchen. However, I did have running water.
While you may not have such drastic circumstances to deal with, it’s worth noting how, even in everyday circumstances, a slow cooker can be a lifesaver.
Why I Still Love My Crock Pot Slow Cooker
How do I love my Crock Pot slow cooker? Let me count the ways:
- I’ve found that cheaper cuts of meat cook up better when slow cooked.
- If you’re entertaining a large group a Crock Pot can double as a chafing dish to keep food warm and make it easy to serve.
- As a busy working parent, you can throw that night’s dinner into your Crock Pot before your leave for work, and when you arrive home, dinner is cooked and ready.
I know that my blog readers enjoy slow cooker cooking because some of the posts I’ve written over the years have continued to be the most read. Rather than have you clicking all over this blog to find those really easy slow cooker recipes, I’ve decided to take all of those recipes and posts and put them in one, round up blog post–this one!
4 really easy slow cooker recipes
Read on for ways to use your Crock Pot slow cooker for Christmas breakfast, Cinco de Mayo recipes, and everyday meals to feed your family, such as fried chicken in the Crock Pot.
Here are the 4 really easy slow cooker recipes I’ve shared over the years.
- “Fried” Chicken in the Crock Pot
- Chicken Stir Fry in the Crock Pot
- Easy Christmas Morning French Toast Breakfast in the Slow Cooker
- Pork Loin in the Crock Pot
If you’re new to cooking with a Crock Pot slow cooker, I would recommend investing in one with a timer.
“Fried” chicken in the Crock Pot
A few weeks ago my supermarket had chicken on sale for $.79 per pound. As any smart frugal shopper would have done, I stocked up so I could make easy cheap slow cooker recipes.
Yesterday, I finally got around to using some of that chicken–which was chicken legs and thighs, I think. This one package, with six generous pieces of chicken in it, cost a whopping $4.12.
I decided to make “fried” chicken in the Crock-Pot, something I done before, thanks to A Year of Slow Cooking’s recipe for drumsticks. Stephanie O’Dea is the founder of A Year of Slow Cooking. It became one of my favorites because it’s an easy slow cooker chicken recipe with just a few ingredients. In fact, it has just five.
I didn’t have the recipe in front of me but remembered most of it. So I tried my own version with these five simple ingredients,
Ingredients for “fried” chicken in the slow cooker
4 to 6 chicken thighs (you could use breasts, drumsticks, whatever will fill your slow cooker)
1 c whole-wheat flour
one T paprika
1 t salt
1/4 c canola oil
Instructions for this easy slow cooker chicken recipe with just a few ingredients
First, I used the canola oil to coat the bottom of my slow cooker. Then, I dumped the flour, paprika and salt in a large bowl, and used a spoon to mix the ingredients.
After that I washed the chicken pieces in the sink to remove any feathers, fat and other goo you sometimes find with on-the-bone chicken. One by one, I took each piece of chicken and “rolled” it in the flour mixture. If rolling didn’t fully cover the pieces in the flour, I grabbed it by the handful and sprinkled it over the chicken until it was coated liberally.
Finally, I placed each piece of chicken in the Crock-Pot. I could fit only two pieces in the bottom of the slow cooker, and then I placed the rest on top. I put the slow cooker on high for six hours and went outside to shovel the driveway. (We got 12 inches of snow this weekend.)
You may have to shift ingredients around
About halfway through the cooking time, when everything was starting to smell yummy and my family was beginning to ask when we would be eating dinner–even though dinner was hours away–I shifted the chicken in the slow cooker. I took the pieces from the bottom, which were now sizzling, and switched them out with the pieces that had been on top. Then I put all the pieces back in the slow cooker, placed the top back on, and let it cook for the remainder of the time.
You know how you’ve heard about chicken that just falls off the bone and melts in your mouth? Yeah, well that’s what happened with this chicken. Though it wasn’t fried in a traditional sense, it sure tasted like a reasonable facsimile. We rounded out dinner with rice from the rice cooker and a great salad.
Chicken Stir Fry in the Crock Pot
This is another great, easy slow cooker chicken recipe with just a few ingredients. It’s for stir-fry chicken. Yes, I know that sounds like a misnomer.
You may be asking, how can you stir-fry in the slow cooker? Well, you can’t. However, the end result tastes like you had.
You’ll serve this chicken recipe with rice cooked in the microwave or rice cooker.
Ingredients for chicken stir fry in the crock pot
8 thin chicken breasts
2 cups broccoli
2 cans baby corn, cut
1 can water chestnuts
1 T canola oil
teriyaki or stir-fry sauce to taste
Instructions for this really easy slow cooker chicken stir fry recipe
Pour canola oil into Crock-Pot or slow cooker and tilt back and forth to coat the bottom.
Cut the chicken breasts into approximately 1-inch cubes (or about the size of Starburst candy). I use my favorite pair of kitchen shears to get the job done, but I supposed you could buy already cubed chicken if you’re short on time. Place the uncooked, cubed chicken all along the bottom of the slow cooker.
Layer in corn, water chestnuts and broccoli.
Drizzle teriyaki or stir-fry sauce over the top.
Turn Crock-Pot on high for four hours or low for eight.
When the timer goes off, dinner is ready.
Of course, you can add other favorite vegetables to this stir fry: cut carrots, snow peas, onions, whatever you’d like. My kids are partial to broccoli and baby corn, and I love water chestnuts.
Since this chicken recipe cooks in four hours or less on high, I’d call it a fast Crock-Pot chicken recipe.
Really easy recipe for Christmas morning French toast
I love when I discovered how to make French toast in my Crock-Pot. This really easy slow cooker recipe is the perfect recipe for Christmas morning.
Because the last thing you want to think about is making breakfast. You can put the recipe in the slow cooker the night before, and let it simmer through the night. When you get up in the morning, it will be ready.
After the first time I made French toast in the slow cooker, I knew I needed to do some tweaking. In the first go around, the bread was too mushy for my daughters’ taste. So I modified it, mostly by using half of the liquid that the original recipe called for. Once I tweaked this really easy recipe, it was perfect.
Ingredients for really easy slow cooker French toast
3/4 cup skim milk (you can use whichever kind of milk you like; we only get skim or fat-free milk)
1 loaf of bread
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
canola oil, butter or cooking spray
Instructions for this Christmas morning breakfast
Coat the inside of your slow cooker with canola oil, butter or cooking spray. Since the French toast has the tendency to stick to the sides, grease it liberally.
Place the loaf of bread in the slow cooker. If your slow cooker is on the smaller side, you may be able to fit only 3/4 of the loaf of bread inside.
In a bowl mix the eggs, milk, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Pour the liquid mixture over the bread. It should be enough to cover the loaf halfway.
Turn the slow cooker on low for four to six hours.
(You’ll use the powdered sugar as a dusting when serving the French Toast.)
Verdict for this really easy Christmas morning breakfast
I stayed up late to watch how this was cooking. About three hours in, the brown sugar was starting to caramelize. Delish.
I still had some extra liquid in the bottom of the slow cooker. So I used a spatula and flipped the bread over (to avoid burning). Then I cooked for the remaining time without the top on. This allowed the extra liquid to burn off.
While the French Toast was still a bit mushy when we ate it, we dusted it with powdered sugar. Powdered sugar fixes everything, because my daughters gave it a thumbs up. Also, they went back for seconds.
If I had to describe this Crock Pot French Toast, here’s what I would say. Have you ever had bread pudding? Yeah, this dish is a cross between softer French Toast and bread pudding.
Either way, my girls loved it. They didn’t even use maple syrup on it. Instead, they said it was like eating a gigantic cinnamon bun with a fork. I put some cut fruit on mine and I did use maple syrup, because I love syrup. Just call me Buddy the Elf!
Pork loin in the Crock Pot slow cooker
Months ago my supermarket had a super deal on pork loin. So, I stocked up.
I had the butcher cut the pork loin into one-pound pieces, and I put a bunch in the freezer. Yesterday, we enjoy that last piece of loin, cooked in our slow cooker.
Normally, I would do a pulled pork recipe with barbecue sauce in the Crock-Pot, but I decided to experiment.
Recently, I’d purchased a couple of bottles of discontinued salad dressing on clearance at the grocery store ($.50/bottle) and had one left–spicy Italian. I figured I could do worse with a “sauce” for the pork loin. So I got cooking. Here’s what I used:
Ingredients for slow cooker pork loin
2 T olive oil
1 pound pork loin (no need to thaw if frozen)
1 16-ounce bottle of salad dressing (whichever flavor you prefer)
2 cups of water
Instructions for this easy pork recipe with just a few ingredients
First, I coated the bottom of the Crock-Pot with the olive oil and swished the bowl around to cover the bottom surface. Then I put the rock-solid frozen pork loin in the bottom of the Crock-Pot. Next, I dumped the entire salad dressing over it. After that, I added an additional two cups of water. Finally, I put the slow cooker on high for eight hours.
Fast forward eight hours and the pork smelled delicious. It just fell apart when I cut into it to serve it. It behaved like pulled pork, which we love. We served it with a salad for a simple and inexpensive dinner.
This is definitely a really easy slow cooker recipe that I’ll use again in the future.
Leftovers from your really easy slow cooker recipes
What’s great about all of these really easy slow cooker recipes is they are bound to give you leftovers. And if, like me, you love having leftovers.
I discovered this adorable Crock-Pot Lunch Crock Food Warmer. It’s perfect for taking a slow cooked meal to work or school.
Keep in mind that this mini Crock Pot is a food warmer, not a slow cooker. So don’t put raw ingredients in it thinking it will cook your lunch. It won’t, and you will be very disappointed.