Slow CookerChicken Gyros

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Most people don’t think of slow cooker meals as a summer thing, but there are plenty of great, summery recipes for the slow cooker. This one is particularly good – fresh lemon juices and herbs make up the marinade for the chicken. Pair the cooked chicken with fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes and cool tzatziki sauce for a great summer meal.

This also freezes well – before or after cooking – making it a great option to stock the freezer during the warm months!

Slow Cooker Chicken Gyros
(from Six Sisters’ Stuff)
Serves 4

1 lb. chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 onion, diced
1/4 c. water
1 T. olive oil
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 t. oregano
1/4 t. allspice
1 t. lemon pepper
Tzatziki sauce, tomatoes and pitas, for serving

Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Shred and serve in pitas with tzatziki sauce and sliced tomatoes.


Creamy Chicken Chili

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I really can’t get enough of my slow cooker this fall. It’s being used nearly every day for something or another, it seems. So when my coworker, Dawn, mention that she tried-and-loved this chili made in the slow cooker, I couldn’t wait to try it out too.

It’s really good – and really easy to toss together in the morning. It’s a little spicy, but the cream cheese cuts most of the heat. If you’re not a fan of spice, try using diced tomatoes without green chilis and less cayenne.

Either way, it’s perfect for these chilly fall days!

Creamy Chicken Chili
(from Budget Savvy Diva)
Serves 6

1 T. olive oil
1 c. diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large chicken breasts
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 t. cumin
1 T. chili powder
1 t. onion powder
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. pepper
1 (8oz.) package light cream cheese

Heat olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

Add chicken to a slow cooker. Top with cooked onions. Add all ingredients except cream cheese to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Place the cream cheese on top and cover.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Before serving, remove chicken, shred, and return to the slow cooker.


Spicy Slow Cooker Brisket with Texas Caviar

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I’ve had some black-eyed peas in the pantry for a few months. I don’t cook with them often and wasn’t really sure what to do with them. This seemed like the perfect solution.

The original recipe involved a bunch of pre-cooking before adding everything to the slow cooker. I adapted things slightly so I didn’t have to pre-cook to make the recipe easier for a busy day. I was really surprised how much we enjoyed this. I’m now a fan of black-eyed peas, apparently!

Spicy Slow Cooker Brisket with Texas Caviar
(adapted from Food & Wine)
Serves 4

2 1/2 lbs. top brisket
2 T. plus 1 t. Cajun spice blend
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 c. chicken stock
1  28oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c. black-eyed peas
Salt

Rub the brisket with the spice blend and place it in the slow cooker. Top with chopped onions, garlic, chicken stock and diced tomatoes.

Cook on high for one hour then switch to low for another hour. Stir in black eyed peas and cook for an additional 3 1/2 hours.


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

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Pulled pork is such a classic slow cooker recipe. I’ve shared our go-to recipe, Crystal’s Pulled Pork, and two fun variations, Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork and Asian Style Pulled Pork. I’d never made a simple pulled pork with a classic, homemade sauce, though – something I needed to remedy during football season.

This was pretty much perfect for a lazy football Sunday. Chopping the onion was the most strenuous part of the prep and it was ready to start cooking in no time. I shredded it up during halftime and we had a nice meal with minimal time away from the game.

Crockpot Pulled Pork
(from What’s Gabby Cooking)
Serves 8

1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 c. ketchup
1/3 c. cider vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. tomato paste
2 T. paprika
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. salt
1 1/4 t. black pepper
2.5 lbs. pork butt, cut into 2 pieces
Rolls for serving

Combine all ingredients except pork and rolls in the slow cooker and mix to combine. Add the pork and cook on low for 8 hours.

After 8 hours, remove pork to a cutting board and shred. Return shredded pork to slow cooker and mix with sauce.

Serve pork on rolls.


Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

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Most people associate slow cooker meals with winter, but they’re also a great option when the weather heats up. They’re great for times when you want a hot meal without having to turn on the oven or stand over the grill.

These sandwiches were brilliantly flavorful and light – perfect for a summer day. I served them along with grapes and fresh veggies for a light dinner.

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches
(from Chef in Training)
Serves 4-6

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 to 1 c. of your favorite Caesar dressing
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. fresh chopped parsley or 2 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. ground pepper
2 c. shredded romaine lettuce
4-6 rolls

Place chicken in a 3-4 quart slow cooker with 1-2 cups of water, cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

Remove chicken from cooker using a slotted spoon and drain the water from the slow cooker. Place chicken on a cutting board and pull chicken into shreds, discarding any fat.

Place chicken back in the cooker and pour dressing, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and pepper over the top. Stir until mixed evenly. Cover and cook on high heat for 30 minutes or until mixture is hot.

Spoon 1/4 cup mixture onto each slider bun if you are making sliders or more for regular sized buns. Top with extra shredded Parmesan cheese and lettuce to serve.


Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast

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A few weeks ago, my Aunt’s father passed away. The wake was on a miserably rainy, chilly day – the first like that we’d had in a while.  My parents and grandmother came over for dinner after the wake so I wanted something warm and comforting that would be ready soon after we walked in the door.

This slow cooker dish hit the spot. I did all of the prep earlier in the day and when we walked in after the wake, the house smelled awesome and dinner was pretty much ready – I just had to reduce the gravy a bit. It got rave reviews from the crowd. My parents made fun of me for snapping pictures of it before we ate, but I’d bet anything that my Mom makes this in the future!

Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast
(From Kalyn’s Kitchen)
Serves 6

3-4 lb. boneless chuck roast
1-2 T. steak rub
Black pepper to taste
1-2 T. olive oil
1/4 c. water to deglaze pan
2 large onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1 c. beef stock, reduced to 1/2 cup
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. tomato sauce

Trim as much fat as you can from roast, and cut if necessary to fit into your slow cooker. Rub meat well with steak seasoning and black pepper. Heat heavy pan with small amount of olive oil and brown roast well on both sides.
 
While roast browns put 1 cup beef stock in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, then let cool slightly and mix in balsamic vinegar and tomato sauce. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup water and add to sauce mixture. Peel onions and cut into thick slices.
 
Place onions in bottom of the slow cooker. Put meat on top of onions and pour beef stock mixture over. Set slow cooker to low and cook 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours, until beef is tender. The meat might be partly submerged in liquid after this much time.
 
Remove meat from slow cooker and cover with foil to keep warm. Drain liquid from slow cooker and remove as much of the fat as you can with fat separator or skimmer. Cook down liquid by about 1/3, and serve sauce with meat and onions.

Slow Cooker Chicken with White Wine Sauce

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Moms are good for lots of things. They’re always happy to offer opinions on outfits. They always send you home with more leftovers than you need. And, they don’t complain when you raid their cookbook shelf for new ideas.

I haven’t wanted to cook much lately – especially by the end of the day - so I’ve been seeking out dinners that will be on the table shortly after I get home. When I was flipping through the slow cooker section of the Sandra Lee Semi Homemade The Complete Cookbook at my Mom’s a few weeks ago, this recipe caught my eye. It’s quite different from any other slow cooker recipe I’ve made and I really loved it.

The recipe calls for dry white wine but I used a Riesling because that’s what we had in the fridge. It came out great. I’m sure this would be fine with whatever white wine you have handy. Don’t want to use wine? Chicken broth would be a good substitute.

Slow Cooker Chicken with White Wine Sauce
(adapted from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade The Complete Cookbook)
Serves 2

12 pearl onions, peeled
2 strips bacon, chopped
2 chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. dry white wine
2 t. Italian seasoning
2 t. minced garlic

In a frying pan, fry up the bacon. Remove from pan and drain fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown in remaining bacon grease.

Add onions and browned chicken to slow cooker. Sprinkle bacon pieces over the top.

In a separate bowl, whisk together soup, wine, Italian seasoning and garlic.  Pour over chicken.

Cook on low for 8 hours.


Cafe Rio Chicken Tacos

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I’m a big fan of trying new recipes. I have such a large file of things I want to try that we don’t really repeat most recipes often. And having the same thing two weeks in a row? Unheard of.

And then I made these.

I was drawn to the recipe because it was quick and easy to prep and the slow cooker would do all the work while I was in the office and hitting up the gym. Just heating up taco shells and shredding some cheese sounded like a vacation from cooking. I expected this to be an okay, in-a-pinch kind of meal.

It was amazing. I immediately lamented sizing down the recipe so we wouldn’t have leftovers – and promptly put it on the menu for the next week too. I can’t even tell you exactly what it is that makes these so good, but I love them.

Cafe Rio Chicken Tacos
(from Crumbs and Chaos)
Serves 4-6

2 lbs. Chicken breasts
1 c. Zesty Italian Dressing
1/2 T. Minced Garlic
1 packet Ranch Dressing Mix
1/2 c. Water
1/2 T. Ground Cumin
1/2 T. Chili Powder

Place chicken in the crockpot. Mix together remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

When cooked, remove chicken and shred. Return to crockpot and stir to combine marinade and chicken.


Korean Beef Tacos

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I really love having my slow cooker to lean on when I have a busy day. Walking in the house after a long day and smelling dinner simmering is such a mood booster for me. I also love slow cooker recipes that I can whip together in five minutes – the longer I get to sleep in the morning, the better. This recipe was perfect on both accounts.

I really loved this. The sweetness of the sauce of the beef paired well with the slight spiciness of the cucumber slaw. Leftover were gone in record time!

Korean Beef Tacos
(from Pink Parsley)

1 1/2 lbs. boneless short ribs
3/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
5 cloves garlic
1-2 in. piece of fresh ginger, peeled
6 T. rice vinegar
2 T. dark sesame oil
1-2 t. crushed red pepper flakes

For the cucumber slaw:

1 hot house cucumber
4 t. rice vinegar
1 t. sugar
2 pinches of salt
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

In the bowl of a small food processor, pulse the garlic and ginger until finely chopped.

Add the ribs to the crock pot. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the cooking liquid. Pour over the ribs.

Set the crock pot to low and cook about 8 hours. When ready to serve, shred into bite-sized pieces.

Skim the fat off the top of the liquid and add to a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat until thickened and reduced. Pour over the shredded meat and serve.

For the cucumber slaw, slice the cucumber as thinly as possible, using a mandoline if you have one. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes. Toss the cucumbers in the mixture and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve, warm tortillas and fill with the shredded meat and top with cucumbers.


Slow Cooker Apple Crisp

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This was the apple pie that never was. I’d bookmarked this fabulous-looking, simple recipe from Martha Stewart and was really excited to try it. By the time I got around to it, it was 10 o’clock at night and after a few glasses of wine. The first step was to peel five pounds of apples. Sorry, Martha, but no.

Instead, I made apple crisp. This version was fantastic. We did yard work most of the day and when we were done and ready for a break, the crisp was in the slow cooker ready to go. I was skeptical that the top would really crisp up, but venting the lid for the last hour did wonders.

Slow Cooker Apple Crisp
(adapted from Get Crocked)

1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. + 1/3 c. sugar, divided
1 t. cinnamon, divided
1/4 t. nutmeg
Pinch salt
1/2 c. butter, cut into pieces
1 c. oats
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 t. ginger
6 c. apples – peeled, cored and chopped
2 t. lemon juice

Mix oats, flour, brown sugar, 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a bowl. Combine butter with the mixture using fingers or a fork until coarse crumbs form.

Whisk together 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Place the apples in a crock pot, stir in the cornstarch mixture; toss with lemon juice. Sprinkle the walnut crumb topping on top.

Cover. Cook on High for 2 hours or Low for 4 hours, until apples are tender. Partially uncover the crock pot to allow the topping to harden, about 1 hour.