Fall is for Slow Cookers

Fall is such a hectic time for all of us. If you’re a Stay at Home Mom like me, you’re adjusting from summer schedules to school schedules. All the Fall sport activities, book fairs, PTA meetings, and the house, leave no room for cooking huge meals. If you’re a working Mom its worse. You’re adjusting to the kids going back to school, and still working! That is a lot to juggle, and I have been there. That’s where your slow cooker comes in to play.
I didn’t utilize it half as much as I could have when I worked. This kitchen appliance is a life saver. Usually you can just throw everything in the slow cooker, and 8 hours later, dinner! Pinterest wasn’t around (or just starting) when I was working. Most of what I knew of slow cooker recipes was using condensed soup mixes. Ugh. With Pinterest now, I find loads of recipes to try. So, I figured today I would share with you the ones that really work for us.

The Skinnytaste recipe was super easy and delicious. The only thing I did differently was use white rice vinegar with it. The recipe calls for balsamic. The reason this happened. I couldn’t open my balsamic. Don’t judge. The chicken comes out perfectly moist, and has a fantastic tang to it.

This one takes minimal work before you put it in your slow cooker. The kids got involved for this one with the first couple steps. The meat gets dredged in a ziploc bag with flour, steak seasoning, and cornstarch. The boys loved shaking the bag, and being able to help with dinner. After that, the meat just gets browned, the other ingredients are gradually added. Finally, its all dumped into the slow cooker. 8 hours later, a delicious Beef Burgundy! The more sophisticated taste of the stew would never usually pass Alex’s lips; but since he helped he was more eager to eat!

Now I’m sure a lot of you have seen this recipe on Pinterest. I’m happy to report, it works! We did use the cottage cheese, but I would probably use ricotta in the future. Make sure you use regular lasagna noodles. It won’t come out having your traditional tight lasagna shape, but it was super tasty. Since the boys helped assemble, this was another one they were eager to eat.

Another quick assemble, and go. Turkey breast is super affordable, and this recipe can serve a family with leftovers. The turkey comes out moist, and pulls straight off the bone. I recently made this for my Mother-in-law and Sister-in-law and it was definitely a winner.

This one is a quick mix, and go. This one isn’t our favorite. I need to tweak the recipe a bit before our family is happy with it. It came out a little too sweet. With taking out a bit of the honey, I’m sure it will be on point.

This cooler weather is definitely time for stew. This one uses chicken thighs which are always affordable at the grocery store. The addition of Guinness gives a perfect richness to the stew. The recipe does have you brown the meat, and get the ingredients going on the stove first. Once this is done, dump it all in that slow cooker. Trust me, when you’re greeted with the smell of this stew in the house, you will be happy you did a little work.
For a great tip, the recipes that need work before they go in can be pre-prepped. The beef burgundy can be completely prepped, and put in a container. In the morning just throw it in the slow cooker. The Chicken Stew can be chopped up, and kept separate. I’m sure this can also be prepped all the way through and stored overnight as well, but I have not tried it.

This is one of those, as easy as it gets recipes. You just plop the meat in the slow cooker, and pour all the other ingredients in there. 8 hours later you have the perfect beef for french dip sandwiches. These are my husbands personal favorite! When I did work, and had a late night, I knew if I made this he would be thrilled!

I know everyone has seen these pins. Cooking a whole chicken in your slow cooker. It is possible. I’m super pleased to tell you that. Make sure you heavily season the meat, and it will go through all the meat. The only issue with these recipes is the skin does not come out crispy, at all. I don’t know about you, but soggy chicken skin grosses me out. So there are two solutions:
1. Take all the skin off before you cook it.
2. The other solution that we have done is when the chicken is done, very carefully put it on a baking pan, and broil it. The chicken will NOT dry out. If the chicken is falling apart, you can get fancy and make chicken skin chips in the oven. What? Does no one watch Top Chef?

I pinned this for all of you. I have this memorized. My Mom used to make this in the oven growing up, and we always called it dressy chicken. This chicken has such a perfect tang from the apricot preserves. This is a super picky eater pleaser. We have also used thighs and drumsticks with this. If you have a long day though, and you’re working, use the breasts.

Finally, I pinned this just for you all as well. So, my Husband is Puerto Rican. Pernil (slow roasted pork) is a staple for Holidays, get togethers, or anything special. Usually its done in the oven, and takes a good long 6 hours or longer. This recipe makes it possible in the slow cooker. The flavor is unreal. I’m super happy to report even my Mother-in-Law loves it and asked for my recipe. Just make sure you aren’t shy with the seasoning. This dish is all about the pork tasting like garlic. Serve it over rice, with tostones (fried plantains), as sandwiches, on its own, nom….nom.

I hope these are helpful to some of you out there! Juggling home life, work, and making sure our families are getting balanced meals is hectic. With all the quick grab frozen meals out there, you now have options of making something fresh! Please let me know if they worked for you!

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