Three Slow Cooker Recipes to Save Your Time and Sanity this Fall

I’m a crockpot fanatic, since I discovered the adaptability and ease of use of the slow cooker when several kids (plus one larger version – ladies, if you are married, you know who I’m talking about), an active duty military career and contestant moves and deployments made my life a little more challenging than the average mom.

three crockpot recipes for fall

I live a life of virtual laziness now compared to those days when I would sometimes only get four hours of sleep a night and then would try to catch up on Sunday afternoons by sleeping all afternoon to recharge my batteries. Finding healthy ways to feed my family was often the last thing on my mind! Just eat whatever we could find that was still alive in the refrigerator, well, maybe not alive, but still edible!

I finally developed a system that kept our family from imploding and the slow cooker was key in our meal plans. I could get up at a reasonable hour instead of the 4 am time slot I had been utilizing! While the coffee was brewing, and the kids were getting dressed, I would prep dinner, from the ingredients I had gathered the night before.

Perhaps I’d stopped at the supermarket on the way home from a late meeting and found a great deal on healthy lean chicken thighs or I’d pull the ubiquitous pound of ground beef from the freezer and combine it with fresh healthy veggies from our garden into a wonderful chicken or beef stew. A hearty and healthy dinner could be prepped and put in that magic pot..and left cooking safely while we left the house and went about our busy, busy lives. After school, work, soccer games, dance practices, we could all convene back home to find a warm, delicious healthy and hearty meal just waiting for us to chow down on!

While I use my crockpot all year round for various things, fall and winter months are great months to prepare some of those hearty and healthy enticing meals that will warm us and energize us for the tasks of our busy lives. Here are three of my favorite fall and winter slow cooker meals that will have your family happy that Mom isn’t stressed and even more happy that Mom learned how to make family dinner deliciously easy!

At the same time that we want fast and affordable meals, we also don’t want to sacrifice health. Slow cookers are great to tenderize cheaper, but less fatty cuts of meat. Slower cookers preserve the nutrients in foods by not over cooking them at high heat, making crockpot recipes healthy and hearty for winter meals.

Recipe for Meat and Veggie Sauce | Foodal.com
The Best Slow Cooker Spaghetti Meat Sauce
Votes: 4
Rating: 4.5
You: 5
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Want a healthy sauce for pasta, but don't have time to stay in the kitchen? Prep and forget our hearty meat sauce packed with veggies in the slow cooker.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Recipe for Meat and Veggie Sauce | Foodal.com
The Best Slow Cooker Spaghetti Meat Sauce
Votes: 4
Rating: 4.5
You: 5
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Want a healthy sauce for pasta, but don't have time to stay in the kitchen? Prep and forget our hearty meat sauce packed with veggies in the slow cooker.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic finely minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ lb bulk Italian sausage mild or hot, depending upon your preference
  • 2 large carrots peeled and grated
  • 1 large sweet bell pepper diced
  • 3 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • minced fresh basil for garnish
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic. Saute until transparent, but not brown.
  2. Add the ground beef and the Italian sausage. Cook until the meat is browned, breaking up large chunks.
  3. Drain the meat thoroughly in a colander, pressing down to remove most of the grease. Transfer to a large pot insert of a slow cooker.
  4. Add all of the other ingredients: carrots, peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and basil. Stir until everything is fully mixed.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8 hours. Serve over your favorite pasta. Garnish with fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Recipe Notes

 

 

 
African Chicken Stew
African Chicken Stew
Votes: 4
Rating: 3.75
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One of our favorite healthy and hearty crockpot recipes for a family dinner was created when my daughter was in an International Fair at her school and we adapted a recipe we found in an African cookbook. It's yummy and very different, but kids and adults alike enjoy the exotic sweet and savory flavor of this dish.
African Chicken Stew
African Chicken Stew
Votes: 4
Rating: 3.75
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
One of our favorite healthy and hearty crockpot recipes for a family dinner was created when my daughter was in an International Fair at her school and we adapted a recipe we found in an African cookbook. It's yummy and very different, but kids and adults alike enjoy the exotic sweet and savory flavor of this dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 cups can of chicken broth or 2of homemade chicken stock
  • 1 cups can of diced tomatoes or 2of fresh cooked tomatoes
  • 1/ 2 cup of peanut butter
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 Tspn olive oil
  • 1 medium size sweet onion
  • 1 tspn cumin
  • 1 tspn ground coriander seed
  • 1 tspn black pepper
  • ½ tspn crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 Tspn tomato paste
  • black pepper to taste
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Brown chicken thighs in a skillet with some olive oil. I leave the skins on for the nice flavor they add to the stew. While chicken is browning, prepare the following ingredients.
  2. Chop the onion and garlic. Layer onion and garlic in bottom of the crockpot container. Lay browned chicken pieces on top. Peel and cut up the sweet potato into bite size chunks and add to slow cooker.
  3. Mix together chicken broth or chicken stock, diced tomatoes or fresh cooked tomatoes and peanut butter. Pour over chicken. Make up a spice blend of cumin, ground coriander seed, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt and black pepper to taste. I keep tomato paste in a container to add to stews, etc. Add the tomato paste if you have it, to add a nice pungent tomato taste.
  4. Let cook for 7-9 hours and serve over rice. It's spicy, sweet, lots of layered spice tastes and just plain yummy! One more healthy and hearty fall or winter dinner to add to your repertoire.
Recipe Notes

African Chicken Stew

 
Crock Pot Cranberry Beef Chuck Roast
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Chuck roast and slow cookers seem to just go together. But instead of making the same old boring pot roast and carrots with potatoes, try this different flavor and serve it with old fashioned mashed potatoes and green beans on the side for a hearty but healthy alternative. Cranberries are packed full of healthy vitamins and nutrition.
Crock Pot Cranberry Beef Chuck Roast
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Chuck roast and slow cookers seem to just go together. But instead of making the same old boring pot roast and carrots with potatoes, try this different flavor and serve it with old fashioned mashed potatoes and green beans on the side for a hearty but healthy alternative. Cranberries are packed full of healthy vitamins and nutrition.
Ingredients
  • 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 16 oz can cranberry sauce you heard me!
  • 2 Tspn tomato paste
  • 3 -4 green onions chopped fine
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped into chunks
  • 3 Tspn cider vinegar
  • 2 Tspn olive oil
  • 1 tspn dried mustard
  • 2-4 pounds beef boneless chuck roast trim as much of the fat off as you can! I even chunk it to get some of the extra fat trimmed out and to increase the healthy aspect of this dinner.
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. In the crock of your slower cooker, stir together all the ingredients except the roast. Cover and turn on high for about 30 minutes while you trim the beef.
  2. Place the trimmed beef chunks in the slow cooker and stir into the sauce. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Transfer to cutting board and slice thin. If the sauce left in the crockpot is to thin, turn back on high and cook uncovered to reduce the sauce and thicken it.
  4. Mash some potatoes with fresh creamery butter and serve fresh whole green beans for a delicious sauerbraten type pot roast that definitely fits the healthy and hearty label for fall dinners.
Recipe Notes

crock pot chuck roast with cranberry sauce

  

 I should write a book of crock pot recipes….   Enjoy!  

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About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

33 thoughts on “Three Slow Cooker Recipes to Save Your Time and Sanity this Fall

  1. Do you leave the crockpot on while you’re out of your house? I am usually too scared to do that (not sure why, because my house never caught on fire), so I just tend to cook things overnight instead.

    • I love my slow cooker for the very reason that you can put it on and go to work. It is so relaxing coming home after a stressful, long day to the smell of food that you know can be dished up into a bowl with little washing up or effort. I also find you can save a lot of money with a slow cooker by buying the cheapest cuts of meats and they end up tasting amazing.

    • I leave my slow cooker on while I leave the house. The key is timing. You need to figure out what time to turn it on so that when you return home your food is just finished or just about finished. Otherwise your food will be over cooked or in the case of some roasts very dry.

    • Those all sound like delicious recipes. I love cooking with my crock pot. It makes everything so tender, especially the meat. Also, if you use a really low heat setting, it can result in healthier food than what you would get if you cooked it on a high heat in the oven. Meat being cooked at a temperature higher than 350 degrees can start to run the risk of oxidizing the proteins, making them less bioavailable, and potentially causing other more deleterious health effects. It’s also nice to be able to just put all your ingredients in the slow cooker, and wait for your meal to cook while you go about your day.

    • I know it can be scary, but you are generally pretty safe leaving the crock pot on while you are gone. As long as you have a well functioning pot, I wouldn’t worry much at all. The only thing to really watch is that you are cooking dishes on the correct temperature to avoid burning or drying it out. Most recipes are pretty good with keeping the food well moisturized, but I have had instances where I come home from work to dried out meats and try desperately to rehydrate them. It may take some trial and error to determine what settings work best for your particular cooker.

  2. Thank you for the recipes! I love the ease of using my crock pot too. RealSugar, I leave mine on when I go to work. I’ve never had any problems. I think I’ll try the african stew recipe soon–it looks tasty and has different flavors than I normally cook with. I’m excited to try it out.

  3. I made the African stew recipe last night and it was a success! Everyone enjoyed it. I was unsure of how all those ingredients would taste together but it was great. I love the sweetness of the dish. I’ll definitely be adding this to my recipe book.

  4. These are all so helpful and everything sounds so yummy! My slow cooker recipe list was very very short before, so thanks for such nice and fun recipes. I can’t wait to try them specially the Cranberry Beef Roast. It looks amazing.

  5. Wow, these all look yummy. I’ve got lazy with my bolognese lately, I always did used to make it from scratch but I’ve gone back to buying jars of sauce, and you’re right, it’s definitely a waste of money when it’s so easy, tasty and healthy to make it yourself. I never thought of using my crockpot for it, but that might just be the answer to my laziness! Unless I’ve missed something, though, you’ve not said how long to cook it for?

    The others look yummy, too; the African chicken stew is definitely going on my list of recipes to try, I’m always on the lookout for new family favourites to add to my meal plans.

  6. Yes indeed you should write a book or ebook on this supporting you 100%….will come in handy {i speak for myself when i say this} with the future looking bright to having a family of my own, i know foodal.com and the book you’ll write will be my utmost companion in the kitchen arena.

  7. I tried the beef pot roast recipe, substituting beef shanks for the chuck. It was great! The marrow worked very well with the cranberry flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Wow, the African Chicken Stew looks absolutely delicious. I’ve never even tried to cook exotic food in our CrockPot but now after reading this article I’m almost craving it…I know what ingredients to pick up when I’m at the grocery store this afternoon!

    I’ve never liked cranberry but the Cranberry Turkey does look very appetizing as well.

  9. The African stew looks interesting, and yes, please write a crock pot cook book! The pictures ALONE would have me in a state of wanting to cook probably every single thing in the book. I love using my crock pot, only thing is that my glass lid got broken during a move. Now instead of the glass top, I use aluminum foil.

  10. I’ve never had a slow cooker,but from the previous I article I just read on your site and this one, I’m really thinking about it. I also heard it’s the easiest way to cook when traveling in an RV. I intend to get an RV next spring. So, the more few recipes and techniques I have under my belt by then, the better. 🙂

  11. I love these recipes for the slow cooker, but I was wondering if these same recipes could be cooked in a pressure cooker? if not, are their similar recipes could be cooked in a pressure cooker? I ask because I just purchase my first and I’m excited about using it more often. I recently tried new recipes with the pressure cooker and I just love it!

    • A pressure cooker is quite a different beast. Think of it more as a rapid cooker, it creates a pressure inside the vessel which results in cooking food faster and more efficiently. It is possible to simmer foods in a pressure cooker but haven’t done so myself. Slow cooking is the ideal of cooking things at just a low enough temperature to cook through. It is more for things that require long periods of simmering such as casseroles, soups and sauces.

  12. Thank you for the recipes! I never even thought of making spaghetti sauce in the crockpot! It seems just as simple as the one that I make on the stove top.

    I’m excited to try the African Chicken Stew! It sounds like it would be very tasty.

  13. All three of these recipes look delicious. The best thing about the crock pot is that you just set and forget. You’re not tied to the kitchen making sure pans don’t boil over. They save on washing up too – definitely a winner in my book!

  14. Well, I totally agree that the crock pot is AWESOME!!! I am pretty sure that it is one of my best friends. I love cooking meat in it, it turns out so moist and tender. These recipes all sound great, but the one that caught my eye was the African Chicken Stew, I am definitely going to make this. The only thing is that I have to take out the tomatoes because my boyfriend has a texture issue. It’s weird but he doesn’t like certain chunky things. Anyways, just going to put more tomato paste in it maybe, and use the green onions. I can’t wait to taste this, those pictures are making me hungry. Thanks for the recipe, I am off to find more awesome information!!

  15. Nothing against this article but I feel like the slow cooker is too often ignored in the summer months. That’s probably the most often season I use a slow cooker. I’m either barbequing or slow cooking in the warm horrible summer nights.

  16. I love my crockpot but I don’t know to many recipes so I was very excited when I saw this article! I have never thought of making spaghetti sauce in my crockpot before, I usually use sauce from the can but this looks way more delicious. I will be trying this sauce out tonight.

  17. This is just what I have been looking for. Now that I have these recipes I want to find a way to cook meat, vegetables and rice (for example) separately, but altogether in the pot at the same time. Either by placing several small containers in the pot or layering them. This will really be getting maximum use out of my favorite appliance.

  18. My mouth is watering. I’m bookmarking this page so I can come back and try your recipes. I’ve never made this from scratch, and had heard it was a lot of work, but your version sounds like a cinch! I use the stove less in the hot Texas summers, so I will be breaking out my crock pot and trying out these delicious sounding recipes!

  19. LOVE these. Makes home cooking that much easier. Looking forward to trying the recipes you’ve discussed esp the spaghetti sauce. I’ve never actually made it from scratch always buy the jars… guilty. Your recipe sounds too good and easy not to make it myself, though. When you make it do you make a big enough batch to store the leftover to save for future meals? How do you store it and for how long?

  20. I received a slow cooker last year and have to say it’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances. I get home very late from work so I would rarely cook during the week. I used to cook a lot of food Sunday’s and just eat left overs during the week. However once I discovered the slow cooker that all changed. I set it in the morning before I leave for work and by the time I come home I have a fresh meal waiting for me.
    Some of my favorite receipes include pulled pork, chicken soup and chili.

  21. These recipes are so cool! I’m totally in love with them. I have read all three recipes and I can totally tell that each dish will be amazingly delicious. The one that I’m most excited in giving a try is the African Chicken Stew. It just sounds so exotic. There is one tiny problem though, I’m highly allergic to peanut butter. I hope that once I gather all the ingredients and make the recipe without the peanut butter, that the taste doesn’t change to much, Thanks so much for these great recipes. They’ll be total time savers in the kitchen!

  22. That crock pot is identical to mine! I use mine regularly as it’s just so easy. My three ‘go-to’ recipes are chilli, chicken stew and bolognaise, but the recipes in this article look delicious. I have family coming to stay next month and I am looking for some inexpensive ways to keep them fed – these look perfect and I’ll definitely try a couple – thanks!

  23. I actually did not have a crock pot until a few weeks ago. We threw a party at the convention center and people brought food they cooked to the event. I took home some of the dishes that were left over like the chili and the fresh fruit. The chili was in a friend’s crock pot. I asked my friend if they minded if I used this to cook in one evening and they agreed. Let’s just say they have not gotten the crock pot back yet.

  24. These look like some excellent ideas. I have been wanting to use my slow cooker on the days when I work all day long and don’t feel much like cooking when I get home.
    I want to try the African stew but I’m not too sure about the peanut butter. I’ve never been a huge fan of savoury peanut dishes but maybe I should just take the plunge and make this. I do like trying new things and this is probably quite a different flavour from Thai peanut dishes.
    I’m interested in the beef stew as well. I love cranberry sauce and this looks like a good excuse to use more of it!

  25. These all sound good to me. I’m definitely up for some “set it and forget it” kind of meals on busy days. The first one looks quite thick and rich. Very nice.

    The second one is really tempting to me, although I don’t think my picky eaters will go for it. More for me, I guess. The third one.. yum. It sounds delicious. I think it would work with pork roast too, yes?

  26. Oh yes, as the leaves fall and the nights draw in, the crockpot is out of the cupboard and up on the counter! Mine is currently bubbling, quietly cooking a rabbit with home-grown onions, carrots, sage and red wine. It’ll sit in the fridge overnight tonight then be reheated for supper tomorrow with some creamy mashed potatoes. Actually, I could put a dumpling or two on top – now there’s a thought… I love the fall.

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