By Katie Moosbrugger

Ever since school started, I’ve been on a crock pot kick. I’m sure many of you use this life-saver all the time but I’ve only recently started  to use it on a regular basis. I know – I’m late to the party. In the past, I’ve been overwhelmed by all the recipes shared on Facebook, in brochures at the grocery check-out lines, or in my favorite magazines. Plus once I actually shopped for the ingredients – it never failed – I would always forget to prep and start the meal first thing in the morning. Come 4 pm, I would once again scrounging my fridge for a decent meal. It was a vicious cycle, and I was determined to end it.

If you are in the same fix I was in, it’s my hope today’s recipes will inspire you to get on a crock pot kick with me. The following recipes have been enjoyed by my family, and they’re so easy to get you started.

Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing Recipe

Original recipe found HERE

Ingredients
~ 4 chicken breasts (defrosted)
~ 1 large can or Cream of Chicken Soup (or two small cans)
~ 2 boxes of Stuffing mix
~ 1 cup Sour Cream (we used light)
~1 small package of frozen green beans

Instructions
~ Spray the crockpot with non stick cooking spray
~ Place the defrosted chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot
~ Pour the dry mix stuffing (try Stove Top Chicken flavor) over the raw chicken
~ In a separate bowl, mix together the soup and sour cream. Top this mixture over the dry stuffing mix.
~ Add frozen green beans as the next layer
~ Add about 1 cup of water to the top of this mix
~ Cook on high for 4 hours or cook on low for about 7 to 8 hours

Tip: About ½ way between the cooking time use a fork to fluff the stuffing mix. This will allow the water to drop through the soup mix and create a steam to cook the stuffing. Add less water if you prefer a dry stuffing or add more water if you like it really moist.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Original recipe found HERE

Ingredients
~ 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
~ 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
~ 1/2 teaspoon salt
~ 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
~ 1 clove garlic, minced
~ 1 bay leaf
~ 1 teaspoon paprika
~ 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
~ 1 onion, chopped
~ 1 1/2 cups beef broth
~ 3 potatoes, diced
~ 4 carrots, sliced
~1 celery stalk, chopped

Instructions
~ Place meat in slow cooker.
~ In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture.
~ Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery
~ Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken

Original recipe found HERE

Ingredients
~ 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I use frozen)
~ 1/2 – 1 cup honey
~ 1/2 cup soy sauce
~ 1 cup diced onion
~ 1/4 cup ketchup
~ 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
~ 2 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
~ 1/2 teaspoon pepper
~ 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
~ 1/3 cup water
~ Sesame seeds

Directions
~ Combine the honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic, pepper flakes & pepper in the slow cooker.
~ Add the chicken and stir to cover them with the sauce.
~ Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours or until the chicken is cooked.
~ Remove the chicken from slow cooker, leaving sauce in the insert. Turn the heat to high on slow cooker.
~ Whisk the cornstarch into water and pour into slow cooker. Whisk to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high 10 more minutes or until slightly thickened.
~ Shred the chicken, return to the pot and toss with sauce before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds & sliced green onions (if desired) and serve over rice

Crock Pot Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork

Original recipe found HERE

Ingredients
~ 2 lbs. pork tenderloin
~ 1 t. ground sage
~ 1/2 t. salt
~ 1/2 t. garlic powder
~ 1/4 t. pepper
~ 1/2 c. water
~ 1/2 c. light brown sugar
~ 1 T. cornstarch
~ 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
~ 1/2 c. water
~ 2 T. soy sauce

Instructions
~ Mix together the sage, garlic powder, salt and pepper and rub it over the pork tenderloin.
~ Place 1/2 cup of water in your Crock Pot.
~ Place the rubbed pork in the Crock Pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
~ 1 hour before roast is finished, mix together the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan: brown sugar, corn starch, balsamic vinegar, water and soy sauce. Heat the glaze over medium, stirring until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes.
~ Brush your roast 2-3 times with the glaze during the final hour of cooking. Serve sliced pork with remaining glaze on the side.
~ This recipe suggests serving this pork with roasted potatoes and apples. The recipe for this side dish is included in the link above.

Crockpot Brown Sugar + Roasted Garlic Pulled Pot Roast Sandwiches

Original recipe found HERE

Ingredients ~ 4 pound beef pot roast
~ 1 teaspoon salt
~ 1 teaspoon pepper
~ 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
~ 1 teaspoon onion powder
~ 1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
~ 8 to 10 ounces beer
~ 2 heads roasted garlic
~ Your favorite buns or rolls for serving

Instructions
~ Sprinkle the pot roast evenly with the salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder and place the meat in the crockpot.
~ Cover the top with the brown sugar, then add the beer to the crockpot and cover it.
~ Cook on low for 8 hours.
~ At some point during the 8 hours or before, roast the garlic. Squeeze out the cloves of garlic and mash them on a cutting board with a fork. Remove the lid of the crockpot and using kitchen tongs or forks, shred and pull apart the beef. Also at this time, remove any large chunks of fat or gristle too.
~ Once the beef is shredded, add in the mashed roasted garlic. Stir the beef well to evenly distribute the garlic and make sure it is incorporated into the beef. Cover the beef and cook it on low for another 30 minutes.
~ You can freeze this and it also reheats well – just add a little liquid if needed.

Slow Roaster Pot Roast

*This is the one crock pot recipe I make over and over again. Serve this dish with mashed potatoes and a vegetable on the side, and you have a great meal!

Ingredients
~ Pot roast (size up to you). I suggest asking someone in the butcher department at your grocery store to help you find the best kind of roast that will fall apart when slow cooked.
~ Packet of Lipton’s dry onion soup mix
~ Can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
~ Add in cut carrots if you choose!
~ I suggest adding at least two packets of onion soup mix and two cans of cream of mushroom soup to create lots of gravy. The gravy sometimes dries up when cooking, and you want some left over gravy to spoon over finished meat and potatoes.

Instructions
~ Cook on Low for 6 – 7 hours until roast is tender (and falls apart when pulled with a fork)

Do you have a favorite crock pot recipe? If so, share a link to the recipe in the comment section below!