Life is busy. However, with easy, quick crock pot meals you can still enjoy a delicious, nutritious home-cooked meal even on the busiest night of the week. Your slow cooker is a kitchen miracle worker — convenient, easy-to-use appliance that can cook a full meal while you’re at work, school, running errands and dealing with life.
Chicken and Veggie Stew
The great thing about stews is that you can customize it to suit the taste preferences of your family. This slow cooker stew is quick to assemble in the morning and will feed four (and likely have leftovers) for an evening meal.
Tip: Prep for this meal the night before by chopping all the vegetables, except the potatoes. Place the chopped veggies in a large baggie and keep in the refrigerator until assembling the meal.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
- 5 or 6 small golden potatoes, chunked
- 1 large white (or yellow) onion, chopped
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 1 parsnip, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup fresh green beans, cut in bite-size pieces
- 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
- 1 can (10-3/4 ounce) cream of chicken soup
- 1 ounce packet dry ranch-style dressing mix
- 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk (can substitute unsweetened almond milk)
- 1/4 teaspoon each black pepper and sea salt
In a small bowl mix the chicken soup, ranch mix, sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and milk. Set aside. Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock pot. Add the pepper and salt. Add the potatoes and then rest of the cut vegetables. Pour the chicken soup mixture over everything. Cover the slow cooker and cook the chicken stew on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours.
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
This hearty and creamy soup is so delicious, especially on any cooler evening. If there are any leftovers, they reheat well and the soup even can be frozen if you decide to make a double batch.
- 1 medium, butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 medium white (or yellow) onion, chopped
- 3 to 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cup canned coconut milk
Place the chopped vegetables in your slow cooker or crock pot and top with the spices and vegetable broth. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. It’s essential to cook until the butternut squash can be mashed with a fork. Add the coconut milk. With an immersion blender, puree the soup until a smooth consistency forms. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the soup in batches to your blender and puree. If needed, add a pinch more salt and pepper. This recipe serves four to six people.
Kid-friendly Crock Pot Taquitos
This is a great family-friendly meal that cooks during the day and then takes less than 20 minutes to get to the table once you get home. Serve with a salad or fruit and you’ve got a nutritious, quick crock pot meal everyone will love.
- 3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 1/2 cup water or chicken broth
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 8 to 10 taco-size whole-wheat or regular flour tortillas
Place the chicken breasts in the crock pot, sprinkle with the taco seasoning. Top with the cream cheese cubes and the water. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and can be shredded with a fork.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the taquitos, remove the chicken from the crock pot into a large bowl. Top with the cheddar cheese. Shred the chicken, mixing the cheese in as you shred. Place about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture onto each tortilla and roll to form the taquito. The kids can even help roll the taquitos. Place the taquitos on a non-sticking baking tray, place in the preheated oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite salsa, sour cream or guacamole.