A collection of easy crock-pot meals for the fall
Many students come to college without knowing how to cook for themselves.
The process can seem overwhelming, but the answer to salvation is sitting somewhere in the Christmas Tree Shops. The crock-pot has been around for over 70 years and it’s time to start making warm, hearty meals and accept slow cooking as one of the most rewarding cooking techniques.
To help you learn the ways of the crock, we’ve compiled a list of easy crock-pot recipes that require less than ten ingredients and yield amazing results.
Tomato tortellini soup
Tomato soup is a seasonal classic, and this recipe kicks it up a notch. It includes tortellini and Italian sausage, which add contrasting textures and flavors. It only calls for three steps, which definitely makes it a beginner’s recipe. It makes eight servings and should take roughly eight hours to make.
The recipe calls for four cups of chicken broth, one 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, two 10-ounce cans of tomato soup and two 8-ounce containers of chive-flavored cream cheese. It also calls for one pound of Italian sausage, which will need to be browned in a skillet before adding it to the crock-pot. The recipe suggests using cheese-stuffed tortellini. All ingredients, except for the cream cheese and tortellini, should cook on the low setting for eight hours. Add the last two ingredients at the end and allow them to cook for upward of 30 minutes or until the tortellini is fully cooked.
Loaded baked potato soup
Seven ingredients, vegetarian
Loaded baked potato soup seems too good to be true. But by God, the wizards at Pinterest did it and it was good.
Against all odds, loaded baked potato soup does taste like a baked potato, as thick, starchy soup with a hint of sour cream tang. The dish is incredibly easy to make and is also customizable with different toppings. Any topping you might put on a baked potato would be a great addition to the soup. It should take about eight hours on the low setting and four hours on high and should yield about eight servings.
The recipe calls for 2.5 pounds of baking potatoes, one small chopped onion, two cups of chicken broth and four cloves of garlic. You should wash the potatoes and cut them in half. After the cooking time is up, the potatoes should be soft enough to mash and blend into the soup. Then you’ll need to add in 8 ounces of cream cheese, one cup of sharp cheddar and 1.5 cups of heavy cream. The crock-pot should be left on long enough for the cream cheese to soften and blend into the soup.
Mississippi pot roast
Pot roast has been a traditional dinner staple for decades. This dish is one of the simplest options when it comes to using a crock-pot, but it’s also one of the most memorable. Your roommates will never forget the time you made a pot roast and they’ll ask you to make it again for months afterwards.
The recipe should have eight servings and should take eight hours to cook on the low setting.
The recipe calls for a three-to-four pound chuck roast, one packet of au jus mix, one packet of ranch mix, half of a stick of unsalted butter and eight-to-10 pepperoncinis. You should sprinkle the roast with the two seasoning packets and decorate with the butter and pepperoncinis.
Autumn squash soup
Ten ingredients, vegan
Autumn squash soup is the pumpkin spice latte of the soup world.
Based off of the Panera Bread recipe, the soup is full of classic fall flavors and is perfect for brisk fall nights. Although this recipe calls for a little more expertise in the kitchen, the result is definitely worth the effort. Rather than spending upwards of $6 on a single bowl of soup, you can make four servings with only 10 ingredients. It takes roughly five hours to cook on the low setting.
The recipe calls for three cups of vegetable broth, one chopped yellow onion, one peeled and cubed butternut squash, two or three peeled and chopped carrots, 7 ounces of pumpkin puree, two teaspoons of brown sugar, half a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. All of these ingredients can be added to the crock-pot until the cooking time is finished. You must blend the ingredients with a hand mixer or in a blender until smooth. Then add in half a cup of heavy cream.
Lasagna isn’t a typical crock-pot meal, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to make it with one.
For all those people who are missing their Italian mom’s home-cooked pasta but don’t want to settle for a frozen lasagna dinner, this is for you. Granted, this recipe won’t result in the crispiness of an oven-baked lasagna, but it’s still good and far superior to the frozen options. This recipe should yield ten servings and should take four and a half hours to cook.
The recipe will begin by spraying the crock-pot with cooking spray and spreading a layer of a cup and a half of pasta sauce, followed by a layer of non-boil lasagna noodles. The next layer should be roughly a cup of ricotta cheese, then half a cup of shredded mozzarella and two teaspoons of parmesan cheese. The next layer calls for 1/3 lb of ground Italian sausage, which should be browned in a pan, followed by a layer of chopped spinach. Another cup of pasta sauce should be layered on top.
Repeat these steps on top of the sauce and cook for four hours or until the noodles are tender.
Samantha Vargas is the senior features editor and can be reached at Samantha.Vargas@UBSpectrum.com and on Twitter at @SamMarieVargas.