Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday: Slow Cooker Recipes

Last week in my thrifty post, I mentioned a few meals that we would have when the budget was tight. These are meals that I continue to make no matter if the budget is tight or not. Not only are the meals thrifty, but they are basic and delicious. And they are the meals that got me to start using my slow cooker.

Now, I actually own 2 large slow cookers and fill both with double or triple my recipes so that I'll have extra to freeze. I thought you might enjoy getting back to comforting slow cooker basics with these recipes. The first two come from a cookbook that belonged to my mother. It's a paperback called Crockery Cookery, printed in the Seventies. You would know it was from the Seventies just by looking at the picture of the gal on the back!

Here are my favorite slow cooker basics:

Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (1-lb) cans tomatoes, cut up (I just use diced)
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
1 (12-oz) can tomato paste
1 cup beef bouillon
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In large skillet, crumble meat with onion and garlic. Brown meat and drain off excess fat. In slow cooker, combine browned meat, onions, and garlic with remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 6-8 servings

* You can use less meat in the recipe to stretch it more. The extra freezes very well.

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew
2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1-1/2 in. cubes
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons oil
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
2 cups beef bouillon
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6+ carrots, peeled and sliced
1+ cup sliced celery
4+ potatoes , peeled and cut into eighths
1 cup water

Coat meat with flour; set excess flour aside. In large skillet, heat oil. Brown meat on all sides. In slow cooker, combine browned beef, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, chopped onion, bouillon, pepper, salt, sugar and vegetables. Pour water over all. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours. Turn control on high. Thicken with flour left over from coating (about 1/4 cup) dissolved in a small amount of water. Cover and cook on high 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened. 6-8 servings

*Don't forget the last step - so much better a little thicker. Gotta have cornbread with it! This does freeze, although turns into mushy stew - very unattractive, but still flavorful.

I used to make a chicken recipe from my slow cooker owner's manual, but I realize I've given it away. This recipe would be the most similar to it:

Slow Cooker Chicken
1 whole chicken (4 lbs)
Salt, pepper, onion salt to taste
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
A few chopped vegetables, if desired

Wash and dry chicken. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and onion salt. Put chicken in slow cooker, breast side up. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with tarragon and parsley. Add wine. Add in some chopped vegetables, if desired. Cover and cook on high 1 hour, then low 8-10 hours. 6 servings

*Then use the chicken to make homemade chicken noodle soup.

If you don't already have a slow cooker and think you might like one - try these thrifty ways of getting one:

- Check with your friends; you might have one willing to give away a slow cooker collecting dust.
- Check the thrift stores - my friend found a basic one for around $5 and it works fine.
- Check the before-Christmas sales - I got a really large slow cooker last year at a sale for about half the price.

Thrifty slow cooker recipes work for me! Hope you enjoy them! For more tips and ideas, stop by Works-For-Me-Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.


  1. I LOVE my slow cooker. LOVE it! Those recipes sound yummo. Thanks for sharing my friend.

  2. Great recipes and suggestion for slow cookers. I love mine too. I have a few recipes that are just a couple of ingredients thrown into the crock pot and let 'em cook all day. Ready when I walk in at night.
    One is to slice a pork loin roast into approx 1 inch slices and pour bottled BBQ sauce on it. Cook for 8 hours or so on low. Add veggies and rolls for a great meal. Or shred the meat and mix in with the sauce and serve on buns as BBQ sandwiches.

  3. I am all about slow cookers. I have one in my closet in a box if the one I use breaks...I love them...ever made pizza in the's yummy!
    -Sandy Toes

  4. Slow cookers are such a great invention! I have the one that has 3 different size crocks that fit into the same base, I love it! :) A friend has been asking for Crockpot recipes, so I sent her your blog today! :) Thanks - how did you know? hee hee

  5. Fabulous! I couldn't live without my slow cooker. Thanks for sharing new recipes. :)

  6. Oh friend, did I visit on the right day!

    My crockpot (as we say from the old days) is the love of my life. I miss it during the summer.

    I can't wait to try some of these recipes...yum yum!

  7. I always love to find new crockpot recipes! Thanks for posting these!

  8. yum. i love my slow cooker, too, and have been making lots of lentil soup.

  9. These sound great, Lisa!

    I have to tell you, when I first read that you own 2 slow cookers, I thought it said 21 slow cookers and I about died. LOL. (I did a lot of writing today for an article I'm working on, and I think my eyes are fuzzy!)

  10. Those sounds wonderful! I'll have to print those off.

    Thanks for stopping by today.

  11. Thanks so much! I have been trying to find more "simple" crockpot recipes. These sound delicious!


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