Pin It
.
Favorites

Slow cooker recipes for fast and satisfying food 

click to enlarge Dinner won't be an afterthought this busy holiday season when you prepare a meal in a slow cooker to come home to at night. - PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH
  • PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH
  • Dinner won't be an afterthought this busy holiday season when you prepare a meal in a slow cooker to come home to at night.
Finding time to cook a hearty weeknight meal can be challenging, but even more so during the holiday season. With additional minutes of your morning spent cleaning the snow off your car and shoveling out your driveway just to get to work, only to come home late and exhausted from all those after hour seasonal errands, dinner is usually a distant afterthought.

This is where the trusty slow cooker saves the day. You can load it up with ingredients before you head out the door in the morning, and come home to a wonderfully filling, hot, home-cooked meal that’s ready to serve with minimal effort.

These three recipes are some of my seasonal favorites, and the leftovers can last for days. Try them out in an electric slow cooker while you are away all day. Or if you’re home on the weekend, you can cook them on the stove top in a Dutch Oven as meal prep for the week.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH
  • PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH
HOPPIN’ JOHN
A beloved staple of kitchens in the south, Hoppin’ John traces its origins to Senegalese culinary traditions and is sometimes referred to as Carolina rice and peas. As a weeknight meal it is particularly easy to make, endlessly flavorful, and filling. It will hold up for days in the fridge and can be made into a vegetarian option by omitting the pork.
Serves 4 to 6

You will need:
1 cup of dry black-eyed peas (soaked overnight and rinsed)
1 lb. of smoked pork (a boneless jowl is best)
1 large sweet yellow onion (large dice)
2 cloves of hard neck garlic (peeled and roughly chopped)
1 tsp of cayenne pepper (more to taste)
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tbsp of sherry or cider vinegar
2 tbsp of brandy
Water
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Combine all of the ingredients into a slow cooker, Crock-Pot, or Dutch Oven. Add enough water to submerge the ingredients and cover. Cook on a very low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Once the beans are tender, remove the pork, discard any bones, shred the meat evenly, and return it to the pot and mix well. Serve with steamed white rice.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH
  • PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH
CROCK-POT CACCIATORE
This filling Italian dish has roots dating back to the Renaissance. A meal prepared alla cacciatore (or “hunter-style”) is easily left to simmer for hours.
The dish was traditionally prepared with rabbit, but chicken is most commonly used as the base protein in the United States and the dish is flexible enough to accommodate beef, pork, and lamb. For a slow cooker application, I find that a boneless beef chuck roast is best, but any nice cut of meat will do. For a vegetarian option you can replace the meat with portabella mushrooms.
Serves 4 to 6

You will need:
1 lb boneless beef chuck roast
1 28-oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes (Cento San Marzano is best)
2 large red bell peppers (seeds removed, cut into thick julienne)
1 large yellow onion (large dice)
4 cloves of hard neck garlic (peeled and roughly chopped)
1 tbsp of fresh basil (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine
2 cups of water
1 tsp of Italian red pepper flakes (optional, more to taste)
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Combine all the ingredients into a slow cooker, Crock-Pot, or Dutch Oven and cook covered on a very low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with steamed white rice or cooked pasta such as penne.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH
  • PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH
WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI
An atypical take on a fall-winter classic, white bean chicken chili is a nice change of pace from the more common red beans, beef, and tomato chili.

My take veers toward Italian flavors with cannellini beans and Mediterranean greens, but other versions offer a California styling of the dish with the addition of avocado, cilantro, queso fresco, and lime juice. For a vegetarian option you can replace the meat with firm tofu or seitan.
Serves 4 to 6

You will need:
1 cup of dry cannelloni or great northern beans (soaked overnight and rinsed)
1 lb of boneless and skinless chicken thighs (cut into two-inch chunks)
1 head/bunch of escarole or broccoli rabe (cleaned, end stems removed, cut into two-inch chunks)
1 large sweet yellow onion (small dice)
1 green bell pepper (seeds removed, medium dice)
2 cloves of hard neck garlic (peeled and roughly chopped)
1 tsp of cayenne pepper (more to taste)
1 tbsp of cumin (more to taste)
2 tbsp of fresh Italian parsley (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp of olive oil
3-5 cups of chicken stock (as needed)
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Combine all the ingredients into a slow cooker, Crock-Pot, or Dutch Oven and cook covered on a very low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with thick crust fresh bread.


J. Nevadomski is the author of the long-running "Highlife for Lowlifes" series and is a food and culture contributor to CITY.

Feedback on this article can be directed to Rebecca Rafferty, CITY's life editor, at becca@rochester-citynews.com.

click image champion-story-banner.gif

Browse Listings

Submit an event

Tweets @RocCityNews

Website powered by Foundation     |     © 2022 CITY News