Who doesn’t love a quick, easy, delicious meal? Whether you are a mom, dad, college student, busy full-time worker, or someone who has a lot of free time, everyone loves that feeling that dinner is taken care of. There is something nice about having a few extra minutes to check your email, play with your kids, pay bills, or simply sit down! I have always enjoyed cooking but will be the first to tell you that there are plenty of days when there is no time to make dinner and it is just thrown together. Days like those make me wish I had taken a few minutes to plan ahead and use one of my most trustworthy, well-used kitchen appliances…my crock pot.
I was in college when I asked for my first crock pot for Christmas. It may have seemed like an odd request for some young adults, but it only made sense to me. I used the good old slow cooker quite a bit back then, especially during grad school. Whether I was making a pot roast for dinner, mixing up a cheese dip for the Super Bowl, or simmering some spiced wine for a winter get-together, I enjoyed the comfort foods that were so EASILY made in the crock pot.
The time came for Tom and I to register for our wedding. Although I already had a nice, sturdy slow cooker, I decided I also wanted a larger one. In addition, prior to our wedding Tom’s mother gave me a small dip-sized crock pot for Christmas. Do I really need three crock pots? Probably not. Have I ever used all three for the same meal? Yes I have. Do I have any intention of getting rid of any of them? Not anytime soon.
Since I have two larger crock pots, I thought it would only be fitting to share two of my favorite, super easy, delicious crock pot “recipes”. (I put the recipe part in quotes since anyone who knows me knows that I tend to never do anything the same way twice and generally follow a rough outline when it comes to cooking.)
The first recipe is my super simple, frequently used, “go-to when I have no idea what to make” recipe. It is awesome with pork, chicken, or turkey.
Cranberry BBQ (enter your meat here)
- 4-6 chicken or turkey breasts or pork chops, one pork loin (really, any white meat)
- 1 can whole cranberry sauce
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 cup onion, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything together and cook on low until very tender. Time will vary depending on the meat, but probably 6-8 hours on low. Servings also vary depending on what meat you choose.
This next recipe is even easier and really fantastic!
BBQ Pulled Pork
- 3-4 pound pork cut (I used pork butt, but would be great with a pork shoulder as well)
- 1 can root beer
- BBQ sauce to taste
- (I also added minced onion and a bit of pepper)
Place pork in crock pot and pour root beer over meat. Add in any seasonings you would like, although you really don’t need very many!! Cook on low for 5-6 hours, drain liquid, and shred. Add BBQ sauce and cook another hour. Makes 10-12 sandwiches.
I often feel a little bad when I’m told that I made an amazing roast or great chili, as I know how simple it was to make! I love the fact that my newest crock pot has a probe and timer settings, as it officially made easy cooking even easier. Now if only grocery shopping could be simplified even more…
What are some of your favorite crock pot recipes? I would love to get some ideas for more simple meals!