Crock Pot Recipes

 

As the fall season slowly creeps in to Southern California, aside from the changes in wardrobe (scarves and boots, yay!), I am looking forward to the change in meal planning that comes with cooler weather.  When I think fall food I think soups, hearty grains, spiced breads, and warm beverages.  Last week a friend and I were discussing the awesomeness that slow cookers or crock pots are and how many uses they have, especially as the temperatures drop. With a slow cooker you can prepare endless amount of appetizers, meals, desserts, drinks, and even scent the air with home-made potpourri.  With all it does, slow cooker’s can help simplify any party planner’s or hostess’s to-do list.

 

Slow cookers first came into use in the early 1970’s and are most notably made under the brand name Crock Pot.  Their design has changed little over the years, I have a hand-me-down from my mom and I swear the thing is older than I am but still has all the functions I need and works great. The typical design of a slow cooker is a ceramic or porcelain basin that is inserted into a metal electric heating unit.  Most slow cookers will have a few different heat settings and you can find them in many different sizes.

 

There are many benefits to using a slow cooker, and all of them definitely apply to help make entertaining easier. Kerry at Squakfox gives us a great breakdown of 6 reasons to use a slow cooker including:

 

-Cost
-Healthy
-Cooking is easy
-Cleanup is easy
-Meals are tasty
-Saves Time

 

Now for my favorite part, RECIPES!!

 

 

Breakfast: Hearty Barley Grains
I love making hearty grains for breakfast.  You can make plain barley and add in dried fruits and nuts the next morning, or make an actual recipe the night before like the one above.

 

 

Dinner: Beef Carnitas
Making meat in a slow cooker can be as easy as throwing in the type of meat you want and any simmer sauce and building your meal from there. Add a couple ingredients and season the meat yourself with a recipe like the one above!

 

 

Soup: Bean Vegetable Soup
And this category is why I’m so excited for fall!  Complete meals that come in one dish just cannot get easier, and that’s exactly what you can do with a soup recipe like this!

 

 
Dessert: Apple Crisp
Another great fall food is apples, so why not make them into a yummy dessert using a slow cooker.

 

 
Beverage: Mulled Cider
Not only is this a great tasting beverage, it will also make your house smell amazing!  When serving, you can mix in different types of alcohol like brandy to help give it a kick ;)

 

These recipes are just a start with what you can do with a slow cooker. Using a slow cooker can make your every day life easier, but when it comes time for you to plan your next party keep a slow cooker in mind to help along the way.  Have fun, be creative, and enjoy how much easier party planning (and life!) can be with a slow cooker this fall!

 

(Photo credits to www.bostonharborislands.org and  www.vintagegoodness.blogspot.com)