I must confess: I don't own a Crockpot. I'm a horrible planner. Just ask my rice cooker.
When I was shopping for a rice cooker I opted for a fancier model that had a "brown rice" setting and a very functional timer. For example, I can assemble it Tuesday night saying I want the rice to be done at 6:15pm Wednesday night or 6am Wednesday morning. Absolutely fabulous!
But can you guess how many times I forgot to set it before bed *and* again the next morning before work?
I pretty much just use it when I'm home, which is fine, because now I do huge batches of rice and freeze off portions for a quick reheat (+video)
BUT as my rice cooker will attest, I'm just not a good planner.
And as my husband will attest, I don't have a lot of patience.
I can't be bothered to wait 8 hours when I can make a fresh meal in 8 minutes.
If you're into making food ahead for an easy dinner, I can't recommend the meal plans enough.
I use my meal plans -- cooking almost all our meals for the week in one 2-4 hour sitting. That's it, and we're done. The rest of the week is a matter of a quick reheat if anything.
Plus I often worry all that prolonged cooking for 6-10 hours is depleting nutrients...
Yet I know some of you LOVE crockpot recipes and since I'll never write them (sorry) here's how you can "adapt" my recipes.
See the chart below for cooking times.
Here are some tips from tasteofhome.com:
- Before converting recipes, check the manufacturer's guidelines for your particular slow cooker. Locate a recipe similar to the one you want to convert. Use it as a guide. Note the quantity and size of meat and vegetable pieces, heat setting, cooking time and amount of liquid.
- Since there is no evaporation, adjusting the amount of liquid in your recipe may be necessary. If a recipe calls for 6 to 8 cups of water, try starting with 5 cups.
- Conversely, recipes should include some liquid. If a recipe does not include liquid, add a 1/2 cup of water or broth.
- For stews and soups, put the veggies on the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.
- Flour and cornstarch are often used to thicken foods (such as soup and stew) that are cooked in a slow cooker.
- In general, 1 hour of simmering on the range or baking at 350°F in the oven is equal to 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high in a slow cooker.
You can also check out my post on ¨How to Cook Beans and Lentils in a Slow Cooker"
"Most of the soups. I just ignore the recipe directions and throw it all in together overnight" - Clare B.
"Almost all soups, stews and chilis" - Audie V.
Black Bean and Corn Salsa from HHA
Texas White Chili from HHA
"I make the pepper stuffing then put the stuffed peppers in the crockpot with a cup or so of water instead of using the onion" - Nicole L.
Chili Sans Carne from HHC
German Lentil Soup from HHA
Cassoulet from HHA
Enchiladas (recipes in HHA, HHC and EHH)
Red Lentil Dal (also in HHC)
Pumpkin Chili from the 3-Day Reboot & 10-day Cleanse
"I double the pumpkin chili, use 2 cups of kidney beans dry, soaked over night, and some extra spices and veg broth."
Lentil Chili for the meal plans
"The lentil chili was much better in the slow cooker. I loved the caramelized flavor." - Meredith W.
Sweet & Spicy Butternut Soup in EHH.
Vegetable Korma from HHA
Baked Beans from HHC
Moroccan Lentil Stew from the Meal Plans
I've also used a slow cooker to make my Cowboy Caviar recipe (Trader Joes' Copycat) and to keep "meatballs" (the recipes in HHC or HHA) warm at parties when we were serving meatball subs.