“What’s so great about the slow cooker, Mom?”
My son asked the question right after I shared my excitement about a new chicken slow cooker recipe. He was starting to catch on — slow cooker anything is my favorite meal to cook.
“Well, Emmet,” I said, “the best thing about the slow cooker is that it’s effortless. Put in a few ingredients, turn on the heat, and voila! Six to eight hours later, dinner is served. It’s nearly impossible to mess up a slow cooker recipe.”
And let me tell you, I know how to mess up a meal. I’m a terrible cook and to be honest, I dread making dinner. But when I plan a slow cooker meal, it’s a different story. Cooking is pleasant, the food always turns out good and the clean-up isn’t too bad. I have quite the collection of slow cooker recipes for every meal — dessert included! To save you time on the hunt for great slow-cooked meals, I’m sharing a few of my favorite unique recipes.
French Toast Casserole
Perfect for a lazy Sunday brunch, it’s the best morning comfort food you’ll ever try. It’s sticky, sweet and oh-so-filling, and the smell alone will help your kids or spouse jump right out of bed.
A loaf of bread that’s one day old is best. Cut into cubes. Brioche or any sandwich bread will do.
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 and ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons salted butter
½ cup light brown sugar
Nutella (to taste)
Strawberries (to taste)
Powdered sugar (to taste)
Spray the slow cooker with cooking spray or grease with butter.
Place the cubed bread (3/4-1” in size) inside the slow cooker.
Whisk the egg, milk, vanilla, salt, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour this mixture into the pot and be sure to saturate the bread.
In a separate bowl, mix the butter, remaining cinnamon and brown sugar with a mixer or whisk.
Sprinkle the topping over the saturated bread.
Cover and cook on low for 3.5-4 hours.
Let the bread cool for 5 minutes.
Slice the bread and top with Nutella, sliced strawberries and a pinch of powdered sugar (optional).
Try different toppings like chocolate, whipped cream, syrup, peanut butter, and even ice cream if you dare! And remember, Sunday calories don’t count!
Steak and Potatoes
You don’t need an outdoor grill to enjoy a perfectly cooked, juicy steak. Believe it or not, steak and potatoes ala slow cooker are pretty delicious, too.
4 steaks of your preference (3/4 -1” thick)
½ cup steak sauce (or you can substitute beef gravy)
4 tablespoons butter
Season steak with a steak seasoning to taste (optional).
Let steaks come to room temperature (set on the counter for about 20 minutes).
Place steaks in the bottom of the slow cooker. Cover with steak sauce or gravy.
Take a piece of aluminum foil (large enough to cover the steaks) and spray it with cooking spray/oil.
Place foil (oil side down) on top of the steaks.
Wrap each potato in foil.
Place potatoes on top of steak.
Cover. Set the temperature to low and cook for 6 hours.
Check steak with an internal thermometer to achieve the desired temperature:
Rare = 125-130 degrees F
Medium Rare = 130-140 degrees F
Medium = 140-150 degrees F
Medium Well = 150-160 degrees F
Well Done = 160 degrees F
Add butter to top of potatoes when finished.
Butter is for potatoes after they are cooked- to taste.
Pairs well with red wine, garlic bread and great company!
Yes, you can make fresh, fluffy bread without a bread maker, and oh my gosh, it is to die for! The only downside is that it may take longer to cook than to be eaten.
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon active, dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups flour
Mix water and sugar in a bowl until sugar is dissolved.
Add yeast and stir with a wooden spoon.
Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
Stir in salt.
Add vegetable oil and stir.
Add flour a little at a time and mix/fold with hands.
When all the flour is mixed in, continue to knead for about five minutes.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl and cover with saran wrap. Let the dough sit and rise for one hour (or until it doubles in size).
Line the slow cooker with parchment paper and place the dough in the pot. Alternatively, you can use a bread pan — spray the pan, put the dough in the pan, and then put the pan in the crockpot.
Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for two hours. The bread is done when the internal temperature registers at 190-200 degrees.
Place bread on a wire rack to cool.
Don’t let it cool too long — this bread is best eaten warm with a dab of butter and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and/or garlic.
Chocolate Lava Cake
And this recipe, my friends, is why my children love the crockpot. There is no dessert they love more than warm chocolate cake with a gooey chocolate inside. This is super easy, a little messy, and so yummy. Three layers of chocolate that will melt in your mouth. If you want to go all gourmet, you can make the cake from scratch, but I like to cut corners and my kids never complain!
1 box of chocolate cake mix
Ingredients needed to make the cake via instructions on the box (eggs, water, oil)
1 box of instant chocolate pudding
2 cups of milk
12 ounces of chocolate chips (you can use semisweet or milk chocolate)
Spray the slow cooker (bottom and sides) with cooking spray.
Mix cake ingredients as instructed on the cake box and pour batter into pot.
In a separate bowl, whisk pudding and 2 cups of milk. Pour over the batter in the slow cooker.
Put a layer of chocolate chips on top.
Cover and cook on low for 2.5- 3 hours. The cake should be fully cooked, and the pudding will be bubbling out of the cake.
Create a toppings bar with all the fixings: ice cream, hot fudge, peanut butter, caramel, whipped cream and strawberries are some of my favorites. Slow cooker dessert at its finest!
Do you have a slow cooker? What do you like to make in it? Let us know in the comments below.