If your slow cooker is gathering dust in the back of the cupboard, drag it out and wipe it off. If you haven’t got one, why not? I love my slow cooker, and I’m not ashamed to say it! I love cooking, but there are some days when you can’t be bothered – this is when the slow cooker is ideal.
The best thing about a slow cooker is that you can toss all the ingredients in, forget about it for a few hours, and return with delight to find your dinner prepared. There’s nothing better coming home after work, or a day exploring, to the warming smell of whatever you have created.
Here are some of my own slow cooker recipes to keep you going through Autumn – and beyond. Before we start… it is always recommended that you pre-heat it before you start assembling the ingredients.
French Onion Soup
He may be biased, but my boyfriend thinks I make the best French onion soup in the world. If only he knew how easy it is to make.
- 12-15 small white onions, sliced (make sure you don’t have any mascara on – haha!)
- Tbls of brown sugar
- Tbls of balsamic vinegar
- Knob of butter
- Beef stockpot or stock cube
- 250ml of sherry*
- Tbls Worcestershire sauce
- Tsp of dried thyme
- ½ tsp of mustard powder
- 4 crushed garlic cloves or tsp garlic powder
- Tbls of cornflour
- Preheat the slow cooker to high
- Slowly fry the onions with the sugar, balsamic vinegar and butter in a large frying pan. This will need to be done over low-medium heat until the onions are sticky. (This is what is going to get the flavour into the dish – be patient!)
- Mix the cornflour into a paste with a tablespoon of water
- Transfer the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker with 500ml of water
- Cook for 3 hours on high
* Don’t have any sherry? Substitute it for white wine. You want to pick dry ones such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. Don’t want to use alcohol at all? I use a white wine stockpot or leave it out altogether – just remember to up the amount of water to 750ml.
Sweet and Sour
Sweet and sour one of the nation’s favourites when ordering from the Chinese. Making it in your slow cooker dramatically reduces the calories, but doesn’t lessen the flavour. I use chicken thighs, and ingredient I have only been using for a year or so. I always thought I didn’t like them, but the meat just falls apart. Don’t eat meat? Don’t worry, you can enjoy the vegetables only or add Quorn. This fakeaway can be served with egg fried rice or noodles.
Chicken Tikka Masala
I love tikka masala, but as I’ve been watching what I eat over the last year or so, the high-fat cream content is a put-off. This version is packed full of vegetables and again is easy to make vegetarian or vegan by replacing a few ingredients. It tastes authentic, and the smells when cooking are incredible. Ditch the takeaway and tuck into this easy to make instead.
The only way I make risotto now is in my slow cooker. As it’s done gradually, it intensifies the flavour. Plus, there’s no standing over hob continually stirring. This recipe is bacon, leek and mushroom. However, you can change the fillings to suit your tastes or what is in the fridge.
- 250g risotto rice
- 1-litre vegetable stock
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 6 slices of bacon, fat removed and chopped
- 15g of dried mushrooms (optional)
- Pre-heat the slow cooker to high
- Add the stock and the dried mushrooms to the slow cooker
- Fry off the leeks and mushrooms until soft, add to the pot
- Fry off the bacon, add to the pot
- Add the risotto rice and stir
- Ready in one hour
Diet coke pulled pork, beef or chicken
This recipe works with pork, beef or chicken. It is ideal to make ahead to take to work in sandwiches or to top savoury rice of couscous. It also makes a great mid-week meal served with a jacket potato, roast veg and coleslaw too.
- 1kg of pork, beef or chicken (boneless, skinless thighs work best)
- Can of diet cola
- Tbls of smoked paprika
- Tbls of Worcestershire sauce
- Tsp mustard powder
- Tbls of mixed dried herbs
- Pre-heat the slow cooker to low
- Remove any visible fat from the meat
- Add the meat to the pot and cover with the rest of the ingredients
- Cook on low for 8 hours
- Remove the meat and shred it with two forks
- To thicken the sauce, add to a saucepan and bring to a simmer until thickened and reduced OR
- Turn the slow cooker up to high. Add a tablespoon of cornflour, mixed with a tablespoon of water to form a paste. Remove the lid and allow the sauce to thicken for 30 minutes
- Return the meat to the pot, and cover in the sauce
Chocolate Lava Cake
That’s right, you can make a cake your slow cooker. This chocolate lava cake is a game-changer. I’m sure you’re licking your lips right now thinking of the warm, gooey chocolate cake, nestled in a river of fudgy sauce. Top with ice-cream or squirty cream, marshmallows, chunks of fudge or chopped walnuts for an extra special treat.
- 125g plain flour
- 100g of caster sugar
- 3 tbls of cocoa powder
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- ¼ tsp of salt
- 120ml of milk
- 75g butter, melted
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract or essence
- 100g of caster sugar
- 100g of brown sugar
- 4 tbls of cocoa powder
- 350ml of hot water (I usually boil the kettle before I get started)
- Preheat the slow cooker to high.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together from the batter ingredients list, until combined.
- Add the wet ingredients, and whisk until smooth.
- Pour into the bottom of the slow cooker. Spread out and smooth over the top.
- Make the topping by missing together all of the dry ingredients, until combined – apart from the hot water.
- Pour into the slow cooker, on top of the batter mixture.
- Pour the hot water over the top of the batter mixture and topping. DO NOT STIR.
- Cook for 3 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the batter comes out clean (a few crumbs on it).
What will you be making first in your slow cooker?
Slow cookers are cheap to buy, economical to use and they’re great for making the most of budget ingredients. They offer a healthier, low-fat method of cooking and require the minimum amount of effort. Really, what’s not to love?
These recipes really are only the tip of the iceberg – I have so many more! If you need any help with making any of the above or would like some more inspiration or cooking tips, please feel free to DM me @RealGirlsWobble.