Slow Cooker Shortcuts: Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

Remember that appliance sitting in the bottom of your cabinet? The slow cooker? This often-overlooked kitchen appliance has many different uses and can be very helpful when making dinner. Here are some easy slow cooker recipes and tips to help make meal prep much faster.

This often-overlooked kitchen appliance has many different uses and can be very helpful when making dinner.

Make the Easiest Baked Potatoes Keep your oven off and still get your baked potatoes cooked in time for dinner. Wrap clean potatoes in foil and place into your slow cooker. (Russet potatoes work great.) Cook on high for about eight hours or until the potatoes are cooked. Then you won't have to think about the potatoes when it's time to prep the rest of the meal. You'll also keep your stove and oven free for other things. You could always use the baked potatoes as a main dish, too. Just dress them up with meat, beans, cheese or vegetables, and you have a complete meal.

Be the Potluck Hero Do you have an upcoming potluck to prepare for? Try a simple slow cooker recipe like minestrone soup, or a side dish or appetizer. Hearty ingredients like potatoes and beans make a great base for some crowd-pleasing comfort food. Try a chili cheese dip crock pot bean recipe. You'll have the ease of not having to do much prep work, and you'll also have a great way to keep your dish warm once you get to the potluck.

Plan for Holiday Meals When it comes to the holidays, we are often cooking so much food that we don't have room for all of the dishes to bake in the oven! The slow cooker can help you out there. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, dips and more can all be cooked in the slow cooker while you are creating other dishes in the oven and on the stovetop.

Cook for More Than One Meal at Once Another great way for a slow cooker to help you out in the kitchen is to cook up a bulk quantity of something and have it for several meals to come. You can create a double batch of any soup and use the other half for tomorrow's meal, or you can freeze it for later. You can also cook a larger quantity of meat and use it for a few days' worth of meals. For instance, chicken from the slow cooker can be used for kebabs, nachos, pasta dishes, salads and more.

These are just a few great ideas on how your slow cooker can help create shortcuts in the kitchen. Take yours out of the kitchen cabinet and try it today.