Slow cookers (or if we’re talking about them like we talk about Band-Aids, Crock- Pots) are one of our favorite culinary tools. If you’re not familiar with them, they let you cook things the way you’ve always wanted to. By putting stuff in a big bowl and walking away. A bit counter-intuitively, the less involved you are in the process, the better the result.

If not doing anything beyond setting and forgetting wasn’t enough, they’re great for cooking in bulk. A meal for ten people takes the same amount of effort as a meal for two, which is basically magic. So whether it’s just you and the SO for dinner, or your entire neighborhood is crashing the party, we have a few recipes to make your meal a delicious one.

slow-cooker-pumpkin-turkey-chili

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Slow cookers (or if we’re talking about them like we talk about Band-Aids, Crock- Pots) are one of our favorite culinary tools. If you’re not familiar with them, they let you cook things the way you’ve always wanted to. By putting stuff in a big bowl and walking away. A bit counter-intuitively, the less involved you are in the process, the better the result.

 

If not doing anything beyond setting and forgetting wasn’t enough, they’re great for cooking in bulk. A meal for ten people takes the same amount of effort as a meal for two, which is basically magic. So whether it’s just you and the SO for dinner, or your entire neighborhood is crashing the party, we have a few recipes to make your meal a delicious one.

Recipe
slow-cooker-glazed-pork-ribs

Slow Cooker Glazed Pork Ribs

with White Beans

You want to talk about simplicity and deliciousness? Look no further than this recipe for easy glazed pork ribs and white beans. Slow cooked for three whole hours, and then lightly broiled under a balsamic glaze, the ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, but also have that slightly crunchy skin everybody loves. And as far as health food goes, these are about as good as it gets, especially if you’re insisting on eating pork ribs.

Recipe
slow-cooker-ropa-vieja

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja

If you’ve not yet delved into the wonderment of traditional Cuban cuisine, you need to get on it. This recipe for traditional slow-cooked ropa vieja (shredded flank steak with a tomato-based sauce) is inexpensive, easy to put together, and mind blowingly flavorful. It’s as simple as seasoning the flank steak to your liking (we’re fans of the classic salt and pepper), then tossing it into a slow cooker on high for five hours with some diced tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, garlic, a smidge of jalapeno, oregano, and eventually some olives and capers. That’s literally it. Set it to cook for six hours, shred the tender steak, drop it all on some tortillas, throw some cilantro on that bitch and you’ve made your own little contribution to repairing Cuban-American relations.

Recipe
red-cooked-pork-shoulder-chestnuts

Red-Cooked Pork Shoulder

and Chestnuts

Pork shoulder is one of the most coveted cuts on a pig. Used in Puerto Rican pernil, Mexican Pulled pork, and European stews, it is universally seen as a the epitome of tenderness, flavor, and ease-of-use. And when you red-cook it, you enhance a lot of those characteristics. For those unfamiliar, red-cooking is a traditional Chinese braising technique that renders cooked meats red, due to the use of high-quality soy sauce and slow, slow cooking. For this recipe, soy sauce, cinnamon, garlic, roasted chestnuts, fresh ginger, and a splash of dry sherry simmer and mix into an absolutely delectable (and very, very simple) dish that’ll impress even the pickiest of eaters.

Recipe
slow-cooked-asian-short-ribs

Slow-Cooked Asian Short Ribs

Another foray into Asian-style cuisine, these Slow-Cooked Asian Short Ribs are as good as they sound. Fall-off-the-bone tender, and mixed with ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil (AKA nectar of the fucking gods), pepper flakes, garlic, brown sugar, and a little beef broth. Inside a slow cooker, this starts as a meal and becomes a miracle. You have to toss in a little cornstarch and water to give it a thickening 30 minutes prior to mealtime, but that’s as “difficult” as this recipe gets.

Recipe
slow-cookers-cajun-jambalaya

Slow Cookers Cajun Jambalaya

Jambalaya and slow cookers go together like Cajun food and good taste, and we knew the minute we decided to do this story that we were going to include at least one Cajun jambalaya recipe. This one is perfect. Toss some lean turkey sausage, chicken thighs, diced tomatoes, bell peppers, beef broth, ground red pepper, rice, and—of course—a big ol’ pile of shrimp into your slow cooker, let it simmer for 4-8 hours (depending on how high your heat is), and voila. Well, the rice and shrimp won’t go in until the last 15-20 minutes, but you get the point. This is as legit a jambalaya recipe as you’re going to get.

Recipe
slow-cooker-beef-stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

A good beef stew is heaven-sent on a cold winter day. While you can definitely make a good stew without a crockpot, the crockpot makes it as easy as possible. This recipe is traditional style, but if you’re looking for a little more “kick,” you can always toss in a little cumin or even a dash of chili powder. The cubed lean roast absorbs the flavor of the onion powder, tomato paste, and beef broth, and the carrots, onion, and peas cook to exactly the right texture for a stew. Not so hard that it’s like you didn’t cook them and not so soft that you’re eating mush. If you’re looking for Grandma’s old stew recipe, this is it.

Recipe
balsamic-glazed-pork-tenderloin

Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

If you didn’t already know, pork tenderloin is the filet mignon of pig. The absolute tenderest part on an entire pig (it’s all in the name, you know?), the tenderloin runs along the pig’s back is lean, versatile, and does extremely well in a slow cooker. Oh, and contrary to popular belief, the tenderloin is just as lean as skinless chicken breast—so you fitness nerds don’t have to get worked up (unless you want to). The recipe include sage, garlic, black pepper, a little brown sugar, and soy sauce, all things that you love in tons of other dishes. The glaze—balsamic vinegar, sugar, a little corn starch, and soy sauce—takes seconds to make, and you literally just pour it over the tenderloins after they’ve cooked. Your last two steps are shred and enjoy.

Recipe