The Crockpot can be a college student’s best friend. The slow-cooking method is one that allows you to throw all of your ingredients into one pot and let it cook on a low heat setting all day while you’re in class. In addition to being easy, a Crockpot uses less energy than an oven, cutting down on your electric bill, plus there is less of a chance of burning your food because of the low cooking temperatures, ensuring a delicious meal every time. The foods cook mostly in their own juices, so Crockpot cooking tends to be very low in fat and eliminates the need for adding any additional butter or oil. Additionally, foods cooked in the Crockpot retain more of their vitamins and minerals than foods baked in the oven or cooked on the stove due to the lower temperatures that the food is cooked. It’s a great tool to use when cooking for a large group because the Crockpot makes large servings at a time- and there are endless recipes available to choose from!
Here are just a couple of easy recipes to try:
Crockpot Veggie Chili
1 can low sodium black beans
1 can low sodium red kidney beans
1 can low sodium garbanzo beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 medium onion, diced
1 head of broccoli, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Rice, cooked to your liking (optional)
Directions: Add all ingredients to your Crockpot and stir. Turn heat onto “low” setting and let cook for 8-10 hours. Enjoy on top of some rice! This is a great dish to freeze and pull out again in a few weeks on one of those days when there is no time to cook.
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken (use the cut of your choice; recommendation: 1 lb white meat and 1 lb dark meat)
48 oz low sodium chicken stock
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
Directions: Place chicken in Crockpot. Add all other ingredients on top of the chicken, and stir. Cook soup on “low” heat setting for 8-10 hours. Use two forks to gently shred the chicken in the soup. Enjoy- it’s almost as good as your mom’s chicken soup!
3 lbs. skin- on chicken drumsticks
1 bottle your favorite BBQ sauce
Directions: Add chicken and BBQ sauce into Crockpot and stir so sauce evenly coats chicken. Cook on “low” for 6-8 hours. Enjoy!
Don’t get in a dinner rut where you switch off pizza and Chinese take- out; wake up 10 minutes early one morning next week and prepare a recipe in the Crockpot. You’ll be surprised at how delicious this homemade meal will taste!
Photo Credit: Jennifer Collins