Editor’s note: My diet has drastically changed since writing this post in 2015. These recipes are still good, and they’re also convenient, but I no longer use many of the listed ingredients because I’ve gone gluten free and I eat fewer packaged foods. I’ve learned that my diet affects my fibromyalgia symptoms, and I’ve a adopted a more whole-foods approach to eating.
Since developing fibro, my slow cooker has become one of my favorite tools to get dinner on the table. I’ve never liked to cook, but dinnertime becomes even more of a chore when you’re too sick and tired to even care about what’s for dinner.
Slow cookers are a perfect solution for those of us who are a little more energetic in the morning. We can dump the ingredients into the slow cooker and walk away, knowing dinner will be ready a few hours later. By dinnertime, we’re usually dragging butt and just want to veg out in front of the TV, so being able to scoop a hot meal into a bowl with minimal effort is a real lifesaver.
I’m sharing three of my favorite slow-cooker recipes with you today. Now, let me say ahead of time: These are NOT clean, healthy slow-cooker recipes. They contain “cream of” soups (yes, I know these contain lots of sodium and things I can’t pronounce) and whole blocks of cream cheese (tucking my head in shame here), and all are served over a starch, like noodles or rice. I know these ingredients won’t suit everyone’s diet, so if you’re a hardcore clean eater, then just skip this post, and please don’t judge. Most days, I try to eat whole foods that are healthy and nutritious, but sometimes, I’m too tired and/or busy to be bothered with the effort. These recipes for those days when I just want to throw a few things in the crockpot and go back to bed.
Note: All cooking times are approximate. If your slow cooker tends to run hot, then you will want to adjust your cooking time down a bit to compensate.
Slow-cooker beef stroganoff
- 1.5 pounds of stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes (I buy this already cubed, so I can just dump the whole package into the pot.)
- 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1- 8 oz. package of fresh white mushrooms (I buy these already sliced, so I can just dump them directly into the pot.)
- 1 cup sour cream (light or regular is fine)
- 2-3 teaspoons corn starch
- Egg noodles
In the morning, add the cubed stew meat, onion soup mix, mushroom soup and fresh mushrooms to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours (adjust the time based on your slow cooker).
When you’re about 15 minutes from mealtime, add the sour cream to the slow cooker and mix thoroughly. In a small bowl, combine the corn starch with about 1/4 cup of water. Stir until fully dissolved. Pour the corn starch/water mixture into your slow cooker and mix thoroughly. The corn starch thickens the stroganoff gravy. (You can actually skip the corn starch step if you don’t have any. It will just mean that your gravy will be more liquified.) While the corn starch is working its magic, cook your noodles according to the package directions. Serve the stroganoff over the noodles. Serves 4.
If you’re really feeling energetic, throw some steam-in-the-bag broccoli or green beans in the microwave for a veggie side dish, but to be completely honest, usually my hubby and I just eat the stroganoff with no side dish and call it a night.
Cheesy crockpot chicken
I got this recipe from Shelly’s Home Life on Youtube. I just love Shelly’s channel because she posts lots of easy, hearty recipes.
- 1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
- 1 block cream cheese (regular or light is fine)
- 1 packet dry Italian salad dressing
- 1 to 1.5 pounds chicken breast (I use frozen)
- 1 to 1.5 cup of chicken broth/water
- Egg noodles or rice
Add the chicken breasts, dry Italian dressing and the broth/water to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours (adjust the time based on your slow cooker).
About an hour before mealtime, shred the chicken into small pieces. (I use two forks to gently pull the chicken into small pieces while the meat is still in the crockpot, or you could take the chicken out of the slow cooker and shred it using a knife and fork on a cutting board.) Add the can of soup and the cream cheese to the slow cooker. Allow the chicken/soup/cream cheese mixture to cook a little while longer in the slow cooker, so the cream cheese melts (usually 15 minutes or so), stirring occasionally. Cook noodles or rice according to package directions. Serve chicken over noodles or rice.
Any green veggie would make a nice side dish with this.
Easiest Mexican-style dinner ever
This is another dump it and forget it recipe. I found this on some cooking blog years and years ago, but I can’t locate the original source. This one is close, but it’s missing some of the ingredients found in the version that my family loves.
I’ll warn you: The finished result of this recipe might not look very appetizing, but it’s full of flavor and is super easy to make. My hubby claims it’s just as good as Chipotle’s burrito bowls.
- 1 pound chicken breasts (I use frozen)
- 1 can yellow corn, drained
- 1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilis (choose mild, regular or hot, depending on how spicy you like things)
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 packet of taco seasoning (choose mild or regular, depending on your taste)
- 1 block cream cheese (regular or light is fine)
- Rice (white or brown is fine)
Dump all of the ingredients except the rice into the slow cooker, and cook on low for 6-7 hours (adjust time depending on your slow cooker).
A few minutes before mealtime, cook rice according to package directions. While the rice is cooking, shred the chicken into small pieces. Serve chicken over rice.
This is a complete meal, so there’s no need for sides, but you could get fancy and garnish it with some shredded cheese, lettuce and salsa.
What are your favorite slow-cooker recipes? Share in the comments below.