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27 Unmissable Slow Cooker Recipes For This Fall

27 Unmissable Slow Cooker Recipes For This Fall

I recently got my first slow cooker, and it has changed my life. I grew up with a busy working mom who would throw random food into a Crock Pot in the morning, and then we’d get home for dinner and bam! A delicious meal! In college, I had nowhere to put a slow cooker and no money to buy one. After I moved to NYC, I turned to ordering delivery, with just the occasional cooking night in. Now that I am an actual real-life adult, it was finally time to get a slow cooker and make magical dinners very, very slowly.

There are a lot of different slow cookers on the market, and they all work similarly. According to Wikipedia: A slow cooker maintains a low temperature (low in comparison to baking, boiling, or frying) and simmers food, which allows for unattended cooking over several hours. The heating element heats the contents to a steady temperature in the 79–93°C (174–199°F) range. The contents are enclosed by the crock and the lid, and attain an essentially constant temperature. The vapor that is produced at this temperature condenses on the bottom of the lid and returns as liquid. Some water-soluble vitamins are leached into the liquid.

I have a new slow cooker, so it has a digital timer, a stirring arm, a warming setting, and a remote. But it works the exact same way my mom’s old Crock Pot from the ’70s works, and just as well! Fun fact: Crock Pot is actually a brand name, slow cooker is what it is. All Crock Pots are slow cookers, not all slow cookers are Crock Pots. In 1940, Irving Naxon patented his cooking device, the Naxon Beanery, inspired by stories of cholent from his Jewish grandma. In 1970, The Rival Company bought Naxon and rebranded the device as Crock Pot in 1971.

Now that fall has officially and decidedly arrived (brr!), it is time to break out those hot, stew-y, comfort food fall favorites. Many of these can be pre-prepared. Chop up the ingredients, portion them into freezer bags, and freeze. Pull out a large portion and throw it into the pot in the morning before work, and come home to a house smelling of dinner! I like to make a big slow cooker meal on Sundays, and it is actually three full meals for my fiance and I!

On to the foods of fall:

Chilis:

There are a lot of chili recipes out there, and here are a couple really good versions of fall’s favorite dish. One of the things I like about chili is that you can make it a bit healthier using ground turkey instead of beef. Because of the simmering and how many ingredients and seasonings there are, most people seem to agree that you can’t taste the difference! Also great about chili is that you can really up your seasonings and spice levels! Any of these chili recipes would be great on these Chili-Cheese Nachos by Chowhound, and make a great party food, appetizer, or gooey snack.

1. Easy Slow Cooker Chili by BettyCrocker.com.

This recipe is super simple, and doesn’t ask you to cook the meat or onions in a skillet before putting it into the slow cooker!

Chili1

    2. Laura’s Quick Slow Cooker Turkey Chili, courtesy of Allrecipes.com.

    This one looks great, has excellent reviews from home cooks everywhere, and is a healthier option at only 276 calories per portion!

    chili2

      3. Spicy Crock Pot Chili by DadWithAPan.com.

      This one has jalapenos and this dad says it is a hit at all potlucks. He does cook the meat prior to putting it in the slow cooker, so it takes a bit longer to make than when you don’t precook your meat. You can also change the meat type, or spice it up or down to your tastes!

      chili3

        4. Vegetarian White Bean Chili With Poblanos by Potluck.OhMyVeggies.com.

        For the veggies out there!

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          5. To go with your chili: Slow Cooker Cornbread! Cornbread In A Slow Cooker from 365daysofcrockpot.com.

          How amazing is it that you can make cornbread in your slow cooker? One-pot meals are really stepping it up!

          cornbread

            Soups:

            Soups are the epitome of a cold night. Imagine: hot soup with some crusty bread for dipping, while you get curled up, possibly near a fire. I love soup! Let’s see some great soups you can make in a slow cooker!

            6. Cheesy Potato Soup from BettyCrocker.com.

            This has a short prep time, is creamy and delicious, and is garnished with bacon! Life is great.

            soup1

              7. Easy Crock Pot Taco Soup by TheFrugalGirls.com.

              This website is great for quick and easy recipes, especially in a slow cooker! This is like the above chili, but with a taco kick! I love the garnishing with tortilla chips, too. And if you like that, they also have a similar-but-different Chicken Tortilla Soup.

              Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 7.19.17 PM

                8. Crock Pot Clam Chowder also by TheFrugalGirls.com.

                I never once tried clam chowder while living in Florida, but since moving to NYC, this has become one of my all-time favorite soups. I cannot wait to make this now that it’s cold out!

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                  9. Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup by GarnishWithLemon.com.

                  Nothing says fall like butternut squash! Look at this creamy concoction!

                  soup4

                    Side dishes:

                    10. Comforting Cheesy Potatoes by JuliesEatsandTreats.com.

                    These look so amazing and would be perfect with a comforting meatloaf or turkey meal!

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                    sides1

                      11. Slow Cooker Pizza Pasta by AndreaDekker.com.

                      Here is a really interesting take on pasta! This is cheesy and amazing and has the zing of pepperoni!

                      sides2

                        12. Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Casserole by CrockpotGourmet.net.

                        This photo is convincing enough on its own:

                        sides3

                          13. Bourbon Maple Baked Beans by AverieCooks.com.

                          If you like baked beans, this is a to-die-for version with a tangy kick, and it includes bourbon and barbecue sauce!

                          sides4

                            Meat dishes:

                            14. Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan by Fullbellies.blogspot.com.

                            This is a fantastic chicken recipe that is different from your standard baked chicken or fried chicken! This is a hearty comfort food meal that I can’t wait to make!

                            meat1

                              15. Meatloaf by WellnessMama.com.

                              Meatloaf is a great comfort food, and you should use this simple slow cooker meatloaf recipe as a perfect base, and add your own zing and spice to it to fit your tastes!

                              meat2

                                16. Brisket in Onion-Ale BBQ Sauce by MidwestLiving.com.

                                Like meatloaf, brisket is a soothing, tasty comfort food with tender meat and thick sauce for sopping up. And this onion-ale BBQ sauce is a winner!

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                                  17. Chicken & Shrimp Jambalaya by MidwestLiving.com.

                                  At only 238 calories per serving, this Cajun spiced recipe is full of flavor and healthy too!

                                  meat3

                                    18. Pulled Pork by FearlessHomemaker.com.

                                    Pulled pork sandwiches are perfect for game time or dinner time. And slow cooker pulled pork is so tender that you barely need to chew!

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                                      19. Turkey Breast With Cranberry Sauce by TheCreativeBite.com.

                                      What says fall more than Thanksgiving? Get the taste of Thanksgiving anytime with this turkey and cranberry recipe!

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                                        Stews:

                                        Stews are the perfect autumn slow cooker meal. You can set it and forget it, and come home to a hot soupy stew with great fall vegetables, perfect potatoes, and melt-like-butter meats.

                                        20. Classic Beef Stew by RealSimple.com.

                                        A great stew warms you up and is filling, full of chunky vegetables and hunks of meat, smothered in a sauce you can’t live without. Make this more fall-specific by adding sweet potato chunks or butternut squash!

                                        stew1

                                          21. Chicken & Cornbread Dumplings by MyRecipes.com.

                                          This amazing meal is not a soup, not a classic meat dish, and more than a stew, but this is just so great that I had to share!

                                          stew2

                                            22. Harvest Pork Stew from AllRecipes.com.

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                                            Adding apples to this stew, with the butternut squash and more, makes it perfect for fall, and the apples give it the exact needed amount of sweetness for this still-savory dish!

                                            stew3

                                              23. Spicy Chicken Stew by MyRecipes.com.

                                              Kick it up with chili powder and salsa in a very cool chicken stew!

                                              stew4

                                                Desserts:

                                                24. Crock Pot Monkey Bread by blogs.babycenter.com.

                                                We all know monkey bread is made in a bundt cake pan in the oven, and now we can make it in the slow cooker? Yes, please!

                                                dessert1

                                                  25. Triple Chocolate Brownies from MarthaStewart.com.

                                                  Mmmmm, brownies. Warm brownies on a cold night, maybe with some vanilla ice cream? Heaven!

                                                  dessert2

                                                    26. Double Apple Cake from MyRecipes.com.

                                                    Apples and spiced cider define fall for me, and cider would pair perfectly with this amazing cake! It’s also a quick recipe, taking less than 1.5 hours!

                                                    dessert3

                                                      27. Cardamom Rice Pudding with Fresh Peaches by CookingLight.com.

                                                      This is a no-stir rice pudding, and would be yummy with fresh peaches of course, but also spiced apples, fresh berries, some maple and brown sugar… the possibilities are endless!

                                                      dessert4

                                                        I hope this inspires you to curl up in some comfy pajamas by a roaring fire on a cold night, and to break out that slow cooker for fall!

                                                        Featured photo credit: jeffreyw via flickr.com

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                                                        Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                                                        How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                                        How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                                        We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                                                        We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                                                        So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                                                        Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                                                        What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                                                        Boundaries are limits

                                                        —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                                                        Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                                                        Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                                                        Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                                                        Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                                                        How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                                                        Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                                                        1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                                                        Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                                                        You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                                                        To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                                                        You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                                                        • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                                                        • When do you feel disrespected?
                                                        • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                                                        • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                                                        • When do you want to be alone?
                                                        • How much space do you need?

                                                        You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                                                        2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                                                        Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                                                        Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                                                        3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                                                        Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                                                        That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                                                        Sample language:

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                                                        • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                                                        • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                                                        • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                                                        • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                                                        • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                                                        • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                                                        • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                                                        Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                                                        4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                                                        Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                                                        Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                                                        Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                                                        We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                                                        It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                                                        It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                                                        Final Thoughts

                                                        Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                                                        Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                                                        Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                                                        The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                                                        Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                                                        Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                                                        They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                                                        Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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