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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 August 20, 2019

                                                        How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                        How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                        Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                                        Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                                                        I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                                        You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                                        Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                                        When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                                        I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                                        Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                                        Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                                        Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                                        1. The Inner Critic

                                                        This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                                                        • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                                        • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                                        • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                                        • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                                        The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                                        Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                                        2. The Worrier

                                                        This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                                        The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                                                        3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                                        This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                                                        This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                                        The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                                        4. The Sleep Depriver

                                                        This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                                        The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                                                        • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                                        • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                                        • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                                        • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                                        How can you control these squatters?

                                                        How to Master Your Mind

                                                        You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                                        Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                                        There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                                        • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                                        • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                                        This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                                        The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                                        Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                                        For the Inner Critic

                                                        When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                                        You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                                        For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                                                        You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                                                        “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                                        If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                                        • They rile up the Worrier.
                                                        • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                                        • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                                        • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                                        • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                                                        Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                                        Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                                        For the Worrier

                                                        Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                                        Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                                        You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                                        • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                                        • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                        • Muscles tense

                                                        Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                                        If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                                        Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                                        “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                                        Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                                        If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                                        Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                                                        Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                                                        For example:

                                                        If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                                        “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                                        Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                                        “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                                        Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                                        For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                                        Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                                        The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                                        • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                                        • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                        • Muscles tension

                                                        I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                                        Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                                        Breathe in through your nose:

                                                        • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                                        • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                                        • Focus on your belly rising.

                                                        Breathe out through your nose:

                                                        • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                                        • Focus on your belly falling.
                                                        • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                                        Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                                        Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                                                        One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                                                        Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                                        For the Sleep Depriver

                                                        (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                                        I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                                        Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                                        1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                                        2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                                        When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                                        From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                                        For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                                        If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                                        You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                                        • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                                        • Shut down your thinking.
                                                        • Calm your feelings.
                                                        • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                                        The Bottom Line

                                                        Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                                        You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                                        Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                                                        Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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