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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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        chili4

          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!

                Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 7.19.38 PM

                  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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                                meat5

                                  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 15, 2018

                                                        7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                                        7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                                        Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                                                        Video Summary

                                                        Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                                                        There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                                                        This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                                                        Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                                                        In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                                                        One Exercise, multiple benefits

                                                        There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                                                        By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                                                        When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                                                        Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                                                        In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                                                        What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                                                        What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                                                          1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                                                          Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                                                          • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                                                          • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                                                          • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                                                          • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                                                          2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                                                            Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                                                            Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                                                            3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                                                              Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                                                              4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                                                                Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                                                                A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                                                                A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                                                                On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                                                                5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                                                  Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                                                  6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                                                    Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                                                    7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                                                      Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                                                      How to hold a plank position

                                                                      1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                                                      2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                                                      3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                                                      4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                                                      5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                                                      6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                                                      7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                                                      Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                                                      Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                                                        How to improve your plank time gradually

                                                                        1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                                                        2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                                                        3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                                                        Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                                                        Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                                                        You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                                                        • Prolapse
                                                                        • After prolapse surgery
                                                                        • Pelvic pain conditions
                                                                        • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                                                        • Previous childbirth
                                                                        • Overweight

                                                                        Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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