Four Delicious and Easy Crock Pot Recipes
When you’re short on time and money but you need a great dish for a potluck, gathering, or your large family, I’ve got just the thing for you. Four easy crock pot recipes that take no time to throw together and are very budget friendly.
Chicken Thigh Crock Pot Recipe
This recipe uses boneless chicken thighs, and it’s great if you’re on a budget. Most stores offer good deals on large family packs of boneless thighs. It’s one of my favorite amazing crock pot recipes for sure!
The ingredients sound interesting mixed together, but I get raves on this dish every single time!
Olive and Prune Chicken
- One bag of whole, pitted prunes
- One can of black olives half-way drained
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic (time saver — use the jarred kind from produce aisle)
- 1 cup white wine (budget saver — use cooking sherry)
- 3 cups of chicken stock/broth
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- salt and pepper to taste (broth is a bit salty, so you may only need pepper)
- Large package of boneless/skinless chicken thighs (usually has about 8-10 per package)
Add all ingredients to your slow cooker and mix well with large spoon to combine flavors. I cook mine on low setting for 6-7 hours but you can go longer without ruining anything. Double the recipe if you need more — just make sure you have a big crock pot!
If you’ve neglected to thaw out the chicken ahead of time (I do this constantly), just break the chicken pieces apart, add other ingredients, stir and cook on high for about 6 hours.
ALWAYS check the temperature of your chicken to see that it’s fully cooked. Make sure thighs are between 165-170 degrees F. Serve with brown rice, pasta, or my favorite — mashed red potatoes.
Best Crock Pot Pork Recipe
This crock pot recipe for pork is my all-time standby for feeding the masses. My kids and husband love it, and it makes a few meals if you’re not cleaned out at your potluck or gathering. It’s definitely an easy crock pot recipe for a crowd.
I love to shred the leftovers, pour on my favorite B-B-Q sauce, and serve it up on buns. You could also cook up a tasty stir fry with your favorite veggies or have pulled pork tacos.
A 4-5 pound pork roast (butt and shoulder cuts are tender and economical) will make a large quantity.
Perfect Pulled Pork
- 2 cups orange juice (apple works fine also)
- 1 cup chicken stock (or water)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 4-5 lbs of butt or shoulder-cut pork
Add all ingredients to your crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5-6 hours. If you forget to thaw it the night before, cook on high for 7 hours and then check the temp. If it registers 165-170 degrees F, the pork is fully cooked.
This recipe usually ends up with enough juice in the pot for a good gravy. Heat it on the stove with 1 Tbs. of cornstarch (mixed into a cup of cold water first) and stir until desired thickness.
Add salt and pepper to taste. This is one of those all day crock pot recipes that turns out perfect every time.
You can serve the pork and gravy with mashed potatoes or rice. Or go straight to the B-B-Q sandwiches, instead of having them the leftovers. This one could win a gold medal for easy crock pot recipe!
A Word About Slow Cookers/Crock Pots
If you’ve never owned a crock pot (same thing as a slow cooker…just a brand name), or haven’t used yours in a while, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
This is one of the best things I ever bought for my kitchen years ago. It saved my sanity as a mom of four, and helped us stretch our one-income budget for years. Here’s what I love most:
- A busy person’s best friend — throw the recipe together in the morning, turn on the pot, and dinner by 6:00
- Cook big portions for a few meals (or a big potluck) for budget-friendly meal planning
- Conserve energy and heat in the summer by not turning on the oven
- You can make a balanced meal by throwing in veggies, meat, and potatoes
- Clean up is easy — only one pot to wash
Slow Cooker German Meal
I was inspired to create this awesome German one-pot meal after visiting Switzerland and Germany a couple years ago with my Swiss husband. It’s so convenient, cheap, and really tasty!
Sauerkraut, Sausage, and Apples
- 2 large cans or jars of sauerkraut – drained
- 3-4 apples cut into chunky wedges (use your favorite apples — any kind is good)
- 2-3 packages of smoked sausage link (I like a mixture of Polish, turkey, or beef sausage to mix the flavors a bit — you often find this long link sausage in the bacon or lunch meat section of the store) I cut these up into 2 inch pieces before cooking.
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
- 6-8 red potatoes in chunks
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- salt to taste — if you think it needs some
Add potatoes to the crock first (veggies cook best at the bottom). Then add sauerkraut, sausage pieces, and apples in layers. Sprinkle in the pepper and brown sugar (optional) and then pour liquid ingredients over all. Salt after cooking if it needs some.
Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4. The sausages are already technically cooked when you buy them, so this dish doesn’t take as long as others. This is one of those 4 hour crock pot recipes in case you’re short on time.
You’re just wanting to make sure the potatoes are cooked through and the flavors blend together. Enjoy being German for a night!
Chuck Roast Recipe for the Crock Pot
This crock pot beef recipe is a winner with Chipotle fans! I love their burritos, tacos…everything. When you want great Mexican-style beef for a burrito, fajita, or soft taco dinner, we’ve got you covered.
This recipe was originally featured on allrecipes.com by lizbot1. Click here for the original.
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 Tb. garlic powder (I like to use a couple tsp. of fresh or jarred minced garlic)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 14 oz tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup vinegar (red wine vinegar or whatever you have on hand is fine)
- 1/4 cup chili powder (I use 1 Tbs – I’m a wimp!)
- 3-4 pounds boneless beef chuck roast
- water to cover (**I never use water when I can add flavor … I use 3-4 cups beef broth)
- salt to taste after cooking — you may not need any if you use broth
The original recipe has a two-step process of leaving out the tomato sauce, stirring it in and then cooking on high for additional 2 hours. I’m all for simple crock pot recipes. So, here’s how I do it:
Add all ingredients to the pot — using 3-4 cups beef broth instead of covering all with water (water ends up being too much liquid at the end with my method) — cook everything on low for 8 hours or 6 hours on high. Low is always best for beef when you can spare the time.
If it’s a bit runny in the end, add more tomato sauce if you want to thicken things up. There’s nothing worse than burritos that “pee” on you. 🙂 If you want a bigger kick, add a bit more chili powder, and add salt if needed. Enjoy on warm tortillas with all the trimmings!
There you have it. Easy crock pot recipes for a crowd that are also budget friendly. I hope you enjoy these four outstanding crock pot dinner recipes!
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