Can y’all believe tomorrow is the first day of fall?! No really…the high tomorrow is 94, with a “real feel” of 107 degrees at 3pm. Can you really believe tomorrow is the first day of fall?
Regardless of the temperature, I’m excited! Fall is by far my favorite season: the pumpkins, leaves, pumpkin spice flavored everything, apples, Halloween, Thanksgiving….and comfort food. Now technically comfort food fits with any season, but doesn’t it just sound much more appealing on a crisp, chilly day? It’s no secret that I L-O-V-E using my Crockpot, and hearty comfort foods are no exception. Today I’ll tell you about my 5 (well, 4 and a 1/2) favorite [and easy] Crockpot comfort meals.
Before we get into it, let me start by saying this: if you don’t have a Crockpot, get one. I use mine at least twice a week, and it makes mealtime SO much easier! Plus, it’s such a versatile kitchen appliance. Not only can you make dinner in your Crockpot, but you can make breakfasts, desserts, snacks, drinks….the possibilities are literally endless. If you’re a working gal, I highly suggest considering this Wifi enabled Crockpot.
It’s an investment, yes. But it’s one that will pay off after a few uses. The reason this Crockpot is so amazing, is because it’s connected through Wifi….meaning you can actually turn on your Crockpot remotely anytime and anywhere during the day via an app on your phone. Consider this: most Crockpot meals take between 6-8 hours to cook. Let’s say you leave for work at 8am: in a regular Crockpot you would have to manually turn it on when you leave home….meaning your meal would be ready between 2-4pm, most likely while you’re still at work. Sure, many Crockpots switch over to the “warm” setting after it’s finished cooking, but do not mistake….it’s still cooking. You’re going to be coming home to dry, overcooked, or burnt food. I’ve been there. Or you could turn your Crockpot on at 5pm when you get home from work….and then eat around midnight. Doesn’t really make sense does it? With this bad boy, if you want your meal to be ready at 6pm, you can be at work and turn your Crockpot on through an app at noon, and it’ll be ready at the exact time you pick. It’s awesome!
Also, all of these recipes are tried and true meals in the Seamans’ house. Let me confess something: I can be kind of a recipe snob. Like, if a recipe has more than like 7 ingredients….I keep scrolling. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Or if a recipe has too many steps, onto the next one. It needs to be quick and easy to get my attention. So I promise….regardless of how “thourogh” some of these recipes look at first glance, they are very very simple.
Ohmygoodness y’all…this is seriously so tasty. It’s one of those recipes that doesn’t really have a lot of ingredients, so you don’t really understand how it can be so flavorful….but you don’t question it.
You can use any cut of chicken you prefer. The recipe calls for chicken breasts, but I find that chicken breasts can dry out in the Crockpot too quickly. So I usually use chicken thighs…..or a whole leg quarter.
The key to this delicious recipe is the breadcrumbs! This is the only extra step you have to take, and it takes like 2 minutes. You toast some breadcrumbs with some olive oil in a skillet, and serve that on top of your dish. Do NOT skip this step…it’s what makes the whole recipe! We had this for dinner last night, and my mouth is watering thinking about having the leftovers for lunch.
This is another recipe that has so few ingredients, but is full of flavor. We’re talking chicken, garlic, mushrooms, and marsala cooking wine….that’s it. The recipe says you can substitute chicken broth for the marsala, but I don’t suggest it. I haven’t tried it, but since there are so few ingredients I know most of that delicious flavor is coming from the marsala. Toss those ingredients in and cook for 5-6 hours.
The only extra step you have to take is mixing some cornstarch and water together and adding it to your Crockpot during the last 20 minutes to thicken the sauce. Serve it on top of your favorite pasta, and done!
I mentioned this in a Friday Faves a few months ago, but it’s such a favorite that it’s worth an honorable mention. This Crockpot meal is literally dump and go. No extra steps…..just dump everything in and cook 6-8 hours. There are a few “extra” ingredients in here that you could do without if needed (like cilantro for topping, green onions, etc). Also, it calls for queso fresco, which I never add…and it still tastes great. Make sure you pick out a good salsa when making this: it’s where a lot of the flavor comes from.
Can you get more comfort food than chili? This spin on chili in the Crockpot is really super tasty. Now, you can take your stance on the age old debate: does true chili have beans? Well, this one does and it’s dang good!
A couple of disclaimers: the ingredient list is not very visually appealing…to me, at least. It has WAY more than 7 ingredients, but once you take a closer look…most of them are spices and herbs. So I don’t think that really counts. Also, this recipe feeds 12….so if you don’t plan on having company over, I’d cut the recipe in half. Or you could make the full recipe and freeze half of it for a later time. Actually, I like that idea way better.
Ok, I kind of cheated on this one since it’s not really a recipe, rather than a method. First off, if you haven’t gotten on the spaghetti squash train, you’re missing out. You can get spaghetti squash super cheap during the fall (especially at Aldi), and you can do so many things with it. The main thing is substitute regular spaghetti in your meals for spaghetti squash. Now, don’t get me wrong: it doesn’t taste like real spaghetti. Spaghetti squash isn’t trying to pretend to be real pasta…it has it’s own flavor and texture. The best part is, it is amazingly low in calories. Like, you could eat a whole squash and still not feel guilty…although I don’t suggest it. A whole cup is only 31 calories. You could probably serve the first 2 dishes I mentioned over spaghetti squash and it’d be phenomenal.
There are different methods to cooking spaghetti squash, with the most popular being the oven. I don’t like using the oven to bake spaghetti squash, and I can’t really explain why. Maybe it’s because you have to bake it for over an hour just to cook the squash, and then you have to turn around and cook your actual recipe. With a Crockpot, you dump the whole squash in with a little bit of water and cook it for about 6 hours. That way when you’re ready to use it, it’s already done cooking and it’s ready to be added to your favorite spaghetti squash dish!
Stay tuned in the coming weeks where I’ll post about my favorite spaghetti squash recipes.
I love trying new Crockpot meals! Seriously, I’m even part of a group on Facebook…ha! What are some of your favorites? Link them in the comments below. 🙂