In years past, I’ve been just as excited for fall as every other white girl who likes to wear leggings as pants and sip the annual pumpkin spice latte. Summer is hot and sticky and you sweat just standing outside, and there was a time in my life that I looked forward to sweaters.
At some point in the past few years I’ve grown to appreciate, well — maybe cult-like worship is a better term — summer: weekend days by the pool, after-work happy hours on rooftop terrace restaurants, and the sunlight that takes the sting out of the miserable winter and spring we have in the Midwest.
The one thing that I am really looking forward to though is using my slow cooker more often. It seems unnatural to be making soup, stew and chili when it’s 90 degrees outside and we have access to a grill, but the idea of “set-it-and-forget-it” meals is growing increasingly attractive the busier I get.
As long as we’re on the subject, I want to talk about my slow-cooker for a few minutes. I have the KitchenAid Multi-Cooker, which comes with a 2-in-1 reversible steam basket and roasting rack. It has 10 cooking settings and will keep food warm up to 24 hours after it finishes cooking.
It’s perfect if you want to put something in the crockpot in the evening, and portion it out/refrigerate it in the morning, or in the event that you put something in the crockpot and go out to dinner and end up staying out for several cocktails (oops) and because the setting will automatically flip to ‘warm’ you’ll never have to suffer through an overcooked meal.
Anyway, moving on to 10 recipes that I’ll definitely be trying this fall and winter.
Every time I make a skillet rice dish, Brad says it’s the best thing that I’ve ever made.
Last time I made a skillet meal, I burned it and over salted it, and he still ate the leftovers three times. Next time I attempt a rice dish, I’m definitely going to do it in the slow cooker and it might very well be this spicy chicken and rice recipe.
The only thing better than a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs fall dish is a hearty, stick-to-your-rib fall dish that feels like summer in the thick of the colder weather.
This Kalua pork looks like a great reminder that warm weather will be back again and the possibilities for leftovers are pretty endless. As a bonus for people following Weight Watchers, it’s a Skinnytaste recipe with only six SmartPoints® per serving.
Here is another one for the “Brad-will-eat-this-all” files. Brad isn’t necessarily a picky eater — he’ll work with whatever I make and eat around what he doesn’t like, but any kind of steak, chicken, pasta or rice dish is typically a winner.
I am not 100% sold on the idea of pasta in the slow cooker, but using the KitchenAid Multi-Cooker I would feel confident that it wouldn’t get too mushy or overdone.
Whenever I order take-out for dinner and I can’t decide what to get Brad, I default to the closest thing to a chicken and broccoli option.
This recipe is easy and infinitely customizable or adaptable for different dietary requirements.
We live in a house divided – I like mushrooms and my boyfriend does not.
That isn’t going to stop me from making this mushroom risotto, though — either as a side dish at a future dinner party or just for me, myself and I next time Brad heads out of town.
If there’s anything that screams ‘comfort food’ louder than chicken and dumplings, I’ve never heard of it.
Chicken, dumplings, creamy sauce and fresh veggies bring this dish together perfectly.
That Crispin cider in the background takes things to an entirely new level.
Remember last week when we talked about my slow-cooker bolognese sauce?
Well, we’re talking about it again.
This sauce has everything you need: it’s easy, it’s hearty, and it will come together in a slow-cooker while you do absolutely nothing.
Serve over your favorite pasta for best results.
If you’re craving something full of carbs and cheese, slow cooker stuffed shells will satisfy both of those needs.
One of my favorite dishes as a kid, this one is bound to make its way into our dinner menu sooner or later.
This looks like both an awesome way to turn up the heat in the kitchen and a lighter replacement for Chinese take-out (which is one of my weaknesses).
You can control the level of heat and halve the sauce if you’re looking for a healthier option. Serve over white rice, brown rice, or (to my boyfriend’s disgust but my delight) cauliflower rice.
Can you have a conversation about comfort food without talking about chicken Alfredo? I think the answer is no, no you cannot.
I’d throw some broccoli in here for guilt appeasement and call this one a winner, winner, chicken Alfredo dinner.