Help Me Find Fresh, Healthy Recipes for the Slow Cooker

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Q: I work strange hours and I’m not usually home until around 8:30 PM on most nights. I’m also the one in the relationship who does 95% of the cooking. I recently dusted off my Crock-Pot and have been trying to use my time before work to throw something together so that dinner will be ready to serve when I get home.

So far it’s been working out but I’ve hit a wall when it comes to creative recipe ideas. I can’t seem to get past stews and chilis and really need help to get out of my rut. (continued below…)

There are tons of websites out there that have laundry lists of slow cooker recipes but the bulk of them call for ingredients like condensed cream of chicken soup or store bought biscuit dough. I’m usually a stickler about fresh, healthy, homemade meals and before I took this new job I was great at having meals on the table everyday. I try to avoid these convenience foods that tend to be packed with preservatives and all sorts of yuck.

Does anyone have recipe ideas or links to a site with recipes that are fresher than what I’ve been finding online?

Sent by Tux

Editor: Tux, this is a great question, and one that we frequently get from our readers. Personally, I find the slow cooker is best for braising large cuts of inexpensive meat, or for cooking big batches of meal staples like dried beans. So one answer is to use the slow cooker for a big batch of pulled pork or a whole chicken, and then use that meat throughout the week for very quick meals after work — an egg scramble with tortillas and pulled pork, for instance, or black beans and rice warmed up with balsamic tomatoes.

Here are a few more ideas from our archives, too:

Readers, what else would you suggest?

(Image: Faith Durand)