slow cooker crockpot chocolate chip cookies

So you resolved to use your kitchen gadgets more often and you’re one of the good ones who actually did. The Crock-Pot hasn’t left your counter top since you blearily stumbled through assembling hangover chili on January 1, ever the resolute one. But something is stopping you from truly gloating in self-congratulation; could it be the growing impulse to put some distance between you and the beloved crock via dropkick if you have to eat one…more…stew? Or chili? Or soup? Now that you mention it, eating with a fork again might be nice.

Before you lace up your best punting boots or relegate the device to the forlorn nether regions of your kitchen cabinets again, consider this: your Crock-Pot is good for a whole lot more than just hearty, spoon-worthy dinners. Turns out, your Crock-Pot is good for just about everything. So rejuvenate your relationship with the crock by hitting pause on your one-person soup kitchen and delving into all the various dishes your slow cooker is capable of.

Breakfast

crockpot breakfast casserole with potatoes and cheese

Crockpot Breakfast Casserole from Family Fresh Meals

Flip the timeline on your Crock-Pot capers—rather than set it in the morning to ready dinner for yourself, try setting it up at bedtime to provide you with a hearty, warming breakfast. Naturally, overnight oatmeal or grain cereal is one easy option, but you can even treat yourself to weekday brunch (mimosa optional) with something like this cheesy egg and hashbrown casserole. Get the recipe.

Pasta

crockpot or slow cooker baked pasta

Easy Crockpot Baked Ziti from Build Your Bite

Okay, so maybe you’re not totally a breakfast person, but who among us is not a pasta person? Everything from macaroni and cheese to lasagna can be made slow-cooker style. Or for the best odds between preparation simplicity and crowd-pleaseability, roll out this Crock-Pot baked ziti. Forks all around! Get the recipe.

Beverages

slow cooker mulled wine

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine from the View From Great Island

Forget utensils altogether…it is still hot beverage season, after all. Set the timer, grab your sled, go outside, and return to already-waiting-for-you hot chocolate, hot cider, pumpkin spice latte, or best of all, mulled wine. Get the recipe.

Whole Meats

Think of your slow cooker as an electric, compact dutch oven—it functions much in the same way by providing a base of direct heat with ambient, consistent indirect heat that can cook slowly over a long period of time. Anything that you might put in the dutch oven is fair game for the Crock-Pot, even a whole chicken, brisket, or this sweet and savory pork tenderloin. For best results, enjoy a glass or two (or a bottle) of wine while inhaling the succulent aroma and sharpening your carving knife. Get the recipe.

Whole Spuds

slow cooker crockpot baked potatoes

Crockpot Baked Potatoes from Genius Kitchen (photo by May I Have That Rec)

If your kitchen is the sort where your oven is used for extra storage out of necessity, and to use your oven for cooking means to render every other kitchen surface unavailable while you divest it of its contents, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the time has come when you can again simply bake a potato in your Crock-Pot. Same goes for making corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, or really any root vegetables. Get the recipe.

Yogurt

slow cooker yogurt

Slow Cooker Yogurt from Bless This Mess Please

This is not a drill. For the price of a half gallon of milk and a single cup of plain yogurt you can outfit yourself in parfaits for more than a week. You can even make the granola and jam in the crock. That’s a savings of like…well, suffice to say you’ll have extra pennies to put toward your next gadget purchase. Get the recipe.

Dessert

You didn’t even think to go here, I bet. But if it’s a cake, a custard, or a crumble, it’s probably crock-worthy. Or even brownies, baked apples, and bread pudding. Basically there are enough Crock-Pot dessert options available to conceivably result in a similar level of dessert fatigue. No, wait. I take it back. That doesn’t exist. I’ll just be over here eating this giant chocolate chip cookie. Get the recipe.

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