5 Easy + Tasty Ways Your Slow Cooker Can Earn Its Keep This Winter
If I could keep only one thing from my kitchen, it would be my slow cooker. Mainly because it’s hard to mess up a slow cooker recipe, but I’m also too lazy to cook sometimes. And, as if you needed another reason to use it, the recipes are virtually limitless, including dessert and drink options galore. I came up with a list of my favorite Food Network slow cooker recipes I think is perfect for cold weather.
Sausage, Bean and Pasta Stew
Placing a parmesan rind in the slow cooker while the rest of the ingredients cook gives this stew a bold flavor. To tone down the spiciness, use sweet Italian sausage instead of hot.
Make This: Your New Favorite Recipe
The secret ingredient in this flavorful chili is lager-style beer. Top it with jalapeños, sour cream and extra chili powder to boost the flavor even more.
Make This: Healthy + Comforting Recipe
What's better than a homemade apple butter recipe? A slow-cooked one! Serve on biscuits, scones or eat it plain.
Make This: For Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner!
There are a number of desserts you can try in a slow cooker, but chocolate fondue is my favorite. It’s even better than an actual fondue set because it keeps the chocolate at the perfect dipping temperature for hours.
Make This: Chocolate-y Goodness
This ooey-gooey recipe looks impressive but it really couldn't be easier to make. Your family and guests won't be able to get enough of the warm, flavorful cheese topped with decadent caramel sauce and crunchy pecans. Get the recipe.
Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits With Honey Ham
Comfort food has never tasted so good. Bake up a batch of from-scratch biscuits, then fill them with thinly sliced honey or country ham for a hearty bite to tide guests over till dinner is served. Get the recipe.
Smoked Gouda and Herb Puffs
These bite-sized balls of smoked, cheesy, herby goodness are the perfect appetizer for a dinner or cocktail party. Just be careful: They're so addictive that it's impossible to eat just one or two (or three)! Get the recipe.
Homemade Pimento Cheese
Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn., shares a Southern-style recipe for spicy pimento cheese. Serve chilled, straight from the fridge, or place in a casserole dish and heat in the oven till bubbly warm. Get the recipe.
Southern Fried Stuffing Balls
HGTV's Meg Caswell, host of Meg's Great Rooms, shares this recipe that can be made with or without sausage. To kick up the flavor, Meg recommends adding crumbled bacon and serving them with cranberry dipping sauce made by pureeing a can of cranberry sauce with a splash of orange juice until creamy. Get the recipe.
Nacho-Stuffed Potato Skins
Maple Chili Popcorn
Food Network's Jeff Mauro of The Sandwich King shares this endlessly munchable spicy-meets-sweet recipe that's great as both a light snack before a big holiday meal and for filling cellophane favor bags that guests can enjoy later. Make several batches a day or two before your get-together then store the popcorn in an airtight container. Get the recipe.
Braised Pork Belly on Homemade Biscuits
Succulent braised pork belly on fresh, from-scratch buttermilk biscuits is sure to tempt guests. The biscuit's scaled-down size ensures everyone can enjoy this homey comfort food without ruining their appetite. Get the recipe.
Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos
With two types of chiles, these spicy steak mouthfuls are sure to warm up guests coming in from the cold. Cut down on prep time by making the tasty filling ingredients a day or two ahead of time then stuffing mini taco shells right before guests arrive. Get the recipe.
Take gooey fried cheese to the next level with Camembert and truffles. Sophisticated and oh so yummy, this quick and easy starter is sure to please even the pickiest of palettes. Get the recipe.
Bruschetta With Caramelized Dates, Walnuts and Goat Cheese
Whipping up bruschetta appetizers is a snap. Just toast a fresh baguette then top the slices with a soft cheese, like chevre, and any combination of savory ingredients like caramelized dates, spicy red pepper jelly, finely chopped pistachios or crumbled bacon. Get the recipe.
Taleggio Crostini With Apple, Thyme and Honey
These tasty crostini can be prepared in a flash with only a few simple ingredients. They're a healthy, light starter for holiday guests to enjoy while dinner is prepared. Get the recipe.
Is there anything better than warm, spiced wine on a cold night? Yes: Prepping it in the slow cooker. While the spices and citrus peels infuse into the wine, it will double as an air freshener. It's a win-win.
Make This: Slow-Cooker Sangria