Do dark, gloomy winter days make you want to shovel sweets into your mouth rather than shovel that driveway? Start the New Year right with some comforting foods that will fuel you rather than weigh you down. Enter: The magnificent crockpot. Whether you were gifted a slow cooker or have a hand-me-down pot, it’s time to put that kitchen behemoth to good use.
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Slow cooking allows the flavors in your dish to deepen, meaning your food will taste like you slaved over it all day. Plus, it’s perfect for busy weeknights: Fill up that pot and fuggeddaboutit! With minimal effort and just five ingredients each, these slow cooker recipes will be easy on your waistline while satisfying your cold-weather cravings.
9 Easy Slow Cooker Recipes
1. Mashed Potatoes
At less than 150 calories per serving, these slimmed-down ‘taters are still ridiculously creamy. The secret ingredient? Chicken broth! If you want to up the fluff factor, use a hand mixer instead of a masher to whip the potatoes together. Photo and recipe: Jennifer / Crockpot Gourmet
2. Apple Pie Oatmeal
Yes, we’re giving you permission to have pie for breakfast. Steel-cut oats are a fantastic source of fiber, so this oatmeal will keep you feeling satisfied all morning long. Top your bowl with a dollop of peanut butter or a few apple slices if you’re feeling extra fancy. Photo and recipe: Davida / The Healthy Maven
3. Lemon Pepper Chicken and Asparagus
Quick and convenient, this one pot meal makes clean up a breeze. (A dish hater’s dream come true!) Opt for chicken thighs over chicken breasts — the lack of liquid in your pot can make breasts dry. Photo and recipe: Jennifer / Crockpot Gourmet
4. Easy Applesauce
This snacktime classic is perfect for any season because it can be enjoyed hot or cold! All you need are apples, lemon juice, apple juice and cinnamon. If you’re using sour apples like Granny Smith, add a spoonful of maple syrup for sweetness. Photo and recipe: Macy / Paleo Crumbs
5. Savory Citrus Chicken
Take a tropical escape with this citrus-infused entrée. Slow cooking your chicken will result in an irresistibly sweet and moist dish, thanks to a honey Dijon and beer marinade. Pair your meat with a kale-quinoa salad for a complete meal. Photo and recipe: Milisa / Miss in the Kitchen
6. Chicken Fajitas
Nothing satisfies like a plateful of sizzling fajitas, and now you can get your Mexican fix without leaving your casa. After the meat cooks fully, shred the chicken, load up some tortillas and add your favorite toppings. (Don’t forget guac!) Photo and recipe: Susan / Simple Healthy Kitchen
7. Herbed Baby Potatoes
Going on a cooking spree? Free up space in your oven by roasting this side dish in a crockpot. Dill and parsley will add some extra oomph to your fingerlings. Pro tip: If you use small potatoes, they’ll cook faster. Photo and recipe: Jennifer / Crockpot Gourmet
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8. Overnight Quinoa and Oats
Thanks to fiber and protein, the powerhouse duo of quinoa and oats will energize you enough to give the day your all. Gather the ingredients the night before and you’ll wake up to a decadent yet nutritious breakfast the next day. Trying to avoid added sugars? Nix the brown sugar and add an extra tablespoon of maple syrup. Photo and recipe: Chelsea / Chelsea’s Messy Apron
9. Butternut Squash Soup
The next time you’re craving a light yet comforting meal, try this silky, smooth soup. It’s incredibly creamy thanks to the squash, but still dairy-free. (Perfect for vegans!) Garnish your bowl with some maple-roasted chickpeas if you’re serving it to guests. Photo and recipe: Maria / Two Peas and Their Pod
Originally posted January 2015. Updated January 2016.