With temperatures starting to dip below 60 degrees, it’s officially time to dust off the slow cooker that has been hibernating at the bottom of your pantry since spring. Whether you like its versatility—or are in it for the sheer convenience—there’s no denying that the trusty appliance is a home cook’s best friend this time of year.
If you’re looking to stray from your go-to soups and stews, we’ve got you covered. Here, four local foodies share scrumptious slow cooker recipes that will be sure to warm you up this season.
Adam May’s Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
WBAL anchor Adam May is a Crock Pot connoisseur. He says that, given his hectic work schedule, slow cooker recipes are ideal time-savers: “It’s the best invention ever,” he says. “It’s like having a magic elf at home in your kitchen doing all of the work for you.” To enhance the recipe, May suggests throwing in a package of sliced mushrooms and half a cup of frozen peas during the final hour of cooking.
- 1 pound diced chicken breast
- 2 cans chicken broth
- 1 can cream chicken soup
- 1 ½ cups uncooked wild rice
- ½ cup diced onion
- cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Ground black pepper to taste
Cook in slow cooker 7-8 hours and serve with warm, toasted baguette.
David and Laura Alima’s Curry Turkey Stew
Though husband-and-wife duo David and Laura Alima are best known for churning out sweet treats at their Hampden ice cream shop, The Charmery, they play up their savory side at home. Laura describes this turkey stew as her go-to winter recipe, explaining that it’s best served alongside fresh-baked cornbread. (She says any mix will do, but recommends her favorite from Trader Joe’s.) “I usually drizzle honey on it and bake it in a cast-iron skillet that was passed on to us by David’s grandmother,” she says. “Crumbling the cornbread on top of your bowl creates the perfect combo of spicy and sweet.”
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 (10.75-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
- 1 (15-ounce) can of chickpeas
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 pinch ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 pinch of kosher salt
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place turkey in the skillet, and cook until evenly brown. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray, and mix in turkey, tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas and onion. Season with chili powder, curry powder, garlic powder, cumin, white pepper, garlic salt, and salt. Cover, and cook 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.
Bridget Quinn Stickline’s Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
As a mom and the owner of Wee Chic boutique in Lutherville, Bridget Quinn Stickline is often on the go. “I joke that I have two kids—my 10-year-old daughter and Wee Chic,” she says. “My husband and I really enjoy cooking, but, most nights, efficiency wins out over creativity in the kitchen.” Stickline says that her Mongolian beef recipe is always a crowd-pleaser. She suggests tossing in steamed veggies and serving the beef over rice after cooking.
- 1 ½ pounds flank steak
- ¼ cups cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoons minced garlic
- ¾ cups soy sauce
- ¾ cups water
- ¾ cups brown sugar
- 1 cup grated carrots
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Green onions and sesame seeds, for garnish
Cut the steak into thin strips and coat in cornstarch. Add the olive oil, brown sugar, carrots, garlic, soy, pepper flakes, and water to slow cooker and stir. Cook on low four-five hours until cooked through and tender. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
Reagan Warfield’s Vegetarian Chili
Mix 106.5’s Reagan Warfield likes the versatility of this wholesome chili recipe. “You can skip out on just about any of the ingredients besides the tomatoes, and it will still work,” he says. And although some might be skeptical about the outcome of a meatless chili, Warfield assures that his recipe doesn’t disappoint. “Some people might say vegetarian chili is an oxymoron,” he adds. “But this one has a lot of depth and flavor.” Warfield suggests sautéing the onions beforehand to make the dish more complex. “Of course, you can skip this step for time and ease,” he says. “But I think the reward pays off.”
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 28-ounce can tomatoes (diced, crushed or whole tomatoes that you tear apart yourself)
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
- 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
- 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
- 1 cup frozen lima beans and/or corn
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 1 cup couscous (can also substitute quinoa)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add onion and remaining ingredients, except the couscous, salt, and pepper, to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. About 15 minutes before serving, add couscous. Cover and cook until the couscous is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper or hot sauce. Top each serving with shredded cheese, sour cream and/or cilantro.