Slow cookers can be a college student’s best friend. A simple meal prep in the morning followed by a few hours of cooking, and students can return from class or work to an apartment that smells like mom spent the afternoon preparing a meal.
Slow cookers and a little planning can also take away that panicked feeling of coming home and realizing there is nothing to eat, which likely means you’ll end up eating at a nearby fast food restaurant. Not only are the meals easy to make, for most recipes, minimal meal prep is required, saving students time. Best of all, a few days worth of meals can be made at one time, with leftovers going in the fridge or freezer.
Slow cookers won’t break the bank either, most retail for under $30. Another benefit is that less expensive cuts of meat can be used since they will be able to become tenderized during the 4+ hour cooking time. No need to worry about cleaning up either, slow cooker liners take away the mess and make clean up a breeze.
Below are some must try slow cooker recipes:
BBQ Shredded Chicken
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Season both sides of chicken breast with garlic powder and salt and place in the slow cooker.
In a mixing bowl combine BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce.
Stir sauce mixture until well combined and pour over chicken breast.
Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, shred the chicken with two forks. Continue to let it cook for 10-15 minutes.
Serve on a whole wheat bun, over rice, or even in a wrap.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
6 oz can tomato paste
32 oz beef broth
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups baby carrots
5 small red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cups frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup water
Combine beef, celery, carrots, red onion, potatoes, salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, oregano,
Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and tomato paste in the slow cooker.
Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6-7 hours.
30 minutes prior to serving, mix the flour and the water together in a small dish and pour into the slow cooker and mix until well combined.
Next add in your frozen peas and corn.
Continue cooking covered for 30 minutes.
Amy Goblirsch is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian for Sodexo at SCSU.