With the fall season in full swing, I decided to make three cozy, comforting meals in my Crock-Pot.
I made chicken-and-potato corn chowder, creamy garlic pork chops, and a classic beef stew.
With the fall season in full swing, I decided to try making three fall-inspired recipes in my Crock-Pot.
I know firsthand that on a chilly work night, there's nothing better than having a warm meal already prepared so you can waltz into the kitchen to find your dinner is ready to eat.
In my experience, not only do slow cookers make cooking at home easy, but you can also make delicious, comforting meals that you'll want to make time and time again.
For this week, I made three warming, satisfying recipes that seemed perfect for fall: beef stew, chicken-and-potato corn chowder, and creamy garlic pork chops. Here's how I made them and how they turned out.
The first fall recipe I made was Martha Stewart's hearty beef stew.
To make this recipe, which can be made either on the stove or in a slow cooker, you'll need a pretty short list of ingredients: beef chuck cut into 1-inch pieces, all-purpose flour to toss the beef in, baby potatoes, two cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies, frozen peas and carrots, and seasonings.
The first step is to toss your beef into the slow cooker and add the flour.
For added convenience, many grocery stores sell beef chuck already trimmed and cut into cubes for stews. This was what I went with, and it turned out great.
Next, add in all the other ingredients, including the tomatoes, peas, and carrots.
Give the pot a stir to evenly distribute the tomato sauce and vegetables with the meat.
This really is a set-and-forget-it slow-cooker meal.
Except for halving the potatoes and thawing the frozen peas and carrots, all you really have to do is add everything to the slow cooker and leave it alone.
The stew cooks for five hours on high, so be sure to set a timer if your slow cooker shuts off at the six-hour mark as mine does.
You definitely don't want to overcook the stew, or it could dry the meat out. However, you also want to allow plenty of time for the meat to get nice and tender.
By the time dinner rolled around, I had a heavenly smelling kitchen and a pot of hearty stew waiting for me.
Not only was this dish relatively inexpensive to make — I only spent about $20 on all of the ingredients I didn't already have in my pantry — but it was the perfect fall meal.
The meat was super tender, while the potatoes made the dish more filling. I ended up saving the leftovers for another day.
I also enjoyed the slight kick and taste of the tomatoes and green chili. The stewing liquid itself had a ton of meaty, savory flavor, and it was a perfect consistency.
Not only was this dish easy and inexpensive to make, but it's also something I could replicate without even looking at the recipe for more than a couple of seconds. All in all, I would definitely make this easy stew again.
The second recipe I made was a creamy chicken, potato, and corn chowder.
I love warming up with a warm bowl of soup, stew, or chowder in the fall and winter.
The recipe calls for red potatoes, halved or quartered depending on the size.
My potatoes were on the larger side, so I washed and quartered them and placed them in the slow cooker. The best part about using baby or red potatoes is that no peeling is required, making for even less prep work.
I then sprinkled the potatoes with flour and gave the pot a stir.
The flour helps to make the chowder slightly thicker in consistency.
I then added in most of the other ingredients, including chicken broth, two and a half cans of canned corn, thyme, dried basil, and onion powder.
I then seasoned the pot with salt and pepper.
The chowder cooks on high for three hours, or until the potatoes are tender.
I found that my chowder was done after three hours.
While the chowder was cooking, I prepared the shredded chicken I would add towards the end.
I poached two large chicken breasts in a pot of water on the stove. This only took about 10 minutes to do. Afterward, I shredded the chicken breasts using two forks and placed the shreds in a plastic container in the fridge.
Once the chowder was about 10 minutes away from being done, I added in the heavy cream, milk, shredded chicken, and shredded cheddar cheese.
After about 10 minutes, the cheddar should be completely melted and the chicken should be warm.
While the chowder was finishing up, I fried some bacon to add on top.
I chose Applegate uncured Sunday bacon, but you can use any higher-quality bacon.
I allowed the bacon to get super crispy.
After a few minutes, I cut up the bacon and arranged it on a paper towel for my roommates and me to serve ourselves.
The finished corn chowder was a perfect cozy fall meal.
The corn and potatoes reminded me of an autumn harvest, while the broth was just creamy enough without being super heavy. This was one of the lightest chowders I've ever eaten, which meant I didn't feel guilty in the slightest about going back for seconds ... and thirds.
You can find the recipe by Delish here.
The final recipe I made was also the richest.
To make Eatwell101's recipe for creamy garlic pork chops and potatoes, you'll start by chopping baby yellow potatoes or peeling and chopping large yellow potatoes.
I always opt for baby potatoes when I can because I like the texture of the potato skin. Plus, it saves me time when I don't need to peel them.
After placing chopped potatoes into the slow cooker, I sprinkled them with a bit of pepper.
At this point, I also like to start preheating the slow cooker to save a little on time. To do this, I usually turn it on high before I've added all my other ingredients.
The next step is to make the creamy garlic sauce to pour over the entire thing.
I started by sautéing six cloves of minced garlic until it became fragrant, but not browned. One tip to avoid burning your garlic is to add a tablespoon of water along with the oil into the pot with your garlic.
The sauce calls for grated Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, cream cheese, and chicken broth.
The first ingredients added to the sauce are the heavy cream, cream cheese, and chicken broth. After about 10 minutes, the sauce should thicken, after which it's time to add the Parmesan cheese.
Then, I set the stove to simmer and allowed the sauce to stay warm while I finished prepping the rest of the meal.
Next, I prepared my five pork chops.
To do this, I lightly dried them with a paper towel to ensure a good sear and seasoned them with kosher salt.
I placed the pork chops in a hot cast-iron pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and seared them on both sides.
After the edges of the pork chops were browned, I flipped them over and repeated on the other side for just a few minutes.
Next I added them to the slow cooker directly on top of the potatoes.
Pork can be a difficult meat to cook without drying it out, so I was excited to see how this method would turn out.
I then chopped and sautéd my vegetables. This recipe calls for a sliced medium-size onion and two cups of sliced mushrooms.
I sautéed the onion and mushrooms in the same pan as the pork chops, being sure to scrape up the bits of pork fat and combining it with the vegetables.
This recipe definitely required more prep work and actual cooking than the other recipes I tried.
After about half an hour of cooking, I still wasn't ready to walk away from my slow cooker.
When the onions and mushrooms were soft and slightly browned, I added them to the slow cooker on top of the pork chops and potatoes.
By this time, the sauce had thickened and was ready to be added to the slow cooker.
The sauce should be thick enough to stick to a spoon while still being easy to pour across the entire slow cooker.
My sauce was a tad on the thicker side, but I figured it would still be delicious in the end.
The recipe recommends getting as much sauce on top of the pork chops, mushrooms, and onions and less on the bottom of the slow cooker. Finally, I was ready to put the lid on the slow cooker and allow it to finish cooking.
After three hours on high, my pork chops were ready to eat.
The entire dish smelled heavenly — I couldn't wait to fill a bowl with the pork chops, potatoes, and delicious creamy sauce.
The pork chops were super moist and tender, while the potatoes were perfectly cooked.
I also really enjoyed the addition of the mushrooms and onions — both vegetables added a ton of flavor to the dish. However, the standout element of the dish was by far the creamy garlic sauce.
Though I didn't like to think about how much cream cheese was in it, it truly made the dish what it was. The sauce added much-needed moisture to both the potatoes and the pork chops, while adding a ton of flavor from the garlic and Parmesan cheese.
You can find the recipe by Eatwell101 here.
I would definitely make this recipe — and all the other fall slow cooker recipes I tried — over and over again.
Read the original article on Insider