There are times that you just want to create a slow cooker recipe for a special occasion. You don’t want your typical stew or curry that you make on a normal weekday. You want something healthy but delicious; something that your guests or your family crave for every time, there’s a birthday, anniversary, or a party.
The best thing about a slow cooker is that you can set and leave. You don’t have to worry about getting the perfect timing for each individual ingredient. It’s also possible to make something for the Friday night dinners with friends while you’re at work, making sure it’s ready to grab when you leave after getting dressed up.
So, here are seven healthy slow cooker recipes that you can make for any special occasion.
Slow Cooked Lamb with Potatoes and Olives
There are chances that you’ve stayed away from the lamb when it comes to the slow cooker. It needs to be cooked just right to create a melt-in-your-mouth masterpiece, and you may be worried that it’s overdone when you leave it throughout the day. Well, it’s time to take the chance.
This recipe is perfect for lamb lovers. You’ll get a world of flavors with every bite.
- 1 1/4lbs of potatoes, small and halved
- 4 shallots, chopped into wedges
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1tbsp lemon zest, grated
- 2tbsp lemon juice
- 3 rosemary sprigs
- 4tbsp flour
- ¾ cup of chicken broth
- 3 1/2lbs of lamb shanks, fat removed and cut crosswise
- 2tbsp oil of choice
- ½ cup of white wine, preferably dry
- 1 cup of olives, pitted and halved
- Combine the potatoes, shallots, garlic, zest, and rosemary in a slow cooker and season with some salt and pepper
- In a separate bowl, mix the broth with a tbsp of flour and then add into the slow cooker
- Place the other 3tbsp of flour onto a plate, season the lamb with some salt and pepper, and then coat the lamb with the flour
- Shake off excess flour and then place in a skillet with some oil, browning both sides
- Add to the slow cooker
- Place the wine in the skillet and scrape up any brown bits from the lamb, and cook for about 2 minutes
- Add the wine to the slow cooker and turn on the device
- Cook for 3 ½ hours on high or 7 hours on low
- Stir in the olives and cook for another 20 minutes and then stir in the lemon juice
You can serve without any other ingredients, as the potatoes give you the starchy carbs. If you want something to dip, try some crackers or bread.
Garlic Chicken with Couscous
Chicken tends to be the favor meat for slow cooker recipes. It’s possible because the slow cooker is guaranteed to cook the poultry all the way through and chicken just seems to work with everything! Here’s a delicious and easy recipe to try.
- 1 chicken (whole), chopped into pieces and patted dry
- 1tbsp oil of choice
- 1 onion, sliced thinly
- 6 garlic cloves, halved
- 2tsp thyme, dried
- 1 cup of white wine, preferably dry
- 1/3 cup of flour
- 1 cup of couscous
- Fresh parsley for serving
- Season your chicken with some salt and pepper and then place in a heated skillet with the oil, cooking in batches with the skin side down until golden brown on the outside
- Place the onion, garlic, and thyme into a slow cooker and add some salt and pepper
- Place the chicken on top with the skin up
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour and wine together and then pour into the slow cooker
- Cook for 3 ½ hours on high and 7 hours on low
- Cook your couscous according to the packet instructions
Serve the chicken on the bed of couscous, with some parsley over the top. You can place the couscous in a bowl at the side of your garlic chicken so your family or guests can add as much of both as they want.
Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches
The next meal to try involves pork. Pulled pork sandwiches are extremely popular, especially when you want a taste of the south. It’s time to make your own without any hassle, with this slow cooker recipe.
- ¼ cup of light brown sugar
- 1tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 3lbs of pork shoulder, boneless and cut into 4 pieces
- 1 ½ cups of apple cider vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 8 sandwich rolls
- BBQ sauce (you can make your own or buy from the store)
- Combine the sugar, pepper, and some seasoning in a bowl
- Rub the mixture into the pork and place in a slow cooker
- Mix the vinegar and garlic with half a cup of water in a bowl and pour over the port
- Cover and turn on the slow cooker, cooking for 3 ½ hours on high or 7 hours on low
- Pull the pork out and shred the meat
- Place the pulled pork into a bowl and soup the juices from the slow cooker to pour over the meat to moisten; you may not need all the liquid
- Pile the pork into your sandwich rolls and serve with the BBQ sauce.
You can keep the pork in a dish so your guests can create the sandwiches as they wish. This is also a dish that you can do in the oven if you don’t have enough time. You’ll need the oven on 350F and cook for about 2 hours in a covered dish.
Slow Cooked Salmon with a Bunch of Herbs
How about creating fish in your crock pot? Salmon is one of the best options. When you get it just right, the fish will be flaky and soft. Load it with herbs to create a world of flavors that come together with each mouthful.
- 2tbsp oil of choice
- 1lb of potatoes, scrubbed and sliced
- 1 onion, sliced thinly
- 2 ribs of celery, sliced
- 2lbs of salmon fillets, bones removed
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- ½ cup of dry white wine
- 1 cup of hot water
- 2tbsp herbs of choice, such as dill, parsley, basil and tarragon
- 2tbsp butter
- Drizzle a tbsp of oil at the bottom of your slow cooker
- Lay in the potatoes, onions, and celery across the bottom and press down with foil
- Leave the foil in, making sure it goes up the sides and sticks out of the crock pot
- Season the salmon with some salt and pepper
- Heat the rest of the oil in a skillet and brown the salmon on the flesh side for 2 minutes
- Place the salmon with the skin down on the foil in the crock pot
- Add your wine to the pan and boil, before pouring into the crock pot
- Cook the mixture for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the salmon starts to flake, you can put on warm for several hours after this
- Lift the salmon out with the foil and place onto a platter
- Remove the vegetables and place around the fish on the platter
- Pour the liquid into your skillet and bring back to a boil, leaving like this until a quarter of the liquid evaporates
- Add your herbs and boil for a minute
- Add in the butter and swirl, taking off the heat
- Pour the sauce over the top of the vegetables and fish, serving immediately
You can replace the potatoes and celery with some bell peppers and carrots if you’d like. This helps to knock out some of the calories and can remove the starchy carbs that can leave some people feeling bloated.
Memphis Rubbed BBQ Brisket in a Slow Cooker
The next recipe will bring more tastes of the South to your kitchen. This is a popular dish with families that just can’t get enough of BBQ flavored dishes, and it’s so easy to make when you’re busy.
- 4lbs of brisket, trimmed
- 3tbsp brown sugar
- 2tsp chili powder and paprika
- 1tsp salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried thyme
- 1/4tsp chipotle chili powder and ground cinnamon
- Mix all the herbs and spices together in a bowl
- Rub everything over your brisket; you’ll be able to smell the herbs and spices
- Wrap the brisket in foil and place in the slow cooker
- Cook on a low heat for 8-9 hours; you can cook on a high heat for half the time, but it doesn’t taste as cook
- Remove and slice the brisket against the grain
- Add back in with all the juices to keep warm until it’s ready to serve
This is one of those dishes that works perfectly for Sunday dinner. You’ll be able to smell it cooking throughout the day, making you ready for it when it comes to it. Don’t forget to serve with some vegetables and potatoes. You can also opt for a bed of wild rice instead.
Sweet and Sour Chicken, Slow Cooker Style
What about bringing a taste of the Orients to your slow cooker? This is often a dish ordered from your local Chinese restaurant, or you make it with lots of pans, trying to do multiple things at once. This recipe will help your chicken absorb the tastes and gives you more time to do the things you want around the house.
- 1 1/2lbs of chicken breast, boneless and skinless
- ¼ cup of cornstarch
- 2tbsp oil of choice
- 1 red and green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed and cut into chunks
- 20oz of pineapple chunks, reserving the juice
- ¼ cup of both brown sugar and rice vinegar
- 2tbsp soy sauce and ketchup
- 1tsp sesame seeds
- Chopped cilantro or spring onions
- Chop the chicken into pieces and place in a large bag
- Add a quarter cup of the cornstarch and shake until the chicken is coated
- Heat the oil in a skillet and add the chicken, browning on each side and then put in the slow cooker
- Place the peppers and pineapple (without juice) into the slow cooker
- Whisk 2tbsp of cornstarch with 2tbsp of water until smooth, and then add the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, and 2tbsp of the pineapple juice, whisking until smooth
- Pour over the vegetables and chicken in the crock pot
- Cook for 6 hours on a low heat or 3 hours on a high heat
- When serving, garnish with the cilantro and sesame seeds
Cook some rice to serve with this on the side. Your kids will think you’ve ordered a Chinese takeaway until they see the crock pot needs washing!
Crock Pot Beef Lasagne
Did you know that you could do a lasagne in the slow cooker? This is something that most of you will have avoided if you did realize you could do it. Well, it’s time to give it a go because it’s easier than you would think!
- 1lb of beef mince, preferably lean or extra lean
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 1 can of tomato paste
- 1 1/2tsp salt
- 1tsp oregano
- 12oz of cottage cheese
- ½ cup of parmesan or asiago cheese
- 12oz lasagne noodles, uncooked
- 16oz of mozzarella cheese, grated
- In a frying pan, cook the onion, garlic, and beef until the beef is browned
- Add the tomato sauce and paste oregano, and salt, cooking until warm
- Spoon a layer of meat to the bottom of the slow cooker and add two layers of lasagne noodles (you may need to break to fit in), and then top with the cheeses
- Repeat until you’ve used up all the ingredients or you have no space
- Cook for 4-5 hours on a low setting in the slow cooker; you can half the time on a high heat, but it doesn’t taste as good
Serve with a fresh side salad, full of tomatoes, spinach leaves, and bell peppers.
Pull Out Your Slow Cooker Today
There are so many benefits to using your slow cooker. You get food as soon as you walk through the door with minimal washing up to do. Many people choose to use it through the winter when the nights get dark, and you just don’t want to cook, but you can use it throughout the year.
It’s time to try out some of the recipes above. My favorite is the sweet and sour chicken!