As we are getting farther along into the school year, many of us are beginning to get tired of the dreaded cafeteria food on campus. We all long for that home cooked meal taste, but don’t necessarily want (or can even afford) the price of one. However, there’s a little secret to achieving that homemade taste without venturing out to a restaurant, or slaving away in the kitchen. It’s called a crock pot! These devices are a great alternative to the campus dining hall that even your wallet will appreciate. Here are 6 cheap (and amazingly easy) crock pot recipes that prove owning a crock pot in college is a must!
Whether it’s just you and your roommate, or a study session with a group of friends, any kind of cheese dip is a great snack for entertaining, and is also super inexpensive.
*Recipe and images by Food.com
- 1 (10 oz.) can of diced Rotel (tomatoes and green chilies)
- 2 lbs Velveeta cheese, cubed
- Tortilla chips
- Put the entire can of Rotel and the cubed Velveeta into the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on LOW for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Serve with the tortilla chips.
Tip: Try using crock pot liners for an easier clean up!
Who doesn’t love barbecue? This incredibly easy three ingredient recipe adds a new twist to barbecue chicken that will put your dad’s grill to shame, without breaking the bank.
*Recipe and images by The Frugal Girls
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
- 1 (18 oz.) bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce
- 6 oz. Dr. Pepper
- Cook chicken in crock pot on HIGH for 3 hours with cover on.
- After 3 hours, drain juices from crock pot.
- Mix together Dr. Pepper and BBQ Sauce.
- Pour mixture over chicken, cover and cook on HIGH for 30 more minutes, or until done.
Pizza. In the crock pot. You’re welcome. This recipe will have everyone knocking on your door. If you’ve been wanting that homemade taste but don’t have the homemade taste budget; your prayers have been answered! Here’s a great meal everyone will love that serves as a great alternative to the typical delivery pizza.
*Recipe and images by Food.com
- 1 1⁄2 cups biscuit mix
- 1⁄2 – 3⁄4 cup water (Enough to make drop dumplings or form a sticky ball)
Sauce and toppings
- 1 (16 oz.) jar pizza sauce or 2 cups homemade pizza sauce
- 1 – 2 cups mozzarella cheese, depending on how much cheese you prefer
- Pizza toppings of your choice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of the crock pot then pour in about a quarter of the pizza sauce.
- Mix the crust ingredients and spread evenly on top of the sauce.
- Cover the dough with the remaining sauce (the dough should sort of swim in the sauce like a giant dumpling).
- Top with cheese and your chosen meat and veggies.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for about 2 hours.
Can you say taco night? These three ingredient tacos are the perfect way for you and your friends to start a new tradition! This is also another great way to take a break from the campus food and get in touch with your creative side.
*Recipe and image by Six Sisters Stuff
- 1 envelope taco seasoning
- 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed
- 1 (16 oz.) jar of your favorite salsa
- Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray for easy clean-up.
- Place chicken in the bottom, pour salsa on top, and sprinkle with taco seasoning.
- Cook on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours or on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. When done, the chicken should shred easily when stirred with a fork.
Tip: For tacos, serve the chicken with crunchy taco shells and/or soft flour tortillas. Complete with a toppings bar: guacamole, lettuce, shredded cheese, tomatoes, olives, sour cream, and any other taco toppings you love. You could also use the chicken for for enchiladas, nachos, tostadas, quesadillas, etc, etc!
Mac and Cheese
This savory mac and cheese recipe will become a fall time fave for you and your friends. With only four ingredients, you’ll be a pro at making this in no time. But don’t worry, we won’t judge if you don’t want to share!
*Recipe and images by Thirty Handmade Days
- 4 1/2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, cut into cubes
- 4 cups milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of the crock pot.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Tip: Add more grated cheese for a cheesier version!
Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread
It’s time to summon your inner chef for this monkey bread recipe. This simple dessert will satisfy your sweet tooth and help you realize why investing in a crock pot for college is a great decision!
*Recipe and images by Crazy for Crust
- 2 cans of your favorite cinnamon rolls
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- Open each can of cinnamon rolls (reserve the icing) and cut each roll into 6 pieces.
- Place the granulated sugar and cinnamon into a gallon size ziploc bag. Add the cut up cinnamon rolls (the pieces will fall apart a little) to the bag. Seal and shake to coat the pieces with cinnamon sugar.
- Stir together the brown sugar and melted butter.
- Spray the crock pot with nonstick cooking spray and place half the dough pieces in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Pour half the melted butter mixture over the top, then add the rest of the cinnamon roll pieces, followed by the rest of the melted butter.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for about 2 hours. (Check it at one hour, then again at one and a half hours, just to be safe.) The edges will start to brown, but the top will still be a little gooey looking. Turn off the slow cooker and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
- Optional: Drizzle the icing that came with the rolls over the top of the monkey bread in the crock pot, or pour it over like syrup after serving.
Tip: The monkey bread will start to stick as it cools. Serve from the warm slow cooker and make sure that you remove the monkey bread before it cools completely, or it’ll require soaking to clean.
*Note: Not all slow cookers are created equal. Mine has a high 4 hour setting which is what I normally use, but yours could be different!
If you’re tired of your campus food and think you can’t afford the quality of a homemade meal, think again! After you try out these delicious cheap crock pot recipes, you’ll realize that investing in a crock pot will be one of the best decisions you’ll make in college, so don’t miss out.
Feature image source: cookingclassy.com and chowstatic.com
Monica is currently a Sophomore studying Fashion Merchandising and Design. She attends Tennessee Tech University and plans to graduate within the next two years.