As a busy college student, I don’t usually have the time or the patience to cook every day and, while I respect people who meal prep, I still find that I don’t want to spend the 1 hour of free time I have to myself… cooking. Even if it lasts me the whole week. I don’t care, usually. I want to enjoy my time.
That said, I’m also fairly broke. I am a full-time student, and I’ve got two jobs (an internship, and a weekend job). When I’m not working, I’m usually studying. And given my little patience to cook my own meals, I end up spending way more than I should be able to afford with food. Cafeteria food, coffee shops, take-outs… you name it. Why? Because when I inevitably get hungry, I don’t have any food of my own to eat. Therefore, my wallet cries for help.
I recently got into that #crockpotlife and, let me tell you, I love it.
Crockpot? Slow cooker? What’s the deal?
According to Wikipedia, “A slow cooker, also known as a crock-pot, is a countertop electrical cooking appliance used to simmer at a lower temperature than other cooking methods, such as baking, boiling, and frying.”
The reason I love it so much is because all you have to do is throw all the ingredients into your crockpot and turn it on, go about your day, work on assignments, do your laundry, whatever! Some recipes require leaving it cooking for 3-6 hours, some for 7-8 hours. I personally don’t feel comfortable leaving the crockpot on for extended periods of time when I’m not home, but that’s just because I’ve got cats and I’m terrified of something going off and the crockpot setting my place on my fire. I like to leave it cooking when I’m home, but that’s just my preference.
Enough introduction! Off with the recipes we go!
I usually like to cook this one as soon as I arrive home from class because the prep time is 15 minutes and the cooking time is 8 hours, which is just about as much time as I spend cleaning my room, doing my self-care routines, working on assignments etc. On a good day, if I’m out all morning and arrive at home at around 2-3pm, this recipe is usually done by 11pm – which, in theory, sounds late. But let’s be honest here. The college student who manages to sleep early (or get enough sleep, even) is a lucky one! I’m not! So potato chowder it is! Plus, this will last me 3 days, usually.
Y’all. This is SO quick and SO tasty. Prep time is FIVE MINUTES and cooking time is only 3 hours. Isn’t that great? The recipe suggests serving it on celery, topped with wing sauce and cheese, as well as some ranch dressing. Depending on my mood, I like it better on a nice, crunchy salad or sandwich – SO GOOD!
3. Chilli Verde
This is one of my all-time favourites for when I’m expecting people over. Prep it in 10 min, cook it in 5 hours and you got yourself an easy, breezy, 12-servings recipe! And it’s so delicious! It’s basically pulled pork, canned enchilada sauce, canned chopped green chillies, cooked rice and salsa verde. So, so simple!
I love this one during winter nights. It’s hearty and comforting, as well as effortless. You throw 5 ingredients into the crockpot, leave it on for 6-8 hours, and you get yourself 6 yummy servings. Seriously, people. The crockpot is so freaking underrated! To think of all the money I could’ve saved if I had started enjoying the benefits of crockpot cooking back when I moved out for my first year of college… again, my wallet cries!
This is my favourite dish for that time of the month — meaning those rainy days when all I want to do is to stay inside, wearing PJs and watching Netflix. You throw all the ingredients in and it’s all done in 3-4 hours. Much better than Kraft Dinner, by the way!
Despite the long name, this is actually the quickest recipe. It’s not necessarily a crockpot recipe (its recommended cook time in a regular pot is about 40 minutes), but I like to cook it on my crockpot for about 1/1.5 hour. It tastes just as good!
PSA.: Minimalist Baker is my all-time favourite food blogger for quick, one-pot only recipes! The only thing I hate more than cooking is DISHES. The less dishes, the better!
This is one of those recipes with a few more ingredients, but holy cannoli, it’s so worthy! Spring time or not, that’s one hearty meal I love to make when I have people over!
Hint, hint: I LOVE serving this paired with a nice, cold glass of Chardonnay!
This one is for my lovers of good pasta. Again, I can’t stress enough how effortless these delicious, gourmet crockpot recipes are. I like to cook this one on the weekends because it feels fancy enough like I’m having take-out, but it’s cheap enough that my wallet’s screams won’t hurt my soul, you know?
I’ve got a love and hate relationship with this one. The Brazilian girl in me cannot stand the idea of stroganoff made with pasta. But the college student in me loves how quickly I can put together a delicious dish like that! Oh, well! Compromises have to be made every now and then. C’est la vie!
Much like Minimalist Baker, you can probably tell I’m all about The Family Freezer. I love the idea of crockpot recipes I can prepare ahead of time – usually by buying triple the ingredients, then while I dump the first load on a crockpot to cook for myself, I will put the other two batches in two different ziploc bags labeled with the recipe name. That way, when it’s time for midterms or finals, I don’t have to worry about grocery shopping. I just have to defrost it, throw it all in the crockpot, and it tastes JUST as good!