It goes without saying that the life of a student is a busy one. No more meals at home, and definitely no time for making a whole meal every night. A lot of people save time by setting aside a night to make a week’s worth of meals, and some just say to hell with the cost and go from restaurant to restaurant for each meal.
But on the other hand, some people don’t like leftovers for every meal and some don’t have a limitless bank account (or disregard for student debt). For those who want cost and time-efficient meals with as few steps and ingredients as possible, you absolutely need to invest in a crockpot. And when you do, here are some quick and easy recipes for you to try:
This is a super easy recipe if you don’t mind using store-bought red sauce, and even then you can always spice it up yourself. You’ll need the following ingredients:
– 2-3 packages of pre-packaged ravioli (any filling you want, refrigerated or frozen – doesn’t matter).
– Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, asiago, provolone or any other kind of Italian cheese you want on there.
– 2 bottles of red sauce with meat (or not)
1. On the bottom of the pan, pour in a very thin layer of the meat (or no meat) sauce.
2. Next, assemble a layer of your ravioli, which can be of any variety you like, and any temperature, even frozen (not dashboard-warm though you should through those away).
3. Put on another layer of sauce, then cover with a fraction of the cheese.
4. Repeat this process of layering sauce, ravioli and cheese until you run out of something, namely ravioli or space on the crockpot.
5. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. The finished result should have al dente pasta (that means if you throw the pasta at a wall it’s tender enough to stick, but I recommend not doing that unless you like cleaning red sauce stains).
BBQ Pulled Pork
Okay, so this one is as easy as it comes. You only need a few ingredients for this one:
– Pork shoulder
– BBQ Rub
– 2 bottles of BBQ Sauce
– An onion (chop it yourself or buy pre-chopped)
1. Rubadub that rub on the pork shoulder.
2. Peel the onion and throw it into the crockpot with the pork.
3. Pour in a bottle of BBQ sauce. Set on low for 6 hours. That’s literally it. Use the rest of the sauce for your pulled pork. Buns and cole-slaw advised but optional.
There’s a number of ingredients you’ll need for this one but the process is easy peezy. All cheesy and happy, this pile of potato paradise makes a great a great comfort dish on its own or for a potluck, or otherwise a great side dish for breakfast or dinner.
– One bag of frozen ore ida diced hash browns.
– One can of cream of potato soup.
– One can of cream of mushroom soup.
– One cup of sour cream.
– One bag 8oz of sharp cheddar cheese.
– 1 tsp of salt, one of pepper.
– 1/2 cube of butter.
1. Throw everything into the crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Stir. Eat.
Basically a taco-twist on the pulled pork recipe. As such, there will again be very few ingredients:
– Pork shoulder
– Onion (pre-peeled and sliced, or peel it yourself)
– A packet of taco seasoning
– Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
– A beer (preferably a lager)
– Salt ‘n peppah
1. Throw the pork shoulder in along with the onion. You can hit the pork shoulder with a Mexican seasoning rub if you want but it’s not necessary.
2. Put in the pack of taco seasoning
3. Pour in the chipotle adobo sauce and half of the beer.
4. Cut a lime in half, squeeze in juices
5. That’s it. Set the crockpot to low for 6 hours and it’s done. Serve with the usual taco fixings over rice, in a tortilla or as a pile à la carte.
Another super easy one. Great for taco nights, or on its own as a big dose of protein.
– 6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs.
– Two cans of red enchilada sauce.
– One cup of purchased chopped onions.
– 1 tsp of salt.
1. Throw all of it in a crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours.
2. Have shredded cheese, tortillas(flour or corn) sour cream, hot sauce, salsa, or whatever else you want for assembly at the ready.
Crockpot Apple Cake
This is surprisingly easy and only requires a few ingredients.
-Non-stick cooking spray
-Apple pie filling
Cinnamon and/or nutmeg and/or sugar
1. Put down a layer of the cooking spray on the bottom of the crockpot
2. Pour the apple pie mix in
3. Pour the cake mix on top
4. Throw the butter (full stick) on top of that
5. Add any additional flavoring at this point
6. Set crockpot on high for 2.5 hours. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream if desired
Note: the cake mix part is usually yellow cake but you can definitely experiment with this. If I’m not mistaken I think there’s a Pillsbury cinnamon roll cake mix. Definitely try that one.
Italian Beef Sandwiches
Super easy and perfect for groups. You’ll wanna eat it quickly though before the bottom bun turns into a glop of crap. Ingredients are as follows:
– 3lbs chuck roast cut into 5-6 pieces
– 1 packet of Italian dressing mix.
– 1 cup of water.
1. Throw everything in the crockpot, and set to low for 6-8 hours.
2. Shred with a fork. That’s it. Just about takes as much work to assemble the sandwiches themselves. Speaking of…
3. Slice hoagie rolls and lay down a slice of provolone to protect the bread.
Heap the meat on top of the cheese. Top with drained pepperoncini and giardiniera.
Okay, this one can be a bit complicated in terms of ingredients. That said, you shouldn’t need any cooking utensils outside the crockpot. So no kitchen required as per usual.
– Ground beef
– Ground pork
– Parsley, oregano, and red pepper(preferably fresh and chopped but dried flakes will do if need be)
– Salt ‘n peppah
– Bread crumbs (these come prepackaged but you can also use some old bread you’ve got, as long as it’s hard as a brick and mold-free)
– Angel-hair pasta (or any will do I reckon)
– Chicken broth
– Jarred pizza sauce (it’s a lot better if you make your own red-sauce but if you don’t have a full kitchen then obviously that’s a no-go)
1. The first and most vital part of this easy dish is meatballs. Throw together your spices with the ground meats, eggs, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl and mix well (yes with your hands). You’ll want about an egg and 1/4 cup of parsley, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, and 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs for 1 total pound of meat (half pork, half beef). Salt, pepper, and red pepper I leave to your preference.
2. Roll all that nonsense into meatballs. Personally, I’d put them on a skillet on high with some olive oil to help them solidify their shape and get the Parmesan cheese a little crispy, but I’m just going to assume that my audience doesn’t have a full kitchen at their disposal and just say to put the meatballs directly into the crockpot at the bottom.
3. Pour jarred pizza sauce over the meatballs. The entire jar if you please. Feel free to spice it up with some oregano, red pepper, salt, pepper, or basil (or parsley but it’s already in the meatballs and, despite what many would have you believe, there is such a thing as too much parsley). Cook on low for 6 hours, or if you’re in a rush, on high for 3 hours.
4. On the last hour of cooking, add a 3/4 cup of chicken broth and your pasta (however many servings you want)