...or for anytime of year, really.
I love the slow cooker, and every year around this time I start using it a bit more. I like it year-round, of course, but something about the cooler weather makes me crave really warm, cozy foods. To me it's not the same as cooking a meal on a stovetop, something that has been cooking for hours and hours somehow feels more suited to the season, better able to nourish and fulfill us in ways that food does that has nothing to do with just your stomach. Maybe it's that the whole house smells good, maybe it's the delayed gratification, who knows.
We've had some downright dreary weather here, for 3 days so far and a few more expected, and so super cozy food is all I'm in the mood for right now. I had some beef stew over egg noodles last night at a dinner meeting that was just so perfect for the weather, and it got me thinking about other slow-cooked meals that I love. These are all made directly in the slow cooker, but if you don't have the appliance they could all be adapted for a dutch oven or heavy pot with a few tweaks.
I especially love this list for weeknights because you can assemble the dish the night before and keep it in the fridge, then just press GO, HO the next morning and dinner is ready whenever you are. Here are some of my favorites right now!
- Chicken Tikka - Curry is literally referred to as a warming spice, so we'll just leave this right here to start.
- White Beans with Rosemary - comforting doesn't begin to describe it. Plus, this is vegetarian!
- Chicken Taco Chili - super simple ingredients that just taste BETTER after hours warming together.
- Barbecue Chicken - I'm envisioning this fall-ified stuffed into a baked potato.
- Baked Potatoes - ...speaking of baked potatoes. Is there anything cozier? The texture that these yield is really wonderful.
- Chicken Chowder - full of veggies and mild, comforting flavor, I love this so much.
- Chicken Ragout - you could use ground beef in this too, and served over buttered noodles with extra parm is the perfect end to a chilly day.
- Vegan Moroccan Stew - healthy doesn't begin to describe it, and the flavor is so perfect in this.
Of course, the slow cooker is great for warm dips, desserts, and tons of other stuff, but I really like it most for a cozy dinner creation. I'm also brainstorming some more ways we can use it this year, and I'd love ideas!