Essential Slow-Cooking Recipes for the Busy College Student

As a college student one of the best investments you could possibly make once getting your own space, freedom and especially kitchen is in a slow cooker. There truly isn't anything you can't do with a slow cooker, and the best part is, while cooking you can sit back, relax and let it do all the work for you. The only hassle lies in the waiting, but with one step preparation, simply turning it on once the ingredients are prepared is all it takes. It's almost fool-proof. Using low temperature over an extended period of time creates perfectly tender meat, and brings out great flavor in all food. It can even cater to vegetarian, vegan and all varieties of diets. A hidden benefit is also the great smell it will give your home all day. With a variety of uses, as well as ease of use it really is an essential item to have for a college student on the go. Featured here are a few different recipes for the novice slow cooker, in a variety of different food groups, diets and even a breakfast option!

 

Mango Salsa Chicken with Coconut Rice

"Who says we can’t pretend it’s summer in the dead middle of winter by having a delicious tropical meal? This is like Baja Mexico/tropical island food and I just can’t get enough of it!"

INGREDIENTS

For the mango chicken salsa:

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (16 oz) jar mango peach salsa, I recommend using Target's Archer Farm brand
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen corn, thawed*
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • 1 mango, sliced (optional)

For the coconut rice:

  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed very well and drained well
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water or water
  • 1 1/4 cups full fat canned coconut milk (well shaken)

INSTRUCTIONS

For the mango chicken salsa:

  1. Place chicken breasts in an even layer in a 5 - 6 quart slow cooker.
  2. Sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, paprika, coriander and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour salsa evenly over chicken. Cover slow cooker and cook on low heat 5 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and shreds easily with a fork.
  4. Remove chicken from slow cooker and transfer to a cutting board, leave salsa mixture in slow cooker.
  5. Add black beans and corn to salsa, cover and cook on high heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  6. Shred chicken and return to slow cooker along with lime juice and cilantro, gently toss mixture.
  7. Serve warm over coconut rice along with avocados and mangos.
  8. *To thaw corn quickly just rinse under hot water in a fine mesh sieve and drain.

For the coconut rice:

  1. Bring coconut water or water, coconut milk, rice and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  3. Let rest off heat for 10 minutes.

Recipe from Cooking Classy

 

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Pickle Slaw

"One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it makes a ton of pork! I almost always have a big ol’ bag of this in my freezer. I just grab it out and let it thaw in the fridge all day before heating it up for dinner. It’s really been a life saver for me on busy days."

INGREDIENTS

For the pork:

  • 6 pounds bone-in pork shoulder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder

For the sandwiches:

  • 4 sandwich buns
  • 2 cups pulled pork
  • 1 cup dill pickle slaw
  • 4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • Sliced pickles for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place pork in 6 quart slow cooker set to low.
  2. Add sugar and spices to a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Coat the pork in half of the spice mixture. Cover and set aside remaining spice mix.
  3. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Alternately, bake in the oven at 250 degrees for 10 hours or until meat is easily pulled apart with a fork.
  4. Use two forks to pull the pork apart. Sprinkle remaining spice mixture over the pork, tasting as you go. You may not need the full amount, so be sure to taste the pork as you season it until it's seasoned to your preference.
  5. To serve, pile the pork on sandwich buns, top with barbecue sauce, pickles, and pickle slaw.
  6. To store the leftover pork, keep covered in the fridge for up to one week or freeze in small bags.

Recipe from Buns in My Oven Blog

 

Overnight Steel Cut Apple Pie Oatmeal

"This oatmeal is healthy, and it’s as effortless as scooping into a bowl come breakfast time, and it makes a big enough batch to get your day off to a good start all week long... You’ve got a recipe that’s a year-round winner!"

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup steel cut oats (no substitutes!)
  • 2 medium apples, peeled & diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnishes: cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, chopped nuts

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Locate an oven-safe, not-too-shallow baking dish (such as Corningware or Pyrex) that will fit in your slow cooker. In the baking dish, place oats, diced apples, apple juice, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; stir to combine. Carefully place baking dish down in slow cooker and slowly pour water into the bottom of the slow cooker until its level is about 1 inch below the top of the baking dish. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours. Stir before serving.

Recipe from Five Heart Home Blog