Introducing: Healthy Crock Pot Recipes at Heavenly Homemakers!

I’ve decided that up until now, I may have had the most bored crock pot in the world. If all of the crock pots gathered for a convention, my crock pot would win the award for least exciting uses and most reasons to yawn while plugged into a wall. If there was such an award. Or convention. Or if crock pots really had feelings. It may actually be¬†possible that I’ve taken the idea of “becoming one with my kitchen” a bit too far.

So many of the crock pot recipes I’ve seen call for Cream of Blechy Soup or MSG in a Jar. I think this is the main reason I’ve avoided much crock pot usage. But finally, I started doing a little bit of recipe research. While many of the recipes I’ve found do call for ingredients I don’t cook with, I’ve also discovered that I can make a few simple adaptations to make the recipe healthy. My crock pot and I are so excited about this! (If, in fact, crock pots do have feelings.)

And so, over the next few weeks or months or years or until I run out of healthy crock pot ideas, I’ll be occasionally sharing easy, healthy crock pot recipes. They will be recipes that contain real food ingredients and hopefully, they will be recipes that simplify your healthy cooking life.

I’m not sure how you’re feeling about this announcement, but I’m guessing your crock pot is going to be totally jazzed! (If, in fact, crock pots do have feelings.)

Regarding Lead Poisoning¬†from Crock Pots: I’ve heard that this is a problem and am very frustrated with the lack of information I can find on this subject. Because I was concerned, I called the folks at Hamilton Beach, as I own this crock pot. They informed me that none of their crock pots contain lead. I think I believe them. Not that they would lie, but since the lady I talked to didn’t elaborate, I just had to assume she knew this information to be true. And, I’m going to go on faith and feel comfortable using my crock pot. What have you learned about this subject?

I’ve been working on crock pot ideas for main dishes, side dishes, dips, soups and even a few desserts. Which would you like me to sharing with first?

Comments

  1. says

    main dishes! My husband hates EVERYTHING from the crock pot and I’d love to be able to use it for busy weeknights more often! I’m excited (and so is my never-used crock pot).

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  2. JenJ says

    Yay! I can’t wait to see what recipes you come up with. I’ve had to adapt several recipes, but there are many of our favorites we have just gone without since I cannot have that cream of whatever and MSG. I tried lasagna in the crockpot. Yummy!

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    Brooke Reply:

    ooh, that sounds good. Never tried that. Healthy? Jen or Laura, I’d love to see that one!

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    JenJ Reply:

    Healthy? Just as healthy as a regular version LOL,but you could alter
    the recipe how you like. I just used my same oven-baked recipe and
    added a jar of water to the sauce. I sometimes have to go back and
    add more water if it seems to be getting dry, but it comes out SO
    lovely!

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    Beth Reply:

    JenJ, we make a homemade version of cream of…soups. it’s a bulk recipe and
    does not include the junk…very easy as well!

    Cream Soup Recipe
    2 C instant nonfant dry milk
    3/4 C cornstarch
    1/4 C bouillon (i add when make as needed)
    1/2 tsp dried crushed thyme
    1/2 tsp dried crushed basil
    1/4 tsp pepper

    Combine all ingredients in blender. store in airtight container (i use old cornstarch container). Use 1/3 C dry mix and 1 C water, mix together in sauce pan. Cook until thickened.
    (i use the organic better than bouillon paste and add when i make each individual
    use so i can have chicken or beef, etc…

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    Jessica Reply:

    Thanks! I love the idea of having this handy!

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    Kathy Reply:

    I am glad that you told us what bouillon you use because all of the bouillon I have seen is not healthy. thanks.

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    JenJ Reply:

    Thanks for the recipe for creamy soups! I cannot use bullion or the
    better than bullion paste (both contain migraine triggers),
    but I have tried it with just homemade broth and it turned out
    fine :) This winter I hope to tackle a good cream of mushroom soup
    recipe.

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  3. Tahlor says

    Love my crockpot! 100daysofrealfood.com is an awesome blog and she has a recipe for crockpot refried beans made with real food! That is by far my fav crockpot recipe right now!

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  4. Kristy says

    I love my crock pot…both of them. My little one is going tonight making steel cut oats with apple sauce (homemade), a diced pear, and some spices with milk and water for breakfast…definitely makes a girl want to get out of bed! And my children do so much better with a hot breakfast in their tummies!

    I am always looking for new ideas! So I will pretty much be happy with whatever you share! (But now that I think about it, I could really use some lunch ideas!)

    [Reply]

    Heather Reply:

    Oh that sound good Kristy. Can you share your recipe of how much of everything is in your oats and apple mixture?

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    Kristy Reply:

    ? 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
    ? 1 1/2 cup Milk
    ? 1/4-1/2 cup Water
    ? 1/2 cup applesauce (I probably use closer to a cup)
    ? 1 small pear, chopped
    ? 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    ? 2 pinches (about 1/16 teaspoon) allspice
    ? 2 pinches cloves
    ? 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    Spray slow cooker with oil (helps clean up tremendously), add all ingredients, stir. Set crockpot
    to low for 7-9 hours. Serve with milk and sweetener of your choice.

    Adapted from http://healthyslowcooking.com

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  5. Brooke says

    I love using my crockpot and I think my crockpot and/or slowcooker would appreciate being used more. A couple weeks ago I made a recipe for my hubby’s birthday and it’s a recipe that I’ve made several times in the past, before I started paying attention and learning about whole foods. Well, it’s super good ribs (BBQ) but it calls for Apple Butter, and I forgot it, scrambled to the store in a rush grabbed it. Looked at the ingredients and gave a nasty look. I prayed to God as I threw ran to the register and asked to forgive me as I was about to feed my family HFCS. Gotta figure this one out… do you make your own apple butter Laura? Challenge for you maybe? With that said, I love main dishes in the crockpot :) And I’m wondering (even though you did not write about it) if there are breakfast items for the crock to wake up to a yummy breakfast. ?????

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    Laura Reply:

    It’s been a while, but I feel like I have made apple butter before. Maybe I’ll play with that just a little bit if I can. :) And yes, breakfast ideas would be great – I’ll add that to my list!

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    Brooke Reply:

    Thank you!

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    Rita Reply:

    Hey Brooke & Laura ~ I made wonderful clean apple butter last fall…IN my crockpot!! Truly I’ve never tasted any better! I froze it in small batches, and we’ve enjoyed it occasionally throughout the year. Crockpot cooking is sooooooo easy to do healthy!! AND yummy!!

    Laura Reply:

    You can make apple butter in your crockpot! Throw in some homemade [or really good organic] applesauce, turn your crockpot on low, and let it cook with the lid only partially covering the crock. I put a wooden spoon between my lid and the crock to let the moisture out. Cook for several hours and stir occasionally [so it doesn’t burn on the bottom] and when it looks done, it’s done! Apple butter is merely apple sauce with most of the moisture cooked out :) Hope that helps!

    blair Reply:

    I made Apple butter in my crock pot once. I used a recipe from allrecipes.com that didn’t call for anything I don’t like to use.

    Amanda Rossman Reply:

    I’ve made many batches of apple butter in my crockpot. I just throw in
    some diced apples, a little sucanat, cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg,
    turn the crockpot on and let simmer for 10ish hours-throw it in the blender
    and voila-homemade, really easy apple butter.

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    Susan H Reply:

    I made apple butter in my crock pot yesterday! Super easy. All I used was
    chopped apples (3 kinds), honey, cinnamon, and allspice. There are a million
    variations, chances are you have most of what you need on hand! And my house
    smelled FABULOUS all day.

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  6. Jessica says

    I love my crock pot! I use it all the time, at least once a week! I just adapt recipes to make them healthier. The fix it and forget it slow cooker recipe book is were I get some of my recipes. I can’t wait to see what recipes you come up with. I am always looking for more dinner ideas.

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  7. Amy says

    Main Dishes would be great to start with. I love my crockpot and have many healthy recipes including Sweet Potato Burritos (yum) and lamb shanks. Would you like these recipes?

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    Laura Reply:

    Sure! Send them my way when you have a minute – maybe I can give them a try sometime!

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  8. Tracy Compaan says

    Ooooh, Laura, I already really enjoyed your recipes immensely, and now that you’re bringing the crockpot into view, I’m REALLY excited! Main dishes definitely, and especially chicken. I have good luck with beef related dishes in the crockpot, but sometimes my chicken gets overcooked, mushy or dry, and I’m just following the recommended cooking times. Wonder if anyone else has that problem. Go Laura! :)

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    Camille Reply:

    I’m kind of a slow cooker junky/snob. :-) Every single slow cooker
    cooks differently. I have 4 and every single one is different. You
    just have to learn yours. I would try recipes out at home, first,
    checking a good 2 hours before the recommended time (if on low) to see
    how it’s going. Once you learn how long to cook the recipe, you can
    safely leave it alone! I’ve also found that bone-in chicken just
    works better in the slow cooker.

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  9. Maria says

    You will love your crockpot once you get more familiar with it! Any kind of bean soup (and there are tons of yummy recipes available), split pea soup, beef stew, chicken soup, sloppy joes, taco meat, lentils are all great! You can put it in in the morning and just occasionally stir it or adjust the seasoning throughout the day. It is also great for making broth—throw your whole chicken in there and let it simmer all day. When I make a really big batch of something, I usually ladle the extra into a two quart canning jar when I serve dinner. It is usually cool enough after dinner to stick in the fridge. The next day I pour it into a freezer bag and freeze it. Plus, you cannot beat the smell in your house from the meal simmering all day!

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  10. Barbara says

    Ooooh! Main dishes, please! We have so many crazy, busy nights. My family gets impatient when they are hungry (imagine that!) and want drive-through food. I would much rather come home to a healthy meal that’s ready to put on plates or in bowls!

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  11. says

    There is so much you can do with a slow cooker that does not include canned soup! :-) I use my several times a week.

    Regarding the lead — I did research on that a long time ago, and it had to do with red paint. It was the same reason why red M&Ms were pulled for a while! :-) From what I could find out, all slow cookers that are relatively new (like the last 5 or so years) are fine. But this is JUST my recollection. Whatever it was that I found out, I decided to keep using my slow cooker!

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  12. Kristin says

    Yay for crockpot recipes! I have a couple of whole food crockpot cookbooks, but unfortunately, it’s not a guarantee that all of the recipes are going to turn out good…or even edible for that matter. So I’d love to see what you come up with!

    Regarding lead, I’ve recently been reading up on this a lot. This is one of the best threads I’ve seen about it: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/583529/slow-cookers-and-lead. There’s a lot of info, including letters from manufacturers, but none of it is extremely conclusive. It’s a frustrating topic!

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  13. Mira says

    I can’t wait for crock-pot recipes! I love using mine because you can throw everything in in the morning and it’s ready for dinner!
    Also, you can freeze the uncooked (except meat has to be cooked) in bags or containers and throw it all in to the crock-pot!
    Can’t wait for the healthy recipes :)

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  14. says

    I really want to get a crock-pot as soon as I move back to the U.S. this December! It’s on my Christmas list (it’s a bit early for that, but I can’t help it, lol)!

    I’m looking forward to making homemade apple butter in my future crock-pot! I made a lot of apple butter last winter, but it’s so much harder making it in just a regular old pot on the stove (you have to stir it constantly for.e.ver.).

    I’m looking forward to your crock-pot recipes!

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  15. Angela says

    I have a 3 in 1 crockpot and it’s wonderful. . . I can make a vegetable, main dish and dessert all at the same time.

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  16. Angelina says

    You probably already know this, but just in case you don’t, you can make a white sauce in place of cream of whatever soups to use in recipes. two tablespoons butter, two tablespoons flour, one cup milk, and some salt! I use this for pot pies, green bean casseroles, basically anything that calls for cream of anything soups. You can add chicken or mushrooms or celery or anything you want to if you wanted to make it cream of something in particular. Melt the butter over medium heat, stir in the flour for one minute until well disolved and then add the milk and salt and stir until it starts to thicken.

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  17. Jocelyn Skelly says

    My crock-pot gets used enough but only for beans and to cook a whole chicken (which comes out moist but plain). would love to be inspired to do more with it and to simplify dinner!!!

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    Lana Reply:

    I’ve been using that recipe for 20 years and love it. You can also add mushrooms or celery to it.

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    Lana Reply:

    This comment was suposed to post somewhere else but definately not here!

    Rub your whole chicken with this rub–absolutely delicious–2 t salt, 2 t rosemary, 2 t oregano,2 t minced garlic and 2T olive oil.

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    Lindsy Reply:

    I love cooking whole chicken in the crockpot! I stuff mine with celery, onion, carrots, and garlic and season with salt and whatever herbs I have. Then I put the it in the crockpot (without liquid) and it makes the most tender, moist chicken and is so much easier than the oven! After we eat the meat and I pick the bones clean, I put the leftovers back in the crockpot, fill it with water, and let it go overnight. In the morning, I then have chicken stock :) Absolutely the easiest way I’ve found to cook using whole chickens.

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  18. says

    I use my two crockpots at least 2 to 3 times per week.. mostly for beans/split pea soup/ and a variety of chili recipes!! I don’t know what I would do without my faithful crockpots!!

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  19. Mrz Carmen says

    I fed a cider-pressing crew of 19 on ham-and-bean soup from the crock pot (turkey roaster) on Monday. I got the dry 12-bean soup mix (it’s just beans and lentils, no spices or filler) from the bulk section of the store. Added a diced onion, a diced bell pepper and some diced garlic. Threw in a 1/2 t. or so of ground black pepper, and a ham hock plus a couple cups of chopped up ham. Covered in water (added water later when the beans had soaked up all the initial water), and let it cook for 6 hours on 350. It was quite popular!

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  20. Shannon says

    You can make your own cream of whatever soup. I haven’t bought a can in years and I make all the recipes that call for it. Tammysrecipes.com has a great one and I use it all the time.

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  21. Meegan says

    I love my slow cooker and can’t wait for some healthy recipes. I make pulled pork in my slow cooker.
    2 pork tenderloins (thawed)
    2 cups of homemade bbq or sweet and sour sauce
    4 cups or as much as you like of sliced peppers and onions
    Cook on low 8-10hrs or high 4-6hrs, or until cooked and falling apart.

    Shred with 2 forks or in your kitchen aid mixer with a paddle attachment, put back in the sauce and let sit on low for 1 hr more or until ready to serve.

    Serve as is with rice, or mashed potatoes, or on buns with homemade coleslaw on top.

    Enjoy

    I cooked 12 tenderloins for a family new year party, not a speck left.

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  22. Tiffani says

    Being the good southern girl that I am, I own 4, yes you read correctly! I would often have 2 or 3 going at one time. Then I read about the lead! And guess what, none of mine are Hamilton Beach. They are ALL the “bad brand”. So that’s next on my “want to buy” list. I have seveal fool-proof real food recipes. Looking forward to your series!!!

    [Reply]

    Lana Reply:

    I have 5 crockpots and when the kids were growing up, they are all gone now, I had a whole row of them going on the counter every Sunday when we left for church!

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    Jes Reply:

    Which brand is “bad brand”?
    I have an old one from the 80’s my mom gave me when I got married.
    It works great but I had no idea there was a lead issue in any of them.

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  23. Melissa says

    I like to use mine to cook up shredded chicken to freeze to go into later dishes, like soup, tacos, casseroles, bbq chicken sandwiches. I just put chicken breasts in with some water, some diced onion and a little salt and pepper and let it cook all day. It shreds easily and then I put it in food saver bags and freezer it.

    Also if we have lots of sports practices in the evening I might make up a big thing of spaghetti earlier in the day and then transfer it all the noodles, meat and extra sauce to the crockpot to keep on warm. Dinner is all set when we get home!

    Can’t wait to see the recipes you post!

    [Reply]

  24. says

    That’s scary, “lead”. I had never heard of that before. Gonna have to check out my name of crock-pot. I use my crock-pot all the time, getting ready to make some apple butter today in it. Pot roast, potatoes and carrots is so yummy in the crock-pot. I’ve heard of people cooking whole chickens in theirs. Would love to try any recipe you come up with. Thanks a bunch.

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  25. Kathy says

    I’ve had the same concerns about lead, and as much as I was able to find– it does look like Hamilton Beach is the most likely to be lead-free. Although I found the same thing as you: I THINK it’s lead-free! It’s such a bummer that they would put lead in any of them at all, knowing the risks involved.

    I don’t remember the links I followed, but your other commenters’ links are probably the same ones I found.

    With that said, I’m looking forward to using my crock pot more this winter. For some reason, I don’t use it a whole lot in the warm weather. Hello, cold weather!

    [Reply]

  26. Kathleen K says

    In the fall, my crock-pot receives an honored position on the kitchen counter (we have a small kitchen and only IMPORTANT items are allowed to stay on the counter.) The crock-pot is so important that when its predecessor met an untimely demise three years ago, I went out THAT day to replace it. All fall and winter, it will be used 4 or more times a week to prepare soups and stews, roast chicken or beef, soak and cook beans, cook bone broth. I’ve never used it for breakfast or dessert because it is in use so much for the main dishes. In fact, I need to get in the kitchen right now and get that chicken going for supper tonight.

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  27. Rebecca says

    IT is mentioned further down, but Stephanie O”Dea over at Crockpot365 did a year of slowcooking and her family is GF so she doesn’t use the pre mixed soups and stuff. All her recipes are on her site, but she has 2 books out also, all GF.

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  28. Tituslady says

    I loved using my crockpot until I found out that mine was one that leaches lead while cooking =( I’m going to buy a better one later that doesn’t. I have this site saved for my homemade cream of soups http://community.babycenter.com/post/a28707355/cream_of_soup_recipes

    Basic Cream Soups
    Ingredients:

    3 Tbls butter
    3 Tbls. Flour
    1/4 tsp. Salt
    1 cup Milk

    Preparation:

    Melt 3 tbsp margarine in small saucepan, blend in 3 tbsp flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook and stir until bubbly. Using a wire whisk, stir in 1 cup milk and cook just until smooth and thick.

    Add spices if desired.

    You can vary the flavor by adding curry powder, garlic, onion, celery salt, lemon juice, chili powder, parsley, chopped veggies, chives, etc

    *Mushroom Soup: Add 1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
    *Celery Soup: Add 1/2 cup minced celery
    *Potato Soup: Add 1 cup diced potatoes, cooked
    *Vegetable Soup: Add 3/4 cup mixed vegetables, cooked
    *Broccoli Soup: Add 1 cup chopped broccoli, cooked
    *Asparagus Soup: Add 1 cup chopped asparagus, cooked
    *Cheese Soup: Add in 1 cup shredded Cheese of your choice (usually whatever the recipe calls for, is what I add).

    Cook’s Notes:
    Makes slightly over 1 cup and is the same as a 10 oz. can of undiluted condensed

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  29. says

    I love my crock pot! Use it all the time, all year round and I have lots of recipes without icky ingredients. I too like to make chicken stock in my crock pot. I love to simmer meatballs in marinara. I also have a great recipe for crock pot stroganoff that uses beef stew meat and it is so good. And there’s always stews and chili!

    [Reply]

  30. Elizabeth Ginter says

    Laura,
    Do you have the 5 quart or the 7 quart? I was looking at the reviews on Amazon and they weren’t that good…what has been your personal experience? I am wanting a larger crock pot and have been trying to figure out which is the best/cheapest I can get! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks in advance,
    Elizabeth

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I have the 5 quart and have had good experiences with it. :)

    [Reply]

  31. Stephanie says

    So glad you’re going to be featuring some crock pot recipes! I have several I like but tend to use these same ones all the time. They are great for hosting family for lunch after church on Sunday! Would love to have some more healthy main dish recipes. :)

    [Reply]

  32. Cindy says

    On the lead issue. I saw a show on finding out when garage selling if the item you are buying has lead in it. I’m sure it would work on crock pots. You can buy lead kits at Lowes and other hardware stores. Just follow instructions and walla lead or no lead.

    Looking forward to healthy recipes. We are now living gullying in our 5th wheel and my crockpot is finally getting used alllllllllll the time. Target has a new one out with 3 holes….I want it!!!! Lol

    Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

    [Reply]

    Cindy Reply:

    Living full time….lol

    [Reply]

    Tituslady Reply:

    Oooh that is a good idea thanks!

    [Reply]

  33. Jean says

    This may have already been posted, but I’m in a hurry right now and don’t have time to read all the posts. I own the Hamilton Beach 7 quart and was on a group several years ago where they were discussing this topic. One of the members called Hamilton Beach and received the same response you did. I don’t remember the answers from the other manufacturers, since I was only interested in the one I owned. The concensus was that the white crock liners didn’t contain lead, but the colored liners might. Mine is white so I was satisfied with the answer. I love my crockpot! :o)

    [Reply]

  34. Lauren says

    Oh, I’m excited about this! Main dishes, please! Breakfasts, too, if you don’t mind. I have a 2 year old and a newborn, so I’d LOVE more healthy crock pot ideas!

    [Reply]

  35. Lisa says

    Laura when you find out more about the lead topic, please post it for those who haven’t read it here in the comments! Thanks so much for alerting us to the possibility of it.

    As for crockpot recipes! Yay! I’ve been trying to find some and I don’t really like the ones I’m seeing. I need something that doesn’t contain weird ingredients or all canned msg and really salty things. I need something healthy to feed my family, as my husband and I are trying to lose a few pounds together. I am so excited to see what you come up with. We absolutely LOVE all the recipes that I’ve tried of yours, Laura, so I know I’ll love your crockpot recipes, too!

    Thanks so much!

    [Reply]

  36. Chara says

    I have 2 or 3 crockpots (I’m down one right now, one of the stoneware pieces cracked- when the lids have problems, my hubby fixes them since I can’t be without my crockpots) and use them constantly for ongoing home made crock pot yogurt, ongoing chicken stock, and quite a few dinners, breakfasts and frequently soups too… One of my favorite appliances! :)

    [Reply]

  37. says

    I have never heard of lead in crock pots! This is disturbing information! I will have to check into this for sure. In the meantime, I would love to see main dish recipes for the crock pot. I am forever searching for something yummy and easy to fix for my family! I am super excited about these new posts!!!

    [Reply]

  38. says

    I use mine all the time…to brown ground beef, cook chicken for shredding, roasts, pork tenderloin, soups, etc. And most of my recipes don’t call for cream of blah, blah, blah soups.

    I have an awesome Crockpot Pumpkin Applesauce recipe that is fabulous.

    [Reply]

    Rachel Byers Reply:

    Carrie, please share your recipe!! YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!! We have a bunch of pumpkins growing in our garden, would love to use your recipe!! THANK YOU!!

    [Reply]

    Carrie @ My Favorite Finds Reply:

    Here is the link to my Crockpot Pumpkin Applesauce recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

    http://myfavoritefinds.blogspot.com/2011/10/crockpot-pumpkin-apple-sauce.html

    [Reply]

    Rachel Byers Reply:

    Thank you soooo much!! Very excited!!! God Bless

    Brady Reply:

    You can brown ground beef in the crock pot?

    [Reply]

    Carrie @ My Favorite Finds Reply:

    Yes. It turns out a little “taco bell” like-soft, and not
    the browned look as if you did it on the stove. However, when I use
    it in quesadillas, tacos, chili, etc., it tastes fine. I don’t really
    notice the texture difference either. I put about 5 pounds in our
    crockpot, and a very little bit of water, and turn it on high. It takes
    about 2 hours or so. I just stir it every so often, and kind of
    break it up while it’s cooking. You can even add taco seasoning, etc.
    towards the last half hour or so of cooking and then you’re beef
    is already seasoned for future meals. I like it this way so I can do a large
    amount at once, and then focus on other things while batch cooking.
    I also like the smaller mess it makes, and less attention it takes, as
    opposed to cooking it on the stovetop. I do the same thing with chicken
    breasts. I put about 5 frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot, enough water
    until they are just covered, and let them cook away for a few hours.
    When they’re done, they shred very easily, and I shred and bag them for
    the freezer. They don’t come out as dry-and therefore easier to shred-than when
    I bake them in the oven.

    Sorry for the long comment reply. I might as well have written a blog
    post! L0L!

    [Reply]

  39. Erin says

    Maybe lead was a problem with older crock pots? I’ve never heard this.

    Anyways, yes please, to real food ingredient crock pot recipes.

    [Reply]

    Erin Reply:

    After some googling it appears that Rival does use small amounts of lead in their glaze.
    The levels are under “safe” amounts per the FDA (I’ll let you interpret that as you do)
    Hamilton Beach does contain small amounts in the clay but the glaze is lead free.

    [Reply]

    Erin Reply:

    Who can trust google results I just found this response from Rival to someone with concern about lead:

    I have just received your email and would like to thank you for writing. The glaze that we use on our products does not contain lead. It is made of silica flour, clay, feldspar, frit, and a few non-toxic minerals. These are ground up mixed, in specific quantities, with water. The resulting is slurry sprayed onto the pot and it is fired in the kiln at or around 1200-1600 degrees. If you need more information please contact us at 1(800)777-5452, 6am-3pm, MST, Monday through Friday

    I’ll stop now

    [Reply]

    Eli Reply:

    I was made aware of the possibilities of the lead, but wasn’t certain.
    I do know that when I did purchase my Hamilton crockpot, the attached cord was bagged with a note
    stating that it (the cord) contained lead.
    I don’t use the crock much anymore either…what are your thoughts on the liners??
    Plastics aren’t that great on food…especially hot food…right?

    Laura Reply:

    Right, I avoid plastic liners. :)

  40. Lori Allcorn says

    Hi Laura,

    I would love any crock pot recipes(probably main dishes the most).

    Also, do you have any alternatives when recipes call for Cream of Chicken/Mushroom. I do use Cream of Mushroom in several of my recipes, but would like to know if there’s something else I could use in place of it.

    Thanks!
    Lori

    [Reply]

    Tori L. Reply:

    It’s pretty easy to make a replacement. Since most recipes call for the “cream of” soup primarily for its thick texture I find it easy to just think of adding a creamy gravy-like mixture instead. My basic recipe is 1 to 1.5 cups of a combination of whole milk and broth/stock (the ratio varies dependingon what I have on hand), 1-2 T of butter, 2-3 T of arrowroot powder (cornstarch or other flour would work too) and then spices to taste (usually salt, pepper, thyme, basil, garlic, onion powder, etc). Occasionally I’ll add a can of mushrooms if it is something that I want the mushroom flavor/bits for. Mix the liquid and the flour while still cool, start heating over medium-low, add the rest of the ingredients and keep stirring so it doesn’t stick while it thickens. When it is as thick as you want it you’re done!

    It is a pretty forgiving substitute, and you can make a lot of variations based on how you season it!

    [Reply]

    Rachel Byers Reply:

    This is an awesome idea, so grateful, thank you!!
    So how do you make meals in a crockpot with a large family lol? Use 2 or 3 of them haha..or is there a larger size crockpot that I’m not aware of? God Bless!!

    [Reply]

    Rebecca Reply:

    It depends on the size of your crockpot. I have a 6 and a 7qt ones. They also work best when half to 2/3 full, so if you cook for only 3 or 4 people, a small one is fine. If like me you do 4lbs of roast at a time, you need a bigger one. I often have both of mine going on different things at the same time, or make 2 batches of the same thing for large crowds.

    Lori Allcorn Reply:

    Thank you – I’ll have to try it!

    [Reply]

    Carrie @ My Favorite Finds Reply:

    I made potato chowder last night, which only calls for one can of cream of
    chicken soup-which I used even though I didn’t really want to :). It also
    suggests adding cream cheese at the end to make it a bit creamier, and
    give it more of a “chowder” look. I wonder if cream cheese would be an
    alternative to creaming up soups, etc., in the crockpot?

    [Reply]

  41. Nicole says

    My crock pot must be bored too. I keep it on the top shelf of my pantry in it’s original box and packaging. However, last weekend I made homemade chunky applesauce in it and it was yummy, especially as a topping for french toast or pancakes.
    I love your blog, by the way. I used to eat a lot healthier before I got married, but then when I got married two years ago, and after we had our first child our budget got so tight that I panicked and just started buying the cheapest of everything (white sugar, white flour, etc.). But then my husband and I realized that we were always feeling exhausted, and I have been struggling with PPD. So I took a look at our budget and am devoting every dollar we have in our grocery budget to investing in REAL food that will nourish our bodies. Your blog encourages me so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    [Reply]

  42. Stephany says

    Would love to see main dishes first that can be adapted to a low carb lifestyle. My boys can do pastas and rice but I find it too tempting. Thanks for all your hard work in researching. It overwhelms me.

    [Reply]

  43. Rhoda says

    Anything would be lovely. I mostly do meat/main dish things in my crock, but am willing to learn some new recipes for other things too. My crock is estatic about the prospects–less sitting on a shelf waiting to be used and loved!

    [Reply]

  44. sheila says

    I love my crock pot and when a recipe does call for cream of….., I just make my own. So easy and natural. Found the recipes on tammysrecipes.com and allrecipes.com
    Looking forward to any new recipes in the crock pot.

    [Reply]

  45. says

    I just put my chicken drumsticks in to cook for supper tonight. BBQ chicken was a favorite a couple weeks ago, I put in 1 family-size package of drumsticks (~14) then, mix 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1 3/4 cups ketchup, and 2 tablespoons liquid smoke and spread over the top of chicken. Cook on low until supper (6-8 hours). It’s fall off the bone good.

    [Reply]

  46. Patti says

    Main dishes – and a recipe for chocolate cake in a crockpot. I have one that uses a cake mix, but would like to find one from scratch instead of with a mix.

    As for lead, I heard also that Hamilton Beach did not have the lead, it was the other main manufacturer that had the lead. A friend has one from this other manufacturer and her kids’ behavior is affected negatively when she uses her crockpot.

    [Reply]

    Bethany Reply:

    I’m no crock-pot pro, but I’d assume if you just made the cake from scratch instead of from a cake mix that it would turn out just fine.

    [Reply]

  47. Linnea says

    I have a slight obsession with my crock pot, so I’m always on the look out for new recipes. I’m excited to see some! Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Carrie @ My Favorite Finds Reply:

    Me too! I actually have two of them….and sometimes use them both at the same
    time. I was just thinking about my menu for next week, and I think there
    are nights my family wouldn’t eat if I didn’t have crockpots! LOL!

    [Reply]

  48. Tori L. says

    I would love one-dish dinner recipes! Something I put together in the morning and be gone all day and then come home to a complete meal!

    [Reply]

  49. deanna says

    I do use my crock pot a lot and not with the “cream of blechy” stuff or “MSG in a jar”. I have converted things and made up my own whole food recipes. roasts are great, chicken, soups, even a great casserole. I haven’t done desserts though, I guess fruit crisps or cobblers would work well maybe?? thought the tops wouldn’t crisp…hmmm, that is something to work on…can’t wait to see what you come up with :)

    [Reply]

    Angel Reply:

    Deanna, One dessert I made last weekend was poached pears in raspberry sauce. It was wonderful. And so easy! I will definitely be making it again!

    [Reply]

  50. BethAnn says

    YIPPEE!! I love crockpot meals and hate all the “Cream of congealed MSG” recipes. so excited to see some healthy recipes!!

    [Reply]

  51. Jessica Kauffman says

    I’m excited! I need some crockpot ideas. I love how you just throw it all in the crockpot in the morning and then it’s ready for supper time.

    [Reply]

  52. Jenny says

    I would love to see any slow cooker recipes. I can’t think of much to make in mine besides pot roast or apple butter.

    [Reply]

  53. Michelle T says

    So excited!! I use my crock multiple times a week for everything from meals, to cooking beans, to making yogurt, and cooking squash to puree and put in other dishes. Love more ideas. I’ve even heard of cooking bread in a crock, that’s still on my list to try when summer comes and it’s too hot to cook in the oven.

    [Reply]

  54. sa'ada says

    oh, i love this idea! thank you so much, laura.

    main dishes and breakfast, please. although that means my crockpot might get used around the clock.

    [Reply]

  55. Anna says

    So excited!!! I try to put something in th CP when I work (12hr shifts) so my husband won’t need to cook. The more ideas the better!

    [Reply]

  56. Heather says

    My crock pot was gathering dust until I got married and my husband showed me how to cook pretty much any kind of meat in it. (He’s a big meat-eater!) Just put in whatever meat you want to cook, add whatever spices you think would taste good and a little bit of vinegar, wine, broth, or water — cooks all day while I’m at work and turns out fall-off-the-bone good.

    [Reply]

  57. Amy says

    I like the crockpot for convenience but find that the food just does not taste as good as roasting/baking in the oven or simmering on the stove. I prefer to prepare items all weekend then heat up leftovers during the week.
    That is not to say I don’t or won’t use mine because I surely do!

    Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

    [Reply]

    Kathleen Reply:

    Yes! THat has been my experience too so far with a crockpot. I hope we find some new recipes that prove us wrong.

    [Reply]

  58. Cathie says

    Sorry if someone else already asked this, but I’m at work, and I have no time to read all of the comments right now.
    Which leads me to my reguest:
    I would love to have something in my crock-pot (besides pulled pork or pot roast) that takes a long, long, time to cook. With my commute to and from work, and my 9 hours at work, I need something to cook for longer than the usual 6-8 hours. I am so thankful to have a bread machine with a timer, but as you know, we can not live on bread alone.

    [Reply]

    Nora@ The Dollar Hollering Homemaker Reply:

    Start with frozen meat (you must but frozen meat in a COLD slow cooker) and spices, seasoning, etc. and cook on low. A frozen 4-5lb roast takes around 10-11 hours. Or buy one with a timer that move it to warm after 8 hours

    [Reply]

    Nora@ The Dollar Hollering Homemaker Reply:

    * put not but…sorry it’s been a crazy day

    [Reply]

    Cathie Reply:

    Wow, that makes so much sense that I’m embarrassed that I didn’t think of it. Thanks!

    Rebecca Reply:

    You can buy a cheap appliance timer to do the work for you. It is the same thing you would use to have a light turn on or off at a certain time. You plug in the timer, then plug the crockpot into the timer with the crock turned to the right setting, and set the timer. When the timer goes off, it will connect the crockpot to the electricity and start cooking. Most hardware stores sell these.

    [Reply]

    Cathie Reply:

    I actually DID think of this one, but it would require me to leave the food in the crockpot until cooking time starts, and I would be a little hesitant to do that.

    [Reply]

  59. Lyndsay says

    I use my crockpot all the time! I actually have 2! I do roast, pork loin, ribs, chicken, everything! I don’t ever use cream soups, etc in it! It’s nice to throw things in it in the morning, and when we all finally meet up again that afternoon, dinner has taken care of itself!

    [Reply]

  60. Christa says

    My husband and I were just discussing the under-use of our crock pot. I’d like some fresh ideas for main courses. It would free up some time to focus more on homeschool.

    [Reply]

  61. Kathleen says

    I’m so excited to see some healthy crock pot recipes! I love the concept of my crock pot–I’m a busy working mom–but my experiences with it have usually been disappointing. Watery split pea soup–bland chicken–or just too many high calorie ingredients. I need to learn how to make better use of my crockpot. I’m looking forward to seeing some healthy crockpot dinner recipes!! Thanks!!!

    [Reply]

  62. alli says

    Perfect timing! I’ve been looking for healthy crockpot meals because right now I am gone to the hospital most afternoons and don’t have time to make dinner when I get home. We have twins in the NICU and 2 toddler boys that are hungry when we get home so my crockpot will be put to good use!

    [Reply]

  63. says

    Yes! I’m so excited about this series. I have 2 very little kiddos and I usually prepare supper before everyone wakes up…so our crock pot gets used often. And you’re right, it’s so difficult to find whole food recipes without cream of nastiness, or even without cream cheese! Can’t wait!

    [Reply]

  64. Lara says

    I am so excited that you are starting this! You are right, most crock pot recipes are more concerned with the “quick” than the “healthy”…. I would like both! :). I second the requests for main dishes and breakfast. Thank you!

    [Reply]

  65. Pam says

    Love my crockpot! I use it to make yogurt, apple butter, baked oatmeal, cooked chicken for the freezer, and a ton of dinner recipes including lasagna. I haven’t cooked many recipes that use cream soup but when it comes to the cream soup stuff, I just whip up my own cream soup… you just melt 2 Tbsp butter, whisk in 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour, cook for about a minute stirring often, then add one cup of milk and whisk until it comes to a bubble. Then you can add salt and pepper and other spices to taste or if you use bouillon, you can add that.

    [Reply]

  66. Heather says

    I’m sooo excited you are going to be doing this. I very much want to use my crockpot, but feel a bit intimidated by it. I would love to see some main dish recipes. Thanks a bunch for all of your inspiration.

    [Reply]

  67. Kellie says

    I love my crock pot! Yes it all the time. It makes me happy to know all day that dinner is taken care of already. My new fav thing to make in my crock pot is baked potatoes! Just wash the potatoes and rub a little oil on the skins, throw them in without any liquids and cook until dinner!

    [Reply]

  68. Whitney says

    YAAAAAAY!!! I am so excited about this. I love to use my crockpot, but the only things I’ve had success in making in it are pot roast, chili, taco soup, bbq ribs and apple butter. I would love some new and healthy ideas!

    [Reply]

  69. Whitney says

    YAAAAAAY!!! I am so excited about this. I love to use my crockpot, but the only things I’ve had success in making in it are pot roast, chili, taco soup, bbq ribs and apple butter. I would love some new and healthy ideas!

    [Reply]

  70. Tammy R. says

    I don’t know about my CP but I’m jazzed to hear your doing healthy crock pot recipes! I have 3 crock pots (I know, crazy but one is just for soap making, so I only cook in 2 of them :) hehe) I look forward to any of the recipes that you’ll share but probably the main and side dishes the most. Bring ’em on! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  71. Laura says

    There is a blog called 365crockpot that has really healthy recipes. It is also great if you’re gluten free b/c i think most of her recipes are GF. I use her site alot.

    [Reply]

  72. Kristy says

    Oh, this is great, I am always on the hunt for good ideas, especially for breakfast. I have been experimenting with steal cut oats, but would like a bit more in my repertoire for crock pot breakfasts!

    [Reply]

  73. Jessica says

    I can’t wait! My favorite use right now is to stock up on refried beans. We use them on tacos..for dips for lunch and burritos, etc… yummy and soooo easy!

    [Reply]

  74. Danielle B says

    Wow….I got my SECOND cp a year ago. I’ve use it TWICE. So glad when I turned around to see the brand it seed Hamilton Beach!

    I’m not a CP person. Something about leaving stuff on all day freaks me out. My first CP I threw out last yr… it had a PLASTIC lid to it. What do you expect from Walmart. (I despise the store) I noticed every time I used the cp it would make me so sick to my stomach!

    I’m hoping to use my cp more often when I’m actually home. I’d love to see some soup recipes.

    [Reply]

  75. says

    I have a WONDERFULLY simple recipe for homemade Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken soups (consistency of condensed soups). Love, love, LOVE them!! All REAL food ingredients. (If you are interested.)

    [Reply]

  76. Laurie :) says

    I have used mine quite a bit, but would also like to see some healthy recipies so I could quit guessing at how to substitute the ucky junk with healthy yumminess! Thanks–breakfasts and mains sound great! :)

    [Reply]

  77. Jennifer H says

    Laura,

    Thanks for all that you do for your readers. I would love some new recipes for my crockpot. I use mine for bbq chicken, whole chickens and roasts. With my crazy retail work schedule, having more recipes in my arsenal will allow me to make sure my family is eating a healthy meal when I am not home to prepare dinner in the evening. I hate to admit that there are some nights they eat Hamburger Helper or frozen pizza, or Tyson chicken nuggets/patties. We are trying to eat better and I am teaching my reluctant daughter how to cook so she can help me out. Again, thanks for all you do. I am anxiously awaiting any recipes you post.

    [Reply]

  78. Kathy says

    Would love some healthier crock pot recipes – we love the recipes you post as we are participating in October unprocessed for the first time!

    [Reply]

  79. Bhriana says

    I emailed “Crock Pot” yesterday and got this vague response regarding lead in my Crock Pot brand slow cooker:

    “Thank you for contacting Crock-Pot, a brand of Jarden Consumer Solutions.

    Jarden Consumer Solutions (JCS), the distributor of Rival, is very focused on the materials that are used in the manufacture of our products. We go to great lengths to ensure that our products meet or exceed all applicable laws and regulations as well as industry standards, such as the FDA regulations. JCS has not had any recalls for lead and we are being very diligent in our efforts to ensure our products are compliant with applicable regulations regarding the presence of lead.”

    Doesn’t sound very promising! Would have loved a NO for an answer instead…

    [Reply]

  80. says

    My crock-pots are typically used for making roast. But I found they are also good for making broth from chicken carcasses. And when I’m feeding the wrestlers, I can pull them (yes I have more than one) and use them to heat up soup (which may or may not come from a can with a few other ingredients thrown in to modify the taste and texture).

    [Reply]

  81. Rene says

    I use my CP all the time! For the obvious stuff like cooking down whole chickens and making a roast to the less obvious like making CP lasagna (super easy) to homemade rice pudding and healthy, fresh yams cooked in apple sauce and cinnamon for Thanksgiving. YUM! There really is no end to the things you can cook in it. Just a little research and there are TONS of healthy recipes available.

    [Reply]

  82. Christina says

    MAIN DISHES pleeeeeeeeease! I use my crock pot, but do about the same 2 or 3 recipes. I returned a crock pot cook book because they all contained cans of “cream of blechy” soups. Why must they do that?

    [Reply]

  83. Jenifer Parker says

    I have done ceramics for years and I believe you should be able to buy a test kit for lead in ceramic glazes. If the crock pot is glazed that should be a defining test. Call a ceramic shop locally and ask.

    [Reply]

  84. says

    Oh my goodness, I can so relate! I’m so tired of looking for recipes because they all seem to contain “cream of blechy soup” a package of this, or a can of that. Doesn’t anyone know how to cook from scratch any more?

    I’ve adapted some recipes I’ve found, but I’m looking forward to trying some of your recipes.

    [Reply]

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