We love a good shortcut — in life and in the kitchen. Recipes that require nothing more than tossing everything in a big bowl always get the most love from us. Pair that convenience with the possibility of coming home to a warm, fully-cooked meal? That's the stuff dreams are made of.
Based on our preferences, it's not hard to deduce that the Crock-Pot is one of our favorite kitchen appliances, ever. Its versatility and simplicity (literally plug it in, flip a switch, and wait) make it our go-to all year round — not just during the colder months. To get more inspiration for our weekday meals, we've tapped Amy Sherman of Cooking With Amy for three easy slow-cooker recipes that will go a long, long way. Get your Tupperware out — you'll want to save some for lunch tomorrow.
Spinach Eggplant Lasagna Serves 6 Ingredients 1 small to medium eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced 4 cups fresh spinach, packed 1/2 cup pesto 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 15-oz container ricotta cheese 1 egg 1 24-oz jar tomato and basil pasta sauce 1 package precooked lasagna noodles, preferably Barilla Instructions 1. Sprinkle the eggplant slices liberally with salt and place them in a colander in the sink to drain. After 30 minutes, drain and rinse the slices with water to remove the salt.
2. Chop the spinach and mix it with pesto in a mixing bowl.
3. Combine 1/2 cup mozzarella with the ricotta, Parmesan, and egg in a mixing bowl; stir well to combine.
4. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of an oval 4- to 6-quart slow-cooker. Layer in one layer of lasagna noodles, broken to fit as necessary (slightly overlapping is fine), then top with 1/4 cup sauce and two layers of eggplant slices to cover.
5. Top the eggplant layer with 1/4 cup sauce and another layer of noodles. Next, add the ricotta mixture, spreading it evenly across the noodles.
6. Top the ricotta with another layer of noodles, then 1/4 cup sauce, and then layer on the spinach pesto mixture. Top with a final layer of lasagna noodles and the remaining sauce.
7. Cook covered on low for 3 hours or until the eggplant is tender when pierced with a butter knife and noodles are tender.
8. Sprinkle the top of the lasagna with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Cover and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Artichoke Feta Frittata Serves 6 Ingredients Cooking spray 1 cup packed baby arugula 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts 9 eggs 4 oz crumbled feta cheese Instructions 1. Set a 4- to 6-quart slow-cooker on high. Spray the inside of the slow cooker insert with cooking spray.
2. Roughly chop the arugula then place it inside the slow cooker, cover, and cook until the arugula just begins to wilt, about 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl and add the feta.
4. Drain and squeeze the liquid from the artichoke hearts. Chop the artichoke hearts and add to the egg mixture, stirring to combine. Pour the egg mixture into the slow cooker and stir to incorporate the arugula.
5. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 2 to 3 hours or until frittata is firm. Exact cooking time will depend on the shape and size of your slow cooker.
6. Let cool and remove from the slow cooker before slicing. Can be served hot or cold.
Coconut Vegetable Curry Serves 6
Ingredients 1/2 yellow onion, diced 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk 1 tbsp soy sauce, regular or low sodium 1 tbsp curry powder 1 tsp brown sugar 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into about 1 inch chunks 1 red bell pepper, diced 2 cups cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets 2 cups sugar snap peas or green beans 1 14-oz package firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, optional
Instructions 1. Set a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker on high and add the onion, coconut milk, soy sauce, curry powder, and brown sugar, sweet potato, red pepper, and cauliflower. Stir to combine.
2. Cover the slow-cooker and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, just until the sweet potatoes are almost fork tender.
3. Remove the strings from the sugar snap peas or tips from the green beans (if using green beans, cut them in half).
4. Gently stir in the sugar snap peas (or green beans) and tofu. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes or just until the peas are tender but still crisp.
5. Serve plain, with steamed rice or rice noodles, and garnish with cilantro if desired.