Easy Meals on the Road: Crockpot Creations

People on the road love convenience! Since the 1970s, the crockpot — also known as the slow cooker — has provided hot, homemade dishes to people around the country in the easiest manner possible. Allowing cooks to prepare a meal when it is most convenient for them, and then to return to a nutritious and delicious one-pot meal, it is perfect for people traveling in their RV.

Not only is it efficient, it’s easy to use and simple to clean. Consisting of only one pot, it uses less water to clean, making it great for boondocking, when water conservation is most necessary. It also takes less room than other meal preparation methods, which is appreciated in the limited kitchen space of many campers and travel trailers. Here are recipes for a few crockpot favorites and some new dishes, as well.

Breakfast

Many experts consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day. Even RVers who believe that, find making time for it while on the road a difficult if not impossible task. This is why crockpot options are perfect. You prepare them the night before when you have settled in for the night and they cook while you sleep. The next morning, you can just serve it up. With only the one pot, clean up is a cinch, allowing you to get back on the road in no time.

Bacon Egg Bake

This high-protein option makes a nutritious breakfast or even a healthy, light lunch.

Cut 8-slices Canadian bacon into ½-inch sized pieces. In a medium-sized bowl, 12 large eggs and ½-cup whole milk, and then whisk briskly until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the Canadian bacon, 8-oz shredded cheddar cheese shredded, ½-cup diced onion diced, ½-tsp Himalayan or sea salt, ½-tsp freshly ground pepper, and ½-tsp turmeric or paprika. Spray your crockpot with a nonstick spray and evenly pour in the mixture.

Cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low until you can insert a knife into the middle and it comes out clean. Slice and serve.

Note: Single serving segments can be placed in airtight containers and frozen and then reheated for an instant breakfast or high protein snack. Just microwave it for 1-minute or reheat it in your preheated oven at 350-degrees F for 10-15 minutes.

Breakfast Casserole

This cheesy casserole is high in protein, making it a great choice before an active day. Assemble it the night before and enjoy it in the morning.

Cut 1-lb Canadian bacon into small pieces. Add half of a 32-oz bag frozen hash brown potatoes to the bottom of your crockpot. Add half of the bacon, and 4-oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Add the other half of the hash browns and bacon, along with another half of 1 small, diced onion, ¼-red bell pepper and ¼-green bell pepper (diced). Add another 4-oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese. In a bowl, whisk 12 eggs and 1-cup milk together, and then pour it over the casserole. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper on top.

Cover and cook for 4 hours on low or for 8 hours on warm.

Cooked Oats With Nuts and Raisins

One of the most traditional breakfast foods is also one of the easiest to make. Just assemble it before going to bed and it is ready when you are in the morning.

Apply 1-tsp coconut oil to the bottom and walls of the crockpot. Add 4-cups water,
½-cup half and half, 1-cup steel cut oats, 1-cup raisins, 2-tbsp almonds sliced, 2-tbsp walnuts chopped, 1-tbsp coconut oil, and ⅛-tsp Himalayan or sea salt. Stir to mix it well.

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. Stir and serve.

Spinach, Egg, and Ham Quiche

This can also be used as a great addition to a “breakfast” dinner or as a light lunch.

In a bowl, whisk together 6 large eggs, ¼-cup milk,
½-cup Greek yogurt, ½-tsp onion powder, ½-tsp garlic powder, ½-tsp sea salt, and ¼-tsp freshly ground pepper. Mix it until it’s smooth. Stir in ⅓-cup diced mushrooms, 1-cup diced ham, 1-cup baby spinach, and 1-cup shredded pepper jack cheese. Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and pour the mixture in.

Cover and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours on high until the eggs are set. Slice and serve with toast.

Lunch

Putting your lunch ingredients in the slow cooker on high around 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning, you are sure to have a tasty meal near noon. Fill the crockpot no less than ½-full and no more than ⅔-full and use similarly sized pieces of vegetables and meat, as well as sufficient fluid to make sure the contents cook evenly. Stew and soups make this easy.

Barbecue Beef Sandwiches

This hot sandwich makes a great option for party fare, as well as for the mid-day meal.

Sprinkle 1-tsp sea salt over a 3 ½-lb eye-of-round roast, cut vertically in half. In a bowl, combine 1-tsp sea salt, ½-tsp garlic, one 10-oz can of beef broth, 1-cup ketchup, ½-cup packed brown sugar, ½-cup lemon juice, 3-tbsp steak sauce, 1-tsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1-tsp freshly ground pepper. Pour half into your crockpot. Add the beef and pour the rest of the mixture over beef.

Cover and cook for 7 hours on high. Shred the beef and serve in bread, buns, or Kaiser rolls with dill pickle slices.

Cheesy Quinoa

One of the easiest dishes on this list, cheesy quinoa makes a great lunch or side dish for dinner.

Apply olive oil to the bottom and sides of the crockpot. Place 1-cup quinoa, 1 ¾-cups vegetable or chicken broth, 2-cups chopped broccoli, 1-cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1-tsp garlic salt, 1-tsp curry powder, with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix together thoroughly.

Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours until quinoa is cooked. Turn the setting to “warm” and sprinkle additional cheese on top of the quinoa. When it has melted, serve.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This spicy dish provides just enough heat to keep you warm on a blustery day.

Liberally oil the crockpot and add 1-lb cooked and diced boneless chicken breast, ½-cup chopped white or yellow onion, 2 ½-cups shredded jack cheese, ½-cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 ½-cups half and half, 2 ¾-cups whole milk, ⅓-cup canned diced tomatoes with chilies, 1-cup corn, and 1-can (10 ½ ounce) chili beans. Pour in 2-cups water and 1-can (10 ½ ounce) cream of chicken soup. Season it with 1-tsp cumin, 1-tsp chili powder, 1-tsp sea salt, ¼-tsp fresh ground pepper, and 1-tbsp cilantro.

Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low or for 3 to 4 hours on high. Serve with tortillas, a dollop of sour cream, and perhaps some sliced avocado.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

This traditional soup is great for rainy or cool days.

Cut 2 cups fresh mushrooms (about 8 ounces) into chunks. . In a bowl, whisk 2-tbsp flour, 2-cups chicken or vegetable broth, 1-cup whole milk or light cream, and 1-tbsp flour more, stirring until creamy. In your crockpot, add 2-tbsp melted butter, the mushrooms, 2-tbsp white or yellow chopped onion, and 1-tbsp minced garlic. Then add the creamy mixture, ½-tsp nutmeg, ½-tsp Himalayan or sea salt, and ½-freshly ground black pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, and then turn the setting to high for 1 additional hour, stirring occasionally.

Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef and Cheese

Fresh peppers in the summer make this an especially healthy, light, but filling lunch or dinner.

Cut the tops from 6 bell peppers and remove all of the seeds. Chop enough of the tops to create ¼-cup of diced peppers. Sprinkle the interiors with sea salt. In a bowl, mix 1-lb ground 85/15% beef, ¼-cup of diced peppers, ⅓-cup chopped white or yellow onion, half of a 14 ½-oz can of diced tomatoes, 1-tsp Worcestershire sauce, 2-cups cooked wild or brown rice, freshly ground black pepper, and 1-cup shredded cheddar cheese. Mix well until it is evenly combined and then stuff the mixture into the peppers. Place them into crockpot with the stuffed side up. Pour 2-cups chicken or vegetable broth over and around the peppers followed by the other half of the 14 ½-oz can of diced tomatoes.

Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 6 hours.

Note: Use green, red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, or even a combination. Green peppers are stronger tasting and the others offer a sweeter flavor, so it’s really just a matter of preference.

Dinner

Crockpots were practically made for preparing evening meals. You just set it up in the morning — or early afternoon — and by dinnertime, your food is ready. With a couple of slow cooker basics, you can turn almost any entrée into a crockpot meal.

Remember to place the ingredients that take the longest to cook closest to the heating element at the bottom. For example, root vegetables like carrots and potatoes take longer to cook, so they should be added first, followed by the meat. Other vegetables that take less time should then be placed around or over meat along with any sauce. Armed with only that information, you can make any number of fabulous creations, in addition to these.

Borscht (Lamb and Beet Stew)

This is a traditional Eastern European stew.

Generously apply olive oil to the inside of the crockpot and add 1-lb lamb stew meat cut into 1-inch cubes. Stir in ½ cup finely chopped onion, 12-cups low sodium beef broth, 4-cups beets (about 3) peeled and diced, ½ medium head of cabbage shredded (about 1 ¼-lbs), 2-cups diced tomatoes diced (about 3), ½-cup chopped carrots, and ½-tsp freshly ground pepper.

Cover and cook for 4 to 6 hours on high or for 10 to 12 hours on low. Add 2 diced stalks of celery and chopped beet greens from the 3 beets. Cook for an additional 30-60 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Chicken with Cabbage and Carrots

Healthy and easy, this dish has everything you need for a complete meal.

Use 1-tsp olive oil to coat the slow cooker. Then add 1 ½-cups of sliced or chopped onion and top with 2-cups red potatoes cut into fourths, 2-cups baby carrots, and 1-cup chicken broth. Cover 6 bone-in chicken thighs or 9 legs (depending on the size of your crockpot) evenly with a mixture of 1-tsp minced garlic, 1-tsp oregano, ¾-tsp Himalayan or seas salt, and ½-tsp freshly ground pepper. Either brown each side of the chicken in a skillet with olive oil (for looks) and add it to the crockpot or just add the raw, seasoned meat on top of the vegetables.

Cook on high for about 3 to 4 hours or low for 7 to 8 hours, until the chicken is done.

Creamy Mushroom Pork-Chops

When he was growing up, my brother requested this dish every year for his birthday dinner. It’s so easy, my mom often tried to talk him into something else. It’s so tasty, though, that she was never able to.

Layer four to six 3/4-inch thick, bone-in pork chops and 1 chopped medium-sized onion in your crockpot. In a bowl, combine one 10 ½-oz can of cream of mushroom soup, one 10 ½-oz can of cream of celery soup, 2/3-cup sliced mushrooms, and 2-tsp minced garlic. Mix the soups together thoroughly and pour it over the meat.

Cover and cook for 8 to 9 hours on low until you can easily pass a fork through the chops. Serve with the rice or vegetables and mashed potatoes.

Mexican Casserole

This dish packs a lot of flavor and can easily be tweaked to taste or for variety. Although you can make the cornbread element from scratch, this is greatly simplified by using a boxed cornbread mix like Jiffy.

In a skillet, brown 1-lb of ground beef. Drain the meat and add one 14-oz can of spicy refried beans, one 4-oz can of drained chopped green chiles, and 1-tsp of chili powder. Using one 8 ½-oz box of corn muffin mix, mix the corn batter according to the package directions (it usually requires an egg and some milk). Stir in half of one 14-oz can of cream-style corn and half of one 14-oz can of drained regular kernel corn. Spray your crockpot with a nonstick spray and then add half of the batter in an even layer. Top with the meat mixture. Combine the remainder from the cans of corn and creamed corn and spread it over the meat mixture. Sprinkle with ¾-cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Spread the rest of the batter on top, and sprinkle with another ¾-cup of the cheddar cheese.

Cover and cook on high for 1 hour and then turn the settings to low 3 ½ to 4 hours, or cook entirely on low for 6 hours.

Roast Beef with Carrots, Red Potatoes, and Onion

This is one of the most popular crockpot dishes, perhaps because it is an easy to make, healthy, and hearty dish. This is just one version and it can be adapted to fit your tastes and those of whom you are serving.

Apply about 1-tbsp olive oil to the interior of the crockpot. Sprinkle 1 3-pound boneless roast with ½-tsp Himalayan or sea salt and ½-tsp freshly ground black pepper. Place the roast in your slow cooker and add 1-cup chopped yellow onion, 2-cups sliced or diced red potatoes, 2-cups baby carrots, 1-cup sliced celery, 2-cups chicken or vegetable broth, and 1-cup of water.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours until done.

Dessert

Nearly everyone knows that crockpots provide a convenient method for cooking one-pot dishes. Not many, though, realize that the same easy appliance that makes great meat with vegetable dishes and stews is also capable of cooking delicious desserts. Almost any dish that can be prepared in an oven or on a stovetop can be cooked in a crock-pot. Here are a few simple recipes to get you started.

Apple Crisp

With 4 packages of cinnamon crumb cake mix featuring a separate cinnamon topping, this dessert is easy.

Open 4 (21-oz) cans of apple pie filling. Cut the apple slices into smaller, 1-inch pieces. Place the apples and filling in a large bowl and stir in the cinnamon topping that came with two of the cinnamon crumb cake mixes. Place this in your crock-pot. Clean out the bowl and then combine the 4 packages of cinnamon crumb cake mix with 1-cup of melted butter and one of the cinnamon toppings. Sprinkle this over the filling, and then sprinkle the last package of cinnamon topping and 1 ⅓-cup walnuts.

Cover and cook on a low setting for 2 to 3 hours. Serve warm by itself or topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Note: You can change the dish entirely by replacing the apple filling with a different pie filling to create a different type of fruit crisp.

Cheesecake

This recipe uses the “pot within a pot” method. Once you know about this option, it takes cooking in a crockpot to a whole different level.

In a large bowl, warm 24-ounces cream cheese to room temperature. Stir in ¾-cup of granulated sugar until it is thoroughly blended, and then add 3 eggs, blending between each one. In a second bowl, mix the crumbs from 6 crushed graham crackers with 3-tbsp melted butter. Choose a pan that easily fits within your crock-pot and add the graham cracker mixture in an even layer. Ladle the cream cheese mixture onto the graham cracker layer. Pour about 3-cups of water into the bottom of the crockpot and place the pan inside it.

Cover and cook on high for 2 to 2 ½-hours. When you can insert a knife into the center of the cake and it comes out clean, the cheesecake is done. Remove the pan from the slow cooker and let it cool for 30 to 60 minutes before placing it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow the cheesecake to firm up.

Chocolate Lava Cake

If you love chocolate, this dessert is for you.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 ½-sticks melted butter, 3 large eggs, 1 ½-cups sugar; ⅔-cup unsweetened cocoa powder, ⅓-cup all-purpose flour, 1-tsp. vanilla extract, and ½-tsp. Himalayan or sea salt, and then add ½-cup semisweet chocolate chips. Generously apply butter to the interior of your crock-pot. Pour in the batter making sure it is distributed evenly.

Cover and cook on the low setting for 3 hours. When the center is gooey and the edges are crisp, the cake is done. Serve it by itself or warm with vanilla ice cream.

Snacks

Many people find that their energy levels remain high throughout the day when they incorporate a snack or two between meals. Baby carrots and hummus or trail mix make great options when you’re on the road, but sometimes you want something more decadent. These crockpot snack recipes have that covered.

Baked Apple with Butter

Although fresh apples make this a great autumn treat, baked apples taste good all year long.

Wash and core 6 tart apples leaving the bottoms intact. In a small bowl, combine ¼-cup brown sugar, ¼-cup chopped walnuts, 4-tsp cinnamon, 1-tsp nutmeg, and 2-tbsp of butter. Fill each apple with the mixture and place them in the crockpot. Pour ½-cup apple juice, apple cider, or diluted apple cider vinegar around the apples.

Cook on a high setting for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Cool slightly and serve alone or with a bit of vanilla ice cream.

Note: These preserve nicely for about three days when refrigerated in an airtight container.

Beef and Corn Queso Dip

A Halloween and Superbowl party favorite, this queso dip is super easy.

Get 1-lb of pre-browned ground beef or brown 1-lb ground beef in a skillet. Place the browned ground beef into the crockpot and stir in 10-oz frozen sweet corn, 5 to 6-oz plain Greek yogurt, a 10-oz can Rotel, and some garlic salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Add 6-oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese and mix everything together. Cut 8-oz cream cheese (your preferred type, regular to fat free) into big chunks and lay them on top.

Cover and cook on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until hot. Stir the cream cheese in and add 2 chopped green onions. Reduce the setting to warm and serve with tortilla chips.

Chocolate Dip

Perhaps the easiest snack is this chocolate dip.

Place 12-oz semisweet chocolate chips, 2-oz chopped bittersweet chocolate, 2-oz milk chocolate chips, 1 1/-cup heavy cream, 1-tsp vanilla extract, and 1/8-tsp sea salt into slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for about 1 hour, stirring every 20-minutes until warm and smooth. Switch the setting to warm and use the chocolate for dipping strawberries, apple or banana slices, marshmallows, or pretzels.

Note: Filling this mixture with nuts, and then spooning it onto wax paper to cool, makes a simple candy cluster.

In Conclusion

One of the best things about slow cookers is that they are almost foolproof. Placing slow-cooking ingredients, such as root vegetables, at the bottom and layering the rest on top creates an evenly cooked meal for dinner or lunch. With a huge potential for versatility, it is easy to experiment in the kitchen. So, try these recipes or tweak them to your own tastes. Have fun with the process and remember that by keeping a few basics in mind, you really can’t go wrong. Please share on Facebook or other social media sites with your fellow RVers and your other culinary friends.

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