Slow cooker recipes

Slow-cooker recipes for Fall Here on The Suncoast

As the kids head back to school and the days slowly creep toward fall, time can get short. Finding quick ways to cook healthy and amazing foods can get hard between work, school, holidays, and just the hectic pace of life. We found the answer in five amazing, quick, slow-cooker recipes to inspire and satisfy your family this fall here on the Suncoast.

Fall Vegetable Sloppy Joes

Here is a unique twist on an old favorite –sloppy joes. A healthy way to get kids and picky eaters of all ages to enjoy vegetables with all the goodness of a sloppy joe.


Sloppy Joe

8 bacon strips, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups shredded peeled butternut squash
2 medium parsnips, peeled and shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1 can (12 ounces) cola
1 can (8 ounces) tomato paste
1 cup water
1/3 cup honey mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon pepper
18 hamburger buns, split


  • In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Discard drippings.
  • In the same skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until beef is no longer pink and onion is tender, 10-12 minutes, breaking meat into crumbles; drain.
  • Transfer to a 5- or 6-qt. slow-cooker. Stir in squash, parsnips, carrots, cola, tomato paste, water, mustard and seasonings.
  • Cook, covered, on low until vegetables are tender, 4-5 hours.
  • Stir in bacon.
  • Serve on buns.

Slow-Cooker Spaghetti

Yes, you read that right – spaghetti. Can you imagine if you could put the pasta in a slow-cooker and let it be ready hot and filling when you were ready? A single serving dish to clean with none of the fuss but a lot of the compliments on your cooking.

slow cooker spaghetti

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan
1/4 c. freshly chopped parsley
1 large egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 (28-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 lb. spaghetti
Grated Parmesan for garnish
Freshly chopped parsley for garnish


  • Make meatballs: In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, egg, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Form into 16 meatballs and place in the bottom of a slow-cooker.
    In another large bowl, mix together crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, oregano, and garlic.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Pour sauce over meatballs.
  • Cover cooker with lid and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5 hours.
    Add broth spaghetti to slow-cooker, breaking noodles in half to fit and stirring to coat noodles.
  • Replace lid and continue cooking on low for 1 1/2 hour more hours, stirring about every 30 minutes and breaking up any clumps of noodles and adding more broth as needed.
    Garnish with Parmesan and parsley before serving.

Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash

There is nothing quite like a warm bowl of chili on a cooler night this fall or winter. This is a healthy option for a twist on the traditional chili recipes you are probably familiar with. Take a bite and see how this savory dish works in your slow-cooker.

Chili Recipe Slow-Cooker


1 pound lean ground turkey
1 (28 ounces) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
1 (14 ounces) can kidney beans, rinsed
1 large onion, diced
4 cups cubed butternut squash
1 cup water
¼ cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese for serving
½ cup sliced scallions, for serving
Hot sauce, for serving


  • Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat.
  • Add turkey and cook, breaking it up into chunks, until no longer pink, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  • Add tomatoes, kidney beans, onion, squash, water, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, garlic, cinnamon, salt and cayenne to the slow cooker; stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8 hours.
  • Remove lid and stir to combine.
  • Serve hot, topped with Cheddar, scallions and hot sauce, if desired.

Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Stew

This is absolutely not your grandmother’s stew recipe. With flavors of curry, ginger, and other amazing fresh ingredients, this is sure to be a new flavor you don’t want to miss out trying this fall.


Indian Chicken Slow-cooker recipe

Nonstick cooking spray
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup onion, chopped (1 medium)
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper and/or cayenne pepper
2 15 ounce cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 9 ounces package fresh spinach (optional)
4 cups hot cooked rice (optional)


  • Line a 6-quart slow cooker with a disposable slow cooker liner.
  • Lightly coat liner with cooking spray; set cooker aside.
  • Add chicken, onion, and garlic to the slow cooker.
  • Add curry powder, ginger, salt, and pepper; toss to coat.
  • Stir in beans, tomatoes, broth, and bay leaf.
  • Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Stir lime juice into chicken mixture.
  • If desired, stir in spinach; let stand for 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach starts to wilt.
  • If desired, serve in bowls with hot cooked rice.

Butterscotch Apple Crisp

Of course, we couldn’t round out the list without at least one sweet treat. Your slow cooker can also make amazing treats, and this one is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.


apple crisp

6 cups peeled and sliced apples, Granny Smith, work well
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 (3.5-ounce) package cook-and-serve butterscotch pudding, use the dry mix, do NOT prepare pudding
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
vanilla ice cream for serving


  • Place apples in a greased 3 to 4-quart slow cooker.
  • In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, pudding mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Cut butter into the mixture using a pastry blender or your fingers.
  • Sprinkle mixture over apples.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Serve warm with vanilla ice cream

While fall may be one of the busiest times of the year, you can still prepare amazing home-cooked dinners, desserts, and so much more easily in your slow cooker. Whether a great dessert for a special occasion, a hearty stew with amazingly fresh ingredients, these and so many other recipes might be the cure for not eating out as much this coming year. Feel free to put your own twist on these and so many other options you can find to make your slow-cooker the hardest working tool in the kitchen.


Photos courtesy of Deposit Photos

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