12 Easy Cheap Crockpot Recipes

Mary Gormandy White
Slow Cooker Meal Preparation

For tasty, budget-friendly cooking, few things compare to preparing meals in a Crock Pot. That's because slow cooking makes inexpensive meats tender, stretches vegetables further, and allows for simple creativity in the kitchen. Use these 12 easy-to-make, low cost slow cooker recipes to create delicious variety in your meal plan. Each one is designed for a 6 to 8 quart appliance.

Apricot Chicken Recipe

Four main ingredients and a few common pantry spices make up this simple yet tasty dinner. Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 6 skinless chicken breasts, frozen
  • 1 cup apricot jam (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 package dry onion soup
  • ½ cup French dressing (purchased or scratch-made)
  • 1 tsp. dried basil or thyme
  • dash of pepper

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
  2. Mix the other ingredients together in a bowl, then pour over the chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
  4. Spoon over cooked rice.

Barbecue Chicken

Barbecue Chicken

This is a great recipe to make ahead and freeze. Serve on its own for tasty homemade barbecue chicken plates, or use for shredded chicken sandwiches, wraps, or as a topping for baked potatoes. Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 6 skinless chicken breasts, frozen
  • 1 12-oz bottle barbeque sauce, any variety (or homemade)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup Italian dressing
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
  2. Mix the other ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Pour mixture over the chicken.
  4. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours or on high 4 - 6 hours.

Cheesy Chicken

If you're looking for a Tex-Mex style chicken dinner that's affordable and easy-to-make, try this tasty casserole. Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 10 oz. can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 10 oz. can condensed Fiesta nacho cheese soup
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 16 ounces of cooked rice or noodles for serving

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
  2. Mix the other ingredients (except the rice or noodles) together in a bowl.
  3. Pour mixture over the chicken.
  4. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours or on high 4 -6 hours.
  5. Serve over rice or noodles.

Simple Pot Roast

Stock up on roasts when your supermarket has buy-one-get-one-free or loss leader specials so you can enjoy this tasty recipe regularly. Serves 6.

Ingredients

slow cooker pot roast
  • 1 3-pound roast
  • 2 cups chopped carrots or whole baby carrots
  • 1 pound peeled whole new potatoes or larger potatoes cut into chunks
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 14 ½ ounce can of beef broth or beef stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low 6 - 8 hours.

Shredded Barbecue Beef

It's easy to make shredded beef for barbecue sandwiches or for your own homemade barbecue plates using your slow cooker.

Ingredients

  • 2-pound beef brisket
  • 1 12-oz bottle of barbecue sauce, any variety (or made from your favorite recipe)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low 6 - 8 hours or on high 4 - 6 hours.
  3. Use a fork to shred the meat.

Asian Beef

Make an easy Asian dinner that's ready when you come home from work. Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beef round, cut into strips
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups bok choy cabbage, shredded
  • 2 cups broccoli, lightly steamed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 tsp. olive oil

Instructions

  1. Sauté the beef strips in oil.
  2. Place in the slow cooker with the other ingredients except for the broccoli and cornstarch.
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours until the beef is fork tender.
  4. Dissolve cornstarch in the cold water and stir into slow cooker.
  5. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in steamed broccoli and serve.

Lasagna

No need to run the oven when you can make this simple lasagna recipe in your slow cooker. Serves 6-8.

Instructions

Lasagna
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (675 ml) jar pasta sauce, any variety (or homemade using an easy recipe)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ¾ cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 ¾ cups shredded Italian cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup parmesan grated cheese, divided
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • 6 lasagna noodles, uncooked

Ingredients

  1. Brown beef in a skillet.
  2. Drain beef; return to skillet.
  3. Stir in sauce and water.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together 1½ cups of the shredded cheese, 2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese, egg (if you are using it), and parsley.
  5. Break lasagna noodles to fit the diameter of the slow cooker.
  6. Layer the meat, noodles, cheese mixture and ricotta into the pot.
  7. Top with the sauce.
  8. Cook on low for 5-6 hours until the noodles absorb the liquid.
  9. Spoon into individual bowls and top with remaining cheese.
  10. Dinner is ready when the cheese melts.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

If you're looking for something fast, low-cost and convenient, it's hard to beat spaghetti and meatballs made with slow cooker sauce. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. frozen precooked meatballs (made from your favorite recipe or store-bought)
  • 1 26-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 14 1/2 ounce jar diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 16 ounces cooked spaghetti or Fettuccine pasta for serving

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients (except pasta) in slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for two hours or on low for three to six hours.
  3. Serve sauce over hot cooked pasta.

Ham and Potato Casserole

Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Casserole

This recipe provides a great way to enjoy leftover ham and potatoes. It's a terrific option for using up holiday leftovers, but it's also so good that you might want to purchase ham just so you can prepare this yummy dish. Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 4 red potatoes, sliced
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 pounds cubed cooked ham
  • 1 can condensed cream of celery soup, diluted according to can directions
  • 2 tbsp. flour

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in slow cooker.
  • Cover and simmer on low for 4 - 6 hours.

Chili

This tasty dish is a great option for chilly days. Consider making a bigger batch, because it freezes quite well. It tastes great straight from the bowl, and also works well as a topping for nachos. Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 28-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 cans kidney beans, drained
  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place ground beef and onion in skillet over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir to crumble.
  4. Cook until browned.
  5. Drain.
  6. Transfer to slow cooker.
  7. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker.
  8. Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours.

Potato and Corn Chowder

This is a great soup to make ahead and store in the fridge for busy work weeks. Warm it up quickly in the microwave while you make a fresh salad, and you'll have a tasty dinner in just a few minutes. Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups potatoes, diced
  • 1 16-oz. can creamed corn
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetarian broth
  • ½ of a white onion, chopped
  • 6 slices crispy bacon, crumbled (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 12-oz. can evaporated milk

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients except the milk to the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Add milk and continue to cook for another 30-45 minutes.

Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup

This recipe is a great way to use leftover cooked chicken to prepare a flavorful soup recipe.

Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 16 oz. jar salsa (or made from scratch)
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in slow cooker
  2. Cover and simmer on low for 2 - 4 hours

Save Money and Time with Your Slow Cooker

These are just a few of the many simple and frugal recipes you can prepare using your Crock Pot. Get in the habit of using it a few times each week - it won't take long for you to appreciate the simplicity of this affordable cooking method.

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12 Easy Cheap Crockpot Recipes