If you feel like there’s something about winter that makes you want to stock up on food like a grizzly bear, you’re not alone. Cold days, the sun going down at what seems like mid-afternoon, the winter blues — it all adds up to feeling both ravenous and sleepy, a definite hibernation-type vibe. Cooking up a fulfilling, hearty meal that’s perfect for a frigid evening might sound like a daunting task, but it can be done. Just pull out the slow cooker and put together these crock pot recipes for winter in the morning. Go about your day, and return home to a hot and delicious meal that’s just waiting to be plated up with your choice of garnishes and sides.
There are definitely hearty vegetarian options in these recipes, but the ones with meat are easy, too. That’s because they don’t require what I consider to be a sneaky bait-and-switch technique that’s often found in crock pot recipes — that thing where you’re supposed to brown the meat before putting it in the slow cooker. If I wanted to stand over a pan browning meat, I wouldn’t be using my crock pot, would I? Who wants to brown meat in the morning? No, this is all about throwing ingredients into the pot when you wake up, and walking in from the cold later on to a fully-cooked meal.
1Chicken Tortilla Soup
The only thing better than soup on a cold winter day is chicken soup. Or in this case, A Spicy Perspective’s chicken tortilla soup, which combines comfort and cheer (top with fresh slices of avocado to brighten up your dinner table.)
2Potato and Corn Chowder
Getting your soup on doesn’t have to mean meat. This potato and corn chowder from Damn Delicious is rich and creamy, and you can substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock to make it completely meat-free.
3Pork Posole Stew
If you are feeling carnivorous, why not go with pork roast, as in Foodie Crush’s pork posole stew? (Posole, by the way, is a Mexican soup that’s pronounced pho-soh-lay). Bonus: this is a super-easy recipe, with no browning of the meat required beforehand!
4German Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Another delish pork recipe, this pulled pork from The Crepes of Wrath makes for an amazing, hot, hearty sandwich. Think leftovers… sandwiches for days!
5Vegetarian Lasagna Soup
Lasagna is a great cold-weather dish, but is by no means easy to make. If you combine the concept with your slow cooker, you get FoodieCrush’s vegetarian soup version. Now you can have your lasagna and eat it too!
6Sunday Pasta Sauce
If you’re looking for a hearty, Italian-style meal that doesn’t involve soup, you can cook up Half Baked Harvest’s flavorful, spicy Sunday pasta sauce and then simply ladle it over your favorite pasta.
7Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta
Another pasta dish via the crock pot? Sure, no problem. And this one ranch chicken pasta from Family Fresh Meals has bacon in it. So long, winter blues!
What would a lineup of awesome winter recipes be without chili? This shredded chicken chili from the Crepes of Wrath is another ingenious recipe that doesn’t require that you cook the meat (in this case, chicken) beforehand.
9Chicken Ranch Sloppy Joe
This a'int your cafeteria's Sloppy Joe. Cooking For Keeps has come up with a ranch chicken Sloppy Joe that you can put on a roll with cheese and fresh veggies. It’ll totally banish those cafeteria memories, forever.