Slow cooking is supposed to be easy. But when a crockpot recipe has a lot of extra steps or a long ingredient list, what was supposed to be a convenient meal can turn into a big production. However, that is not the case with these ultra-easy crockpot stew and soup recipes. Each dish has no more than five ingredients, which means you can prepare a batch of filling lunches for the week or a simple dinner with almost no effort.
1. 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Chili with Beef and Kidney Beans
Hearty chili is the perfect one-pot dish, especially when you’re making this simple version. All you need to do is add some ingredients to the slow cooker in the morning and you can enjoy a filling meal by mid-afternoon. Plus, this version has more beans than beef, so you’re getting some extra plant-based protein in your diet, which is good for both your body and the planet. This recipe is from Food Network and serves 8.
- 2 (15.5-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
- 1 pound bottom round beef, cubed into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, squeezed by hand
- 1½ cups diced yellow or white onion
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Mexican seasoning
Directions: Mash one can of kidney beans in a slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook 6½ hours on low heat. Top with your favorite ingredients, like avocado, lime juice, thick plain yogurt, cilantro, and shredded cheese.
2. German-Style Pork Stew
For a stick-to-your-ribs fall meal, try this German-style crockpot stew, which swaps the predictable red meat for pork shoulder. (The recipe can also be made with beef chuck if you prefer.) Using already diced potatoes and premade mushroom gravy cuts down on the prep time. Serve the finished stew with crusty bread and salad for a complete dinner. This recipe from Better Homes and Gardens serves 4.
- 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder or beef chuck, trimmed and cut into ¾-inch cubes
- 1 (16-ounce) package refrigerated diced potatoes
- 2 (12-ounce) jars mushroom gravy
- 1½ cups apple juice
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
Directions: Lightly coat a 12-inch skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Add pork; cook and stir until light brown. Drain off fat.
In a 3½- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine pork, potatoes, gravy, apple juice, and caraway seeds.
Cover; cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high setting for 3½ to 4 hours.
3. Mexican Meatball Stew
You only need 10 minutes in the morning to prepare this crockpot stew recipe from Midwest Living, making it the perfect dinner solution for busy weekdays. Using frozen store-bought meatballs saves you time (though you could also make this with your own homemade frozen turkey meatballs), as does relying on staples like canned tomatoes, black beans, and frozen corn. Serves 9 to 10.
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans Mexican-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
- 2 (12-ounce) packages frozen cooked Italian-style turkey meatballs, thawed (24 total)
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (14-ounce) can seasoned chicken broth with roasted garlic
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
- Fresh oregano (optional)
Directions: Combine undrained tomatoes, meatballs, drained beans, broth, and corn in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3½ hours. If desired, garnish each serving with oregano.
4. Crockpot Cream of Asparagus Soup
For a lighter meal, try this simple cream of asparagus soup recipe from The Kitchen Magpie. Unlike some soup recipes, this one doesn’t require extra steps like sautéing the onions beforehand. Instead, you just toss a few ingredients in your crockpot and go about your day. Eight hours later, you can come home to a rich and filling dinner. Plus, it’s easy to make this recipe vegan-friendly by substituting coconut milk for the cream. (Note: Vegeta seasoning is an all-purpose seasoning mix made from dehydrated vegetables, salt, and other ingredients; you can find it at Amazon, Cost Plus World Market, and other stores.) Serves 8.
- 2 pounds green asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
- 1 cup of white onion, chopped
- 5 cups water
- 2 teaspoons Vegeta seasoning
- ½ cup heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk
Directions: Add the asparagus, chopped white onion, water, and Vegeta seasoning to your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Just before serving, use an immersion blender to puree the cooked soup until smooth. Stir in the cream or coconut milk. Ladle into bowls and serve with additional cream drizzled on top.
5. Split Pea Soup with Ham
You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make a delicious split pea soup. This recipe from Prevention requires just five ingredients and is a good way to use up leftover ham from Sunday night’s dinner. It’s also a good source of fiber and protein (each serving contain 16.5 grams of fiber and 19 grams of protein). Serves eight.
- 2½ quarts water
- 1 ham hock, or pieces of cut up ham
- 2½ cups of dried split peas
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, cut in small pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Bring water to a boil in a saucepan on stovetop.
Place all other ingredients into slow cooker. Add boiling water and stir together well. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or until vegetables are tender.
If you’ve made the soup using a ham hock, remove it from soup and pull off the meat. Stir cut-up chunks of meat back into soup before serving.
6. Tomato hamburger soup
Hearty and warming, tomato hamburger soup is enough to satisfy the whole family — and it couldn’t be easier! This recipe from Taste of Home is perfect to have on hand for those busy weeknight dinners. Plus, it has tons of vegetables, so you can feel good about serving it to your family. It makes a lot — about 3 quarts, or 12 servings. Freeze the leftovers for another easy dinner, or use it for lunches throughout the week.
- 1 can (46 ounces) V8 juice
- 2 packages (16 ounces each) frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
- 1 can (10 ¾ ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
- 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
- Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine the first five ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.
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