Staying in on New Year’s Eve has a lot of advantages. You avoid overcrowded bars and clubs, get to ring in the New Year with people you actually like, and save yourself a cab fare home. But whether you’re hosting a big bash of your own or spending the evening with just a couple of friends or family, an at-home celebration does mean you’re on your own as far as food. Rather than spending the night slaving away in the kitchen or settling for sub-par takeout, throw together one of these easy slow cooker recipes, and you’ll have some delicious grub to see you through until 2017.
1. Spicy Crockpot Meatballs
Satisfy your craving for spicy food with these simple slow cooker meatballs. Using pre-made frozen meatballs means all you have to do is mix together the ingredients for this savory sauce, toss everything in the slow cooker, and enjoy. Recipe from Pack Momma.
- 2 (10-ounce) bags frozen meatballs
- 1½ cups ketchup
- 1 cup honey
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Directions: Warm the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the ketchup, honey, brown sugar, and sriracha sauce and stir to combine. (Use more sriracha if you prefer a spicier meatball.) Let mixture come to a boil, turn heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the frozen meatballs to slow cooker. Pour sauce over top and stir. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours or on high for 1 hour. When meatballs are cooked, transfer to a serving dish with the sauce, spear each with a toothpick, and serve.
2. Crockpot Crab Dip
Warm and cheesy crab dip served with crackers, pita, or raw cut vegetables will be a hit with the seafood lovers at your party. For best results, use fresh or frozen crab meat in this dish, not canned, as well as fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Recipe from Stacy Makes Cents.
- ½ pound Maryland crab meat (preferably backfin)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons mayo
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard (or 1 tablespoon regular mustard)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
Directions: Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high. After about 30 minutes, stir the dip and check the temperature. Continue to stir every 30 minutes or so until the dip is hot and bubbly (exact cooking time will depend on your slow cooker). Once dip is fully cooked, turn heat to low until ready to serve.
3. Slow Cooker Guinness French Dip Sandwiches
Your guests won’t be able to get enough of this take on the traditional French dip sandwich, which is made extra-yummy by adding some full-bodied Guinness to the pot. You can serve these on full-size French rolls or on slider buns as an appetizer. Recipe from Baked by Rachel.
- 2½ pounds chuck roast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 12 ounces Guinness
- 3 cups beef broth
Directions: Place the roast in the crock of a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with half the spices and rub in. Flip the roast and sprinkle and rub in the remaining spices. Pour in the broth and Guinness and add the bay leaf. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 5 hours.
When meat is fully cooked, remove the roast from the slow cooker. Pour the cooking juices into a bowl. Shred the roast with two forks, return the meat to the crockpot, and turn to the “keep warm” setting. To serve, top rolls with meat and cheese (optional). Serve with cooking juices on the side for dipping.
4. Hoisin Pork Roast
Even if your New Year’s plans involve preparing a more formal dinner, that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen. This hoisin pork roast looks fancy but is actually quite easy to prepare. Recipe from Rachael Ray.
- Cooking spray
- 1 boneless pork loin roast (about 3 pounds), tied
- 1 (10 ounce) jar duck sauce or hoisin sauce (about ¾ cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon chili paste
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Directions: Spray the slow cooker with cooking spray and add the pork roast. In a small bowl, combine the duck sauce, garlic, ginger, chili paste, rice wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Whisk in the cornstarch. Pour the sauce over the pork.
Cover the slow cooker and cook the roast until fork-tender and an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit (3½ hours on high or 8 hours on low). Transfer the pork to a platter, cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour the cooking liquid into a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes, then skim any fat from the surface.
Slice the pork and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle the scallions and cilantro on top. Serve the Asian sauce on the side.
5. Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream
Vegetarian black bean and barley tacos are a crowd-pleasing favorite that both adults and kids will love on New Year’s Eve. The delicious avocado cream is the perfect finishing touch for this Mexican-inspired meal. Recipe from Cookie Monster Cooking.
For the filling:
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 cup hulled or pearled barley
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- Juice of half a lime
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
For the avocado chipotle cream:
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1½ tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon half and half
- 1 teaspoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- ⅛ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- Flour or corn tortillas
- Chopped cilantro
- Crumbled feta cheese
Directions: Add all the taco filling ingredients to slow cooker. Stir, then cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. (If using pearled barley, reduce cooking time by 1 hour.)
To make the avocado cream, pit the avocado and scoop out the flesh. Add the avocado flesh to a medium bowl and mash. Add the Greek yogurt, half and half, chipotle pepper, and salt and stir to combine.
Spoon taco filling onto tortillas. Top with avocado cream, cilantro and feta cheese. Serve.
6. Slow Cooker Brownie Pudding
Even if baking isn’t your forte, you’ll still be able to make this brownie pudding, which combines boxed brownie mix and chocolate pudding for a rich, delicious dessert, especially when topped with French vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Recipe from Crazy for Crust.
- 1 (18-ounce) box brownie mix (enough to fill a 9-by-13-inch pan)
- Eggs, water, and oil, as called for on the brownie mix box
- 1 package (about 3.9 ounces) instant chocolate or chocolate fudge pudding mix
- 2 cups milk (regular or nonfat)
- Ice cream or whipped cream for serving (optional)
Directions: Spray a 6- to 7-quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Mix brownies as directed on the box. Pour batter into the slow cooker.
Pour pudding mix into a medium bowl and whisk with milk until smooth. Pour over the brownie batter.
Cover the slow cooker with a paper towel and then place the lid on the crock (this will catch the condensation during cooking). Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours. When the edges start to crack and dry out the pudding is done, even if it’s still moist in the center.
Scoop pudding into bowls and top with ice cream or whipped cream. Serve.
7. Spinach and Bacon Breakfast Casserole
You can prepare this make-ahead breakfast dish before your guests arrive and then set it to cook before you go to bed. When you wake up the next morning, you’ll have a filling spinach and bacon casserole that will help you start the new year off on the right foot. Recipe from CD Kitchen.
- 5 slices white bread, cubed
- 1 (10-ounce) box frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
- ½ pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 cups blended shredded cheese, divided
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup onion, chopped
- 1 (10¾-ounce) can cream of celery soup
- 5 eggs
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Directions: Mix together the bread, spinach, bacon, 1⅔ cups of cheese, bell pepper, and onion in the slow cooker. In a large bowl, whisk together the soup, eggs, milk, salt, mustard, and pepper. Pour into the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Remove crock from refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Return crock to slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 2½ to 3½ hours. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and continue to cook for another 15 minutes until cheese is melted.
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