When we talk and write about things that are typically associated with moms, a few (admittedly, cliche) things come to mind — minivans, soccer practice, meal planning, and of course – the crock pot. I never understood the importance of dinner being on the table in a hurry until I had my own wild toddler hanging off my ankles in the kitchen. Long gone are the days of laborious chopping, simmering, and multi-course meals. These days it’s all about efficiency and convenience, while still focusing on health, nutrition, and of course – taste.
Fall is my favorite season for a number of reasons, but most importantly – it’s all about the food! Fragrant spices, hearty squashes, fresh picked apples – these things combine to bring us a season of tasty, healthy, and hearty meals. For moms in a hurry – which is all of us, right? – here are some delicious fall-flavored crock pot recipes that will help you bring tasty meals to your table using pantry basics, seasonal staples, and your favorite kitchen appliance.
Quinoa Butternut Squash Chili 1 of 10
My pantry contains a huge pull-out shelf of ball jars filled with nothing other than dried pantry goods -- things like rice, lentils, millet, quinoa, nuts, dried fruit, and more. I love quinoa because it's a "superseed" that is rich in nutrition as well as being a complete protein - important for us as vegetarians. This quinoa and butternut squash chili is a fun twist on a traditional classic that blends rich protein with fall flavors. Rather than carefully watching your quinoa simmer on the stovetop, you can toss it in the crock pot and go!
Recipe and photo source: Modern Girl Nutrition
Homemade Apple Butter 2 of 10
Is there anything more quintessentially "fall" than apple picking? If you are anything like me, you get so excited about the abundance of tasty apples that you come home with bags and bushels of them and then wonder, "now what will I do with all of these?" Homemade apple butter is something that used to feel like a major kitchen production, but this recipe allows you to throw it together into a crock pot and press go! Fresh apples combine with pantry basics like fall spices, apple cider vinegar, and ciders. Your house will smell delicious by the end of the day!
Recipe and photo source: Daring Gourmet
Applesauce 3 of 10
If apple butter isn't your thing, try your hand at traditional applesauce. You need nothing other than a big jar of cinnamon from the spice rack, along with as many apples as your crock pot can hold. In our house, homemade applesauce is a hit with the kids and adults alike! Depending on how much water you add and whether or not you choose to peel the apples, you can make it smooth and silky or leave it thick and chunky -- either way, you really can't go wrong.
Recipe and photo credit: Hello Luvvy
Vegetarian Lentil Soup 4 of 10
In addition to our dried pantry goods, I try to always have some of our staple fresh items on hand each week too. In the winter, this usually means having a bunch or two each of onions, carrots, and celery - otherwise known as mirepoix, or the base for most soups and stews. This vegetarian lentil soup combines mirepoix vegetables with pantry goods like dried lentils, broth, and spices. Toss it into the crockpot during breakfast and come home to a hearty meal.
Recipe and photo source: Family Fresh Meals
Hearty Minestrone Soup 5 of 10
For another twist on a hearty vegetable soup, toss together a simple minestrone. Pantry basics like pasta, canned tomatoes, canned white beans, broth, and spices come together with simple chopped vegetables to create a delicious complete meal. This healthy, vegetarian entree can be made quickly in the morning, and will be ready to feed the whole family at the end of the day.
Recipe and photo source: Skinnytaste
Moroccan Stew 6 of 10
Here is another fun way to take the same basic pantry ingredients and turn them into something special. Dried lentils, canned chickpeas and tomatoes, vegetable broth, and spices all combine with fresh vegetables of your choice to create a Moroccan masterpiece. Let it cook all day while you are out and about, and then top with fresh yogurt and herbs just before serving.
Tomato Ravioli Soup 7 of 10
There are few things as comforting as tomato soup. This recipe combines canned (or fresh!) tomatoes with dried raviolis, broth, and spices to create a warm and tasty tomato ravioli soup. The addition of ravioli pasta helps make one soup bowl feel like an entire meal.
Recipe and photo source: Today's Creative Blog
Creamy Tomato Soup 8 of 10
Of course if you prefer the more traditional tomato soup, there is a crock pot option for you as well. Throw this creamy tomato soup together before work, and then pair with freshly grilled cheese before serving for dinner. On a rainy, cool evening there is truly nothing better.
Recipe and photo source: Skinnytaste
Pumpkin Soup 9 of 10
We can't talk about fall flavors without mentioning the beloved pumpkin. I stock up on a dozen or so cans at the beginning of every season, and pull them out here and there for baked goods, breakfast, and desserts. But pumpkin can also extend into dinner, as seen in this crock pot pumpkin soup! Canned pumpkin takes the place of what might usually be butternut squash or sweet potatoes, and easily combines with mirepoix veggie and fall spices to create a delicious meal.
Recipe and photo source: Moms With Crock Pots
Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal 10 of 10
And if you are all soup-ed out by now, there is still plenty you can create in your crock pot besides one-dish dinners. Unlike dinner recipes that you start in the morning (and cook all day!), toss together this pumpkin spice oatmeal just before bed, and wake up to a kitchen oozing with fall smells and flavors.
Recipe and photo source: Weelicious