Getting dinner on the table doesn’t have to be a battle—at least not when you rely on your trusty slow cooker. From working moms to busy singles to frenzied families of all kinds, everybody knows that there’s a sweet simplicity to throwing ingredients together, plugging in the crockpot, and focusing on something else. Once the ingredients are cooking, you can sit back, relax and know that dinner will be ready in a few short hours. Plus, what’s even better is that these slow-cook dinners are easily gluten-free! So the next time your household needs a fast, convenient, home-cooked meal sans gluten and sans heavy prep work, look no further than these five crockpot staples.
1. Crockpot Chili
Stuff your slow cooker with ingredients in the morning, and have a hearty, meaty meal ready for you that night. Whether you eat a bowl of chili alongside watching the football game or as standard weeknight fare, one thing is certain: It is hard not to love a meal that comes together this easily. For an example of an easy, gluten-free crockpot chili recipe, try this one from Food.com:
RECIPE IDEA: Debbie’s Crockpot Chili: Debbie’s crockpot chili combines tomatoes with spices, beef, and kidney beans for a low-prep, slow-cook chili that users rank with five stars.
2. Crockpot Pot Roast
Is there any meal more comforting than a tender pot roast that’s been cooking all day with vegetables like carrots and potatoes adding to the flavor? Because pot roast revolves around meat, stock, spices, and vegetables, it’s a meal easy to make gluten-free. If you use bouillon cubes or packaged stock, be sure they are gluten-free too.
RECIPE IDEA: Use My Gluten-Free Kitchen’s recipe to make a pot roast with just seven ingredients, a long 8-hour cook time, and enough portions to feed six. This recipe includes 12 ounces of cream of mushroom soup—so look for a brand that’s marked as gluten-free.
3. Crockpot Potato Soup
Creamy, comforting, and delicious, potato soup is a favorite on a cool evening. Plus, beyond dicing up the ingredients, the prep work is almost nothing. Combine all your ingredients in the morning and come home to simmering soup—It’s as simple as that!
RECIPE IDEA: At Mama Loves Food, the potato soup recipe combines 5 pounds of russet potatoes with an onion, 10 cloves of garlic, 8 cups of stock, and 16 ounces of cream cheese. As long as your stock is free of gluten, this recipe is as Celiac-safe as it is incredibly easy.
4. Crockpot Roast Chicken
Think roasting a chicken has to involve trusses and basting and constant supervision? Think again! The truth is, roasting a chicken can be dead simple—So simple, you can even do it in a slow-cooker. Slow-cooking a whole chicken involves rubbing the bird with oil and spices, placing it in your crockpot, adding vegetables like celery and onion, and plugging in the pot. In 4 to 6 hours, it’s done.
RECIPE IDEA: In the slow-cooker recipe from Skinny Ms., the blogger recommends using a crockpot with a built-in temperature probe. “Put the probe in the fatty part of the thigh and set the probe to 165 degrees,” she writes. Then the slow cooker automatically adjusts the temperature as the chicken cooks.
5. Crockpot Vegetable Stew
For another vegetarian slow-cooker option that is also gluten-free, consider a crockpot vegetable stew. Made with ingredients like carrots, potatoes, onion, squash, and greens, a vegetable stew is yet another crockpot dish that screams comfort. Plus, after a little prep work chopping vegetables and combining them in the pot, all you have to do is turn on the slow cooker and go on with your day. Dinner will be ready when you need it.
RECIPE IDEA: Chow.com has a vegetable stew recipe filled with various spices and a medley of root vegetables: pumpkin, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. Be sure to choose a gluten-free stock or broth, and you have a wonderful gluten-free dinner option. It’s easy to prepare, easy to cook, and perfect for both gluten-free and vegetarian eaters.
Have you made many gluten-free meals in your crockpot? As the season changes and cooler temperatures come to an end, there’s never been a better time to start adding gluten-free crockpot meals to your repertoire. What other gluten-free favorites do you have?
About the author: Chris Bekermeier is Vice President, Sales & Marketing of PacMoore (http://www.pacmoore.com/) in Hammond, IN. PacMoore is a contract manufacturer focused on processing dry ingredients for the food & pharmaceutical industries. Capabilities include blending, spray drying, re-packaging, sifting, & consumer packaging.