Is it just me or does everyone have an Instant Pot these days? I haven’t jumped on the purchase wagon yet, but seeing all these delicious recipes people are creating in their Instant Pots has me pulling out my crock pot more and more often—it may be slower, but it has the benefit of already being a staple in my kitchen, and suits my cooking preferences (protein-rich, healthy-ish, and as little work as possible) just perfectly.
Lately, I’ve found myself gravitating toward a few comfort-food crock pot recipes that meet all the criteria above and also make me feel all cozy and warm inside. As long as cold and flu season insists on sticking with us, I’m sticking with winter comfort foods, thankyouverymuch.
One of my staples for an easy dish that you can serve at any meal is shakshuka. I first tried shakshuka in Israel years ago, and have been obsessed with it ever since. This spicy tomato egg dish is the ultimate savory comfort food, and, you get to sop up all that yummy sauce mixed with egg yolks with a bagel or bread of your choice.
Even though it’s often made in a skillet, it’s incredibly easy to make in a crock pot, with ingredients you probably already have on hand. You let the crock pot do the hard work—poaching the eggs—for you, and I think slow cooking just lets the flavors and spices in the sauce meld and bloom even better.
You cook the sauce first, then add the Eggland’s Best eggs toward the end, which lets you get fairly precise about how cooked you want your eggs. My preference, of course, is a nice runny yolk—it runs into the tomato sauce and gives it an extra richness. Plus you get that picture-perfect, bright yellow yolk swimming in the vibrant red sauce. I use Eggland’s Best Eggs because they have 6 times as much Vitamin D as other eggs—so necessary to get enough of in the winter—and those extra-bright yolks help give an extra shot of rich color in my food photos. Perfection.
When I was a kid, steamed rice was on our plates basically every night of the week, and as a result, rice-based dishes are the ultimate comfort food for me. They immediately take me back to a happy, warm, safe place.
I’m telling you about my profound love for rice because I want you to know just how delightful the cauliflower substitution in this recipe is. It works. You don’t miss the rice at all, even if you are rice’s #1 fan.
Making risotto in the crock pot saves you all that time standing over the stove and stirring, and it’s basically foolproof. And since cauliflower cooks faster than rice, well, it’s also a fairly quick crock pot recipe.
To make this dish extra easy, I buy riced cauliflower (my food processor is on the fritz, and I decided recently I’ve spent too much of my life cleaning up scattered cauliflower nubs after doing a fine chop myself).
The cauliflower is of course just one way to boost the nutrient profile of this dish, and to transform a food normally associated with carbo loading and food comas into a nutritional powerhouse. To amplify the protein, I use bone broth, and top it with a fried or poached EB egg or two. The yolks just add to the creamy, rich deliciousness, and of course boost the nutrient content with more than double the Vitamin B12, E, and omega 3s.
If you have leftovers, why not try making my favorite food ever, arancini? And then let me know how it goes? 🙂
Japanese Egg Custard (Chawan Mushi)
Usually when you hear the word custard, you think of a dessert, but this Japanese dish is an appetizer or breakfast food that gives you that glorious silky texture of a custard with a savory flavor profile. Like an omelet or an egg bake, you can easily add fillings—I’ve seen chawan mushi adapted with shrimp, mushrooms, and other veggies—but I like mine straight up, because I don’t want any interruptions to the silky sensation of custard on my tongue.
On the scale of custards, it’s perhaps the most delicate one I’ve tried. Creme brulee is creamy; flan is jiggly; this one trembles and slides. It’s so simple and customizable but feels fancy to eat and to serve. No one needs to know it’s just a few ingredients combined in a crock pot.
You will need a couple of specialty ingredients, namely dashi, a Japanese broth, and mirin, rice wine, both of which can be found at Japanese shops or specialty grocery stores. In a pinch you can use regular ol’ chicken or vegetable broth and sake or dry white wine. And, of course, Eggland’s Best Eggs, to get the most nutrition out of this simple dish—luckily those are really easy to find, no matter where you are.
Those are the three easy, protein-packed crock pot recipes I currently have on constant rotation. They seem way fancier than crock pot creations, don’t they? It just means I get to go on a culinary tour around the world, thanks to my crock pot, every single week.
What’s your protein-rich go-to for the slow cooker? Please share!