Busy Mom’s Cooking Hacks: Buy Yourself A Damn Crock Pot And Stop Eating Sad Food

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The crux of #momlife all falls on #familydinner. Family dinners are so important to ensure that your kid won’t turn into a serial killer, but they can also be so annoying when you get home from work late and haven’t gone on a proper grocery run in weeks. I know you feel me.

This is precisely why I am the laziest cook alive. I am a Pinterest user, but mostly so I can scrape lazy ass crock pot recipes on to my desired boards. I have very strict criteria too. My crock pot recipes must be three ingredients or less. Yes, chicken counts as an ingredient.

If you don’t have a crock pot, you need to buy one. Crock pots are the perfect cooking tool for the lazy mom. I’m so lazy that I don’t even use my crock pot right. You’re supposed to take your crock pot all seriously and time exactly how long you are going to cook your lazy food on low, medium, or high. I’m so lazy that I forget all about that and throw my three ingredients into the crock pot last minute and then turn that bitch up to high in the hopes that the chicken will thaw. I’m very lazy.

Your family dinner will be terrible without a crock pot. I know this because you’ll get all stressed, and you’ll try to marinate chicken, and it will never be done in time, and your kids will look at you with sad, hungry eyes and grow to resent you. Or, you will order a pizza, and your kids will become obese. Way to go.

Never fear, as a fellow lazy crock pot cook, I am here to help. Here are five amazingtown 3-ingredient crock pot recipes that will get you through to the weekend. You can even make them again next week, and none of your ravenous kids will be the wiser.

If you’re lazy like me, tell me all of your crock pot secrets. Feel free to post your own lazy recipes in the comments section! I won’t judge.

1. Slow Cooker Sweet Glazed Pork Chops Recipe



Boneless pork chops + chili sauce + grape jelly = YUM.

2. Crock Pot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken



Chicken breasts + BBQ sauce + canned pineapple = Tasty Hawaiian feast.

3. 3-Ingredient Crock Pot Beef Tacos



Ground beef + taco seasoning + green chilies = Fuck yeah, taco night.

4. Crock Pot Ravioli



Frozen ravioli + spaghetti sauce + shredded mozzarella = Fancy Italian dinner.

5. 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler

slow cooker peach cobbler


Fresh peaches + white cake mix + stick of butter = Delicious dessert, kiddies!

(Image: AlenD/Shutterstock)

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  • Paul White

    crock pot dishes and broiling meat are my savior.

  • Kay_Sue

    I am stealing all of these.

    I don’t have any three ingredient or less recipes for my crockpot…but I do have use that son of a bitch at least two or three times a week. I never used it while I was working. I regret that so much now that I see how easy it is.

  • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

    I’m seeing a distinct (duh) pattern:

    1. Meat source (excluding fish)
    2. Sauce
    3. Fruit/Veggie

    Basically any combo will work. Try it out.

    Chuck Roast + Canned Chili + Carrots

    Chicken Breast + Tomato Sauce + Potato

    Lamb + Mayo + Broccoli

    OK last one sucks. But you get the point.


    • Bethany Ramos

      Chef Crusty knows what’s up!

    • Williwaw

      Turkey + Chocolate Syrup + Spinach = all the major food groups.

  • Julie

    Love the crock pot!!! But you gotta change your criteria and increase your ingredient number to include the VEGGIES too, so you don’t have to make any sides separately!!! Do a whole chicken in the crock pot w/ carrots and potatoes = dinner DONE! You can just open up your spice drawer/rack whatever and throw anything on it or you can look up a recipe, which i have done a few times! This one is good:


  • Jessifer

    I use my crockpot a lot, but I use it more to make huge batches of food that I can freeze and then thaw if I don’t have any meal planned that day. Stews, chilis, soups, meatballs, etc…

    • Jennifer Freeman

      You know, your comment just gave me an idea. I am all about freezing large quantities of things, but I NEVER actually eat them. I always forget to pull the frozen stuff out. Why did I never think of putting the frozen food into the crock pot? Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Jessifer

      You might also want to check out “Freezer crock pot meals”. The idea is to assemble all your ingredients beforehand (without cooking them), put them in ziploc bags, throw them in the freezer, then on the day you want to make the meal just take a ziploc out, plunk it in the crockpot and turn it on. That way, you’re cooking the food “fresh” rather than just reheating it. The first time I saw it, I really wondered why I had never thought of that!

    • Scarlet

      This might have just changed my life! I’m always running so late in the morning that I don’t have time to put the things together in the crock pot but if I can just pull it out of the freezer and put it in there I can still sleep really late and have dinner ready when I get home!!!!!

  • Jennifer Freeman

    Crock pots are the best! I will have to investigate these recipes because the ones I have used so far require me to prep some of the stuff the night before (I get up at 5:00 for work and refuse to get up a minute earlier). However, even with night before prep, the crock pot is magic because it brings us pulled pork sandwiches with minimal effort.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Do not use more than 5 ingredients!! ;)

  • Amy

    Frozen chicken breast + jar of salsa.

    Cook until… cooked. Shred, put on salads, tacos, nuked rice.

    Try not to fall over in exhaustion.

    • Alex Lee

      I just want a needlepoint that says:

      “Cook until….cooked.”

    • Bethany Ramos

      Ok, I am doing this, like now.

    • Kendra

      You stole mine!!! I was so excited to come here with this geniusness!!!! DAMN!

  • Linzon

    I cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker and it’s so stupid easy. Chop up on onion, put it on the bottom. Do whatever you want to do with the chicken spices-wise. Put the chicken on the onions. Cook on high 4-5 hours. Done! If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can crisp the skin by sticking the chicken under the broiler for a few minutes.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Omg, thank you. I promise I will not crisp this – lol. :)

    • Valerie

      I do the same thing. Only I stick several pads of butter on top. Makes it crispier. And buttery-er.

    • http://lawleramericanadventure.wordpress.com/ Nicole

      If you’re feeling particularly domestic goddess like, the juices and onion at the bottom of the pot would make a pretty sweet gravy.

    • LiteBrite

      I cook EVERYTHING in the slow cooker because it’s so stupid easy. Even my normally culinary-challenged husband can work the thing.

      Crockpots are serious magic.

    • rrlo

      I have used my crock pot 3 times since I got it as a shower present (8 years ago). I find that I dislike the color of the chicken once it’s cooked (I grew up eating curries and grey chicken turns me off). How do you add some color into it?

    • Larkin

      …I don’t think my chicken has ever come out grey. That sounds gnarly. They’re always kind of peachy white. You could use the broiler suggestion above when its done to brown it up a little, if that would appeal to you more.

      Or you could just toss in some chicken with curry sauce and make a curry. Problem solved. :-)

    • kris

      Rub it with turmeric. Then it will be yellow.

    • Larkin

      I do this ALL. THE. TIME. And if you chop up a couple of potatoes and carrots and stick ‘em underneath the whole chicken, it’s an delicious entire meal in one!

  • Sheri

    Perfect pot roast- beef roast, veggies and a can of cream of mushroom soup, which makes a gravy. Entire meal in the pot.

  • LiteBrite

    Crock pots are the shiz. I make a lot of crap in mine, but my favorite is barbeque chicken. A llb of chicken + a bottle of barbeque sauce = delicious goodness.

    • Lee

      I do that but I add a cup of apple juice and do 2/3 bottle of BBQ.

  • Alex Lee

    Rack of pork ribs
    1 can of cola (given a choice, I use Throwback Pepsi)

    Barbeque sauce

    Throw the ribs and the soda into the cooker and cook. Let ribs cool and coat with BBQ sauce and serve OR

    Remove rib bones and shred meat with 2 forks to get pulled-pork. Add more BBQ sauce to taste.

    This is the only meat I have been able to cook in my slow-cooker without it turning dry.

    • candyvines

      I just heard about soda ribs last week on Cook’s Country. This sounds tasty.

    • LiteBrite

      I do something similar but I marinate my ribs in Dr. Pepper overnight. Then I cook them in the slow-cooker and make BBQ sauce with the leftover Dr. Pepper and drippings from the slow cooker.

  • Valerie

    Dudes- pork tenderloin, bottle of beer, bottle of BBQ sauce. Pulled pork. The end.

    • candyvines


    • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

      Dudes- pork

      Quoted out of context.

    • Valerie


    • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

      Val’s seriously gonna kill me someday

    • Valerie

      I whipped out the Bitchy Resting Face. Your days are numbered.

    • Robotic Socks

      So, that’s why you were trolling for my personal info last week…

      whew, glad I gave you info of my friend.

    • Valerie

      Yes. By determining whether or not you were a dude I was finding out everything I needed to know in order to show up on your door step. You’re so clever, you caught me.

    • Fondue

      Pork tenderloin, liquid smoke, red sea salt. Boom! Kalua pulled pork just like they serve at Hawaiian luaus.

    • Valerie

      Liquid smoke? Off to Google.

    • Fondue

      Liquid smoke. But if you find liquor smoke, please let me be the first to know!

    • Valerie

      Ha! You caught my error before I fixed. I need my Femputer™ now!
      And I figured out the ™. Maybe I don’t need a Femputer™ after all!

    • aCongaLine

      It’s in the spice aisle. that shit is magic.

  • Valerie

    Oh, and chicken breasts with Italian dressing. Italian shredded chicken, wah-la!

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    Soup/stew is my lazy mom hack. Toss a bunch of stuff in a pot with some stock. If it comes out liquidy, call it soup. If it comes out thicker, call it stew.

    • Courtney Lynn

      Me too! It’s also my broke mama hack.

    • Courtney Lynn

      Me too! It’s also my broke mama hack.

  • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

    CROCK POT RAVIOLI?? Bless this post.

    My fave crock pot recipe is golden chicken, with pineapple juice, diced apricots, and sweet potatoes. It is the shiz. I also make my own yogurt in the crock pot because buying a gallon of milk is much cheaper than buying a gallon of yogurt!

    • Jennifer Freeman

      Yogurt in the crock pot? How do you do this? Because I am a lady and a mom (the stereotype! I embody it), I eat the hell out of some yogurt.

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      This is my recipe: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/10/you-can-make-yogurt-in-your-crockpot.html

      I use whole milk, because I’m still breastfeeding my twinsicles and CALORIES. Tastes great with a tablespoon or two of maple syrup for flavor and sweetness! It is runnier than store yogurt, especially after you mix things into it – haven’t tried the gelatin trick yet that she suggests near the end of the page.)

    • Rachel Sea

      Packaged yogurt almost always has gelatin in it as a thickener, regular yogurt is much thinner than most people think.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      Sweet! I will have to give this a try. Thanks!

    • rrlo

      Ooh, that sounds good. Home made yogurt is so delicious. The texture alone is worth the effort.

  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    chicken breasts, coconut milk in a can, curry paste, last hour frozen peas, serve with jasmine rice and naan.

    • rrlo

      Inspired. I will do that today. How long do I have to crock it?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      until its cooked. no, i think i do it on low like 6 hours or high on 4

      you can also use green curry and make it more thai with lime and cilantro

    • rrlo

      Awesome. Too late for 6 hours on low – so 4 hours on high it is!

    • Bethany Ramos

      OMFG #nom

    • rrlo

      Alright, it’s in. I only have the red stuff – so I added some peppers. That literally took ten minutes – some of which was spent looking for the step ladder and retrieving the crock pot from the top shelf. Thanks for the awesome idea Eve.

  • Rachel Sea

    Put frozen chicken breasts in a ziplock, add salad dressing, seal, and put in sink of tepid water to thaw. While chicken is thawing/marinating , chop up some vegetables, toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper and maybe some ginger or garlic or whatever goes with the salad dressing, and stick em in the oven to roast. When the chicken is thawed, put that in the oven too. When the chicken is done, take the food out of the oven, and eat it.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      explain this take the food out of the oven part

    • Rachel Sea

      In honor of my drunk roommate who thought that it would be a good idea to use the oven door as a table for his cocktail while he ate tater tots off the baking sheet in the 350 degree oven. I always add that instruction to my recipes.

  • JLH1986

    Chicken breasts+can of cream of mushroom (add water after, this is tricky)+can of mushrooms (or real mushrooms if feeling fancy)+bow tie noodles+7 hours. Delicious. Though I admit I make it harder and boil the noodles no crockpot because I just don’t like crockpot noodles.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      I make the same thing with NO noodles and you just toss it on some rice later (or bread or whatever). So freaking easy. You don’t even have to defrost the chicken. My recipe is actually called “So you forgot to defrost” but cook low 10 hrs.

  • shorty_RN

    Crockpot freezer meals are the only thing keeping my family from eating fast food every night. Love you, crockpot.

  • Kendra

    I did one the other day. It was a pork tenderloin. You cut slits into it, put apple slices in the slits, put some cinnamon and some honey on the top of that bad boy, throw it in the crockpot. I put onion slices over the top and threw in a little apple juice for the hell of it. Cook on low 3-4 hours. It was delicious, and I don’t even like pork!

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      …you said slit

    • Kendra

      Actually, I said it twice!

  • Kendra

    Oh and this one!! You take a ham. Mix some brown sugar, dry mustard, and a little pepsi. Slater on ham. Put ham in crock pot. Put in some more pepsi. Cook for however long.

    • Kendra

      That is supposed to say SLATHER, but I cannot spell.

    • candyvines

      Oh good, I was worried Christian Slater might not be available to be on my ham.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter
    • candyvines

      If you’re nice I’ll let you buy me a slushie.

  • Kendra

    I have one more, and that’s all I have memorized because memorizing is hard.
    It’s taco soup, which you could do in the crock pot. You need these things:
    1 can cream of chicken
    1 can chicken broth
    1 can green enchilada sauce
    1 can corn (drained)
    1 can pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
    1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
    1 can petite diced tomatoes (drained)
    1 can white chicken breast (drained)
    1 packet taco seasoning
    Throw all together until hot. Eat it. If you wanted to add sour cream, tortilla chips, and cheese, I would not judge.

  • Lee

    This breaks the 3 ingredient rule but it is just dumping shit in so it might pass. Crock Pot Potato Soup- dump in one bag country style hash browns, 1 box chicken broth, one can Cambell’s cheese soup, pepper to taste, optional- 1/2 chopped onion. Cook on low for 4 hours. Add block of cream cheese and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar and heat until melted. Top with cheddar, green onions, and bacon bits.

    • LiteBrite

      I want to eat this. NOW.

  • Kylie

    My go to: 3 chicken breasts, a jar of salsa, a bag of frozen corn, two cans of black beans (rinsed). A sprig of cilantro if I have it. Cook until cooked (10 hours while I’m at work). Shred chicken when cooked, dump a block of cream cheese in to melt in last half hour. Serve on flour tortillas or over pasta. Also freezes well.

  • Maria Guido

    Boneless chicken thighs, pepperoncini peppers, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms – throw it all in a crock pot with some of the juices of all of those things. Crumble feta on top when it’s done.

    • Valerie

      Boneless chicken thighs are one of my best cooking tips. They turn out beautifully in about a million different ways.

  • candyvines

    Off topic frustration: Where do my cunting upvotes go? Every time I upvote people when I come back to the page they have disappeared. Anybody else have this problem?

  • keelhaulrose

    Both mine are four, but my go-to slow cooker meals are:
    Stew beef, onion soup mix, mushroom soup, wine or sherry- burgundy beef with no frills
    Chicken, cheddar soup, frozen veggies- serve over biscuits.

  • Jessel Acibron Castro

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  • lizinthelibrary

    I love my crockpot. I’m also a big fan of the “toss a bunch of stuff in it and call it soup” mantra. Always yummy.
    Working woman hack: I’m away for mroe than 6 hours on low, so I put the meat still in frozen. Also new crockpots cook hotter than old crockpots so old recipes that say 6-8 hours on low are more like 4-6 hours on low for the new crock pots. (I belong to a crock pot cookery community). My crockpot even has a timer so it can go to “keep warm” after x time, but that isn’t supposed to go that way for more than 2 hours. But frozen counteracts that; it cooks the 9+ hours I’m away from my house on low and is perfectly done.

  • kablewi

    This is awesome. I may start cooking dinner.

  • Jill

    I love my crockpot because I am a lazy fuck. It took me about 7-10 roasts in a row to get it right but now roast w/potatoes in the crock is my go to delicious meal. We also put plain chicken breasts in to cook em them chop them up for other meals or salads. I’m all over that BBQ Hawaiian chicken…yummm

  • Elizabeth

    pick me, I love slow cookers! My favourite is chicken thighs + jarred mole sauce (I like Larry’s Southwestern, but I don’t know if they sell it everywhere) + black beans to increase the volume if I’m feeding lots of people. Maybe an onion if I’m feeling adventurous, but that’s it! And the possibilities are endless! Got tortillas? Now you’ve got chicken mole burritos!

    • Bethany Ramos

      I am so making this.

  • Ana

    Chicken + broth + cream of chicken or mushroom soup + torn up biscuit dough (last 45 min) = chicken & dumplings.

  • aCongaLine

    I have 5 crock pots, and am notorious in my extended family for entertaining with them. I stumbled across Steph O’Dea’s crockpot blog when my eldest was a newborn, and it has CHANGED. MY. LIFE.


    Spinach pesto lasagna. Gingerbread lattes. Bananas foster. I could go on for ages.

    • Bethany Ramos

      5?!?!? I bow to you.

  • itpainsme2say

    My mom just broke both wrists and had her shoulder replaced so you might have just saved my life

    • Bethany Ramos

      Oh no!! Hope she recovers quickly. :)

    • itpainsme2say

      Ya visited her today and she was pretty drugged up but she is still in a lot of pain plus my dad is a hoverer, so not great. Yesterdays surgery went well though and they hope to transfer her to PT at nursing home Friday.

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    I love this one. it’s called the easiest chicken dinner ever and it is! Makes damn fine burritos http://thelarsonlingo.blogspot.com/2011/05/easiest-dinner-ever.html

  • simoneutecht

    Chicken thighs, chopped onions and BBQ sauce voila stewed BBQ chicken.

  • Williwaw

    I have to show this to my husband. We have a crockpot, but he has this crazy idea that he needs to marinate things like roasts in a 12-ingredient sauce overnight, then pan-sear them before setting them in the crockpot with carefully chopped veggies. What a crock. I’m more in the camp of: (1) unwrap roast, (2) throw roast in crockpot with some water, (3) turn on crockpot, and (4) do other stuff for the rest of my day.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Tell him not to abuse a crock pot like that!!

    • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

      Lazy Woman’s RedCooked Anything Roast.
      Put in Crockpot.
      Insert garlic slivers in roast of anything.
      Add 4 tablespoons soy sauce, I tablespoon molasses, 2 tablespoons wine or vinegar poured over top of roast.
      Turn on Crockpot. Hours later = succulent brown roast anything.

  • TheGiantPeach

    My lazy crock pot secret is I get my husband to do it! He leaves for work 2 hours later than me, so I just tell him I can’t do it because it’s too early and the meat will burn. He has no clue, and I’m never going to mention it.

  • Harriet Meadow

    Bookmarking this post.

    The first recipe in the article with the grape jelly and chili sauce is similar to something I did for a big party. I threw a baby shower for my friend who was having a boy. The theme was balls (no joke – we had footballs, balloons, oreo truffles, and meatballs), so I made meatballs in the crock pot. Two big bags of Italian-style frozen meatballs (I had to use two crock pots), grape jelly and chili sauce…they were PHENOMENAL. And really cheap for a party!

    Also, I just made a phenomenal chicken and dumplings recipe in the crock pot. It’s more than three ingredients, but not too bad: diced onion, four chicken breast fillets, two cans of cream of chicken (or one cream of chicken, one cream of celery), and some chicken broth (enough to cover the chicken) in the slow cooker for 4-5 hours on high. Then add a can of refrigerated biscuit dough (I like the jumbo ones, 16 oz can), each biscuit cut into quarters, into the crock pot for one hour on high (making sure they’re covered in the liquid). BAM. Delicious. And of course you can season the chicken however you like before you throw it in. My husband AND my 10 month old love it!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Yum! Making this!

  • kris

    Thin sliced beef ( have my butcher thin slice a round roast) and beef stock. Cook until done. Put in hoagie rolls, put broth is cups or bowls. French dip sandwiches.

  • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

    pork tenderloin, pre-cut veggies (fresh or frozen) in a bag, wine, rosemary, shake some pork seasoning on there, maybe add some soup stock (why do they not make pork stock? I never know if I should use chicken or beef so I alternate)

    chicken breast, can of diced tomatoes, italian seasoning, you can add veggies or just steam them on the side, any kind of cheese can be thrown just on your plate or in the crock pot.

    chicken breast , chili power, garlic dice or paste or both, cilantro (fresh or paste), little bit of lime juice, chicken or onion soup stock, bell peppers julienne, corn (canned or frozen) You can put them in wraps and call them fajitas or call it a Mexican casserole.

  • Sara610

    I love my crockpot, but I think I’m going to have to replace it–it often gives the food a weird taste and smell. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not like rotten or bad food, and it’s not like burned food, it’s just……weird. And it happens with almost everything I make. I can’t say I’m shocked–I got it almost ten years ago for $20, so it’s not like I shelled out for a super-deluxe model or anything–but can anyone recommend a particular slow cooker, preferably under $50, that they really love?

  • Danyelle

    Love my crockpot. Bookmarking this page for all the great suggestions in the comments! Use mine so much my hubby gets sick of it (shame on him). One of my favs: sliced onions, beef roast, mix 1 can of fire roasted garlic diced tomatoes with half a can of chicken broth and some worcestershire sauce, pour over top of roast cook on low ~ 8 hours. Top with kalamata olives and feta for an interesting pot roast.

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