It can be hard to eat well on the road with the storage, prep time and space required to create a home-cooked meal. However, investing in a slow cooker can save truckers money and keep them healthier in the long run--plus, your meals will be much taster than the ones you'll get on McDonald's runs! We've compiled some tips on how to get the most of your on-the-road slow cooker, plus great recipes for you to try, just in time for fall.
Get the right stuff
A basic slow cooker or crock pot can make a variety of meals on the road from soups to enchiladas to pork chops. A crock pot is different from a hot pot or electric skillet, which you may also keep on hand in your cab. These appliances can get much hotter and mimic the functions of a stove.
Consider a smaller, 12 V slow cooker for use on the road rather than the larger pots labeled "for household use only." Some slow cookers will plug into an outlet or low-voltage cigarette lighter while others can use an inverter. Be sure to know how the electrical systems work in your rig. Click for more info on inverters.
Be careful to monitor the heat of your slow cooker and keep it on a safe surface where it will not tip or spill. Keep something heat-resistant in the truck to keep over your glass lid so it does not open while driving over bumps.
Save time with your slow cooker on the truck
Before you get on the road, take time to chop up ingredients into smaller pieces or measure out spices in small bags so you can prep a meal in no time.
Invest in slow cooker liners to save time on clean up. These plastic liners cover the inside of your crock pot and can easily be removed and thrown away after eating.
Great recipes to try
This easy dish takes a handful of simple ingredients, and the only prep is slicing up the vegetables and sausage! Turkey sausage is less fattening than traditional sausage, and the added vegetables are sure to fill you up.
- 2 pkgs of traditional rope turkey sausage, cut into half inch slices
- 6-8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 4 cans of green beans
- 1 small onion, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- red pepper to taste
- Place your potatoes in the bottom of your crock pot
- Top with your onion
- Add your sausage slices and green beans
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper and red pepper
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours
Even meat-lovers can enjoy a comforting vegetarian chili on a cold day. The hearty serving of beans can fill you up, and you can add jalapeños for some added heat. Chop veggies ahead of time, and then all you have to do is dump it in the crock pot. You can choose to top with sour cream, cheese and cilantro.
- 1 3/4 cups organic vegetable broth
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped seeded jalapeño pepper (2 peppers)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
- 2 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers (about 1/2 cup) (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- Combine first 12 ingredients in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
- Ladle soup into bowls; top with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro.
This one's a winner because it takes only 5 ingredients, and you can easily adjust the recipe to include your favorite salsa or to have less sodium.
- 4 to 5 Frozen or Fresh Chicken Breast
- 1 Packet of Taco Seasoning
- 1 Jar of Salsa
- 1 32oz. Container Chicken Broth
- 1 can Black Beans
- 1 can Great Northern Beans
- Spray the crock pot with cooking spray so it will not stick, and it will be easier to clean. You may also use a slow cooker liner as well.
- Place the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Sprinkle the taco seasoning on top of the chicken.
- Open the salsa and pour on top of the chicken and seasoning.
- Pour in the whole container of chicken both.
- Drain the beans, and then pour on top of everything.
- Set the slow cooker on about 6 hours on high. (This will depend on your slow cooker, if your cooker seems to burn easily, set it for 8-10 hours on low.)
- minutes before you want to eat, remove the chicken breasts and shred the chicken and place back into the slow cooker.
- Let it cook for 30 more minutes.
- Now it’s time to eat!
What's more comforting than spaghetti and meatballs? You can create this home-cooked favorite all in one pot, without having to boil the noodles like at home. You can use turkey meatballs for a healthier meal.
- 1 lb frozen meatballs
- 12 oz dry spaghetti noodles
- 28 oz jar spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 jar (the sauce jar) of water
- Break noodles and place in bottom of slow cooker.
- Pour in sauce and 1/2 a jar filled with water over noodles. (You can add olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking together.)
- Top with frozen meatballs.
- Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Stir it 1/2 way through if you can, but you don’t have to.
What are your favorite crock pot recipes? Be sure to share and try some new, healthy meals!