Crock Pot Challenge

At lunchtime today, Ryan and I had a meeting with an accountant. I’ve always done my own taxes (Turbo Tax, baby) and ever since Ryan and I got married, we’ve handled our taxes as a couple. Every year things get more and more confusing since I’m self employed and have income coming from a variety of sources thanks to freelance writing and the blog. 

I reached out to my friends Cara and Brittney since they both own their own businesses in town. (Cara owns Vitalize Nutrition, a local health food store, and Brittney owns A Cut Above Boutique.) Cara recommended her accountant, Sandy. She’s a spunky woman who clearly knows her stuff! Our meeting lasted about an hour and now Ryan and I have some work to do on our end to simplify everything.

Before Ryan headed back to work, we ate lunch together at home.


I claimed the dinner leftovers which included a big mess of chicken, beans and veggies.

Yesterday, I threw a bunch of stuff into the crockpot and let it cook on low all day (about eight hours) and the end result was so flavorful.

Into the crockpot went:

  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 can reduced sodium kidney beans (not drained)
  • 1 can reduced sodium black beans (drained)
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • Several handfuls of baby carrots
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower


I honestly liked this dish even better the next day. I guess it’s like chili in that the longer it sits, the more the flavors develop. The only thing it was missing was corn! I could’ve sworn we had corn in the freezer, but unfortunately we were out. Next time!

Crock Pot Challenge

I am thinking about starting a self-imposed crock pot challenge. I would love  to try to utilize my slow cooker a bit more because it makes dinner preparation so ridiculously easy and I want to find a few new recipes to add to my crock pot arsenal. If you have a personal favorite, please feel free to share it (or link to it) in the comments section at the bottom of this post. It’s time to get (slow) cookin’!


  1. says

    That is why I married accountant 😉 ok not the only reason but I do love that he helps me with finances!!
    Slow cookers are great, I need to get mine out more, that sounds delicious and so easy 🙂


  2. says

    I love using my Crock Pot! You’re right, it’s so easy and always produces a delicious and comforting meal. Some of my favorites include pot roast with veggies, chicken + your favorite salsa + a little water to make shredded chicken soft tacos, chili and various soups, and chicken + bbq sauce to shred for bbq chicken sandwiches.


  3. says

    Love, love, love the crockpot. So easy and so delicious.

    My favorite crock pot recipe is throwing a lean pork roast in with low-fat cream of chicken soup and lots of carrots and green beans. Perfect for this time of year.

    I have a new low-cal recipe on the menu for later this month: chipotle beef stew. I’m excited to see how it turns out.


  4. says

    I need to use my slow cooker more too! I made Guinness Short Ribs with my mom the other night, but I couldn’t find the recipe online to link with! Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll type it up. It was simple to set up but took 10 hours!


  5. says

    I usually use TurboTax, but it’s getting so expensive! 🙁 I never seem to have money when I do my taxes, but I will when I get money back. I wish they could take their fee from my refund.

    I actually started doing crock pot chicken. Just the chicken breasts, and then shredding, mixing with either BBQ or Salsa. Tasty stuffs! And so easy!


  6. Erica says

    I did a turkey breast in the crock pot a few days ago and it was delish! I quartered an onion and put it on the bottom to act like a little “rack” and then seasoned the breast with butter, salt & pepper, some thyme and Rosemary. It was so good! The skin wasn’t crispy but you could probably pop it in the oven for a bit after.


  7. says

    You won’t regret working with an accountant. I used to be self-employed and it was the best thing I ever did. The fee you pay the accountant will be more than made up for by the deductions they are able to find for you!


  8. says

    Yay! I love this idea. I got a Crock Pot for Christmas and I want to get as much use out of it as possible. I made Skinnytaste’s Minestrone and it turned out incredible, but I need more recipes. I also try and eat vegetarian so it makes it more tricky!


  9. says

    Have you ever tried your hand at making homemade chicken broth? So good, and so easy!

    Just take a whole chicken, place it in the crock pot and fill it with water. Cook it on high for a few hours or overnight. You can add as much salt, garlic or pepper as you like. Perfect for a quick fix of soup, and the chicken gets so tender!


    • Lisa says

      You can find super cheap ones at Target for less than $15.00…fewer bells and whistles (like timers) but they work just the same as the more pricey ones! My first one was a small one that I bought at a yard sale for $7, but recently upgraded thanks to registering for one for our wedding!


      • Jeanie says

        Not sure if you have a store called “BIG LOTS” by you, but if you do… they sell them for $11!!!! I’m a teacher in MA and I scour the shelves of cheap stores like this for all kinds of odd items like pipe cleaners and post its. Every time I go the $11 croc pot is there 😉


  10. says

    I just got a crock pot and am so excited to put it to use! There are so many things you can make with it, which is awesome. I definitely think an accountant would be SO helpful, I mean it’s their job so I’m sure they know what they’re talking about. I’d give it a try!


  11. Chelsea says

    For pulled pork I just put in pork and rootbeer, let it cook on low all day (because my meat’s usually frozen) and then I drain the pork when I get home and put in my favorite BBQ sauce and let it set until I’m ready to eat!

    For chicken tacos, I just put in a few frozen chicken breasts with water and taco seasoning and let it cook on low all day, then I drain and shred the chicken and add whatever toppings I want!


  12. says

    We have three go-to crock pot meals.

    Chicken & dumplings – I use this recipe, but I use one can of cm of chicken and one cm of celery, sub chicken broth for the water, and I add thyme, black pepper, and veggies (carrots, peas, broccoli.)

    Creamy Turkey Taco Soup-

    3 Envelope Pot Roast Sliders, don’t skip the sauce!!-


  13. says

    Oh how I love me some slow cookin’! I’ve even made burgers in mine! All you do is make a makeshift “grill” using rolled up tin foil on the bottom, then put the patties on top and cook on low for a couple hours. The result is juicy burgers cooked to perfection!


  14. says

    I looooovveee my crock pot! I usually throw a meat (turkey or chicken) and then add some sort of sauce & veggies & let it cook. Kinda depends what I have on hand. Love salsa+turkey+blackbeans+sweetpotatoes+bellpeppers+tacoseasoning. Eat it as a bowl topped with Chobani & lime. SO good!


  15. says

    White Chicken Chili

    1 Large jar great northern beans
    At least two large chicken breasts, more if you like a lot of chicken ( I leave them whole and then shred them when they are cooked)
    1 jar salsa
    1 medium onion chopped
    1 T cumin

    Cook 8 hours on low….about 15 minutes before serving put in 1 cup of monterey jack cheese

    So good! And even better the next day!


  16. Kelly says

    Soups and chili are big crock-pot favorites here. I also use mine to cook beans and then freeze them for later use. I love cooking steel cut oats so that I have breakfast ready for the week. I don’t use mine nearly as much as I should.


  17. says

    I’ve always used an accountant, I feel like the know more things and have more ways if getting more money back!!! I have a crock pot that I’ve used probably twice, maybe I’ll join your challenge and try to use it more this year!~ 🙂


  18. Lisa says

    I made the best roast the other day in the crockpot. I seasoned the meat with some salt and pepper, garlic powder, and I think oregano, added a bit of beef broth, baby carrots, a quartered onion, and halved some red potatoes. Set on low for 6-7 hours and when I got home from work, dinner was ready! Also, this is definitely not on the healthy spectrum, I but made this for Christmas breakfast: UH-MAZE-ING!


  19. says

    Taxes as a business owner stink. I watch my husband every December and January pour through receipts, credit card bills, balances. Yuck – definitely not something I would want to take on! Thankfully we work with a great CPA (and we slip our household taxes in there as well 😉 )


  20. says

    I love my slow cooker and the convenience that comes with prepping a meal the night before and having it ready when I get home from work. I do not know why I don’t think to use it more often. I will be excited to see some of your favorite recipes that are shared!

    A personal favorite of mine for beans and rice can be found here: It is a super simple recipe, yet SO delicious. You could certainly add meat to this, as well! 🙂


  21. Allison says

    If you don’t mind me asking how do you make money from the blog? Is it from the ads that are on the page? Or, is it per the number of people who view your blog each day? (If that is the case… where exactly does your paycheck come from???)


  22. says

    My personal favorite crock pot recipe is SO easy:

    chicken breasts (3-5 depending on size)… put them in frozen.
    1 can of yellow corn
    1 can of black beans
    1 jar of salsa (can pick whether you want spicy or not)

    cook on low for 7-8 hrs or high for 3-4 …
    once ready to serve, mix in 1 square packet of cream cheese. mix together and enjoy! (w/ cornbread, fritos, tortilla chips) and shredded cheese on top!


  23. says

    I plan on busting out the crockpot this weekend for the first time ever. Yes, crockpot virgin over here! My grandma is a CPA and always does my taxes for me, although mine are pretty easy. One income, no properties owned or anything. At least, she tells me it’s easy!


  24. says

    I call my crock pot concoction “Mexi-cken” (Mexican Chicken) and it’s the easiest meal I have ever made – and delish!

    Layer, beginning at the bottom:
    1 can of corn
    1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
    2-3 chicken breasts (or 4-5 thighs)
    1 packet of taco seasoning
    1 jar of your favorite salsa

    Turn the crock pot on low for 4-5 hours and you’re done. It doesn’t need anything more (though I’m sure cheese would be a nice topper). Sometimes I make it without the chicken for a warm, yummy salsa dip for parties too. ENJOY!


  25. says

    OhMyGosh! I love my slow cooker …I have made so many things in it it’s unreal! I buy the Reynolds crock pot liners which make clean up so much easier and then I don’t need to soak it overnight… Recently I made a big pot of goulash in a Dutch oven but it can definitely be done in a crock pot on low for a while… Check out my recipe here…
    It was so filling and so healthy…I actually got the recipe out of the cookbook Taste of Home diet comfort food! If you try it let me know what you think!! 🙂


  26. Brittany says

    My favorite is a Beef Stew!! The fiance swears by the thick, juicy cuts of steak and my whole family was so impressed on Christmas Eve they said they might start a new tradition! (go me!!)

    The recipe is a lil long so I’ll send it to your pbfingers email 🙂

    Warning: your house will smell DELICIOUS after it cooks all day!


  27. Emma says

    I have a sweet potato infatuation! This recipe is from Advocare’s 24 day challenge cookbook:

    Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili
    sweet potatoes, peeled and in 2-inch chunks
    1 yellow onion, diced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 2/3 cup dried beans, soaked overnight and boiled briskly for 10 minutes)
    1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    1 (14.5-ounce) can tomatoes (whatever’s on sale, mine had oregano and roasted garlic)
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup freshly squeezed juice from an orange (or water if you do not have an orange)

    Use a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Peel and chunk the sweet potato and add to the pot. Add diced onion. Follow with the red bell pepper, can of tomatoes, the beans, garlic, and seasonings. Pour in juice from orange or water. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the onion is translucent and the sweet potato is fork-tender (if you want the sweet potato to disappear when stirred, cook longer).

    I also added a lb of lean ground turkey for more protein and to thicken it up 🙂 enjoy!


  28. Jamie says

    Try 2 lbs chicken breast, 1 bottle of franks red hot sauce, and a packet of hidden valley ranch spices. Cook on high for 6 hours (or until chicken can shred). Easiest buffalo chicken ever! AND if you add cream cheese, and put it in the oven with chedder jack cheese on top, you have buff chicken dip.


  29. says

    I’ll be honest, the only thing that keeps me from monetizing my blog is fear of screwing up my taxes! My husband and I file together and I stay home with our little one, so I fear that if I made a little money it might mess up our taxes. They confuse me! I should have taken a finance class in college!
    P.S. That soup looks delicious!


  30. says

    I’m in love with my crockpot!

    Refried beans are amazing… if you’ve never had homemade you should definitely try them out:

    Also, lamb shanks. It sounds really intimidating, but honestly you can put ANYTHING into a crockpot and its going to come out well.


  31. Leila Tone says

    Kalua Chicken ( favorite dish in Hawaii)

    boneless skinless chicken thighs
    4 cans spinach
    liquid smoke

    rub with salt
    rub a generous amount of liquid smoke
    low for 8 hours
    an hour before its done shred chicken and add spinach (drained)
    mix with chicken


  32. Jordyn says

    One of our favorite things to do in the crock pot is to get some good, flavorful (not crazy spicy) green salsa and pour it over chicken breasts. Let it cook on low until tender then shred. We eat it in tacos, put it in enchiladas, put it over rice, and so many other ways. So good!


  33. says

    32 oz can of crushed tomatoes
    15ish can of tomato sauce
    15ish can corn, drained
    3-15ish cans of beans (I use white, kidney and black) all drained
    1 package Taco seasoning
    Chili pepper to taste

    (I dump in tomato and seasonings to mix it up well then add the corn and beans)

    You could add chicken on top to shred into mixture when cooked. I cook hamburger or ground turkey in the microwave to add at the last minute. Barley works good too, just cook it first.

    6 hours on low without the chicken. 8 hours with? been forever since I did it with I’m not sure.


  34. says

    Love my crockpot! I’ve made dinner in it twice this week :-p

    My favourite thing to do is to cook a whole chicken in it. Just season the chicken, place it in the crockpot, set it low for 8-10 hours. Perfectly cooked, juicy chicken. So easy it’s ridiculous.


  35. Nikki says

    My go-to crockpot recipe uses about 2-3 pounds of chicken breasts and one 16 ounce jar of sliced peperoncinis. Put chicken in the crockpot and cover with entire contents of jar. Let the chicken cook on low for about 5-6 hours. Then shred the chicken breasts. Put chicken back into the crockpot to soak up all of the juices. Then enjoy! Super easy and tasty!


  36. Kari F says

    Super easy and yummy crockpot dish:

    Sunday Chicken
    4-6 frozen chicken breasts
    2 cans cream of chicken soup
    1 packet dry onion soup
    1/2 cup sour cream (added after cooking)

    Place chicken on the bottom of greased crockpot. Mix cream of chicken soup and dry onion soup together. Pour soup mixture over chicken covering completely. Cook on high for 6-8 hours. During last half hour of cooking mix in the sour cream. Serve over rice or noodles.


  37. says

    Lentil Chili-It’s Vegetarian, but tastes just like “regular” chili…Lentils have tons of protein and fiber (and do not require pre-soaking).

    And might I STRONGLY recommend the cookbook, “More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow” by Stephanie O’Dea.

    Lots of healthier recipes, plus all her recipes are centered around being gluten-free (which isn’t a big deal for me, but, that means more recipes with “good” carbs).


  38. says

    I just made beef stew in my crockpot today with beef, carrots, celery, onions, and broth. You could add whatever you wanted though (corn, tomatoes, etc.). I also love making pulled pork in there and turkey chili can’t be beat either. I cook big batches of apple cinnamon oatmeal in there as well.


  39. Kathryn says

    one of my favorite slow cooker recipes is chicken fajitas. Combine chicken breasts, a jar of salsa and package of taco seasoning. cook on low for 6-7 hours, shred, put it back in the slow cooker and add peppers and onions and cook on high for 30 mins. I’ve also done pulled buffalo chicken sliders by combining chicken breast, franks buffalo, plain greek yogurt and a package of dry ranch mix. You also can’t beat pulled pork in the slow cooker. I cook mine in root beer then mix it with whatever sauce I’m in the mood for after it’s shredded.
    This is also a great website for healthy slow cooker recipes:


  40. says

    I recently “roasted” a chicken in the crock pot. 8 hours on low or 4 on high. Pull it out of the crock pot and place in a pan and put it under your broiler for the last 10 minutes or so to crisp up the skin. So good and so easy!!


  41. says

    That always seems to happen to slow cooked meals and soups. They taste so much better with time!
    My favorite crock pot dish is a black bean and sweet potato chili. Chili’s are always 1000 x better in the crock!


  42. says

    I make stuffed peppers in the crockpot. I make quinoa and mix with ground beef, onion, garlic and chili powder and some salsa. Stuff the peppers with the mixture, cover with some more salsa and some broth. Cook on high for six hours and serve with cheese 🙂


  43. Amy says

    I made crock pot Chicken Taco Chili last night. It was DELICIOUS! I highly recommend!

    Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili
    Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
    Servings: 10 • Size: 1 1/4 cups • Old Points: 3 pts • Points+: 5 pts
    Calories: 203.7 • Fat: 1.4 g • Carb: 33.3 g • Fiber: 10.0 g • Protein: 16.9 g


    1 onion, chopped
    1 16-oz can black beans
    1 16-oz can kidney beans
    1 8-oz can tomato sauce
    10 oz package frozen corn kernels
    2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
    1 packet taco seasoning
    1 tbsp cumin
    1 tbsp chili powder
    24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts
    chili peppers, chopped (optional)
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


    Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Top with fresh cilantro. Also try it with low fat cheese and sour cream (extra points).


  44. Kristen says

    Honey orange carrots from Cooking Light are the BOMB!

    3 lbs carrots cut diagonally into about 2 inch pieces
    1/4 cup honey
    2 tablespoons water
    2 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
    1/8 tsp salt
    2 tsp orange zest stirred in at the end


  45. says

    We love our crockpot! Unfortunately it is way under-utilized. Our favorites is a pot roast loaded with hearty veggies and chili. Both are very basic but I love that I can throw basic ingredients and the output is so yummy!


  46. says

    I just got a crockpot for Christmas and am obsessed! I am actually eating a crockpot meal right now haha. I am constantly looking for healthy recipes to make with it. I really want to make homemade broth- and then crockpot a soup IN it. Love the recipes you have here 🙂


  47. says

    Mmmm what a simple but seriously tasty looking dish! I love the slow cooker so much! The only time I get lazy with it is if I don’t have/make time to chop up all the veggies. Otherwise, it’s a life saver~I have a pulled chicken (BBQ) recipe of mine that I just LOVE. It’s so yummy on its own or in quesadillas 😀 Here it is: I call it Kauai’s Pulled Chicken Quesadilla


  48. says

    I LOVE using my crockpot. I have been using it just about every other week now to prepare all of my lunch meals! Here are my most recent favorites:
    Beef and Mushroom Stew:
    Shredded Chicken Stoup:
    The beef and mushroom one is out of this world, if you like mushrooms it is a must try!


  49. says

    Love the idea of using the crock pot more. It’s SO easy and makes cooking/life in general much more enjoyable in my opinion. I’d love to use mine on a weekly basis, but I’d say I currently use it every two-ish weeks, maybe?

    I did just recently make a Mango Ginger Chicken recipe from Women’s Health magazine. It was very good, kind of Indian-style chicken. I served it with quinoa, but brown rice would be good too. Here’s the recipe:


  50. April V. says

    I don’t have an official recipe for it but I love cooking pork butt in the slow cooker, you can use it for sandwiches, burritos, you name it!

    All I do is cut several small slits all over the pork butt (preferably bone-in) and insert whole or half cloves (depending on the size) of garlic in the slits. Season with salt and pepper, and then cover with a beer or two and then let it rip on low all day (about 10 hours depending on the size of the roast).

    Another way which is delicious is to do a pork butt seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then cover in a mixture of chipotle in adobo, olive oil, and barbeque (normally a couple shakes of the oil, one bottle of barbeque sauce and three chipotle peppers). Same time frame.

    Definitely checking out your “arsenal,” life has been crazy so I need all the help I can get with dinner!


  51. Jennifer says

    I’ve been doing freezer meals lately. I found it on Pinterest, were you prepare everything in one day and then freeze them. It makes life so much easier. Take it out of the freezer throw it in the crock pot and you have a healthy meal for dinner. It’s much better for me on days I’m lazy come dinner time and we end up eating out.

    I love her sausage and bean supper! It was the one I was most hesitant about, but ended up loving!


  52. says

    I read through a lot of the comments and didn’t see this one but forgive me if it was already listed. I have a super easy, throw it together as your running out the door for work, crockpot recipe. I don’t have a blog post on it so here it is:

    2-3 chicken breasts
    1 jar of favorite salsa
    1 pkg of taco seasoning

    Lay the chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock pot and sprinkle over the taco seasoning. Pour the salsa over the chicken just until it is fully covered and let cook until the chicken falls apart.

    I usually serve with all the fixings for tacos (ex: cheese, sour cream, etc.), rice, and a salad (cause we are weird and eat a salad with every dinner).


  53. Nyssa says – this is my favorite pork recipe, it has never come out looking like the picture but i think it is amazing, i have made it for several people who love it !!! i usually brown my on all sides in a pan before putting it and the pan drippings in the crock pot, but i’ve made it both ways and it is great either way. make it, you will not be disappointed!!!


  54. Lindsey says

    Just made one of my favorite crock pot recipes yesterday and had it for dinner last night! It’s called Slow Cooker Spicy Chicken and it’s out of this world! So many ways to have it too. It’s 3 chicken breasts, 1/2 jar hot salsa, 1/4 cup tomato sauce, 2 cloves miced garlic, 1 small red onion chopped, 1tsp ground cumin, 1tsp chili powder, and a dash of S&P!! Sooo good!! We eat it with low carb wraps or on top of lettuce 🙂


  55. Nichole Hutchins says

    SALSA CHICKEN- my friends actually call it chicken crack and it’s always requested…

    6 chicken breasts
    1 jar favorite salsa
    1 can rotel
    1 can black beans
    1 can mexicorn
    cook it all day:)

    add 1 block of cream cheese (i use FF) before serving.
    serve with lettuce and tortilla chips or soft tacos.


  56. Allie says

    The BEST and only way I personally eat pork chops is my Mom’s slow cooker recipe:
    4 pork chops
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    1 can sliced mushrooms
    about 1 cup water
    Salt, Pepper & Garlic Powder to taste
    Cook it low and slow for about 8 hours, and we usually serve with egg noodles or whole grain rice.


  57. Rachel says

    I love using my crockpot!! And you know what makes it even easier? The “Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners”. They seriously make clean up so easy!! All you do is pull out the liner and throw it away and you are done cleaning up!


  58. says

    How do you keep the chicken in your crock pot to stay moist? I have made many crock pot meals with chicken and have tried putting it on low for 8 hours (got dry), then tried hi for 4 (got dry) and then warm for 6 (still dry)…any idea as to what I’m doing wrong?


  59. Katie Molter says

    I use my crockpot all the time for things like beef stroganoff and chicken with dumplings. For beef stroganoff: in the crockpot put 2 packages of beef tips for stewing (frozen); 2 cans of 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup, 1 package of freash mushrooms, 1 bar of lite cream cheese, 1/2 cup of milk. Cook on low for 8 hours. About 45 minutes before eating, add 1 container of lite sour cream. Start making either noodles or mashed potatoes. When done cooking, laddle the beef stroganoff on to either noodles or mashed potatoes! I’m more than happy to share the chicken with dumplings if interested.


  60. says

    I can’t wait to sit and meet with her too! So happy y’all liked her. Cara & Dustin have always said great things about her. + I can’t wait to try some of these great recipes! What a great idea! YUM!!



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