Easy Crockpot Recipes for Fall

Having a good, trusty crockpot is a real time saver and a sure way to beat mealtime blues. Crockpots are ideal for apartment cooking, as it is safe and requires little space. For roommates, crockpot cooking makes mealtime a far easier chore to share.

Easy Crockpot Recipes for Fall

The abundance of freshly-harvested produce makes fall season the best time to get some hearty, yet easy crockpot recipes done as vegetables, fruits and meat are at their freshest and cheapest. Each recipe uses a standard 3-quart crockpot.

Affordable Crockpot Family Meal

Great-tasting and nutritious family meals need not be expensive and fussy when we let the crockpot do the hard work for us. For instance, nothing beats the toil of a long day better than opening your apartment door to the welcoming fragrance of Cranberry Pork Roast in a silently simmering crockpot.

Easy Crockpot Recipes for Fall - Cranberry Pork

Rich in protein and antioxidants, fresh fall cranberries and oranges provide affordable twist to this savory dish while the rest of the ingredients are easily found in most kitchens. The secret to this delectable dish is to use the freshest, leanest pork loin you can find. Two pounds of pork is good for eight servings.

Start by mixing a cup of chopped cranberries with some orange juice and its grated peel, a tablespoon of chopped onions and grated ginger. Add apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Pour half of the mixture in the crockpot, add the pork, then pour the remaining mixture to cover the meat.

Seal the crockpot and set on Low for seven hours. You need to check just once to see if the meat comes off tenderly with a fork. Carefully transfer the pot roast to a serving dish and slice into desired thickness. Top with the cooked cranberry mixture its ready to serve. Yummy!

Easy Crockpot Dish to Share or Save

Crockpot cooking is heaven sent for those times when we need to whip up a hefty batch of meals. This Slow-Baked Mac and Cheese recipe is an easy and cheap crockpot dish yet packed with protein and calcium.

Easy Crockpot Recipes for Fall - Mac and Cheese

Ready in two and a half hours, it’s best to share to friends and neighbors alike or to save for a dreary fall afternoon. A half pound of elbow macaroni is good for about 10 people. You probably have most of the ingredients just sitting in your kitchen shelf or fridge like milk, eggs, butter and cheese.

In a bowl, mix a cup of any regular milk with a small can of evaporated milk. Add three beaten eggs and two squares of butter. Season with salt and pepper, then whisk away until smooth. Pour this mixture in the crockpot and add about three cups of finely shredded cheese (cheddar and mozzarella are fine). Lay the cooked elbow macaroni on this mixture, gently leveling with a spatula or the back of a spoon, then top with half a cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Seal the crockpot and set on High for 30 minutes, then reduce the setting to Low for two hours. A fine custard-like coating will set on top of the dish. Sprinkle with leftover grated Parmesan cheese and toasted bread crumbs. Serve and share!

Fun and Fuss-Free Crockpot Dessert

Who would think that dainty treats can be made out of crockpots, simply using the most ubiquitous fall produce and some sweets from the candy store? Wait until you scoop out a spoonful of Hot Crockpot Caramel Apples, a slow-cooked dessert rich in fiber and vitamins.

Easy Crockpot Recipes for Fall - Apples

This fragrant treat calls for cheap candied confections in place of expensive sauces, and yields five large servings or ten if shared, within four hours. It’s a fun recipe too, and great to prepare with kids (and kids at heart).

Peel and core five whole apples and fit them on the crockpot evenly. On the cored slot of each apple, pour two tablespoons brown sugar, two cinnamon candies (such as Red Hots), two caramel squares and one tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon if desired. Then slowly half a cup of apple juice over the filled apples.

Seal the crockpot and set on Low for 4 hours and its ready to serve. Scoop out each apple into individual dessert plates then pour the thick creamy sauce over each apple. Delightful!

Indeed, fall season and warm, nourishing food plus a cozy room filled with hungry family and friends all go together. Time for some easy crockpot recipes cooking away in your apartment this fall. What will you put in your crockpot today? Share your easy crockpot recipe to us in the comments or tag us @aptguide on Twitter!

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Easy Crockpot Recipes for Fall

Photo Credit: Carol Browne, Amy Selleck, Jessica Spengler, Danielle Scott

Join a Community Garden: Dos and Don’ts

Community gardens: When to hoe your row and when to slow your roll!

If you’re a green-thumbed apartment renter, you probably don’t have a patch of yard to call your own. That can be frustrating for people who want to grow their own plants outside, but don’t worry! There’s an easy solution that’s probably not too far away: Join a community garden.

A community garden is a communal piece of land on which many people plant vegetables or flowers in divided plots. It’s a way to beautify a community, improve your diet, get some exercise, connect to the environment and save money on grocery bills, all at the same time.

If there’s a community garden near you that you’re interested in joining, go for it! But there are a few things you should know before you get your hands dirty. Read on for our dos and don’ts of community gardening.

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Plant a Windowsill Herb Garden and Let the Sun Shine In

Make sure you put something under the pots to protect your windowsill.

Make sure you put something under the pots to protect your windowsill.

Nothing brightens up your apartment like a few houseplants – not only for pretty décor, but for cleaning your indoor air as well. But you need an outdoor garden if you want to grow anything edible, right?

Think again! Even if you don’t have outdoor soil to plant in, you can still grow your own edible plants with a windowsill herb garden. Small herbs grow well in individual pots or long, narrow troughs that you can place right on your windowsill, where they’ll get plenty of sunshine.

Best of all, when you’re cooking a delicious dish that calls for a dash of rosemary, you can just reach right over and snip off a sprig. It’s good for your health, the planet and your dinner.

Ready to get planting? Here’s how to do it.

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Shut Your Mouth! and Other Suggestions about Late-Night Snacking

Chicken leg in bed? Messy, messy!

Has late-night snacking at home in your apartment become the norm, rather than the exception? We offer suggestions to help you curb after-hours eating.

Are evening hours a dangerous time for your diet?

Has after-hours snacking at home in your apartment become the norm, rather than the exception?

Eating behaviors can be some of the most challenging to change. For many of us who relate to the pleasures of food, it’s a long road. Failure, at times, is all but a guarantee.

This is true of my personal experience. I can’t say that I have successfully engaged any of the behavioral suggestions that follow for any length of time, though all have worked for me in moments.

Snacking success comes on a sliding scale. You’ll win some, and you’ll lose some. Think of snack control as a mental exercise, in addition to a physical one. You can hone how you think, especially when you understand why you eat when you do. Think about why you like to snack in the evening, and consider these tips to keep your mind off-menu.

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Table for One: How to Dine Alone (and Love It!)

There's an Art to Dining AloneAll right, let’s get this out of the way, right up front.

Dining alone in a restaurant is neither a shameful thing nor an experience to avoid.

Maybe you’ve had an experience like Jason Segel in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Sometimes a server does make a fuss, but, really, most are happy you’re there — if you are happy to be there, yourself.

There’s an art to the solo dine. In the right frame of mind and with reasonable expectations, a solo diner can have a delicious experience.

It helps if you like to eat, of course.

These tidbits should help the reluctant learn from my own mistakes. Know thyself, dear diner, and feel free to enjoy a great meal, regardless of situational solitude!

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How to Host a Denver Vs. Seattle Super Bowl ‘Snackdown’

How to Host a Denver Vs. Seattle Super Bowl ‘Snackdown’

It’s almost here: The biggest day in American football, the granddaddy of the gridiron, the super-est of Sundays. MetLife Stadium in New Jersey plays host to the Super Bowl this weekend, where the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks will engage in an epic battle for NFL supremacy and the country will divide its loyalties between Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson.

But enough about sports. What about snacks?

Whether you’re attending a Super Bowl party or hosting your own, the food is only slightly less important than the game itself (or, to some, more important.) Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or just looking forward to the funny commercials, you’re going to need something to nosh on while the action is happening.

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How to Dine Like a Professional Foodie (and Not Spend a Fortune!)

We offer tips to help informed foodies stretch their dining budget. Eat smart, eat well!

We offer tips to help informed foodies stretch their dining budget. Eat smart, eat well!

Ahoy to all you local-source-loving, sustainable-seeking, dedicated foodie enthusiasts!

As you well know, the ship has sailed on boring dining. A resurgence in the experience of eating well is waiting to be found in great restaurants across the nation – likely in your city!

When your cravings dictate a trip outside your apartment kitchen, you know you’re going to spend some dough, however.

If you’re going to splurge on cuisine, how can you ensure you’ll enjoy a worthwhile meal? We’ll help you make the most of your on-the-town budget with these considerations and tips.

Good eating to you!

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Happy Thanksgivukkah! How to Celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukkah on the Same Day

Happy Thanksgivukkah! How to Celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukkah on the Same DayIf you like your turkey with a side of latkes, you’re in for a very rare treat this year: The second night of Hanukkah is also Thanksgiving.

Hanukkah begins on the exact same date every year in the Hebrew calendar, but because that’s different from the 365-day Gregorian calendar commonly used in the United States, the eight-day Festival of Lights starts at different times in November or December each year. This year, the two holidays overlap – an exceedingly rare occurrence. The last time this happened was in 1888, and by one estimate, it won’t happen again for another 77,798 years!

Of course, this hasn’t gone unnoticed. There’s a full-blown “Thanksgivukkah” movement afoot – and we didn’t make that up; there’s even a Thanksgivukkah Facebook page. And while Thanksgiving and Hanukkah aren’t usually connected, they have more in common than you might think. Both relate to religious freedom: The Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving as they sought liberty in the New World, and Hanukkah marks the ancient Jews’ fight against their Greek oppressors.

So, whether you’re celebrating both holidays anyway or you just want to mark this rare occasion on November 28, we have some ideas for how to combine these two holidays into a special once-in-a-lifetime day.

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Formal Table Vs. Buffet: Pointers to Perfect Your Thanksgiving Food Style

No matter how you choose to arrange your Thanksgiving feast, always make sure there's a utensil in every dish.

No matter how you choose to arrange your Thanksgiving feast, always make sure there’s a utensil in every dish.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, the food takes center stage. Each November, there’s nothing we love more than seeing a perfectly roasted turkey surrounded by stuffing, cranberry sauce, casseroles and more pecan pie than you can shake a Pilgrim at. It’s a feast for our eyes before it even get to our stomachs.

Depending on the size of your kitchen and your family, it can be daunting to arrange all that food. Do you go for the formal setting and set everything on the dining room table, resigning yourself to a neverending chorus of “Pass the yams, please”? Or do you throw formality to the wind and set up everything in the kitchen, buffet-style, and let everyone get their own gosh-darn yams?

Either way is OK by us. No matter your Thanksgiving style, here are some pointers to arrange the food so everyone gets to gobble to their heart’s content.

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Single Serving: Tips on Cooking Smart for One

how to cook for one person

Living solo can have its advantages. The feeling of freedom in solitude can be truly welcome, and, hey, you’re your own boss.

But some aspects of living alone can be daunting, especially if you’ve been used to sharing space and expenses with others.

The kitchen is one place where the adjustment is most apparent: how do you cook for one person when recipes and container sizes often seem meant for more?

Fear not, apartment dweller! We’ve got tips ahead for cooking alone… and loving it.

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