Coming inside on a chilly evening to the smell of a homemade dinner is one cozy experience. You may be thinking that cooking takes too much time and energy, but it doesn’t have to. By picking out some easy crockpot recipes, your autumn dinners are sure to be relaxing and stress-free.

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Easy Crockpot Recipes for Vegetarians

Macaroni and Cheese: This meat-free dish is sure to melt through the little bit of frost forming outside your apartment window. To serve six, combine 1/2 lb elbow macaroni, 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 12 oz evaporated milk, 1.5 cups milk, 2 beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Cook on low for approximately 5 hours. 

Squash and Apple Bisque: This dish is incredibly simple and uses some classic seasonal ingredients for fall cooking. Combine 2 cups unsweetened apple sauce, 2 lb peeled and cubed butternut squash, 14.5 oz vegetable broth and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Cook on low for 8 hours or until the squash is tender. Blend 1/3 in a food processor until smooth and return to the slow cooker. Add 1 cup sour cream and cook for another 15 minutes.

Eggplant and Chickpea Stew: Begin by peeling and roasting two eggplants for 25 minutes or until tender. Let the eggplants cool and cut them into cubes. Combine with 2 thinly sliced onions, 2 cups sliced mushrooms, 6 cloves garlic, 1 cup canned chickpeas, 2 teaspoons oregano and 2 bay leaves. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove bay leaves and add one 28 oz can of tomatoes (drained) and 1/4 cup chopped Parsley. Serve this protein-rich stew over rice, polenta or quinoa. 

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Easy Crockpot Recipes for Carnivores

Chicken and Dumplings: This is a comfort food classic that you can easily prepare in your slow cooker. Combine 4 boneless chicken breast halves, 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 finely diced onion. You can also add carrots, peas and celery. Cook on high for 5 to 6 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, add torn pieces of refrigerated biscuit dough into the crockpot. 

Spiced Pork with Squash and Potatoes: This dish marries a decadently tender protein with seasonal vegetables. Combine 1 lb cubed butternut squash, 1 lb cubed sweet potatoes, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 2 fresh chopped poblano peppers, 2 small thinly cut onions, 2 lb pork should roast cut into cubes and 2/3 cup chicken broth. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Easy Crockpot Recipes for Dessert and Beverages

Pumpkin Pie Pudding: Let’s not forget about the best part of the meal: dessert! And what can be more appropriate for the fall season than pumpkin? To make pumpkin pie pudding, combine 15 oz can of pumpkin, 12 oz evaporated milk, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup Bisquick, 2 beaten eggs, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.

Spiced Apple Cider: Fall isn’t the same without spiced apple cider. This classic warm drink is easy to make in a slow cooker and makes large enough quantities that it’s an ideal recipe for small gatherings. The recipe requires 8 cups apple cider, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 orange cut into quarters, 1/2 lemon, 2 cinnamon sticks, 15 whole cloves and 1 inch fresh ginger cut into slices. Cook on high for 2 hours, then on low for 3 hours. Strain before serving. Of course, the addition of rum is always an option!