Between our careers, keeping up with the household, the kids’ school and the upcoming holidays, this time of year is just BIZ-EE. It can be hard to get a nourishing and healthy meal on the table with the limited amount of time we have. That’s why we’re so grateful for things like Instant Pots and Slow Cookers! It’s as simple as “dump & go”, “set it and forget it”…. you know what we mean. Here are a few slow cooker recipes that are perfect for weeknights! These recipes are brought to you by GiftTree’s own Corporate Team! We also thought we’d ask our Sommelier for wine pairings, too, because why not? It’s been a long week.

Slow Cooker Weeknight “Dump & Go” Recipes

All Photos Courtesy Shutterstock

Slow Cooker Turkey Black Bean Chili

By Christine, Content Manager

1 lb. ground turkey

1 sweet yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 cans S&W® Chili Beans, undrained

2 cans Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained

1 can S&W® black beans, drained & rinsed

1 small can diced green chiles, your chosen degree of heat

Big dollop of tomato paste

chili powder, cumin, bay leaf

salt & pepper to taste

Christine says….

“In a skillet, dice and sauté the onion until tender. Add ground turkey, season with salt and pepper. When the turkey is almost cooked through, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook until turkey is completely browned. In your slow cooker, combine the turkey-onion mixture, all the cans, tomato paste, spices and bay leaves. Salt and pepper to your liking and cover. Cook for at least 8 hours on low. I love this recipe because I can brown the turkey off the night before, and put it together in the morning. When my husband and I come home from work, there is this delicious pot of comforting chili just waiting for us. We have it with shredded cheese, sour cream and green onions. It’s so perfect for fall and winter, low in fat and very budget-friendly!”

Turkey Chili Wine Pairing

GiftTree’s Somm says:

When pairing wine with spicy food, you’ll want to choose a wine that is lower in tannin and alcohol, so as not to clash with the food’s heat. A Sonoma Pinot Noir such as Twomey’s Russian River Pinot Noir has that perfect amount of medium-bodied subtle sweetness to balance the heat of the chili peppers.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

By Natasha, Data Analyst

2 lb. boneless sirloin steak, cut into strips

1 medium-sized white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 carton sliced button (white) mushrooms

1 10.5 oz can of cream of mushroom soup (golden mushroom works too)

4 oz cream cheese

8 oz sour cream

Cooked egg noodles or rice

Natasha says….

“In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the onion, garlic and beef strips until they’re cooked all the way through. Add to slow cooker with the soup, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until the beef is tender. Stir in the cream cheese and the sour cream until it’s all mixed up and hot, then serve it over egg noodles or rice. It’s so creamy and comforting!” 

Beef Stroganoff Wine Pairing

GiftTree’s Somm says:

Choose a wine that has a very full body to stand up against this super creamy, full-of-mushrooms dish. A California Zinfandel would be an awesome partner.

Vegetarian Slow Cooker Chili Mac-n-Cheese

By Amy, Creative Director

Loads of minced garlic – at least 8 cloves

1 medium diced onion

1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed

1 can chili beans, undrained

1 can stewed tomatoes, chopped & undrained

4 tbsp tomato paste

1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

4 cups vegetable broth

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tbsp cumin

salt, pepper

pinch of cayenne

1 lb elbow macaroni, uncooked

3 1/2 cups shredded cheese – cheddar, monterey jack, mozz… whatever melts well that you like. Mix it up!

Amy says….

“Sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until it’s translucent. Add garlic and onion, all the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, veggie broth, and spices to the slow cooker. Salt and pepper to taste, cook on low for 4 hours. Add in the uncooked noodles and turn it up to high – check it every 15 minutes. When the noodles have your desired texture, add in all that delicious shredded cheese. Once the cheese is all melty and incorporated, it’s ready to serve – a comforting bowl of comfort!” 

Chili Mac Wine Pairing

GiftTree’s Somm says:

This is a pairing I have never been asked about before! Here’s what I’m thinking: this dish is going to be pretty high in salt content, due to all that shredded cheese. Therefore, I would choose something with a light and pleasant body that’s not too dry. Try an unoaked Chardonnay!

Pulled Pork Sliders

By Elizabeth, Purchasing Agent

3 lb. pork shoulder

1 onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup ketchup

3 tbsp tomato paste

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Paprika, garlic powder, mustard powder, cumin

Salt & Pepper

Slider Buns & Coleslaw for Serving

Elizabeth says….

“At the bottom of the slow cooker, put in the onion, ketchup, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar and spices. Mix well. Season pork all over with salt and pepper then add to slow cooker, flipping it around to get covered with the ketchup mixture. Cover and cook until very tender (the meat should fall apart easily with a fork!), on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours or on LOW for 8 to 10 hours. Take the pork from slow cooker and transfer it to a big bowl. Use two forks to shred it and pour over the juices from the slow cooker. Serve on buns with coleslaw. This is SO easy – we make pulled pork sliders about once a month using this method, and they always turn out amazing. I really can just set it in the morning and go to work all day!”

Pulled Pork Wine Pairing

GiftTree’s Somm says:

Anything with that smoky BBQ flavor is going to pair perfectly with a warm-climate Rosé. The intense, fruity nose with the aroma of ripe red fruits is versatile, refreshing and pairs great with pulled pork.

Butternut Squash Soup

Photo credit: Offbeat & Inspired

By Jessica, VP of Marketing

1 three-to-four lb. butternut squash, seeded, peeled and diced

2 cups vegetable stock

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1 green apple, peeled and chopped

1 white onion, chopped

sprig of fresh sage

pinches of ground cinnamon and nutmeg

salt & pepper

Half a can of unsweetened coconut milk

Jessica says….

“Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and toss together. Cook for 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIG, covered. After this time has passed, take the sprig of thyme out and put in the coconut milk. Use your hand mixer or immersion blender to blend the soup until it’s smooth, salting and peppering along the way until it’s perfect!” 

Butternut Squash Wine Pairing

GiftTree’s Somm says:

With a creamy textured soup like Butternut Squash, a medium-bodied Viognier would be wonderful. I especially recommend Pine Ridge’s Chenin Blanc-Viognier – it’s my favorite white wine and it pairs amazingly well with Fall dishes like squash!

Time to stock up on wine? Shop from our collection of Wine Bundles and find the perfect wines to complement whatever you choose to cook up!