Summer is officially over and winter will be here before you know it. I can already feel the chill in the air. Which means it’s time to dust off the Crock-Pot and slow-cook some meals to keep you warm as the temperature starts to drop off. The slow-cooker holds infinite possibilities. There’s no reason why you should have to eat the same dish twice in one season—unless, of course, you’ve found one that you can hardly live without (in which case, congrats!). But for those of you who are fresh out of ideas, or are looking for something slightly exotic to serve up this fall and winter, I’ve compiled a list of five recipes that cater to all types of diets, don’t require an oven, and are, most importantly, delicious. These are not my creations; I have spent many hours scouring the internet for the best recipes and what you see below is a list of a few of my favorites. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

Thai curry zucchini soup (from My Life Cookbook):

Ingredients

10 cups zucchini, chopped

1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste

1 tablespoon brown sugar (use sweetener for low carb)

13.5 oz coconut milk (1 can)

2 cups chicken bone broth or stock (I used 1 box Kettle & Fire)

Instructions

Add all of the ingredients to your Instant Pot and then secure the lid.

Turn the venting nozzle to the back to create pressure.

Set the manual button for 10 minutes.

When done, quick release the pressure by turning the nozzle to the front.

Once the steam has stopped, open and then pour the soup into your blender in batches.

Puree until the soup is smooth and creamy.

To make this in a slow cooker, just add all the ingredients and mix. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours and then puree in your blender at the end.

Notes: You can use either a blender or a stick blender to puree the soup at the end. You can also make this on the stove. Just cook until the zucchini is very tender and then blend at the end.

Low-country shrimp boil (from Food52):

Ingredients

2 cups bottled clam juice

1 cup water

1 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)

1 pound small red potatoes (1 to 1 1/2–inch diameter), halved

12 to 16 ounces cooked kielbasa or other link sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces

4 ears fresh sweet corn, husks and silks removed, halved crosswise

1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen jumbo unpeeled shrimp (16/20 count), thawed

1 lemon, plus more wedges for serving

Melted butter, for serving

Instructions

In a 6-quart slow cooker, stir together the first 7 ingredients (through kielbasa). Cover and cook on high 3 hours or until potatoes are nearly tender. Add corn and shrimp; cook 1 hour more or until corn is tender and shrimp are opaque.

Transfer potatoes, sausage, corn, and shrimp to a serving platter. Squeeze lemon over shrimp boil. Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

Baked beans (from Brit and Co):

Ingredients:

1 (16-ounce) bag great northern beans

1 Tablespoon salt

1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cups ketchup

1 1/2 cups reserved bean-soaking liquid

1/2 cup dijon mustard

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions:

Add your beans and the salt to a large bowl. Cover the beans with two inches of water, and let them soak overnight. To quick soak, add the beans and salt to a large pot and fill it with water. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and let the beans soak for an hour.

Strain the beans, discarding the liquid. Add the beans and all remaining ingredients to your slow cooker, along with 1 1/2 cups of water.

Set your slow cooker to high, and cook the beans for 8-10 hours, until they’re tender. You may need to add the remaining water during the cooking process; you want to keep the beans almost completely covered with liquid as they cook. Stir the beans occasionally, so that any beans that are on top get a chance to really get into the sauce you’ve made.

Mexican beef stew (from Melanie Makes):

Ingredients

2 pounds beef stew meat

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes cut into 1″ cubes

16 ounces frozen corn

12 ounces frozen pearl onions

4 garlic cloves minced

2 teaspoons oregano

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 cups beef stock

28 ounces crushed fire roasted tomatoes

sour cream, pico de gallo, fresh jalapeños, tortilla chips and sour cream to garnish

Instructions

In a six quart slow cooker, add all ingredients. Cook on LOW 8 hours. Garnish with sour cream, pico de gallo, fresh jalapeños, tortilla chips and sour cream.

Pasta e Fagioli (from Salt and Lavender):

Ingredients

1 (4.4 ounce) package diced pancetta

1/2 large onion chopped

4 sticks celery chopped

3 medium carrots chopped or sliced

4 cloves garlic minced

1 (28 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices

4 dashes Italian seasoning

4 cups chicken broth/stock

1 (15 fluid ounce) can red kidney beans drained

1 (15 fluid ounce) can white kidney beans drained

1 cup pasta (ditalini or macaroni)

Salt & pepper to taste

Shaved parmesan cheese optional, for serving

Instructions

Add the pancetta to a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté until it starts to get crispy. I like to prep the other veggies while doing this step.

Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Stir in the garlic, followed by the diced tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Be sure to scrape up the brown bits. Let it bubble until the liquid is noticeably reduced (stir occasionally) to help concentrate the flavor. This should take 8-10 minutes or so.

Add the chicken broth and beans to the pot. Increase the heat to high. Once the soup is boiling, add the pasta.

Reduce the heat to a rapid simmer and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the pasta is nice and tender. I suggest stirring every few minutes so the pasta doesn’t stick the bottom of the pan.

Season soup with salt & pepper as needed (the soup should be fairly salty already). This soup is delicious served with some shaved parmesan!