10 Slow Cooker Clean out the Pantry Meals

If you are like me and at the end of a work week you have 10 to 12 little plastic and glass containers in your refrigerator and want to use them up, then you are going to love these recipes. 

There is no need to toss leftover food if your family isn't "into leftovers" --- simply repurpose them!

Here are 10 ways to clean out your fridge and pantry by transforming leftovers into new food in the crockpot slow cooker. 

No time to grocery shop? No problem! These recipes use pantry staples you probably already have in the house! YAY for FREE DINNER!! :-)


Sometimes the very best meals are the ones thrown together at the very last minute. I love slow cooking because it allows me to play in the kitchen. I love opening the fridge and dumping last night's vegetables into the cooker with some spices and seasoning to make an entirely new dinner.

Less is More.

I encourage you to "cook for free" with what you've already got in your fridge, freezer, pantry, and spice cabinet. 

Hopefully these recipes will inspire you to use your slow cooker like an Easy Bake Oven for grownups --- cooking should be fun and easy, and there is truly no easier way to cook then to dump a bunch of stuff into a pot, press a button, and walk away. 

If you are looking for a new slow cooker, these are the ones that I personally use in my home kitchen and recommend.


This flavorful minestrone uses ground meat and stewed tomatoes as a base. 

You can make moist, delicious turkey meatballs in the slow cooker using just a bit of shredded cheddar cheese, green apples, and ground turkey. They also freeze well if you decide to make a whole bunch!

The "zestiness" comes from Rotel, and it's a great soup to make on a chilly fall or winter day.

The base for this chili is jarred pasta sauce, and the listed spice combination would make a leather gardening glove taste good.


Clean out Pantry Chili



It looks the same as the Poor Man's Chili, but it's different. This uses tomato paste, Italian Seasoning, canned beans, and it is DELCIOUS. (it looks the same because it's CHILI! duh!) :-)



If you've got a few cups of leftover mashed potatoes, you can't go wrong with Shepherd's Pie!

You can use all of the ends of the random bags of beans you have in your cupboard, or you can use a bag of 16-bean soup mix found in the grocery store.

The sauce uses peanut butter, brown sugar, and soy sauce with a bit of white wine vinegar to make a beautiful sweet, salty, tangy sauce for any cut of meat you'd like to use.

The base is made with frozen hashbrown potatoes, and you can use any type of diced meat you'd like. Add a few eggs, some milk, and then slow cooker overnight to wake up to a delicious and nutritious hot breakfast!

This is the clean-out-the fridge and pantry recipe that I use the most often, and it has gone viral on Pinterest (even with the lousy photo). It works, it's easy, and it's (most likely) FREE!

This vegetarian soup uses a lot of ingredients, but if you have a pretty well stocked spice cabinet you probably own everything already. This is a great freezer soup, although you'll probably have to thin it a bit upon reheating.



ENJOY!! steph

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at March 18, 2020

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What they say about this recipe

  1. Some of the best recipes come about when you just throw some ingredients together. Love my crockpot, especially in the summer time.

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  2. What kind of crock pot do you use. I would like to find a crock pot that I can control/set a temperature. It seems the closest I have found is one where you can set a probe for meat...not sure that works when you make a stew though. Any suggestions?

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  3. Thank you for making my life easier.

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