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Slow cooker breakfasts: Easy meals for chaotic mornings

By adding oats, vanilla, cinnamon and a few other ingredients to the slow cooker, families can wake up to an oatmeal breakfast (similar to the meal pictured here). Thinkstock / Special to The Forum

FARGO — When people think of a slow cooker, they often picture a good, hearty recipe like homemade chili, hamburger snack dip or a roast and potato-type meal.

But the reality is that a slow cooker offer so much more versatility than that.

Who's to say people can't utilize a slow cooker's convenience for breakfast meals as well?

Turns out, they can.

With today's plethora of creative cooks, even the most surprising recipes can be flawlessly executed in a slow cooker.

Not only does it ensure there's a hot meal waiting in the morning, it offers a breakfast option on even the most chaotic days.

Check out these three slow cooker recipes.

Crock-Pot Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

30-ounce bag of frozen hash browns

1 pound sausage, browned and drained

8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

6 green onions, sliced and divided in half

12 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Spray a large crock pot with non-stick spray then place half the hash browns into the bottom.

Layer in half the cooked sausage, half the cheeses, and half the green onions, then repeat hash brown, sausage, and cheese layers.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper, then drizzle over top.

Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours, or until eggs are set.

Serve with remaining green onions, salsa or guacamole.

Recipe adapted from Iowagirleats.com

Slow cooker French toast makes morning breakfast fast and easy. Thinkstock / Special to The

Slow Cooker Vanilla Bean and Almond French Toast

While egg bake might be an obvious slow cooker recipe, many people venture beyond that to get even more creative with auto-cooking. This recipe shows you really how versatile your slow cooker can be.

Ingredients:

1 loaf day-old challah bread

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

8 large eggs

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 vanilla bean, beans only

5 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch kosher salt

Directions:

Lightly coat the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray. Slice the bread into ½-inch slices and arrange them, overlapping, in the slow-cooker.

In a large bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients until very well blended, then pour over the challah in the slow cooker. Push the bread down so that it is completely submerged.

Place the cover on the slow cooker; set heat on low and cook for 8 hours. Allow French toast to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Thenaptimechef.com

Skinny Slow Cooker Oats

This slow cooker recipe is not only quick, but also a great choice for those with a health-conscious New Year's resolution.

At only 150 calories per serving, you can start your day off right knowing you're consuming a nutritious breakfast.

Ingredients:

1 cup steel cut oats

4 cups water

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon artificial sweetener

Toppings: fresh blueberries, pecans, bananas or skim milk (optional)

Directions:

Heavily coat slow cooker with cooking spray. Place oats in slow cooker and pour water over oats. Add in cinnamon and vanilla; stir to mix. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or overnight.

Wake up and stir oats. Add artificial sweetener to taste. If oats are too thick,add skim milk or almond milk and stir to desired consistency. Top with fresh blueberries, pecans and skim milk, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Skinnymom.com

Visit alexandrafloersch.areavoices.com for more recipes including Slow Cooker Lemon Cornmeal Poppy Seed Bread, Biscuits and Gravy Crock-Pot Breakfast Casserole and Slow Cooker Cinnamon Rolls.

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