what can I make in the crockpot that I don't have to cook on the stove first?
I need ideas. I will be away from home, no stove, just a crockpot and a microwave.
Wihout cooking first? TONS of stuff. Not everything needs to be browned first, although browning will improve the flavor, Let's see....
Beef Short Ribs
Osso Bucco and other braised shank recipes
Pulled Pork BBQ
Ropa Vieja and other "shredded beef" dishes
Cooked whole chicken for making other things like BBQ chicken, chicken salad, chicken casseroles, etc.
Beef, lamb, or pork Stews of many, many kinds and cultures
Soups of a thousand kinds
Today I am making Lazy Day Chili. Meat, chopped onion and green pepper go right in the crock pot. I'll come back later on and crumble it up some with a fork and drain it off when it's cooked. Then add everything else and let it cook til supper. Not fancy, but good.
You don't have to prepare food on the stove first before using a crockpot but I find it makes a big difference for meat dishes. I won't cook meats in the crockpot unless I brown them first. They taste mushy otherwise. That said, there are a lot of recipes that don't call for browning.
I like lasagne in a crockpot, and if you use canned sauce, you can just assemble and cook. I use no boil noodles (it's perfect with the moist heat of the crockpot) soaked in hot water first, then squeeze the water out w/ your fingers. Extra sauce--more than you'd think. Both bechamel or ricotta work fine. Layer like you would a baked lasagne.
I just made a fantastic 16 bean soup. The recipe is on the bag of beans, but I kicked it up a bit by adding a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and keilbasa. throw it all in the crockpot. It's similar to a good bean chili. I added my own spices too: worstershire, br sugar, srirachi hot sauce, cayenne, paprika, etc.
grab a bag in any store - I was surprised at how great it came out and hearty it was.