Lucinda Scala Quinn (Mad Hungry) has provided me with solutions. For example, marinade your pot roast in soy sauce with a bit of ginger (1 hour minimum), sear it with a skillet and then add it to the crock pot with a can of beer. It is full of flavor, DELICIOUS! This really isn't much more effort than just putting it straight into the crock pot without the first two steps.
A bit more effort is required for her whole chicken recipe. She dressed it in a herb/butter sauce by smothering it under the skin and then tucking lemons in the inside, under the wings and in other crooks/cranies around the chicken. She also placed whole garlic cloves in the interior.
Cooking seems to be a skill learned in phases. I'm now in the phase where the simple/easy recipes bore me. I need more flavor and more sophistication.