As a busy single mother to three active kids, it can be a struggle to get healthy, home-cooked food on the table. But it can be done — especially when my slow cooker is involved.
I love throwing some ingredients in my slow cooker in the morning (especially when my kids help), and going about my day knowing dinner will be done when I get home. Even better is making a large-enough batch that I have a few meals taken care of. Leftover chicken tossed with mayonnaise or avocado to take the next day for lunch? Yes, please.
Do we have nights when we hit the drive-thru, or I throw some frozen pizza in the oven? Of course. But more often than not, my slow cooker comes to the rescue and helps me spend quality time with my family while enjoying quality food.
Here are 10 slow cooker recipes that I literally cannot live without.
We just made this last night and it turned out perfect. While there is a little slicing and dicing, it only takes 10 minutes to prep. I substitute regular sausage with chicken sausage and sometimes opt for the pre-sliced veggies in the grocery store.
2. Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili from How Sweet Eats
This recipe from How Sweet Eats is good any time of year, but we especially love it when the weather starts to cool off. To make it extra easy, I buy two pre-cooked rotisserie chickens from the grocery store and my kids go at it with a couple of forks and get all the meat in the Crock-Pot. Then you simply dump in the rest of the ingredients and dinner is done! Top it with sour cream, cheese, avocado, and corn chips.
My favorite way to eat brisket is when my dad does it up on his smoker, but since that can't always happen, this is a very close second. This slow cooker beef brisket looks like I put way more time into dinner than I actually did. And the leftovers are great in a sandwich the next day.
When you have meatballs on hand, the options are endless. Toast up some buns and have meatballs subs, or boil some pasta, throw in some sauce, and your meal is done. The leftovers are great in a stromboli or crumbled on a pizza.
Slow cooking isn't just for food. And making a whole batch of lattes when you are hosting a brunch party is an easy way to go. Just throw a pretty ladle and matching mugs down and have your guests serve themselves. Don't forget the whipped cream!
Who knew you could make granola in the Crock-Pot? We are huge granola fans in my house; my kids love it mixed with chocolate chips and raisins, and I eat it with almond milk and fresh fruit. It's filling and you can make a huge batch, put it in an airtight container, and know that breakfast and snacks are done for the week. This recipe allows you to dump all the ingredients in and let it cook away — and yes, it does come out crunchy as long as you don't close the lid all the way.
This recipe is a must-make in the fall — especially if you just spent a day at the apple orchard and came home with way too many Honeycrisps. Your house will smell delicious all day and your kids can help out too. To make it easier, I purchased an apple peeler, corer, and slicer, which my kids love using.
8. Slow Cooker Spinach-Artichoke Dip from Gimme Some Oven
Even though spinach-artichoke dip is one of my favorite appetizers, I never used to make it. It seemed tedious and I'd only enjoy it if I was dining out at a restaurant — that is, until I found Gimme Me Some Oven's recipe. It's the perfect thing to whip up and take to parties with a bag of bagel chips or a loaf of crusty bread.
My mom always made this around the holidays and I clearly remember her bending over, halfway inside the stove, to stir the savory mixture. Now I make it for my kids in the Crock-Pot. It still has to be stirred occasionally, but it's so much easier this way.
We cannot forget about dessert. I love ordering a few pizzas and throwing some sweet ingredients in to stew and devour later with ice cream. Cobbler is the perfect warm, gooey treat to enjoy any time of the year. This recipe does not disappoint, and of course you can substitute any fruit you like.
What's the slow cooker recipe that you lean on the most?