Choosing the right meal to prepare before you head out for trick-or-treating is serious business. You want something that will fill everyone up so candy isn't the only thing on the menu, but also enough so any guests who decide to stop by unexpectedly can be given a bowl of something warm to eat before the sugar feast begins. Finding the time to make that dinner when you're still putting last-minute touches on costumes can be tricky. Enter: the slow cooker.
These 10 slow-cooker meals are crowd-pleasers. It's the chili that everyone eats a second bowl of, or sloppy joes the kids can assemble themselves, or a spiced vegetable stew made from a selection of frozen vegetables. They're the meals to serve to make sure everyone's bellies are full before the candy comes home.
Chili is the perfect meal to eat before trick-or-treating. It's warm, comforting, and has plenty of protein to keep everyone energized. Pick up a loaf of crusty bread on the way home and call it dinner.
Make sure everyone finishes their sloppy joes before changing into their costumes. The last thing you want is a princess or a superhero with a sauce stain on their costume.
Tagine, the North African stew, might not be the first thing you think of to serve on Halloween night, but this spiced chickpea and vegetable stew fits all the requirements. It's flavorful, thanks to the addition of harissa paste, and it comes with a double whammy of convenience. Not only is it made in the slow cooker, bu also the majority of the ingredients come from the freezer.
Want to serve a warm bowl of mac and cheese the night of Halloween? Save the boxed stuff for another night and lean on your slow cooker to help you pull it off. This recipe is a hit with the little kids and big kids alike — and it makes enough for all the ghosts and goblins knocking on your door for a bite to eat.
The trick to making chicken soup in the slow cooker is to use dark meat chicken — that way you won't have to worry about it overcooking. This spicy Tex-Mex-inspired soup is a total crowd-pleaser. Set out bowls of toppings like shredded cheese, chopped green onions, and cilantro and let everyone serve themselves.
The beauty of this basic enchilada recipe is that you can customize it with your family's favorite foods, or whatever you have leftover in your fridge. Swap the black beans for pinto beans, throw in some chorizo, or add in extra veggies. Serve alongside a crisp salad for a complete dinner.
For another hearty dinner, look to this beef and barley stew recipe. It does take a little bit of prep work, but that can be done in advance — either the morning of or even the night before.
Another classic family dish, tuna casserole has all the classic comfort you'd expect from this nostalgic dish — making it in the slow cooker just makes it easier. Remember to use sturdy noodles like rigatoni or wide yolk-free noodles. This dish is tasty all on its own, but a dash of hot sauce never hurts.
This dish will perfume your house with the welcoming smells of a home-cooked meal. Feel free to opt for sausage links or bulk Italian sausage for the filling. If you opt for the bulk sausage, just brown it on the stove like you would ground beef before adding it to the layers.
If you want a fork-and-knife dinner before you head out for trick-or-treating, put together this dish of apple, onions, and pork chops in the morning. Make a pot of fast-cooking couscous, a big green salad, and have a nice family meal before you head out for the night.