Have you heard this song by Nichole Nordeman? If you’re a parent, it’ll hit you hard. If you have very little ones, it seems like time isn’t going fast. But, one day, you wake up and you have a 5-year-old – even though it feels like you just gave birth to him. I can easily see where one day I’ll be at his 5th grade band concert, then his high school graduation, then his wedding, then his son’s 5th birthday. My goodness gracious. Pass the tissues…
Parenting. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a messy thing.
But it (parenting) is also why I love my slow cooker. What!? Slow cooker and parenting? Together? That seems like a stretch, you might ask. Maybe for some. But not for me. Because of slow cookers:
- I can prep a meal in a short amount of time, but cook for a long time. I can spend my time parenting my kids, not babysitting a meal.
- I can leave a soup to simmer or a roast to cook without the risk of a kid touching a hot stove or oven.
- Usually, I can put the meal together at a time that’s convenient for me, not when it’s 45 minutes from dinner time. I get to a pick a time when my kids aren’t vying for my attention.
- Likewise, we can eat when it’s convenient for us because things keep warm in the slow cooker.
Slow cookers are wonderful things. I own 3 of them! Today, I want to give you 20 slow cooker recipes that will help you be successful in the kitchen. Not 20 slow cooker recipes with weird, obscure ingredients. But 20 slow cooker recipes that you can really use!
- Overnight Breakfast Casserole – Hashbrowns. Bacon. Sausage. Bacon. Cheese. Bacon. Bell pepper. Bacon. Eggs. BACON! Set it up late at night before you go to bed, use the timer on your slow cooker and you’ll have a warm breakfast casserole sure to please even the pickiest of eaters!
- Biscuits & Gravy – Be still, my heart. I LOVE biscuits and gravy. Adore it. Don’t-dare-make-it-at-home-or-else-I’ll-double-my-weight kind of adore it. And to be able to make it in the slow cooker?!? Tell me it ain’t so! I’ll add this to the things that I shouldn’t know. Treading on dangerously delicious ground.
- Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole – OH MY GOSH!!!! I now know what I’m making for Christmas morning. This! This right here!!! Apples? Cinnamon!? French Toast!?!? This is worth getting up in the middle of the night to set the slow cooker a-goin’. (Okay, who am I kidding? I’ll be up late that night wrapping gifts last minute anyway.)
- Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal – Oatmeal is incredibly filling as it warms your heart and your body. Perfect for cold winter mornings. Perfect for warm summer mornings too. The beauty of oatmeal is that everyone can easily serve themselves as they wake in the morning. Got early rising toddlers? Give ’em some early. Got late sleeping teens? Give ’em some for lunch. Don’t have kids at home? Eat it whenever you want. Cause you can do that.
- Sloppy Joes – I don’t know what Joe did that was so special to get this sandwich named after him, but special he must have been. I like to look on the positive side of things, so I don’t think Joe was sloppy. I bet he was actually really neat and tidy, so this is more of an ironic name for him. Yeah, I bet that’s it. Because sloppy joes are easy to make. Messy to eat. A favorite in our house!
- Chile Colorado Burritos – A recipe that will have you saying “Ole!” A great use of stew meat without making beef stew (but I also love beef stew). Make big burritos and freeze the rest for next time!
- Sweet Spicy Sausage – Party food at its finest! Or serve on rice and it can be a meal too. Not exactly beef, but closer to beef than chicken!
- Corned Beef & Cabbage – I can’t guarantee that you’ll
getbe lucky if you make this, but well, it can’t hurt. Corned beef isn’t just for St. Patty’s Day, ya know!
- Pulled Pork – This recipe is crazy good. Crazy, crazy, crazy. Simple as all get out. And so customizable. It’s delicious and juicy as is. It’s wonderful if you add buffalo sauce. It’s delicious if you add barbeque sauce. Get yourself some!
- Tuscan Sausage & Potato Soup – I love a good soup. I do. They’re generally easy. They’re pretty forgiving. They’re often budget friendly! And when soup simmers for a good part of the day, the flavors get richer and richer. What’s not to love about that? What’s not to love about this soup? Brothy! Creamy! Potato-y. Yes, yes, yes!
- Ham & Bean Soup – This soup is a fantastic way to use up leftover ham. Add some very budget-friendly beans and you’ve got a wonderful thing going on. Add a loaf of crusty french bread and I’m in heaven…just let me know what time to be over!
- Chicken Tacos – So few ingredients, but so much taste! I like to make a large batch, serve some as tacos that night, serve as nachos the next day for lunch and freeze the rest. Delicious! And you can make it as spicy as you want.
- (Not) Chicken Pot Pie – A creative take on chicken pot pie. Make the “chicken pot” part inside the slow cooker, serve on top of biscuits. So simple. Still delicious.
- Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches – Similar in concept to the chicken tacos, this is also really easy. Just dump some ingredients into the slow cooker and let it do its thing. Put onto buns and you’ve got a great meal!
- Cashew Chicken – Cashew chicken is a favorite of mine at Chinese restaurants. I’ve only made this twice at home, which is such a shame. We love chinese food! Lately, we’ve gone dairy-free and egg-free. Chinese food has been great for us as so many of those recipes naturally fit the bill. Love this – for being allergy friendly and for being easy!
- Barbeque (or Buffalo) Chicken Legs – 2 ingredients. 2! You can count them on 1 hand. Heck, you don’t even need fingers – you just need 2 hands. Easy and kid friendly!
- Glazed Cinnamon Apples – Side dish? Dessert? You decide! They’re wonderful either way. I’ve used it instead of apple pie filling in dump cake. Kids love it and it makes your house smell delicious all day!
- Sweet Carrots – Carrots are almost universally loved. Or hated. Maybe they’re universally tolerated? Okay, carrots can be bland. But they don’t have to be! Add in some brown sugar, cook ’em low and slow and your carrots won’t be bland any more!
- Green Beans with Bacon – My absolute favorite way to eat green beans! If you haven’t tried them this way, you’re really missing out!
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes – Who doesn’t love garlic mashed potatoes? Communists, that’s who. Just kidding. I’m sure there are people out there that don’t care for them. Maybe they don’t like garlic? Maybe they don’t like potatoes? I dunno. I like both of them. And I really like both of them when they’re easy to assemble and cook – like in a slow cooker!
Jayme is a wife to 1 and a mother to four little boys. She coupons, price matches and meal plans. While she likes to cook, she’s in the stage of life where simple is usually better – she never knows how many hands she’ll have free at dinner time! You can find her at No Regrets Living.