Skip Navigation or Skip to Content
Slow Cooker

Easy Slow Cooker Ideas

I am the mother of an extremely sassy toddler. I also work full-time. So, like many working moms, I have developed a series of routines that help me balance both sides of my life. One of which is the after-work dinnertime routine. It goes like this: Every day, I leave the office and pick up my daughter from the babysitter’s house. We then drive home, let the dog out to potty, and make dinner. I say that “we” make dinner because this particular 17-month-old girl wants to be held for the first 30-ish minutes that we spend at home, especially after spending the day away from mommy. Of course, I don’t mind this at all. She keeps my arms toned. Plus, I missed her too. It makes me feel great, and I know that her desire to hang with (or on) mom won’t last forever. However, this ritual also poses a challenge, because by the time we get home, it’s time to eat. She’s hungry, and she’s not at all shy about letting me know.

The desire to be held during dinner preparation has cut my evening use of the oven and stove out almost completely. If I want to cook in the traditional sense, I have to distract her and then quickly cook. These days, I’m trying to find creative ways to prepare healthy meals that she won’t immediately throw on the floor. The microwave is in use more and more now, and I have a renewed appreciation for my slow cooker. To be honest, the relationship that I have with my crock pot has never been better, and I use it to prepare a meal at least once a week. YOU CAN COOK ALMOST ANYTHING IN THAT MIRACULOUS LITTLE BUCKET. Who knew?

Now I am a countertop cook. By adding one step to my morning routine, I’ve simplified the dinnertime one. Instead of trying to prepare food in a hurry when we get home, I put our meals together in the morning before anyone else in the house wakes up. They cook slowly throughout the day, so when we get home there’s no need to try and figure out what’s for dinner and then literally juggle dinner preparation and a child. Dinner is already done!

Here’s something else fantastic I’ve learned about my slow cooker. It produces incredibly soft food—food that is perfect for a child with only five and a half teeth. Additionally, stews and soups offer a tasty opportunity to include new vegetables and flavors. Well, you get the idea. Cooking slowly: good. Hurried cooking: bad. Here are a few quick, family-friendly dishes to get you started on the slow cooking journey.

Huevos Rancheros Casserole

Put the Olé in casserole with this slow-cooker spin on a classic egg favorite. A satisfying dish for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.

  • 16oz bag frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 15oz can of black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup mild salsa
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Spray inside of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place ½ of the hash brown potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add ½ of beans and ½ of the salsa. Top with ½ cup of cheese. Repeat the layers.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, yogurt, salt, and pepper.
  4. Poke holes in the top layer of ingredients, then pour egg mixture over the layers. Cover and turn slow cooker to low.
  5. Cook for 5 -6 hours until the casserole is set and eggs are thoroughly cooked.

Recipe Yields: 8 Servings

Storage Time: 2 days in the refrigerator

Turkey and Kale Meatballs

Introduce your family to a new green (and superfood) through meatballs. Sheer, diabolical, dinnertime genius.

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped kale leaves (without stems)
  • 1 tbsp shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 cup whole grain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  1. Combine turkey, kale, parmesan, breadcrumbs, basil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Incorporate egg and cottage cheese with meat mixture.
  3. Spray inside of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Roll the turkey mixture into 2-inch balls and place in your prepared slow cooker.
  5. Pour the marinara sauce over the meatballs. You can use a prepared marinara sauce for this recipe.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  7. Serve over pasta, with sautéed zucchini slices, or even cauliflower mash.

Recipe Yields: 6 Servings

Storage Time: 3 days in the refrigerator

Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash Soup

Adding pear to this soup provides just enough sweetness to encourage trial by toddlers and grown-ups alike.

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 cup, unsweetened, plain almond milk or plain yogurt
  1. In a pan over medium heat, melt butter and sauté onions until they are light brown.
  2. In crock pot: combine cooked onions and butter, butternut squash, pears, broth, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  3. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it’s a smooth, uniform texture.
  5. Stir almond milk or yogurt into the soup, allowing a little time for it to warm in the crockpot.

Recipe Yields: 8 Servings

Store soup in the fridge for up to 5 days. Soup can also be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

< Back to Dr. Brown's Blog

Don't miss out!

Free Shipping when you spend $25.
You are $25 away from free shipping!