You Don't Need to Be a Top Chef to Make These 37 Slow Cooker Recipes

slow cooker vegetable lasagna

Pinch of Yum

Slow cookers aren't going out of style anytime soon. The once-overly gifted wedding offering is now trendier than ever, and it's easy to see why. With the help of this smart kitchen technology, you can have a warm, filling meal on the table with minimal time spent in the kitchen—but surely you already know that. The real treat is the variety of seriously easy (and delicious) meals that you can whip up with this kitchen gadget.

If you're a fan of slow cooking, you know that the possibilities of what these nifty machines can do are seemingly endless. Perhaps you grew up watching your parents prepare basics like pulled pork in the strange device, but now home chefs are using Crock-Pots to create whatever their hearts desire. Creamy soup? Of course. Chicken carnitas? Absolutely. Spaghetti and meatballs? Why not? It seems as though anything you could ever want to eat for dinner can be prepared and cooked in a slow cooker, freeing up your time to be spent however you like.

Instead of manning multiple pans over a hot stove while the main course bakes in the oven, toss your ingredients in the slow cooker and relax. Pick up a book, take a bath, or go about your daily errands while dinner all but cooks itself. To get you started, here are 37 slow cooker dinners that make cooking almost too easy. 

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Creamy Wild Rice Soup With Butter Roasted Mushrooms

easy slow cooker creamy wild rice soup with butter roasted mushrooms

Half Baked Harvest

This recipe for slow-cooker creamy wild rice soup with butter-roasted mushrooms by Half Baked Harvest is so much more satisfying than your typical pre-made fare. Toss rice, broth, white wine, and veggies in the Crock-Pot along with seasoning to cook. Then add a bit of parmesan cheese and milk to the mixture during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Top your dish with roasted mushrooms from the oven, and dinner is served.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Pro Tip: The rice will soak up the broth as it sits, so you may need to add more broth if eating the soup as leftovers.

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Balsamic Chicken

slow cooker balsamic chicken

Foodie Crush

This slow-cooker balsamic chicken recipe by Foodie Crush makes for a weeknight dinner treat, but it's also gourmet enough to serve for a special occasion. Start by lightly pan-frying chicken thighs on the stove before layering them in the insert of a Crock-Pot with onions, mushrooms, seasoning, and ingredients for the balsamic sauce. Serve with rice or a side of your choice to finish the meal.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Pro Tip: To temper the tartness of the balsamic vinegar sauce, add a pinch or two of brown sugar.

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Korean Beef Stew

slow cooker Korean beef stew

Food Faith Fitness

Mix things up with this easy gluten- and sugar-free slow-cooker Korean beef stew by Food Faith Fitness (oh, and it's also Whole30- and Paleo-friendly). Traditional Asian flavors like ginger, garlic, and sesame oil combine in this dish to create a seriously yummy slow cooker dinner. Aside from browning the beef and preparing hard-boiled eggs, the entire meal is made right in your slow cooker.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Pro Tip: To thicken the stew, add cornstarch or tapioca starch.

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Tuscan White Bean and Sausage Soup

slow cooker Tuscan white bean and sausage soup

Foodie Crush

This slow-cooker Tuscan white bean and sausage soup by Foodie Crush is made entirely in the slow cooker for easy cleanup and prep (in other words, it's the perfect weeknight dinner). The Italian dish calls for Great Northern beans, chicken broth, carrots, celery, Italian sausage, baby kale leaves, tomato paste, and more veggies and seasoning. Just toss the fresh ingredients in a slow cooker and wait, adding the sausage meatballs just before the soup is finished cooking.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours 20 minutes

Pro Tip: Freeze leftovers in baggies for a quick and easy pre-portioned lunch or dinner.

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Potato and Cauliflower Curry

slow cooker potato and cauliflower curry

Half Baked Harvest

Slightly sweet and subtly spiced, Half Baked Harvest's recipe for slow-cooker potato and cauliflower is a deliciously warming meal on a cold evening. The flavorful broth (consisting of curry paste, coconut milk, molasses, and a few other ingredients) teams up with potatoes, cauliflower, fresh spinach, and pomegranate arils to create the antidote to ho-hum dinners.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Pro Tip: Serve the curry with rice, naan, and your favorite protein.

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

Creme de la Crumb

You've probably eaten spaghetti and meatballs more times than you can count, but have you ever made the classic Italian meal in the slow cooker? Give it a go with Creme de la Crumb's recipe for slow-cooker spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs are prepped the old-fashioned way (with ground beef, by hand), then arranged in a slow cooker with marinara. Once the meatballs are cooked, the noodles are added and allowed to cook until al dente (about 15–25 minutes).

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: Garnish each plate with grated parmesan and fresh basil.

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Pineapple Pulled Pork Sandwich

Slow Cooker Pineapple Pulled Pork Sandwich

The Modern Proper

The Recipe: This slow-cooker pineapple pulled pork sandwich by The Modern Proper will quickly become a weeknight go-to. It's a super-easy dish that's bursting with flavors. Prepare the pork, pineapple, and seasonings in the slow cooker, then shred when the meat is tender. Whip up some caramelized pineapples on the stove to top the meat and serve on a sweet Hawaiian bun.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: Try the pork on brioche rolls, too.

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Four Cheese Macaroni

Slow cooker macaroni and cheese

Creme de la Crumb

The Recipe: No easy dinner repertoire would be complete without a savory macaroni and cheese recipe. True to its name, Creme de la Crumb's recipe for slow-cooker four-cheese macaroni calls for four different kinds of cheeses: sharp cheddar, creamy Havarti, gruyere, and cream cheese. Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and wait.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Pro Tip: Add a dash of cayenne and nutmeg for an unexpected kick of spice.

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Swimming Rama

slow cooker swimming rama

The Modern Proper

The Recipe: Why order Thai takeout when you can make The Modern Proper's slow-cooker Swimming Rama at home? It's a dish commonly found in American Thai restaurants that includes chicken or tofu topped in a flavorful peanut sauce and served over spinach. Prepare this recipe by whisking together a peanut-coconut-red-curry sauce and combining with chicken in a slow cooker.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Pro Tip: Add spinach to the mixture when it's almost done cooking, or serve the dish with raw leaves for a different taste.

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Chipotle Bean Chili

healthy slow cooker chipotle bean chili

Half Baked Harvest

In Half Baked Harvest's recipe for slow-cooker chipotle bean chili, cinnamon brings added warmth and complexity to every bite. The spice joins the other ingredients (beans, broth, veggies, and more spices) to form a vegetarian chili that's best topped with shredded cheese and avocado slices.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: This recipe can also be made in an Instant Pot or on the stovetop.

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Butternut Squash Soup

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

The Modern Proper

Complete a cozy autumn evening with a bowlful of slow-cooker butternut squash soup by The Modern Proper. The comforting, silky-smooth soup is a mixture of squash, coconut milk, onions, garlic, stock, spices, and, in an unexpected twist, fresh apples. With just five minutes of prep time, the soup comes together in a flash.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: This soup can last for months in the freezer.

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Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa

Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa

Two Peas and Their Pod

If you have 15 minutes to spare, you can throw together this slow-cooker enchilada quinoa recipe by Two Peas and Their Pod. Place uncooked quinoa, black beans, frozen corn, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, canned green chiles, and Mexican-inspired spices in a slow cooker, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Serve the dish with fresh corn tortillas and plenty of shredded cheese.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3–6 hours

Pro Tip: This recipe can easily be made vegan; just omit the cheese or use a non-dairy substitute.

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Butternut Squash Red Lentil Stew

Slow cooker Butternut Squash Red Lentil Stew

Eating Bird Food

This slow-cooker butternut squash and red lentil stew recipe by Eating Bird Food is proof that vegetarian fare can be satisfying—and packed with protein. Here, butternut squash, dried red lentils, coconut milk, veggie broth, and spices are added to the slow cooker along with sauteed onion and garlic, then cooked until the lentils are tender. Fresh green spinach is added at the end for an extra dose of color and nutrition.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Pro Tip: Before adding your lentils to the slow cooker, give them a good rinse to remove any debris.

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bolognese

slow cooker spaghetti squash lasagna bolognese

Half Baked Harvest

In this recipe for slow-cooker spaghetti squash lasagna bolognese by Half Baked Harvest, cooking a spaghetti squash has never been easier. Simply add the entire squash, skin and all, to the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients. After six or eight hours, remove the (now-soft) squash, slice it lengthwise, scrape its contents into bowls, and spoon the bolognese sauce over top.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Pro Tip: When shopping for spaghetti squash, choose one that's firm and free of blemishes.

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Beef Stew With Butternut Squash

slow cooker Beef Stew With Butternut Squash

Foodie Crush

Your shortcut to a hearty dinner, Foodie Crush's recipe for beef stew with butternut squash requires just 10 minutes of prep time. First, sauté cubed and floured beef chuck and veggies (carrots, mushrooms, squash, and potatoes) in a Dutch oven, then transfer all of the above to a slow cooker. Add beef both, wine, bay leaves, and thyme into the mix, then cook for four hours (on high) or eight hours (on low).

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4–8 hours

Pro Tip: Don't forget to remove the bay leaves before serving the stew.

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Chicken Pumpkin Curry

Slow Cooker Chicken Pumpkin Curry

The Modern Proper

Likely to rival anything on the menu at your favorite Thai restaurant, this slow-cooker chicken pumpkin curry recipe by The Modern Proper combines cubed pumpkin, boneless chicken, coconut milk, fresh veggies, and red curry paste to result in a better-than-takeout dish. Toasted cashews add a little crunch to the finished product.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: Use small (around four pounds) "sugar pie" pumpkins for this recipe.

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Vegetable Soup

Slow cooker autumn vegetable soup

The Pickled Plum

With all the colors of a fall day, this slow-cooker autumn vegetable soup recipe by Pickled Plum is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the taste buds. To make this vegetarian soup, toss acorn squash, tomatoes, celery, onion, carrots, garlic, and veggie broth into a slow cooker. When there's about an hour of cook time remaining, add zucchini and cannellini beans. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Pro Tip: You can store leftovers of this soup in the fridge for up to four days.

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Butter Chicken

Slow cooker butter chicken

The Modern Proper

So rich and decadent, The Modern Proper's recipe for butter chicken is unlikely to result in leftovers. This Indian-inspired recipe centers around tender cubed chicken and a creamy curry sauce consisting of butter, broth, cream, tomato paste, and spices. It goes from start to serve in just four hours, which won't be a moment too soon for anyone awaiting a taste.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: To make this recipe dairy free, skip the cream and butter and use coconut oil and coconut milk instead.

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Red Wine Sunday Ragù Pasta

slow cooker red wine sunday ragù pasta

Half Baked Harvest

End your weekend on a delicious note with this recipe for slow-cooker red wine Sunday ragù pasta by Half Baked Harvest. Piled atop thick pappardelle, the sauce (a mixture of seared beef short ribs, thick-cut bacon, dry red wine, tomatoes, and fresh herbs) has all the flavor of a home-cooked gourmet meal—with way less effort: The recipe requires only 20 minutes of prep time.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Pro Tip: You can substitute an equal amount of pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, or beef broth for the wine.

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Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos

slow cooker lentil and brown rice tacos

Melanie Makes

A protein-packed, vegetarian alternative to traditional ground beef taco filling, this recipe for slow-cooker lentil brown rice tacos by Melanie Makes comes together in a snap. Add some dried green lentils, uncooked brown rice, minced garlic, and diced onion to a slow cooker, then add water and your spices: chili powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook until tender, then spoon the filling into taco shells or tortillas and add your choice of toppings.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Pro Tip: Use broth in lieu of the water for a more flavorful end result.

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Ratatouille

slow cooker ratatouille

Eating Bird Food

When it comes to ways to serve this slow-cooker ratatouille recipe by Eating Bird Food, the sky's the limit. Use the French-inspired veggie stew as a filling for an omelet, a topping for a baked sweet potato, a side for grilled chicken—the list goes on. The recipe is easy to follow, too: Just chop squash, eggplant, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, onions, and garlic, then add the whole lot to a slow cooker with spices and cook until the veggies are soft but not mushy.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: To prevent the ratatouille from becoming too watery, remove the lid of the slow cooker for the last hour of cook time.

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Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

Slow cooker quinoa black bean stuffed peppers

Pinch of Yum

Rainbow-hued bell peppers serve as the edible vessels in Pinch of Yum's recipe for slow-cooker quinoa black bean stuffed peppers. Here, a half-dozen hollowed-out peppers are stuffed with a savory mixture of quinoa, black beans, enchilada sauce, spices, and pepperjack cheese, then arranged in a single layer in a slow cooker. Once cooked, each pepper is crowned with melted cheese, avocado, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: You can assemble these peppers ahead of time and pop them in the freezer.

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Applesauce Chicken

slow cooker applesauce chicken

Strength and Sunshine

If it's crazy-easy weeknight meals you seek, look no further than Strength and Sunshine's recipe for slow-cooker applesauce chicken. Just add chicken breasts to a slow cooker with some spices, dump two cups of unsweetened applesauce over top, and let the appliance take care of the rest. After about seven hours, the chicken will emerge tender, juicy, and ready to serve alongside piles of mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 7 hours

Pro Tip: Be sure to use unsweetened applesauce here, as the sweetened variety will overpower the dish.

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King Ranch Chicken Soup

slow cooker king ranch chicken soup

Melanie Makes

From sniffles to the shivers, Melanie Makes's recipe for slow-cooker king ranch chicken soup is the cure for what ails you. This warming, comforting hybrid of chicken soup and chili starts by doctoring up chicken broth with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. After adding chicken, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese to the mix and the soup is cooked, ladle spoonfuls into bowls and garnish with tortilla chips, jalapenos, and shredded cheese.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: If your slow cooker doesn't have a sauté function, you'll need to complete the first part of the recipe on your stovetop.

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Mexican Pot Roast

Slow cooker Mexican pot roast

Foodie Crush

Whether you serve this slow-cooker Mexican pot roast by Foodie Crush with warmed tortillas or buttery mashed potatoes, second helpings are pretty much a given. The irresistible flavors are due to the fact that the beef roast is seasoned and seared before being added to the slow cooker. Once nestled in the appliance insert, the beef is joined by water, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, beef bouillon, ground cumin, and chile powder, then cooked until juicy and tender (up to eight hours).

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4—8 hours

Pro Tip: When the beef is finished cooking, it should be tender enough to shred using two forks.

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Salsa Chicken

Slow cooker salsa chicken

Strength and Sunshine

This oh-so-simple recipe for slow-cooker salsa chicken by Strength and Sunshine requires only a handful of ingredients: chicken breasts, a jar of salsa, water, and spices. Arrange the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker, add the rest of the ingredients, give it a stir, then cook until the chicken is done. Serve it solo as a low-carb meal, or pair the chicken with your choice of starch.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 6–7 hours

Pro Tip: Shake up the recipe by experimenting with different salsas until you find a favorite.

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Thai Chicken Soup

slow cooker thai chicken soup

Foodie Crush

While this recipe for slow-cooker Thai chicken soup by Foodie Crush boasts flavors that are nuanced and complex, its preparation is anything but. The entire roster of ingredients, from the coconut milk and the curry paste to the chicken breasts and the bell peppers, is added to the slow cooker at the same time, keeping things easy-peasy. Cook the curry on high for four hours, then garnish each bowlful with fresh cilantro and a twist of fresh lime.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Pro Tip: The oils may separate from the rest of the broth, giving the soup its characteristic speckled appearance.

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French Onion Soup

slow cooker french onion soup

How Sweets Eats

This recipe for slow-cooker French onion soup by How Sweet Eats can feed up to 10 people, which is a good thing because few can resist its cheesy, savory goodness. The caramelized onions are a delicious contrast to the bitterness of the beer broth, while melted gruyere cloaks the piece of toasted baguette perched atop every crock. Better still, this recipe's prep will only take 10 minutes of your day.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6–8 hours

Pro Tip: If using a low-sodium stock, be sure to taste the broth and add salt as needed.

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Barbecue Beer Pulled Chicken

slow cooker barbecue beer pulled chicken

Half Baked Harvest

You can personalize Half Baked Harvest's recipe for slow-cooker barbecue beer pulled chicken right from the gate: It invites you to add your favorite beer and barbecue sauce to the list of ingredients, which also includes skinless chicken, honey, and a medley of spices. Once the chicken is fully cooked, it's shredded and added back into the savory-meets-sweet sauce. Making a good thing even better, the chicken is paired with cheddar-corn popovers, fresh from the oven.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: If the chicken mixture gets too thick, thin it out with beer or water.

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Carnitas

slow cooker carnitas

Pinch of Yum

The key to the crispy, crave-worthy crunch of Pinch of Yum's recipe for slow-cooker carnitas? Browning the pork under the broiler. Doing so gives the seasoned meat a texture that belies the fact that it was prepared in a slow cooker (we bet your dinner companions will never suspect that you didn't spend all day in the kitchen). Warm tortillas, shredded cheese, pico de gallo, and a wedge of lime round out this traditional Mexican dish.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Pro Tip: When mixing up the meat's marinade (fresh lime juice, orange juice, salsa, and beer), reach for fresh limes and a standard lager.

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Veggie Lasagna

slow cooker vegetable lasagna

Pinch of Yum

Just like Mom used to make (only less time consuming), Pinch of Yum's recipe for slow-cooker veggie lasagna is truly a one-pot affair. Alternate layers of broken lasagna noodles, jarred tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and raw kale, then cover and let cook for up to six hours. When there's one hour of cook time remaining, turn off the appliance to allow the lasagna to set up.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Pro Tip: Regular lasagna noodles work well for this recipe; no need to use the no-boil variety.

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Turkey Stuffed Shells With Spinach

slow cooker turkey stuffed shells with spinach

Joyful Healthy Eats

Feeding a crew of picky eaters? Bookmark this recipe for slow-cooker turkey stuffed shells with spinach by Joyful Healthy Eats. The classic comfort-food combo of pasta, meat, and cheese appeals to almost every palate, and as an added bonus, every serving promises a generous (and nutritious) dose of fresh spinach. The fun shell shape of the pasta is just an added bonus.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Pro Tip: To stuff the turkey-spinach-ricotta mixture into the shells, employ a small spoon, or craft a piping bag out of a plastic baggie.

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Cheeseburgers

slow cooker cheeseburgers

How Sweets Eats

Love cheeseburgers and sloppy joes? This recipe for slow-cooker cheeseburgers by How Sweets Eats is the best of both worlds, and it couldn't be much easier to prepare. Brown ground beef in a skillet with onions and garlic, then transfer the meat mixture to a slow cooker with milk, ketchup, mustard, and cheddar cheese. After about four hours, the beef mixture will be cooked and ready to be sandwiched between buttered, toasted buns.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3–4 hours

Pro Tip: These cheeseburgers can get a little messy, so keep a stack of napkins handy.

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Kale And Turkey Meatball Soup

Slow Cooker Kale And Turkey Meatball Soup

Foodie Crush

A lightened-up take on Italian wedding soup, Foodie Crush's recipe for kale and turkey meatball soup goes big on flavor and small on fat and calories. The healthy spin starts by using lean turkey in place of traditional beef for the meatballs. Generous amounts of white beans, fresh kale, and chopped carrots join the meatballs in the delicate, nourishing broth.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: To prevent the meatballs from falling apart in the slow cooker, lightly sear them in a large skillet before adding them to the appliance.

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Lemon Chicken

slow cooker lemon chicken

Melanie Makes

Not only does Melanie Makes's recipe for slow-cooker lemon chicken only call for four ingredients, you barely have to do any measuring. Simply drop boneless, skinless chicken breasts and butter into a slow cooker, then pour in the juice of two lemons and the contents of one packet of Italian dressing. After four hours of cooking time, plate the chicken alongside fresh arugula or other greens, and grab a fork and knife.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Pro Tip: Avoid adding sliced lemons to the slow cooker, as they tend to become too bitter.

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Philly Cheesesteaks

slow cooker philly cheesesteaks

Half Baked Harvest

Philly's most famous sandwich is reinvented for the slow cooker in Half Baked Harvest's recipe for slow-cooker Philly cheesesteaks. This set-it-and-forget it recipe starts with thinly sliced sirloin steak, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms, all of which swim in a sauce of beef broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. After simmering in the slow cooker for up to six hours, the beef mixture is stuffed into hoagie rolls, topped with cheese, then popped in the oven until the cheese has melted.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Pro Tip: Before baking the cheesesteaks, wrap them in foil, burrito style, to ensure they stay soft.

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Mexican Chicken

slow cooker Mexican chicken

Pinch of Yum

On those days when your fridge and cabinets are looking a little bare, keep Pinch of Yum's recipe for slow-cooker Mexican chicken in mind. Requiring only five ingredients and agreeable to substitutions, this easy recipe results in a tasty filling for enchiladas, burritos, and tacos. Just add chicken breasts, pinto beans, salsa, and water to a slow cooker, then cook for up to eight hours. Shred the chicken, then stir in cream cheese and taco seasoning for extra spice and next-level creaminess.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4–8 hours

Pro Tip: Customize this recipe by adding ingredients such as corn, canned beans, and peppers.

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