8 Family Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes for Fall & Winter!

Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe in slow cooker with wood spoon and parmesan on the table. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

It’s time, my friends!  It SLOW COOKER SEASON!!  If you know…you know.  If you are new to the wonderful world of the slow cooker, well, you are about to have your life changed!  That’s because the slow cooker takes the stress out of dinner, gives you time back with your family, cooks dinner for YOU – oh and leaves the hair on your head (lol – yes, I have wanted to pull my hair out vs make dinner too)!  Because I know first hand how amazing the Slow Cooker is, today I have my top 8 Easy Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes that you really must try this Fall and Winter!

These 8 Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes meet the following criteria:

  1. EASY – 90% of the Dinner is cooked in the slow cooker.  This means that the main protein and veggies are cooked in the slow cooker.  The only other parts of the dinner that may be needed are a starch or grain (pasta, rice, quinoa, potato, etc. and potentially a simple salad if you desire.  
  2. KID-FRIENDLY – these recipes are kid-tested and parents have confirmed to me that their kids enjoyed them!  Let’s face it, kids are finicky.  One day they love something and the next they don’t.  So, I don’t pretend that all kids will love these recipes.  However, there is nothing too spicy or too polarizing here.
  3. COMFORTING – It’s getting cold out and we this year, we all need a bit more comfort, right?  All of these recipes are sure to warm your insides and give you a cozy and comfy feeling.
  4. BALANCED – These are recipes that contain a balanced mix of vitamins and nutrients.  I don’t shy away from the yummy stuff (ehem, cheese:) but I do try to include a healthy dose of veggies!

A Slow Cooker is a Busy Family’s Best Friend

My slow cooker is one of my most beloved kitchen appliances.  Not only does a slow cooker make wonderful food, it helps to make your life easier and gives you peace of mind.  You can fill the slow cooker in the morning and let it cook all day while you are at work.  You come home to delicious and comforting aromas and have a warm dinner waiting for you.

I absolutely love love love my easy and simple (and not expensive) Crock-Pot.  I have the 6-Quart version with 5 settings (low 4-hour, low 6-hour, high 8-hour, high 10-hour, and warm).

There are other fancier versions and if I were in the market for a new slow cooker, I would want THIS one with a browning insert!  You can order this today and have it in a few days to start your Slow Cooker Cookin’!

So, here you go!

8 Easy Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes

1. Comforting Beef Stew over Noodles

Slow Cooker Beef Stew over Noodles on a plate. This is downhome comfort food that's full of flavor and texture with carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, beef, and more. Now, try pouring that salty, chunky, saucy goodness over noodles...yup, even more amazing! #beefstew #crockpot #slowcooker #easydinners #dinnerrecipes

Beef Stew over Noodles is one of those slow cooker dinner recipes that is just downhome comfort food. It’s full of flavor and texture with carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, beef, and more. Make it in the Slow Cooker and it’s like your Mom made it for you because it cooks all day while you are out and it’s waiting for you when you are home. Now, try pouring that salty, chunky, saucy goodness over noodles…yup, even more amazing!

2. Slow Cooker Light & Creamy Broccoli Soup

Slow Cooker Creamy Broccoli Soup in two bowls on counter with crockpot in back. This is easy, comforting, and delicious! With Carrots, Broccoli, Onion, Garlic, and Oregano, this is one flavorful soup. And, there is no heavy cream, just milk and a little half and half mixed with cornstarch, so it's healthy and gluten free!

This Slow Cooker Creamy Broccoli Soup is easy, comforting, and delicious!  With Carrots, Broccoli, Onion, Garlic, and Oregano, this is one flavorful soup.  And, there is no heavy cream, just milk and a little half and half mixed with cornstarch, so you can feel good about eating this gluten free veggie-loaded soup!

3. Homemade Chicken & Veggie Soup

5-Ingredient Homemade Chicken Soup in a bowl with spoon and crockpot in background. This soup is thick, creamy, and hearty. It's filled with flavorful broth, meaty shredded chicken, and sweet bursts of bright veggies. You can prepare all of the ingredients ahead and freeze them until you are ready to cook. Then, thaw, pour into the Slow Cooker, set and forget.

This 5-Ingredient Homemade Chicken Soup is thick, creamy (but, no dairy!), and hearty.  It’s filled with flavorful broth, meaty shredded chicken, and sweet bursts of bright veggies.  But, this version is also the easiest ever because you prepare all of the ingredients ahead (even months ahead) and freeze them until you are ready to cook this wonderful meal.  Then you thaw, pour all of the ingredients into the Slow Cooker, set and forget.  Forget until those amazing and comforting aromas remind you that you have a Homemade Chicken Soup waiting for you!

4.  Easy Slow Cooker Short Ribs

Easy Slow Cooker Short Ribs are always a show-stopper and the perfect main dish for entertaining.  I have made them for holiday dinner parties, for Sunday family dinners, visits from out-of-towners, and thank you meals for friends.  They are incredibly decadent and taste like you slaved away in the kitchen for your guests.  The flavors from the onion, carrots, demi-glace, thyme, and garlic all seep into the meat, which is fall-apart tender and absolutely delicious.  These Easy Slow Cooker Short Ribs taste amazing with Creamy Parmesan Polenta, so check out that recipe too!

5. Simple Weeknight Paprika Pork Stew Recipe

Paprika Pork Stew Recipe in a bowl with carrots, onion, parsley. It's an easy family dinner. 

This Paprika Pork Stew Recipe is loaded with flavor and texture.  With each spoonful you get a smokey and salty bite flavor from the pork, paprika, oregano, garlic and onion.  Carrots balance out this dish with a slightly sweet and tender bite.  Finally, the pork is so moist and fork tender.  But the best part is that this entire dinner can be made in the slow cooker during the day.  Or you can make it ahead in the oven and then reheat on a busy weeknight!

6. Mouthwatering Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with with Pickled Onions, Shredded Cheese, and Cilantro Lime Crema drizzled on top!  It's such an easy dinner since the pork cooks in the slow cooker to be perfectly seasoned and fall apart tender. #tacos #easydinner #glutenfree #dinner #mexican #pork

These Slow Cooker Pork Tacos are mouthwateringly fantastic!  Top them with with Pickled Onions, Shredded Cheese, and Cilantro Lime Crema drizzled all over!  You get the salty and smoky flavor from the perfectly seasoned and slow cooked pork, a sweet and tart bite from the pickled onions, with creaminess from the cheese, and tang from the cilantro lime crema.

7. Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe

Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle with a fork on plate with basil and parmesan on the table. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

This is my easy, made-for-busy-moms Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe!  It has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.  It’s made with beef chuck, so it’s affordable and easy to work with.  It’s made without wine, but instead gets that acidic backdrop from Balsamic Vinegar.  And it’s easy for busy moms because it’s made in a slow cooker!  Just toss all ingredients in, set for 6-8 hours, shred the beef, and that’s it!

8. Slow Cooker Detox Cabbage Soup

Comfort soups can be good for you too.  This Slow Cooker Detox Cabbage Soup is really easy, low-calorie, veggie-packed, which is a great way to get some healthy in between the holiday feastes! This soup is light, but filling with cabbage, tomato, carrots, onion, and garlic. It is also so easy because it is made in the slow cooker, but you can make it faster on the stove as well. It is so good for you and so low calorie, that this makes a great dinner, lunch the next day, and snack whenever you get hungry!

BONUS: 9.  Brazilian Black Beans (Feijão)

Slow Cooker Brazilian Black Beans are thick, rich, and delicious! Serve as a side or main over rice.

These Slow Cooker Brazilian Black Beans, known as Feijão, are a traditional dish in Brazil. The slow cooker makes it incredibly easy to make these anytime and it allows all of the flavors from the meat, onion, cilantro, and garlic to cook into the beans for a distinctive, thick, saucy, and hearty dish. They are great as a side or a main dish. If you have never tried these beans, you really MUST and I promise you will love them.

 

What are YOUR favorite Slow Cooker recipes?  Please share in the comments!

😍 Carrie

One Pot Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup

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Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup in a large pot with ladle scooping.  It's silky and creamy with  onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 
Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup in a large pot on table. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 

Man, do I love me a good creamy soup!  But toss in some cheesy tortellini and salty sausage and I am in heaven.  That’s what we have here with my One Pot Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup.  The base is a silky, creamy chicken broth thickened with a simple roux and milk.  Carrots, onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  Oregano brings an herb-y flavor and the tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 

You know what makes this recipe even better?  It cooks entirely in ONE POT!  Talk about easy clean up and a super easy Dinner!

Want more tips for making busy family dinners easier?  Click here for my Free Printable 5 Simple Steps to Easy Family Dinners!

Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup in a bowl on table. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 

Balanced Meal in One Pot

The beauty of this Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup is that is a complete and balanced meal with protein, grains, vegetables all in one pot.  There are many pasta recipes out there that tout their easy preparation in one pot or pan.  But to be fully balanced, they really need to provide protein and vegetables too.

Here are some other balanced One Pot or Pan Meals to try!

Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup in a bowl with spoonful of soup above bowl. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR YOUR SAUSAGE AND TORTELLINI SOUP

For this recipe, you need a large (5-6 quart) pot. My prized possession dutch oven was perfect for this! Or any good quality enameled cast iron 5-6 quart dutch oven is great.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR YOUR SAUSAGE AND TORTELLINI SOUP

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the recipe below for more details)

As this is a One Pot meal, everything cooks in stages in one singular large pot!  However, you could speed things up a bit by searing the zucchini in a separate pan while you make the soup.  I would still sear the sausage in the soup pot, however, as it imparts great flavor to the soup.

For the prep, you can peel and dice the carrots and onions up to 4 days ahead, along with with the minced the garlic.  These 3 veggies can be stored together.

You can also slice the zucchini and the sausage into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and store separately in the fridge up to 3 days in advance.

Can I use raw or pork sausage?

Yes, you definitely can add in the sausage of your choice.  Raw Italian sausage links would be great and are traditional.  Simply buy the meat in bulk or squeeze it out of the links to cook it before the soup.  

What else can be added to this soup?

I love the sweetness of the carrots and hearty bite of the zucchini in this soup.  But there are many other veggies that would be great in here.  You could add kale, spinach, mushrooms, or peas.  You can also add in white beans for more protein and to bulk it up.  It’s really up to you and your family preferences here, so have fun with it!

COOK YOUR SAUSAGE AND TORTELLINI SOUP

Preheat the large pot on Medium heat. Add Olive Oil and then the sliced zucchini in a single layer. Cook on the first side for 3-4 minutes to brown. Stir to flip the pieces over and sear the other side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Do the same with the sausage and transfer to the same plate with the zucchini.

Sausage slices in pot for Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 

Add another tsp of olive oil to the pot and add the carrots, onions, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the butter, olive oil, and flour. Stir so all flour is moistened and combined with the veggies. Whisk in the milk.

Carrots and onions in pot for Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 

Flour being added to carrots and onions in pot for Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 

Milk added to roux and carrots in pot for Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 

Stir in the broth and then bring soup up to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Add back the sausage and the zucchini, plus the frozen tortellini. Stir, then cover and bring to a simmer, then cook for a final 10 minutes until the tortellini are warmed through.

Thickened soup in pot for Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 

Tortellini added to soup in pot for Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 

How many days ahead can I make this?

You can cook this entire soup up to 5 days in advance!  Store it in the fridge in a tightly sealed container.  You can also portion it out and freeze it for up to 4 months.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup in a large pot on table. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 
Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup in a bowl on table. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 
5 from 1 vote
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One Pot Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup

This One Pot Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup is just heavenly and so easy to make ahead for an easy family dinner!  The base is a silky, creamy chicken broth thickened with a simple roux and milk.  Carrots, onions, garlic, oregano, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  Finally the salty and cheesy tortellini round out this hearty and complete balanced one-pot meal! #onepotmeals #easysoups #tortellinisoup #easyfamilydinners

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword chicken sausage, chicken soup, easy dinner, One Pot Meal, soup, Tortellini, zucchini
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 571 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Zucchini and Sausage

  • 1 Large Zucchini
  • 4 Precooked Chicken Sausage links
  • 4 teaspoons Olive oil

Other Soup Ingredients

  • 1 cup Carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 3 tsp garlic, minced (3 cloves)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 5 cups Broth
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 12 ounces Frozen Cheese Tortellini

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. Peel and dice the carrots and onions. Mince the garlic.

  2. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and then slice those halves in half. Slice into 1/2 inch triangles. Slice the sausage links into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.

Cook

  1. Preheat the large pot on Medium heat. Add 1-2 teaspoons of Olive Oil to the pot and then the sliced zucchini in a single layer. Cook on the first side for 3-4 minutes to brown. Stir to flip the pieces over and sear the other side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  2. To the same pot, add another 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil and then the sausage slices in a single layer. Sear the sausage on the first side for 5-6 minutes. Stir to flip the pieces over and sear the other side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the same plate with the zucchini.

    Sausage slices in pot for Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 
  3. Add another tsp of olive oil to the pot and add the carrots, onions, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the butter, olive oil, and flour. Stir so all flour is moistened and combined with the veggies. Whisk in the milk.

    Milk added to roux and carrots in pot for Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite! 
  4. Stir in the broth and then bring soup up to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Add back the sausage and the zucchini, plus the frozen tortellini. Stir, then cover and bring to a simmer, then cook for a final 10 minutes until the tortellini are warmed through. Enjoy!

    Tortellini added to soup in pot for Creamy Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup. It's silky and creamy with onions, garlic, Chicken sausage, and zucchini bring so much flavor and texture.  The tortellini give that delicious salty, creamy, hearty bite!