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

Five 5-Ingredient Dinners You Can Freeze with Grocery List

When life deals you a tough hand, such as – just throwing this out there as an example – a Pandemic-forcing-you-to-change-your-life-and-stay-inside-your-home 🙄, it’s an opportunity to simplify and focus on the positive.  One positive is that you can have more dinners with your family!  To help you plan, prepare, and serve EASY family dinners, here I have 5-Ingredient Dinners that can be frozen WITH a Grocery List!  

When it comes to dinners, look to comforting and simple, not fancy and complicated.  You may not be able to get to the grocery store often, so simple ingredients and dinners that you can freeze ahead are so important to your sanity.  These 5-Ingredient Dinners are perfect for this.  

5-Ingredient Dinners You Can Freeze!

When it comes to simple dinners, leaning on your pantry and freezer can be a huge help!  For each of the 5-Ingredient Dinners below, I have added in freezer instructions.  Make sure that you label anything that you place in the freezer with the following information:

  • Name/Description – try to label as detailed as possible
  • Ingredients – 4 months later, you may not remember what you put into that sauce
  • Date – this should be the date that you place it into the freezer

But the freezer can be used for so much more than storing fully prepared casseroles and meals!  The freezer can be a huge friend in the kitchen, helping you to keep fresh veggies, meats, and so much more on hand.  Be sure to check out the full printable cheat sheet with 10 Freezer Hacks to make easy dinners!

5 Recipes, 5 Ingredients Each, 1 Grocery List

Because you can so easily make all of these recipes and freeze them, I’ve gone ahead and prepared a consolidated grocery list here for you!  Please note, I have not included Salt, Pepper, or Olive Oil in the ‘5-Ingredients’.  I have also listed a couple ingredients as optional.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD LISTS

Five, 5-Ingredient Dinners you can freeze with grocery list Five, 5-Ingredient Dinners you can freeze with grocery list

 

Your 5-Ingredient Dinners

1.  Easy Meatloaf without Breadcrumbs!

Close up picture of sliced meatloaf with ketchup on top. This 5-Ingredient Easy Meatloaf recipe may be short on ingredients, but it is loaded with flavor. The lack of breadcrumbs means you don't have them soaking up the juices, so the meat stays moist - and it's gluten free too! Parmesan cheese, onion, egg, ketchup, salt, and pepper are all that go into this yummy loaf of goodness!

This 5-Ingredient Easy Meatloaf recipe may be short on ingredients, but it is loaded with flavor. The lack of breadcrumbs means you don’t have them soaking up the juices, so the meat stays moist – and it’s gluten free too! Parmesan cheese, onion, egg, ketchup, salt, and pepper are all that go into this yummy loaf of goodness!

Freezer:  Meatloaf freezes so well raw.  For this recipe, simply double the ingredients and make 2 meatloaves.  Cook one to enjoy right away.  Make the second meatloaf and freeze raw.  It will last up to 4 months in the freezer.  When you go to cook the frozen meatloaf, place it directly into the oven from freezer.  Add 20-30 minutes to the cooking time.  Use a thermometer to ensure the center is cooked to 160 F degrees.

 2. Pancetta, Parmesan, & Pepper Pasta

Pancetta, Parmesan, and Pepper Pasta on plate with fork holding bite. The Pancetta gives a salty and slightly peppery flavor, Parmesan cheese creates a nutty and creamy sauce, and the ground black pepper gives a peppery flavor that makes this pasta stand out. #pasta #easypasta #easydinner #dinner #italian #familydinner #onpotdinners #onepandinners #parmesan

This 30-Minute Quick & Easy Pancetta, Parmesan, and Pepper Pasta is a creamy, peppery, and absolutely delicious pantry dinner.  The Pancetta is diced to give a salty and slightly peppery flavor and meatiness in every bite. The Parmesan cheese creates this nutty, salty, and creamy sauce coating every piece of pasta. And last, but not least, the ground black pepper gives that peppery flavor that really makes this pasta stand out.

Freezer:  For this recipe, rather than freeze the entire dish, you will be freezing some of the ingredients so that you can make it anytime!  The Pancetta (diced), Grated Parmesan Cheese, and Minced Garlic can all be frozen separately.  When you go to cook this recipe, the pancetta and minced garlic can added to the hot pan directly from the freezer.  The parmesan cheese just needs to be loosened a bit in it’s container by either shaking it or using a fork. 

3.  Chicken & Cheese Corn Tortilla Quesadillas

Hand holding Chicken Corn Tortilla Quesadilla triangle with melty cheese pulling. They have crispy edges, a soft gooey center, and are mouthwatering flavor. They have hearty shredded chicken flavored with warm and smoky Mexican spices. Then shredded Pepper Jack cheese and Cheddar is layered to get melty and oozy and delicious. It's an irresistible new easy dinner or appetizer idea. #quesadillas #mexicanfood #enchiladas #familydinner #chicken

If Chicken Enchiladas and Cheese Quesadillas had a baby, it would be these incredible Corn Tortilla Quesadillas! With crispy edges, a soft gooey center, and mouthwatering flavor, they will become your new obsession. I filled these with hearty shredded chicken, flavored with warm and smoky Mexican spices. Then layered in shredded Pepper Jack cheese and Cheddar that gets so melty and oozy and delicious.

Freezer:  For these quesadillas, you can assemble them and then freeze them flat on a sheet pan.  Once frozen, I wrap them individually in aluminum foil so that they don’t stick together.  Then cook them directly from freezer without thawing them first.  You may need to add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time to ensure that they get crispy on the outside.

4.  Easy Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken

Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken cooked and sliced on a plate with rice and cilantro. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes

This EASY Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken is quick to make and mouth wateringly yummy! The fantastic marinade and sauce is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, tt takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!!

Freezer:  The fantastic thing about this recipe is that you can make tons of the marinade and portion it out to freeze with the chicken for several dinners!  Be sure to freeze the chicken flat and try not to squish the chicken together.  If the chicken breasts freeze separately, they will thaw faster and more evenly.  When you want to cook it for dinner, transfer the frozen raw chicken to the fridge to thaw 24 hours in advance.  When thawed, simply follow the cooking instructions in the recipe.

5.  Super Cheesy Cauliflower Rice

Welcome to my new favorite comfort food with a healthy twist: Cheesy Cauliflower Rice.  If Mac and Cheese met Cauliflower, fell in love and had a baby, it would be this Cheesy Cauliflower Rice. This recipe is so simple with just the flavors from the cauliflower - plus a few other things to help it come together.

This is one of my favorite comfort foods with a healthy twist: Super Cheesy Cauliflower Rice. If Mac and Cheese met Cauliflower, fell in love and had a baby, it would be this Cheesy Cauliflower Rice. It’s so good that I didn’t even get fancy here by adding any other flavors. You get cauliflower and cheese…plus some other ingredients to help it get it on. This Cheesy Cauliflower Rice is a delicious gluten free, low-carb alternative to a pasta or rice side dish.

Freezer:  Make this entire recipe and freeze it!  It’s that simple :).  Then thaw it in the fridge overnight and warm it up in the oven 350 F degrees, on the stove in a covered pot on low heat with a half cup of water, or in the microwave.  If you find that it has a bit too much liquid when reheated, you can add some parmesan cheese or shredded cheese to help thicken it.  You can also mix in some cornstarch, but be sure to cook the dish for at least another 5 minutes.