I’m a crockpot fanatic, since I discovered the adaptability and ease of use of the slow cooker when several kids (plus one larger version – ladies, if you are married, you know who I’m talking about), an active duty military career and contestant moves and deployments made my life a little more challenging than the average mom.
I live a life of virtual laziness now compared to those days when I would sometimes only get four hours of sleep a night and then would try to catch up on Sunday afternoons by sleeping all afternoon to recharge my batteries. Finding healthy ways to feed my family was often the last thing on my mind! Just eat whatever we could find that was still alive in the refrigerator, well, maybe not alive, but still edible!
I finally developed a system that kept our family from imploding and the slow cooker was key in our meal plans. I could get up at a reasonable hour instead of the 4 am time slot I had been utilizing! While the coffee was brewing, and the kids were getting dressed, I would prep dinner, from the ingredients I had gathered the night before.
Perhaps I’d stopped at the supermarket on the way home from a late meeting and found a great deal on healthy lean chicken thighs or I’d pull the ubiquitous pound of ground beef from the freezer and combine it with fresh healthy veggies from our garden into a wonderful chicken or beef stew. A hearty and healthy dinner could be prepped and put in that magic pot..and left cooking safely while we left the house and went about our busy, busy lives. After school, work, soccer games, dance practices, we could all convene back home to find a warm, delicious healthy and hearty meal just waiting for us to chow down on!
While I use my crockpot all year round for various things, fall and winter months are great months to prepare some of those hearty and healthy enticing meals that will warm us and energize us for the tasks of our busy lives. Here are three of my favorite fall and winter slow cooker meals that will have your family happy that Mom isn’t stressed and even more happy that Mom learned how to make family dinner deliciously easy!
At the same time that we want fast and affordable meals, we also don’t want to sacrifice health. Slow cookers are great to tenderize cheaper, but less fatty cuts of meat. Slower cookers preserve the nutrients in foods by not over cooking them at high heat, making crockpot recipes healthy and hearty for winter meals.
Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Peanuts
This slow cooker chicken and peanut stew is worth every minute of the wait! It’s swimming with sweet potatoes, warm, nutty spices like cinnamon and coriander, pungent ginger, and fiery fresh chilies.
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Meat Sauce
Looking for a healthy sauce for pasta, but don’t have time to stay in the kitchen the whole day? Prep and forget our hearty meat sauce that’s packed with veggies. Made with ground beef, sausage, and tomatoes, you won’t even notice this delicious sauce has a few secret, nutrient-packed ingredients.
Cranberry Beef Chuck Roast
If you want a fall-themed recipe you can make in the slow cooker, this recipe is all yours. Comforting and tender chuck roast simmers for hours in this handy kitchen appliance along with tangy cranberry sauce, robust aromatics, and sweet tomatoes.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!