Crockpot meals are stress-free cooking made delicious– easy enough for any chef with plenty of variety for picky palettes (kids, in my house). Browse our favorite recipes and see if they inspire you to start cooking this way! Feel free to modify ingredients to suit your preferences.
The story of my first crockpot meal
My first crockpot was a wedding present, some 13 years ago now. The day we opened it up, weeks after the wedding, I ran right down to our neighborhood market (we were living in Germany at the time) and bought some chicken to cook up. That barbecue chicken was the first and one of the last dishes I made in the crockpot for the first several years that we were married. Preparing dinner in the morning just did not seem necessary when it was only the two of us. We could eat at 8 pm if we wanted. Heck, we could skip dinner altogether if we wanted.
Once kids entered the picture, life changed. So did the love that I felt towards my crockpot. Once my kids were no longer babies, it became clear that eating dinner at 8 pm—an hour after their bedtime—simply would not do. It also became clear that they would require dinner every single day. As a household with two working adults, we needed to become more strategic about our dinner planning or risk having cereal yet again.
Why do we love the crockpot for kids’ meals?
The crockpot became our saving grace. The crockpot is so convenient for families with kids because it guarantees that dinner will be available and ready on time. For families with babies or toddlers (my current household), the hour around dinnertime can be tough. Being able to focus on the kids and their needs during this time, rather than on cooking dinner, can help the evening go more smoothly. It also allows working parents to spend their time in the evening on being together as a family, rather than on cooking dinner. Families who have older kids with busy evening schedules might love a crockpot meal because everyone can grab food as they come and go (although we recommend sitting down to eat as a family whenever possible).
Other reasons that we love the crockpot
We use the crockpot at least once a week now, but often more frequently than that. I love throwing food into the crockpot in the morning and having a steaming, delicious meal when I come home. I love that smell you get when walking into a house that has had a hearty vegetable stew simmering all day. Waking up to the smell of maple oatmeal that has been roasting all night is intoxicating as well.
More reasons to love the crockpot:
- Frees up space in your oven on Thanksgiving
- Keeps warm food like dips and casseroles at the perfect temperature during a party
- It is easy to clean and relatively easy to store
- It is straightforward to use
- They tend to be reasonably priced
- The variety of recipes is limitless
Check out some of our recipes above, and let us know your favorite meals to cook in the crockpot below!