Are you looking for some quick and easy weeknight meals to feed your family? Look no further than the effortless art of slow cooking. While many people use the name Crock Pot to mean slow cooker, Crock Pot is actually the brand name -- just like Popsicle®, Frisbee®, Velcro®, and Kleenex®. The concept of slow cooking is as old as cooking itself. Placing food on the hearth to cook all day at a low heat was a necessity long, long ago. Jewish families adopted the tradition to avoid cooking on the sabbath. A dish called Cholent would be placed in the oven at a low heat on Friday evening just before sundown, and would cook slowly the evening meal at sundown the next day. According to a Huffington Post article on the origins of slow-cooking, a young inventor based his design for a slow cooker on the way his mother cooked her sabbath stew. He patented idea and eventually sold it to the Rival company who named the product Crock Pot. Many other brands use the design, but only Rival can legally call it by its trade name.
Aside from flavor and a homemade feel, when prepared correctly, slow cooked meals can be healthier than frozen or ready-made foods cooked in a microwave, and they can be a lot less expensive, too. Buying food fresh and preparing it yourself can add up to huge savings -- which is great news for big families. Another bonus: with meals made in a slow-cooker, busy family members can eat on-demand -- a great boon on a weeknight when everyone has someplace different to go.
With that in mind, here is a week's worth of slow-cooked meals your whole family can enjoy without breaking the bank or spending the day slaving over a hot stove.
Tacos in stew form? Yes, please! Ditch the shells and scoop this delicious stew up with tortilla chips.
Your child will never know he's eating lots of veggies (green beans! onions! tomatoes!) as he gobbles down this deliciously easy chicken dish.
You'll never miss the meat in this tasty chili recipe that uses three varieties of beans - black beans, Pinot Beans, and Great Northern Beans- in place of beef or chicken.
Slow cooker lasagna is easier than you think! Make your favorite recipe in the crockpot instead of the oven. Just add 3 Tbsp of water to the sauce at the bottom of the bowl before assembling. Cook 4 hours on low for the fluffiest, least dried-out lasagna ever!
Pop handmade raw meatballs into the bowl with pre-made sauce and 3 Tbsp of water. Cook for 3 hours on high or 5 hours on low.
Nothing is more comforting than a steaming bowl of soup after a long day. Make your favorite chicken soup recipe in the pot for 6 hours on low heat. Add cooked noodles, dumplings, or rice just before serving.
Italian Bean Soup
Beans, artichokes, and sausage make a winning combination any day of the week. We guarantee your kids will love this recipe, too!
Garnish your slow cooked meals with love and a few finishing touches to make them look as delicious as they taste!
Do you have a favorite recipe for cheap, easy meals for large families? Share your ideas and questions below to join the conversation.
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