5 Kid-Approved Dishes You Can Make in Your Slow Cooker

By: Emily Lee

Summer has a way of uniting families at the dinner table for casual, unhurried meals, but in the fall, family night gets turned on its head. Kids go back to school, creating a flood of errands and to-dos: piano lessons, soccer practice, homework, etc. It can be hard to hold on to those carefree, restorative evenings set aside for catching up — and even harder if the kids have strong opinions about the menu.

Our solution? The slow cooker. Take it down from the dusty cabinet where it’s been hibernating and let it do the hard work for you, starting with these five kid-approved recipes.

Sausage, Bean and Pasta Stew

If your kids are picky about texture, give this hearty sausage stew a try. The chewiness of the sausage and ditalini pasta make the dish comforting and approachable, while the robust garlicky flavor and fiber-packed beans will appeal to the adults at the table.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Turkey Sandwiches

Toss juicy turkey thighs into your slow cooker with a medley of red onion, apple cider vinegar and aromatic spices to re-create Food Network Kitchen’s fall-apart-tender turkey sandwiches at home. Serve the turkey meat on soft, squishy hamburger buns and your kids will want to grab them right up. You can use the leftover turkey to fill taco shells or combine with pasta throughout the week.

Slow-Cooker Chocolate Candy

These creamy chocolate-peanut cups are just the right size to tuck into your child’s lunchbox for a sweet midday surprise. Prepare a batch over the weekend and let the kids get in on the fun; little helpers can drop the peanuts and the chocolate chips into the slow cooker, and bigger helpers can help spoon the melty mixture into the paper liners.

FNK SLOW COOKER CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP (comfort food) Food Network Kitchen Food Network Carrots, Celery, Onion, Parsley, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Chicken Thighs, Egg Noodles, Lemons

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

FNK SLOW COOKER CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP (comfort food) Food Network Kitchen Food Network Carrots, Celery, Onion, Parsley, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Chicken Thighs, Egg Noodles, Lemons

Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Every parent dreads flu and cold season, so start boosting your little one’s immunity now with wholesome cups of homemade chicken-noodle soup. This slow-cooker version is loaded with tender chicken thigh meat, carrots and celery, plus plenty of earthy thyme and parsley. For a healthier version, skip the egg noodles and stir in your family’s favorite cooked grain at the end. Quinoa or brown rice offers a nice, comforting chew.

Slow-Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

This mild combination of cheddar, butter and tender macaroni will appease even the pickiest palates come dinnertime. For the creamiest results, combine the macaroni and cheddar with a blend of whole milk and evaporated milk; evaporated milk has less water than regular milk, so it produces an exceptionally rich, coat-your-spoon cheese sauce.

Next Up

1 Slow-Cooker Pork Loin Becomes 3 Kid-Approved Dinners

When it's screaming hot outside, the last thing I want to do is slave over a stove. That's why I set up the slow cooker and let that little miracle worker make dinner for me three times.

10 Apple Dishes Kids Can Help Make

Here are 10 simple ways for your kids to help cook — and eat — their way through apple season, enjoying every bite.

5 Edible Gifts Kids Can Make

The experts in Food Network Kitchen came up with these adorable edible gifts that are simple enough for kids to make themselves.

5 Kid-Approved Recipes That Are Loaded with Green Veggies

Serve up good-for-you pizza, pasta and more.

4th of July Dishes Kids Can Help Make

As if the Fourth of July isn't already festive enough, here are five recipes that even the littlest cooks can help make.

5 Pumpkin Pasta Dishes to Make for Dinner

These Food Network recipes incorporate pumpkin into simple pasta dishes that are a winning combination of fresh and filling.

5 Pumpkin-Centric Dishes to Make This Fall

Check out Food Network's top-five pumpkin recipes to find inspired ideas for using this fall ingredient in lunch, dinner and dessert dishes.

5 Easy Christmas Cookies Kids Can Make as Gifts

Your little ones can have a hand in gift giving this year by helping to make these easy holiday cookies.

Our Top 5 Must-Make Thanksgiving Side Dishes — Fall Fest

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the sides (and lots of them).

Related Pages