A lot of people are under the presumption that romance goes out the window when you have kids, but that's not true. Sure, you won't have the same amount of time for your partner as you did when it was just the two of you, but the moments you do have alone take on even greater significance because they're far and few between. I'd argue Valentine's Day becomes even more important once kids are in the picture, so whether you're staying at home or going out, these 13 Valentine's Day Crock Pot recipes will help you celebrate Cupid's own holiday right.
Obviously Valentine's Day isn't the only day of the year you can show your partner you love them (some people think the day is overhyped), but it is nice to have a specific 24 hours dedicated just to romance. Life with kids is a non-stop train of playdates, doctor's appointments, and extracurricular activities, so naturally things like candlelit dinners or sex that isn't rushed fall down on the list of priorities. February 14 gives you a reason to literally schedule love into your calendar, where you can plan ahead by penciling in a babysitter weeks in advance or cooking up a romantic dinner for you and your sweetheart to gobble down after you tuck the little ones in.
Whether you're cooking dinner for the whole family, prepping something for the kids before you and your partner go out, or making a special grown up dinner for just the two of you, these recipes can help you focus on love for just a few hours instead of cartoon reruns and dirty dishes. Read on to get inspired, and make sure you save room for dessert.
1Slow Cooker Lobster Chowder
Instead of taking your sweetheart out for a lobster dinner, cuddle up at home with this Slow Cooker Lobster Chowder. Courtesy of Baked By Rachel, this chowder contains lobster and bacon, giving you surf and turf in one neat package. It also cooks for five hours, so you'll have plenty of time to get the kids settled before you start your romantic dinner with your partner.
2Slow Cooker Creole With Easy Garlic Bread
Climbing Grier Mountain's Slow Cooker Creole is a great choice for a romantic Valentine's Day at home, both because it's simple to make and because of shrimp's fringe benefits. As Eat Something Sexy explained, shrimp is an aphrodisiac, so this dish will definitely set the tone for the evening *wink wink.* With just 15 minutes of prep and 3 hours of cook time, this dish will be a snap on your busy February 14.
3Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken And Veggies
Honey has been known to promote "sexual vigour" since way back in 500 BC, according to Food Network Canada, so Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken And Veggies will also bring a spark to your V-Day. Damn Delicious's recipe gives you an entire meal in one pot, so you can give your whole family a filling dinner with minimal effort. Plus, it cooks for eight hours, so you can turn the slow cooker to cook when you're on the way out the door in the morning and come back to a full meal. Voila.
4Slow Cooker Blackberry and Jalapeño Chicken Sandwiches
If you're literally trying to spice it up this Valentine's Day, these Slow Cooker Blackberry and Jalapeño Chicken Sandwiches from Cooking For Keeps were designed for you. The recipe combines sweet blackberry preserves, zippy jalapeños, and rich cheese for flavorful chicken sandwiches that will be easy to serve and eat. If the kiddos aren't into spicy foods, you can always make this one for you and your partner while you make something else for the little ones — the recipe will cook in the slow cooker while you take care of everything else.
5Slow Cooker Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
I'm all about these Slow Cooker Cheese Stuffed Meatballs from Family Fresh Meals as a Valentine's Day dinner option for the whole family, especially if you've got picky eaters. The cheese stuffed meatballs add a twist to the classic, romantic dish, and you'll only have to do 30 minutes of prep to get them ready.
6Slow Cooker Bloody Mary Pot Roast
Another one-stop dish, this Slow Cooker Bloody Mary Pot Roast recipe from Jelly Toast will have you feeling festive for the day of love with minimal effort. The meat cooks with potatoes and onion wedges to give you built-in side dishes, and the daring additions of spices like dill weed and celery seed will have your taste testers raving. This one takes eight hours to cook, so make sure you get it going in the morning so it'll be ready before the kids have to head to bed.
7Slow Cooker Chicken Parm Soup
Chicken parm is definitely a popular meal for special occasions, but it can feel like too much of a hassle to flatten the chicken and prep the noodles on a weeknight. You can get the payoff without the struggle thanks to Baked By Rachel's Slow Cooker Chicken Parm Soup, because all you have to do is throw the ingredients in your Crock Pot and then puree the soup a few hours later. It's a simple way to show your fam some love.
8Slow Cooker Quinoa Tortilla Soup
For all my gluten-free or vegan chefs out there, this is the Valentine's Day meal for you. All you've gotta do to prepare Making Thyme For Health's Slow Cooker Quinoa Tortilla Soup is throw the ingredients into the Crock Pot and wait six hours. (Might be easier said than done once its delicious smell starts wafting through your kitchen.) Plus, the bright red color will feel totally festive, and it's light enough that you'll have plenty of room for dessert.
9Greek Chicken Pita Pockets
Planning on going out for the 14th? Then these Greek Chicken Pita Pockets, courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe, are the perfect meal to prep for the kiddos before you leave them with the babysitter. You'll let the chicken cook for six hours while you're playing with the kids and getting ready for your date night, and then you'll just have to assemble the sandwiches (which only takes about ten minutes) while your partner tries to locate their shoes.
10Asian-Style Slow Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers
The sweets are definitely the priority on Valentine's Day, so eating a bit lighter for your main course on February 14 is a solid plan. These Asian-Style Slow Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers from No. 2 Pencil make for a hearty meal thanks to the chicken, rice, and veggie shell, but you won't feel too stuffed come dessert o'clock.
11. Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork Over Cornbread
I've already filled you in on the benefits of honey, but here's an alternative option for incorporating that sweet nectar into Cupid's dinner. Simply Scratch's Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork Over Cornbread will make you seem like a master chef thanks to the flavorful meat and sweet honey barbecue sauce (only you have to know that it took just 30 minutes of prep to pull it off).
12Sweet And Tangy Balls
Table For Two's Sweet And Tangy Balls are designed to be a fun appetizer, but I think they'll make an excellent main course for your kids that you can serve them before heading out for the night. They cook for four hours, so you can pop them in the slow cooker before you get the babies bathed and yourself dolled up for your date. Give 'em some veggies and candy to accompany these mouthwatering balls, and you can head out totally relaxed.
13Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
Going for tradition? The Comfort Of Cooking's Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese will result in an old-school style dinner, but making it in your slow cooker will put a fun twist on the meal that adds even more taste. As the flavors of tomato, onion, thyme, and red pepper roast all day, you'll be on your way to a scrumptious dinner without having to be glued to the kitchen. Maybe you can use that extra time to actually get your partner a card this year.
12Crock-Pot Chicken And Rice
This Crock-Pot Chicken and Rice recipe (courtesy of Well Plated) is another one-pot meal you can make for the whole family or give to the offspring on your way out of the door. The kids will love the yummy chicken, dijon flavor, and comforting rice, and you'll love that you only needed to spend 10 minutes in the kitchen to get it ready.
13Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches
My parents usually gave us sandwiches if they were going out for the night, but we never got anything quite as fancy as these Slow Cooker Beef BBQ Sandwiches from Dinner Then Dessert. The sweetness of brown sugar combines with tangy paprika to give this hoagie a kick that won't be too much for your little ones to handle. They might even like it more than the sack of Valentine's Candy they brought home from school.