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15 Crock Pot Dinner Recipes For Those Hectic Back-To-School Nights

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Back-to-school means back to hectic weeknight meals: Between school pickup, work schedules, homework, and bath time, dinners throughout the week can be pure chaos. So, for those evenings when you know you'll be short on time, it's helpful to have some crock pot dinner recipes for school nights in your back pocket so everyone still gets something to eat. If you're really lucky, a good recipe may even help reduce the chaos a bit.

Crock pot, or slow cooker, meals are great because they're very low maintenance. You just add a bunch of ingredients to the pot in the morning, set it to the correct heat setting, and by the time dinner rolls around it's ready to be served. Honestly, this kind of convenience is helpful any day, but it's especially nice on school days when the kids are grouchy, you're worn out from your own day, and you still have your regular night/bedtime routine to deal with.

If you find those few hours between school and bedtime overwhelming but still want to sit down and have a delicious hot meal with your family, check out these crock pot dinner recipes. Whether your kids are picky, you want meat, your partner is vegetarian, or your family is somewhere in the middle, there's bound to be a recipe you can all enjoy.

1. Mac & Cheese

Brown Eyed Baker

Mac & Cheese is a classic that can be served as a side or the main dish. This recipe from Brown Eyed Baker only takes about 30 minutes to prep, and once it's done has enough for between six and eight servings. It's creamy, delicious, and super easy to make.

2. Turkey Breast With Herbs

Mom on Timeout

For families who want meat as the main dish, this recipe for turkey breast from Mom on Timeout is perfect. It only calls for seven ingredients (most of which are probably already in your pantry) and only takes about 10 minutes to prep. Once it's done, it yields between eight and 10 servings! One note; you'll need to make sure the turkey is thawed before you put it in the crock pot.

3. Orange Chicken

NellieBellie

If you're lucky enough to have kids who will eat orange chicken, then you have to try this recipe from NellieBellie. You'll need about eight ingredients to go in the crock pot (including the actual chicken) and some rice to serve along with the chicken once it's done. You can have your chicken ready in as little as three hours, or you can cook it on low for eight hours if that's better for your day.

4. Bolognese Sauce

A Beautiful Plate

Sure, you can make spaghetti quickly using jarred sauce, or you can use the crock pot to slowly cook A Beautiful Plate's recipe for bolognese sauce for a more homemade taste. Prep for this dish is about 30 minutes, because you'll need to sauté a few of the ingredients before tossing them into the crock pot. It will be worth it though, because you'll end up with a delicious sauce with plenty of leftovers to freeze for future dinners.

5. Sweet Potato Casserole

Five Heart Home

If your main dish is covered, but you want an easy side, try out this sweet potato casserole from Five Heart Home. It's technically a side dish, but could also be served as dessert because it's full of sweet things like maple syrup, ginger, and pecans. It's basically like Thanksgiving on any day of any month of the year.

6. Minestrone Soup

Jelly Toast

Looking for a hearty, but easy dinner? Then Jelly Toast's recipe for minestrone is for you. It calls for a long list of ingredients, but prep time is still only 10 minutes. When you're about ready for dinner, you'll add your noodles to the crock pot for a few minutes and once they're ready, you'll have about 10 servings of the filling stew.

7. Spicy Shredded Taco Bites

Baked by Rachel

Taco Tuesday can be a little easier with this recipe for Spicy Shredded Taco Bites from Baked by Rachel. You only need about 5 minutes to prep before your spicy seasoned chicken goes into the crock pot for the day. Once it's done, just shred it up, put it in some wonton wrappers, and add your favorite taco toppings.

8. Tuscan Meatballs

Simply Delicious

Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic dinner, and you can save some serious time making it with this recipe for slow cooked Tuscan Meatballs from Simply Delicious. The recipe yields around 8 meatballs (or more, if you want to make them a little smaller) which are full of Italian herbs that will taste great with marinara sauce.

9. Shrimp Boil

Mom on Timeout

Mom on Timeout's recipe for a crock pot shrimp boil is genius. You'll toss in all of your shrimp boil favorites like corn, potatoes, sausage, and shrimp with some Old Bay seasoning and let it cook for eight hours. You'll get eight servings out of the recipe, and if you close your eyes while you eat, you might be able to pretend you're enjoying it at the beach.

10. Tortilla Soup

Sugar & Soul

For this chicken tortilla soup recipe from Sugar & Soul, you'll need a bit of a long list of ingredients, but only 10 minutes to prep. The soup will cook on low for eight hours and will need to cool for about 30 minutes before eating. Once it's ready, serve it with some tortilla chips, cheese, and an avocado.

11. White Bean Chicken Chili

Mama Harris' Kitchen

To make this white bean chicken chili from Mama Harris' Kitchen, you'll need white beans that have been adequately pre-soaked (so, you need to either buy them pre-soaked or do it yourself). Other than that, this recipe is pretty straight forward. After a little bit of chopping, you'll toss all of the ingredients into the crock pot and let it simmer for the day. Once it's dinner time, just serve with some cheese and your favorite crackers.

12. Brown Sugar Ham

Five Heart Home

This brown sugar ham recipe from Five Heart Home is great because with 10 servings, you'll probably have enough leftovers for a delicious sandwich the next day. It only calls for eight ingredients (one of which is water) and takes about five hours to cook.

13. Tomato Basil Soup

Taste & Tell

You can start this tomato basil soup from Taste & Tell in the morning, let it simmer in the crock pot for eight hours, and then make a few grilled cheese sandwiches for a scrumptious dinner of comfort food. You'll get six servings of soup from this recipe and Taste & Tell has a few modification tips to help you make it exactly how you like.

14. BBQ Ribs

Brown Eyed Baker

Ribs are best when they've been cooked over a long period of time, and you can actually get that perfect texture from the crock pot. Brown Eyed Baker's recipe for BBQ ribs has you cook them for eight hours while they marinate in sauce, onions, brown sugar, and a blend of seasonings. At the end of the day, you'll come home to six servings of perfectly cooked ribs.

15. Chicken Fettuccine

Taste & Tell

If you're a fan of Italian food, try this slow cooked chicken fettuccine dish from Taste and Tell. The creamy sauce is made completely from scratch, but it will only take you about 20 minutes to prep it. After letting the sauce and chicken cook for around five hours, just boil your fettuccine, serve, and enjoy!