You may have spent the dog days of summer savoring the fact that later bedtimes and all-day snacking meant that the rush to make dinner was not as imperative as it is during the school year. While this is true, when the school year starts, it's back to the daily grind and your kids will inevitably be hangry at exactly 5 p.m. each day. Make your life just a little easier by making these 15 slow cooker recipes for school nights and I promise your kids will love you for it.
Between waiting in the ridiculously long carpool line at school pick-up, helping with homework, and rushing to soccer practice and piano lessons, time for making a home cooked meal is minimal. You might be tempted to grab a bag of greasy deliciousness from a drive-thru on your way back from doing all the things. It's fast and easy to do just that, but with just a bit of prep work, these slow cooker recipes for school nights are just as quick and probably much healthier. The majority of these recipes can be started in the morning before you head out for the day and will be ready in plenty of time for dinner.
1. Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs
Brown Eyed Baker has perfected this recipe for barbecue ribs to ensure fall-off-the-bone goodness and a gooey, saucy appeal that cannot be beat. These ribs can cook all day in your slow cooker, and then you can add simple side dishes (or use store bought to make it even faster) to round out your school night meal.
2. Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili
Soups are such an easy school night meal — especially when they're packed with flavorful protein and vegetables like this slow cooker white bean chicken chili by Baked By Rachel. This particular batch will make eight to 10 servings, so depending on the size of your family, you could potentially stretch this simple-to-make dish out over two nights.
3. Slow Cooker Lasagna
Climbing Grier Mountain's slow cooker lasagna is not your traditional lasagna for two amazing reasons. First, it is made right in your Crock-Pot instead of the oven, and second, it features a creamy pumpkin sauce instead of the traditional tomato-based marinara found in most lasagna recipes. This is the perfect school night recipe for heading into the fall season.
4. Slow Cooker Pineapple Pulled Pork
Pulled pork is such a versatile school night meal staple. This pineapple and barbecue sauce version by Five Heart Home can simmer away in your Crock-Pot for the entire day before you serve it on a sandwich, a salad, or a baked potato, and watch your entire family ask for seconds.
5. Slow Cooker Tomato Tortellini Soup
If you have pasta or soup lovers in your house, this slow cooker tomato tortellini soup is one you're going to want to make over and over again. Baked By Rachel's recipe uses store-bought refrigerated cheese tortellini to create this filling soup that can be made right in your Crock-Pot.
6. Slow Cooker Curried Lentil Soup
My kids will absolutely devour curried anything, and this slow cooker curried lentil soup by A Beautiful Plate is certainly no exception. A combination of warming spices paired with lentils, onion, and carrots creates a soup that is hearty enough to enjoy a large bowl for a school night meal.
7. Crock-Pot Moroccan Chicken
Who says your school night dinners can't be adventurous? This moroccan chicken recipe by Cara's Cravings features chickpeas, dates, and raisins that combine right in your Crock-Pot with moroccan spices and chunks of chicken breast to create an easy and delicious one-pot meal.
8. Crock-Pot Whole Roasted Chicken
This completely hands-off approach to roasting a chicken in your Crock-Pot comes in handy for making multiple weeknight meals during the school year. Brown Eyed Baker suggests serving this chicken with mashed potatoes, and then using the leftovers to make tasty sandwiches and salads the next day.
9. Slow Cooker Shrimp Creole
I'm a sucker for any recipe that mentions "creole" in the title. This savory slow cooker shrimp dish by Climbing Grier Mountain is a bit on the spicy side, but can be easily made in your Crock-Pot on a school night and you can always adjust the heat level by adding a little less chili powder or hot sauce if your kids aren't as into heated dishes.
10. Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
This recipe from Nellie Bellie for slow cooker orange chicken is the epitome of easy. It takes about four hours in the Crock-Pot to make a delicious meal that is much lighter than the takeout version of orange chicken. Simply serve over rice or steamed veggies and you're ready to enjoy a delicious school night meal.
11. Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas
This recipe for slow cooker steak fajitas from Brown Eyed Baker is perfect for when taco Tuesday rolls around, but you're too busy with PTA meetings and dance lessons to slave away in the kitchen. Simply toss the meat, onions, peppers, and spices into your Crock-Pot and forget about it until dinner time when you throw it on a tortilla and call it a meal.
12. Slow Cooker Sweet Chili Chicken Drumsticks
Here's another example of a main dish that is easy to make right in your Crock-Pot on a busy school night that can be served with simple sides to create an a amazing family meal. These sweet chili chicken drumsticks by Five Heart Home offer sweet and savory flavors your entire family will adore.
13. Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken & Potato Soup
This hearty soup by Baked By Rachel will keep your family's bellies full and their mouths thanking you for finding such a delicious recipe. The creamy deliciousness of this slow cooker chicken and potato soup simply cannot be beat for an easy school night dinner.
14. Slow Cooker Spaghetti With Meatballs
If you didn't already know that your Crock-Pot can make a killer batch of spaghetti and meatballs, this recipe by That's What Che Said will show you the way. This is a life-changing hack for busy parents who value eating a home cooked meal on school nights.
15. Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
A classic beef stroganoff recipe usually calls for hours of standing at a stovetop stirring up tons of hearty deliciousness, but this Crock-Pot version from Brown Eyed baker is much easier and just as tasty. Serve it over egg noodles for a school night dinner that is filling and flavor-filled.