Kid-Friendly Slow Cooker Recipes
Meatloaf in a Slow Cooker
Crock Pot Cooking
I am a firm believer that there should be a crock pot in every household. You gather food, perhaps chop it up or mix it together, and throw it in the crock pot for a few hours, forgetting it's even there until it is time to eat.
Now THAT is my kind of cooking!
Slow cooking has been used since the discovery of fire, but it came back into practice in the early 1970s, during a time when more and more women were headed out to the workforce and needed the convenience of an easy to make home cooked meal. Early units were developed from an appliance that cooked beans on the countertop, but as it became more and more popular, the crock pots, as they are commonly known, were well made to only use a little bit of electricity yet cook fantastic meals. Today, they still take up very little counter space, use less electricity than other appliances, can be programmed ahead of time, and some come with carrying cases for traveling.
Slow cooked foods are often very tasty and moist as a liquid is used in many cases to help cook the food, plus evaporation doesn't occur because of the lid. In fact, making a soup in a crock pot is easy because of the liquid and moisture kept inside while cooking.
When I received my crock pot, made by Rival (the original company to produce crock pots), I didn't know what to do with it. Once I did learn more about it, I was amazed how easy it was to use! You really do gather the ingredients, clean them up, and throw them in the crock pot for a few hours.
Voila! Your meal is ready.
How to Use a Slow Cooker
Crock Pot Meals
Two of my favorite crock pot meals to make that are kid-friendly are chicken chili and meatloaf. They are delicious and take very, very little time to prepare. There's always enough left-overs for other meals or snacks for the next few days.
The chicken chili actually happened by mistake. Knowing how easy it was to throw things together in the crock pot, I gathered what ingredients I could find for that day that I thought would work well together as a potential pasta-like meal: chicken breast, tomato soup, and salsa. My thought was to cook all of this up and serve it over pasta. The result, however, was more of a delicious chicken chili, with shredded chicken and a savory yet spicy sauce. Yum!
The meatloaf is an adaptation of a crock pot meatloaf recipe I had. I didn't want to have just plain meatloaf; changing the sauce a bit really made a difference! The meat was so moist, compared to the sometimes dry texture you would get from an oven baked meatloaf.
Below are my two easy recipes that are kid-friendly. They can be adapted as necessary for your family's needs or tastes.
Chicken Chili Crock Pot Recipe
Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
Easy Chicken Chili Crock Pot Recipe
- 1 can tomato soup, condensed
- 2-3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
- 1 small jar mild salsa, (or 2 cups/homemade)
- 1 small onion, sliced
- sour cream, optional, topping
- shredded cheese, optional, topping
Slow Cooker Chicken ChiliClick thumbnail to view full-size
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Instructions for Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
- Peel and slice onion. Place slices on the bottom of the crock pot.
- Place 2-3 chicken breasts on top of the onions. (I used frozen chicken breasts.)
- Top the chicken with the tomato soup and the salsa. Cover and set the heat on high.
- Forget about it for four hours and thirty minutes (eight on low). Come back, pull apart the chicken gently with a fork, top with some sour cream and cheese, and enjoy a delicious chicken chili!
Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
This recipe is kid-friendly because initially it isn't that spicy and from the looks of it, does not contain a lot of vegetables. Oh, but it does contain a lot of vegetables! There are the onions, which can be left off of a child's plate, but the salsa has a few kinds of peppers, tomatoes, and onions. Shh! Don't tell them!
- red kidney beans
- hot sauce
Nutrition for Crock Pot Chicken Chili (Approx)
|Serving size: 1 cup|
|Calories from Fat||153|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 17 g||26%|
|Protein 34 g||68%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
What to Do with the Leftovers from Crock Pot Chicken Chili
- Serve with some tortilla chips
- Serve on a roll with a bit of BBQ sauce for a sloppy sandwich
- Top a nacho and cheese pile, and add shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream
- Stuff a pepper with chili, top with crushed crackers and butter mixture, and bake
Stuffed Peppers with Leftover Chili
- A Leftover Makeover: Stuffed Peppers with Leftover C...
Know how to make stuffed peppers? Don't know what to do with leftover chili? Here's a recipe to make with stuffed peppers with leftover chili.
Meatloaf Made in a Crock Pot
Meatloaf for Kids
Meatloaf always gets such a bad rap, I think because of how dry or sometimes tasteless it can be when it is made in the oven. I have never had such an experience since my mother is an excellent cook, nor do I want my kids to feel that way about such an easy to make, delicious home cooked meal.
This meatloaf is simple and tasty. The BBQ sauce, Jack Daniels in my case, gives it an extra kick that is fabulous for the taste buds. Because it is made in the crock pot, it is so moist, making it oh-so-extra good. Your kids will keep coming back for more!
Sides for Meatloaf
- mashed potato
- baked potato
- green beans or green bean casserole
- corn on the cob
- anything you'd pair with beef!
Slow Cooker Meatloaf
Time: 10 minutes prep, 8 hours in crock pot on low
- 2 eggs
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- BBQ sauce
- onion powder
1. Beat eggs in large bowl. Add breadcrumbs and mix. Add enough milk to make moist.
2. Add salt, pepper, and onion powder.
3. Mix in meat by hand.
4. Put mixture in crock pot and form into a 'loaf' as best as possible.
5. Cover the loaf with a mixture of ketchup and BBQ sauce. Cook on low heat for 8 hours.
Crock Pot MeatloafClick thumbnail to view full-size
Easy Side for Meatloaf
Broccoli and Corn in Buttered Noodles
- 1 head fresh broccoli
- 1 can corn
- 1/2 box noodles
- 1 stick butter
- garlic powder
- onion powder
1. Cook noodles. Drain. Add 1/2 stick butter, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
2. Sauté broccoli in butter until tender. Add corn and cook until corn is heated.
3. Mix broccoli and corn into the noodles.
Broccoli and Corn in Buttered NoodlesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Too Much Butter? Try This!
A stick of butter may be a lot in this recipe. If you'd rather, (I do this very often) substitute olive oil in for the butter. Yum!
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