Delicious slow cooker recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner


By Stephanie Benavidez

Member of the Chicago Parent Blog Network
General slow cooker tips

Tip No. 1: Use a slow cooker liner to cut cleanup time in half!


Tip No. 2: Keep the lid to your slow cooker closed. Each peek will cost you 15 minutes of cook time each time.

What can I say about my slow cooker? Oh, you mean my kitchen BFF? Yeah, you heard me right.


I registered for my All-Clad slow cooker when I got married knowing it would come in handy one day when elaborate meals out of fancy cookbooks were a thing of the past. I didn’t realize that “one day” would just be a few months later when we found out we were expecting our first baby.


Suddenly, my creative Pinterest-inspired meals happened less and less. Partly because I was 1) revolted by meat (Chicken especially! Puke!), and 2) I could barely keep my eyes open past six p.m.


A (pregnant) girl (and her hungry hubby) still had to eat. So, it was my new trusty slow cooker to the rescue. Soon, I quickly realized it was my new favorite kitchen accessory. I started using it so often that I took to Pinterest to help keep my new found love always plugged in morning, noon and night! I even prepped 50+ meals before the birth of each of my daughters so that I could just dump them from a freezer bag into the slow cooker, turn it on, walk away for a few hours and come back to a hot and yummy meal.


So, I wanted to share the love with my favorite recipes that are both husband- and kid-approved. This is the season of giving after all.

Breakfast - Overnight Creamy Pumpkin Oatmeal

Easy, festive, delicious pumpkin pie … for breakfast!




5 cups water

1 cup half & half or milk (you can substitute non-dairy milk)

1 1/2 cups steel cut oats

1 cup pumpkin purée

1/2-cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional: Chopped pecans, whipped cream




Stir all the ingredients together in the slow cooker, cook on LOW overnight for about eight hours. Give it a good stir, and top with chopped pecans or a little whipped cream if you’re feeling naughty! Serve immediately and feel the fiber.

Lunch/Dinner - Turkey Tetrazzini

Need to get rid of the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving? This dish is my favorite comfort food to take to friends with new babies, to share during a loss in the family, or to make just because. It reheats nicely (if there are any leftovers!)



1.5 lbs. Turkey (you can use chicken as well) shredded

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. black pepper

1½ tsp. dried tarragon

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup chicken broth

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, ⅓ less fat or regular

½ pound dried spaghetti noodles (1/2 a box), cook according to package directions

8-oz. parmesan cheese, grated (reduced-fat or regular)

Optional: Garnish with fresh parsley, chopped




Add the turkey, sea salt, garlic powder, pepper, tarragon and mushrooms. Pour in the chicken broth. DO NOT ADD THE CREAM CHEESE OR SPAGHETTI YET. Cover and cook on LOW for four hours or HIGH for two hours without opening the lid during the cooking time. (Note: Since the turkey is pre-cooked, you do not need to cook very long.)


Cut the cream cheese into squares and add the slow cooker, cover. In the meantime cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. After the cream cheese has had some time to melt. Add the cooked and drained pasta. Stir. Add the parmesan cheese over the pasta and sauce. Cover for about 10 more minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve and enjoy!

Dessert - Gooey Slow Cooker Caramel Blondies



1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup packed brown sugar, divided

¼ cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup milk

12 soft square caramels (about 3.5 oz), wrappers removed and cut into fourths

1 cup boiling water

Optional: Vanilla gelato or ice cream




Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer mix together ½ cup of the brown sugar and the butter until creamy. Stir in vanilla. Stir in ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by ⅓ of the milk. Repeat and continue (twice) adding the flour and milk and beat well after each addition. Stir in the caramels. Spread the batter evenly into the bottom of a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker.


Combine the remaining ½ cup of brown sugar and the boiling water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour evenly over the batter. Cover and cook on high for 2½ to 3 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the blondie comes out clean. Serve topped with gelato or ice cream, if desired (But really, why not?).

Cocktail - Chocolate Whiskey Nutella Marshmallow Coffee Cluster

OK, the name got me interested in this right away. It is a recipe from Thrillist’s ‘slow cooker cocktails to survive the holidays’ list. Just in time guys, thanks! It combines five of my favorite things: chocolate, coffee, booze, Nutella and marshmallows. This is a no-brainer.




6 cups milk

1½ cups heavy whipping cream

2 cups of chocolate chips (milk chocolate OR semi-sweet)

1 cups coffee (can be hot or cold brew)

1 cup whiskey

3 Tbsp. Nutella





Add the milk, coffee, heavy whipping cream, whiskey and stir. Add in chocolate chips and Nutella (You can melt beforehand if you desire.). Put marshmallows on top and drizzle some more Nutella. Let it cook for 2-3 hours for optimal flavor. Pour and top with more marshmallows and Nutella drizzle. Do a happy dance.

General slow cooker tips

Tip No. 1: Use a slow cooker liner to cut cleanup time in half!


Tip No. 2: Keep the lid to your slow cooker closed. Each peek will cost you 15 minutes of cook time each time.


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