Between all of the after school sports practices and end of school commitments, spring is the most hectic season for my family, so it’s no surprise that enthusiasm to prepare a well-rounded meal for dinner gets squeezed right out. I tend to lean heavily on my slow-cooker during the busy weekdays by tossing all of the ingredients in the pot in the morning while we are getting ready to head out the door, so I don’t have to worry about dinner at 6:30 pm when everyone is starving.
That’s where Jennifer Draper of Slow Cooker Gourmet comes in. A busy mom who started her blog in 2013 as a way to share simple, wholesome slow cooker recipes, Jennifer’s recipes use fresh, healthy ingredients, which is unique to the slow-cooker recipe world. And because she also follows a gluten-free and dairy-free diet herself, there are tons of those recipes on her site which is really helpful for those of us that also have those dietary restrictions in our household.
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Top Image: Jennifer Draper and her recipe for Buffalo Chicken Salad
This amazing recipe for BBQ Pulled Pork Enchiladas originally appeared on Slow Cooker Gourmet back in 2015, and I think I have been making it at least once a month since then. It is hands down my husband’s most favorite meal. The bbq pork and goat cheese in the enchiladas is a surprisingly delicious combination. I typically double up the pork and do pulled pork sliders earlier in the week, and then make the enchiladas a bit later in the week.
Related: 5-easy slow cooker meals on a budget
If you are in the market for a new slow cooker, I recommend this Cuisinart 7-qt Multi-Cooker that I personally upgraded to a few months ago. What I like about it is that there is a Brown/Sauté setting so you can brown or sauté ingredients right in the slow cooker without having to dirty another pan. And the nonstick cast-aluminum pot insert is dishwasher safe, so clean up is extra easy.
If you are looking for an easy, slow-cooker vegetarian meal that is truly ready to eat no matter what time you get home, you will want to give this Slow Cooker Taco Casserole a try. My meat-loving teenage son doesn’t miss the meat at all. I love that it is an easy “dump and go” recipe in the morning that’s hot and ready at dinner time. I tend to throw in all kinds of extra veggies I may have in my crisper, such as zucchini and carrots, and it still turns out amazing.
I discovered this recipe for Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken Tacos last summer and it quickly become a most requested meal. The pineapple-flavored chicken thighs are a tropical twist on traditional taco meat. To make your life easier, grab some bags of already shredded cheese and slaw mix for a super quick DIY dinner. I have also served up this Hawaiian chicken filling in rice bowls and wraps; both are equally delicious. One suggestion: double up the dressing and make it ahead of time when you meal prep. It stores in the fridge for up to three days and is so yummy you will find you use it on all kinds of things.
And rounding out our favorite Slow Cooker Gourmet recipes is this Buffalo Chicken Salad. First of all, you will want to cook up the Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken which only takes 5 minutes and just 4 ingredients. Similar to the bbq pork recipe above, I often double this recipe early in the week and have buffalo chicken in the fridge that can be used for lunches, after school snacks and a quick weeknight DIY dinner like the salad.
Thanks to Jennifer at Slow Cooker Gourmet for helping a mother out (me) on a weekly basis. She probably has no idea how many dinner time mini-meltdowns she has helped me avoid. While I am just sharing a few of the excellent recipes from the Slow Cooker Gourmet, please do take some time and browse the entire blog and search for recipes that fit your likes/dislikes.