How to Use Your Crockpot All Year

How to Use Your Crockpot All Year

The crockpot is undeniably the hero of weeknight dinners. “Fix it and forget it” is a great way to describe the magical powers of this common household appliance. Instead of heading through the drive-through in a meal-time crunch, be prepared with a crockpot full of healthy, family-friendly food.

The benefits of using a slow cooker to help with meal time are plentiful. Slow cookers are masters at transforming tougher meats into tender, flavorful dishes.

They are also masters at saving time, allowing the prep time to be finished hours before the crunch time that so often happens right before dinner.

When preparing a balanced meal for your family, it’s often the protein portion of the meal that is time-consuming. Using the crockpot to complete this step, is a huge time saver. Adding in a few fresh vegetables and whole grains is the quick part. 

Cooking with a crockpot might seem intimidating if you haven’t used it often. But with a few tips and some experience, you’ll be an expert in no time. Other recipes can also be converted to the slow cooker if you want to experiment further.

Often we think of using the slow cooker during the cooler months, for stews and warm comfort food. But the slow cooker can save dinner all year round. Let’s take a look at some different ideas through the different seasons.


When the weather warms and the outdoors are calling, the last thing you want to do is spend time in the kitchen.

Instead, combine those fresh, spring veggies with some healthy protein from your crockpot and you have a meal in minutes.  One of my favorite crockpot recipes combines Asian-inspired flavors and lean chicken breasts. Throwing together a simple stir-fry, using those tender spring veggies takes just minutes.

Use brown rice as a healthy side and you have a complete, balanced meal in just minutes. You can also get creative.


Summer time is one of the best times to use the slow cooker. You can get a nice hot meal without heating up the entire house. Just throw a few simple ingredients in the crockpot in the mid-morning and by dinner time you’ll be ready to serve your family a healthy dinner with a few simple preparations. One example of a simple slow cooker meal that can be served in just minutes is tacos. Combining a few south of the border spices with your protein of choice creates tender taco meat that can be added to some healthy tortillas and plenty of veggies for a flavorful meal in minutes.


As school starts up again and schedules get busier, the crockpot is truly a lifesaver. Quick, simple dinners can be ready in no time, leaving you time to get adjust to new routines and schedules. Dinner isn’t the only thing to be saved by the crockpot. With the bounty of fall apples, try making your own applesauce by combining fresh, fall apples with a little lemon juice, nutmeg, and cinnamon for an insanely tasty after school snack.


Winter is all about being cozy, warm, and spending time with the people you love. The crockpot is a great way to get the food ready much earlier in the day and then enjoy loved ones the rest of the day. A simple beef stew can be made with plenty of veggies to create a balanced meal. Simply combine stew meat, carrots, potatoes, onions in the slow cooker. Add a little salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, and beef stock. Give it a few hours to cook and the result is tender, flavorful comfort food with almost no work.

So no matter the time of year, dust off that crockpot and master dinner! Save time, and feed your family healthy, flavorful meals.

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