5 Lighter Dinners You Can Make in the Slow Cooker — Recipes from The Kitchn

5 Lighter Dinners You Can Make in the Slow Cooker — Recipes from The Kitchn

The slow cooker is our go-to during the dark days of winter, nourishing us through the bitter chill with hearty soups and stews, but it’s actually ideal for meal prep all year long. All it takes is choosing the right recipes to showcase spring’s finest offerings, giving us hands-off time to enjoy the sunshine, dig in the dirt, or enjoy a glass of rosé on the patio.

While you will find me packing away my mittens and scarves, one thing that won’t be going away in the warmer months is my slow cooker.

1. Slow Cooker Chicken and Potatoes

Pair small new potatoes and savory chicken thighs for a classic spring supper. Budget-friendly and satisfying, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are the smart choice for slow cooking because they stay moist despite hours of cooking.

A quick start on the stove browns the chicken until mahogany in color, before it finishes cooking low and slow in a bath of butter and chives. Serve in a shallow bowl to catch the buttery, schmaltz-spiked sauce.

2. Slow Cooker Sausage and Greens Breakfast Casserole

Need a fuss-free breakfast for the whole family? Take a helping hand from the grocery and pick up a bag of frozen diced potatoes and bulk sausage. No need to spend your morning frying up sausage patties or flipping omelets, though — all the same flavors can mingle overnight in the slow cooker instead. Bonus points for getting a serving of spinach in early too!

3. Slow Cooker Potato Leek Soup

Golden potatoes and tender leeks come together in this slow cooker take on the iconic soup. The mild, sweet flavor of leeks shine, not overshadowed by the bacon or potatoes. Leave this soup to cook all day, serving once the evening air turns crisp.

4. Slow Cooker Spinach and Artichoke Chicken

This meal features slow-poached chicken, artichokes, and spinach in an elegant lemony broth. The steady heat of the slow cooker ensures boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook gently and stay tender and moist. Served over pearled couscous with a generous spoonful of citrusy broth, this is dinner party-food done right.

5. Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken

Think of the slow cooker as your second set of hands on meal prep day. Mix up a simple homemade pesto with whatever tender herbs or greens you have with a handful of nuts and glug of fruity olive oil. Mix that with hearty chunks of white-meat chicken and slow cook for a few hours until you have juicy chicken ready for wraps, salads, and sandwiches all week long.