14 Slow Cooker Recipes for Easy Weeknight Meals

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The 1970s was a hip decade for fads. Bell bottoms, disco fever and... slow cookers. Get your dinner groove on with these fun, creative ways to cook your favorite dishes. From the traditional to the exotic, you'll be surprised how fresh ingredients make slow cooker recipes hip again for the 21st century. Set it and forget it!

1. Beer Mac & Cheese

You know you've made it in life when you start preparing mac & cheese with real, freshly grated Cheddar. Whether it's for a holiday, or just a happy day, the slow cooker can help give a big kid twist to this classic dish.

The blue box has nothing on this creaminess.
The blue box has nothing on this creaminess. (Image: Jackie Dodd)

Beer Mac & Cheese

2. Chipotle Beer Chicken Sliders

Slow cookers are perfect for keeping shredded meats juicy. Juicy shredded meats are perfect for sliders-- it's a match made in appetizer-turned-meal heaven!

And then there's beer.  Yes, please.
And then there's beer. Yes, please. (Image: Jackie Dodd)

Chipotle Beer Chicken Sliders

3. BBQ Meatballs

A good meatball is hard to come by. Help keep freshly-cooked meatballs warm or dress up frozen meatballs with the ease of the slow cooker. Homemade BBQ sauce adds another special touch to this perfect party appetizer.

I hear this also goes well with pasta.
I hear this also goes well with pasta. (Image: Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media)

BBQ Meatballs

4. Baked Potatoes

Sometimes you just don't want to turn on the oven. These quick and easy steps for baking potatoes in the crockpot will keep your kitchen cool and you tastebuds happy.

Don't forget your favorite toppings.
Don't forget your favorite toppings. (Image: Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media)

Baked Potatoes

5. Crockpot Stuffing

When the craving for comfort food comes to call, this trusty dish will smell heavenly after a long day at the office. Cooking time is short, so use a crockpot with a timer or set it while you prepare the rest of your dinner.

Celebrate Thanksgiving anytime.
Celebrate Thanksgiving anytime. (Image: Katy Jane Conlin/Demand Media)

Crockpot Stuffing

6. White Bean Beer & Ham Soup

The beauty of this bean recipe is two-fold-- not only do the northern beans add a hearty texture lost to peas, but the hours spent in the slow cooker marries the flavors of the ham and beer to perfection. Use a store-bought spiral ham or prepare the ham yourself.

The arugula is a classy touch.
The arugula is a classy touch. (Image: Jackie Dodd)

White Bean Beer & Ham Soup

7. Jalapeno Beer Cheese Dip

A challenge to making a spicy dip is just that-- making the dip spicy. Let the slow cooker be your guru as it helps the jalapenos soften at their own speed, unleashing the flavors within!

And then there's beer!  Again!
And then there's beer! Again! (Image: Jackie Dodd)

Jalapeno Beer Cheese Dip

8. Beef Brisket

Few things are more unpleasant than dry brisket. Save yourself the heartache of wasting gobs and gobs of BBQ trying to save shoe leather-- use the slow cooker to achieve melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

Slow and steady wins the race.
Slow and steady wins the race. (Image: Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media )

Beef Brisket

9. Rump Roast

The same rules of brisket also apply to rump roast. Slow = tender. The best part of this method is that you can toss in whatever veggies you like and enjoy a full meal in one!

"Home is where your rump rests."  Pumbaa, The Lion King
"Home is where your rump rests." Pumbaa, The Lion King (Image: Barbara Smith/Demand Media)

Rump Roast

10. BBQ Pulled Pork

As part of a clever 1987 advertising campaign, the National Pork Board declared pork to be "The other white meat." So it must be true, right? For that fall-off-the-bone kind of juiciness and flavor, stew your pork in a slow cooker.

Carnitas, anyone?!
Carnitas, anyone?! (Image: KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media)

BBQ Pulled Pork

11. Corned Beef & Cabbage

Let the luck of the Irish be with you year-round. With the slow cooker doing the hard work for you, you can sit back, relax and sip on some sweet Irish cream.

Did you know this dish was historically made with bacon!?
Did you know this dish was historically made with bacon!? (Image: Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media)

Corned Beef & Cabbage

12. Irish Stew

Properly cooked lamb is ubiquitous with flavor and comfort. Stay warm with both on a cold winter's day. Pairs well with Irish Soda Bread.

"That's okay, I make lamb." Aunt Voula, My Big Fat Greek Wedding
"That's okay, I make lamb." Aunt Voula, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Image: Julia Mueller)

Crockpot Irish Stew

13. Crockpot Oxtails

Oxtails are an underrated piece of meat with a lot of flavor potential. The convenience of the slow cooker can turn even the greenest chef into a Caribbean cuisine guru. Don't forget the butter beans and rice!

Jamaican me hungry!
Jamaican me hungry! (Image: Kris Robertson/Demand Media)

Crockpot Oxtails

14. Dulce de Leche

Dulce de leche is a creamy caramel that's great over ice cream, pastries or even on its own. Traditionally stirred over stove top, make your own Latin American treat with half the effort by using this smart slow cooker shortcut.

Caramelized anything is delicious.
Caramelized anything is delicious. (Image: Kyle OConnor/Demand Media)

Dulce de Leche

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