What to make in a slow cooker
Slow cookers are great for making cheap and easy meals and require very little effort on the cooking front.
When looking for recipe ideas for your slow cooker, try and avoid those that need loads of preparation or checking on, as the best part of owning one is being able to chuck everything in and leaving it.
You may want to pre-cook your meat or onion first, but there really is no need if you don’t have the time.
There’s loads of slow cooker recipes for kids out there, but the best ones are made from cheaper cuts of meats with vegetables to bulk them out. Trust me, no one will be any the wiser.
Cooking the dishes on low works well and really helps bring out the flavours.
Slow cookers are designed to be left alone. Everything you open that lid it releases heat and may mean you have to cook for longer.
So here are nine cheap and easy slow cooker meals that even the kids will enjoy!
Notes: Prices are average and are calculated using Asda as a guideline. I’m assuming that you have the basic kitchen staples e.g. oil, flour, butter, milk, dried herbs, stock cubes. Alternative ingredients can be used without compromising recipe. Based on four people.
Sweet Potato Curry
This easy non-spicy slow cooked curry recipe that can handle any meat. It looks like a long ingredient list but most of these are kitchen staples. You can add any vegetable too and just mash it all at the end.
Ingredients: 1 large onion 19p, 2 tsp curry power 5p, 1 green pepper 30p, 2 garlic clove 4p, 1 tbsp sunflower oil 1p, 400g can chopped tomato 25p, 300g of boiled sweet potato 25p, 2 tbsp mango chutney 4p, rice 20p, naan bread 45p. Total: £1.78 that’s 45p a head.
Slow Cooked Ribs
Despite their restaurant prices, spare ribs are actually one of the cheapest meat you can buy. This uses barbecue sauce and cooks them slow for tenderness.
Ingredients: 1kg Pork ribs £2, 350g Barbecue Sauce £1, 2 stock cubes 4p, 2 bay leaves 2p, tsp coriander seeds 2p, tsp mustard seed 2p, tsp peppercorn 2p. Total: £3.12 that’s 78p a head.
This spaghetti bolognese recipe is so simple and the longer you leave it in the more intense the flavour.
The sauce can be left to cook all day, ready to be mixed with freshly-cooked pasta when you get home.
Ingredients: 1 onion chopped 22p, 1 tbsp tomato puree 10p, 2 tins chopped tomato 58p, 1 tbsp caster sugar or to taste 4p, 1 celery stick chopped 10p, 250g minced beef 83p, 1 carrot chopped 7p, 2 cloves garlic chopped 4p,1 tsp oregano 2p, 2 large mushrooms chopped 75p, 1 beef stock cubes 6p, 1 hand full Parmesan for sprinkling 20p. Total: £3.01, that’s 75p a head.
We don’t eat a lot of meat due to its cost, but when we do, we look for the middle neck of the lamb. This budget stew does need to be cooked on low to make sure its soft to eat but is tender after a day of cooking.
This dish can be bulked out with potatoes, and the cooking liquor is optional.
Ingredients: tbsp oil 5p, 100g bacon 56p, 400g lamb £1.50, onion 22p, 2 carrots 18p, 2 potatoes 46p, 2 stock cubes 12p, leek 52p. Total: £3.61 that’s 90p a head.
Chilli Con Carne
This kid-friendly beef mince chili is an easy family meal. Just pop all the ingredients into the slow cooker together and your job is done. Leftovers taste even better the next day too.
Ingredients: tbsp. oil 5p, onion 22p, 2 garlic cloves 60p, 450g mince £1.50, tsp cumin 9p, tsp paprika 9p, tsp oregano 9p, tsp chilli flakes 9p, stock 6p, tomato paste 17p, 400g kidney beans 30p, 400g tinned tomatoes 34p. Total: £3.60 that’s 90p a head.
Beans with Potato Wedges
You can make this budget-friendly bean with potato wedges recipe even cheaper by leaving the meat out. My kids love this for breakfast and I love the fact it can be frozen too.
Ingredients: 3 tsp Oil 15p, 1 onion 22p, 2 rashes of bacon 26p,1 tsp sugar 4p, 400g chopped tomatoes 29p, 200ml stock 4p, 410g can of cannellini beans 60p, 1 tbsp white flour 4p, tsp mild chilli powder 9p, tsp dried mixed herbs 9p and 2 potatoes 42p. Total: £2.24 thats 56p a head.
Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Cheesy pasta is a family favourite in my house. Try it in the slow cooker for an extra easy weeknight dinner.
Ingredients: 200g macaroni pasta 13p, 200g cheese £1, 100g plain flour 10p, stock cube 6p, 25g butter 3p. Total: £1.32 that’s 33p a head.
Slow Cooked Crumble
Stew the apples with jam and orange juice, then top it off with an oaty, spicy ‘flapjack’ crumble mix. Yum!
Ingredients: 1kg apples £1.35, 3 tbsp apricot jam 9p, orange 30p, 140g porridge oats 19p, 100g plain flour 10p, ground cinnamon 9p, 100g butter 10p, 100g sugar 30p, tbsp. syrup 10p. Total: £2.62 that’s 65p a head.
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Using leftover bread (I use any), and coated in a rich, cinnamon and nutmeg-scented custard, helps this to becomes an easy dessert that will satisfy your kid’s sugar cravings.
Ingredients: 8 cups of old bread 44p, 100g raisins 31p, 2 cups of milk 48p, 4 eggs 52p, 100g sugar 30p, 100g butter 10p, ground cinnamon 9p, vanilla extract 5p, ground nutmeg 9p. Total: £2.38 that’s 60p a head.
Do you use your slow cooker? What are your kids go to recipes?