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Slow cookers are great for making cheap and easy meals and require very little effort or money, plus make great kids meals for under £1 a head by Laura at Savings 4 Savvy Mums #SlowCooker #SlowCookerRecipes #BudgetFood #SavingMoney #CheapRecipes #FamilyRecipes

Including slow cooker family meals for kids

Slow cookers are great for making cheap and easy meals and require very little effort on the cooking front. The below slow cooker family meals are perfect if you need to keep your family food shop down.

Using a family slow cooker are perfect if you’re a busy family. You can make all the meals in the morning then come home to a gorgeous dinner already made.

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 a slow cooker is being able to chuck everything in and then leaving it.

If you’re worried about leftovers then why not try food pooling? It’s like a massive meal swap. You can team up with as many families as you like (we do it on and off with three other families) and only cook meals once, just in bulk!

Having a supper club set up means that you don’t have to worry about meal planning throughout the working week but your family still gets to eat a home-cooked meal. It’s great if you’re worried about how leftovers that you just aren’t going to use. Read more about food pooling here and about how it could save you money.

Slow cooker family meals

If you’re using a family sized slow cooker then here are our 5 top tips to getting the most out of it. You can use your slow cooker to cook chicken, beef, gammon etc. You name it you can cook it in a slow cooker. We use a slow cooker like this but any with a temperature gauge is good. 

1. Slow cooker chicken: Chicken thighs are the best for a slow cooker. Slow cookers tend to overcook meat but a thigh is the perfect cut with a small amount of liquid to keep it moist.
2. Voltage matters: If your food is sticking to the bottom of the pan even on low heat it could mean you’re getting a higher voltage through your slow cooker then you should. Grab a variable transformer which could help control how much power is coming through.*
3. You may want to pre-cook your meat or onion first, but there really is no need if you don’t have the time.
4. Dried spices work: Don’t worry about buying expensive fresh spice. The dried ones from your kitchen staples work perfectly.
5. The cheapest cuts of meats and frozen vegetables work!

If your family are vegan or vegetarian then there are still loads of ways that you can save.

It’s not easy to ensure your whole family are getting the right nutrients, especially if someone in your family has a dairy intolerance.

Doing a vegan or vegetarian grocery list on a budget is almost impossible, with many household food bills coming in at over £100 a week!

Read our easy vegan meal plan for beginners here or our vegetarian meal plan here. None of these are set in stone, and can be changed up depending on what your family like to eat.

Cheap dinner ideas

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Slow cooker meals for kids

There are 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. If you do want quality meat that’s cheaper than try Muscle Foods*, who deliver fresh meat direct to your door.

Cooking the dishes on low works well and really helps bring out the flavors.

Slow cookers are designed to be left alone. Every time 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!

Prices are average and are calculated using Asda as a guideline. I’m assuming that you have the basic kitchen staples. Our full list of kitchen staples can be found here. It’s always worth keeping them stocked up if you can. 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.

Spaghetti Bolognese

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.

Irish Stew

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.

Bread Pudding

Using leftover bread (I use any), and coated in a rich, cinnamon and nutmeg-scented custard helps this to become 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.

Slow Cooker Recipes

Having a bank of crock pot or slow cooking recipes to hand stops you from having to think about what you’re going to cook.

Take the guesswork away and cook your family a healthy delicious meal within a few hours using one of the below 21 recipes that you can chuck in and leave.

These recipes are all mega easy and include meals like chicken curry and beef stew.

If you shop at Aldi or another budget supermarkets, then check out our One Month of Aldi Slow Cooker Recipes here.

1. Slow cooked ribs
2. Irish stew
3. Chilli Con Carne
4. Chicken and dumplings
5. BBQ Chicken
6. Beef stew
7. Garlic Cheese Chicken
8. Pot roast
9. Cola gammon
10. Beef Stroganoff
11. Chicken Enchiladas
12.Ham and Potato Casserole
13. Tomato chicken
14. Sweet and sour chicken
15. Creamy chicken
16. Whole bird (like turkey or chicken) 
17. Salsa chicken
18. Lasagna
19. Sticky tomato pasta
20. Fajita Casserole
21. Sweet potato soup

Saving Money as a family

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If you’re struggling to save money then why not join our FREE money saving course that takes you step by step through saving money as a family. All simple steps to help you build an emergency fund or save towards that mega holiday.

Join our FREE Money Saving Course here and I can’t wait to see how I can help you!

This is the perfect time to improve your finances.

With this free email course, we cover everything from setting financial goals to ways to earn some extra money in your free time. Over the next 6-weeks, you will receive an email that will help you save your family more money.

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Being prepared is the key here. Meal planning and knowing what staples you have in the kitchen can really save you money.

Owning a slow cooker makes preparing food so much easier. You can even make them ahead of time to be ready when you get in and use them as leftovers if you too much.

Before you do anything though make sure you have a great slow cooker. We use a slow cooker that has different heat settings.

Then the week before you plan to use your slow cooker or even shop, start by using these 4 tips to really get your food shopping bill down.

1. Meal Plan Sheets – Depending on how comfortable you are, either find a spare pad or print out 8-10 copies of a weekly meal plan sheet.

You’ll need enough space to write down a simple menu for each day and a shopping list as you go.

You can make your own weekly meal plan or download my meal plans and shopping lists for free from the Resource Vault. Having several copies on hand will help inspire you to get started and keep up the meal plans for several weeks.

If you’ve never meal planned before then start here by reading how it can save you hundreds of pounds! 

2. Look at the below stores to see if you can save some money:

Get FREE FOOD with this app: checkoutsmart*

Muscle Food lean meat hamper – muscle food*

Get your groceries up to 70% off RRP – approved food*

Remember to come join our FREE Facebook Group for all the latest deals, freebies and quick family money saving tips!

Of course there are plenty of other ways to save money, and once you start seeking them out then you will be amazed at what you find.

Every time you buy online you could be getting cashback. Have a look at:




Go to these sites first before you buy anything online and see if you can get money back. Anything goes from hotel stays to toys and train tickets.

3. Use an app like Plum* to keep track of your spending and to help you save. Using Plum* can help you build up your savings, pay off dent quicker and invest to make your money work harder. It’s free to join!

4. Join our 6-week FREE money saving course that walks you through how you can save your family money. No filler. Just real tips and advice from us on how we save money daily.

Related Posts: 

The good thing about a slow cooker is that you can chuck almost anything in. Food waste can be a huge issue if you forget to meal plan or the kids have suddenly gone off a few meals so use what you have.

Buy wonky vegetables, make sure all your fridge items are stored correctly and shop weekly. It’s been shown that if your fridge is empty the food in it stays cooler for longer. Read more about how you can reduce your family food waste here.

I hope these have helped you come up with some ideas this week on what you can cook in your slow cooker.

Laura x

If you enjoyed this post and would like some more family friendly budget recipes or meal plan ideas, then head over to the budget food section here on Savings 4 Savvy Mums where you’ll find over 30 cheap posts dedicated to helping you cook and shop wiser for less. There’s enough tips to help you save over £300 a month! You could also pop over and follow my family food Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on how to eat well and spend less; Family Meal Plans on a Budget, Budget Family MealsBudget Slimming World Recipes for Families.

Love this post? Then why not save it to Pinterest so you can easily find it later.

Slow cookers are great for making cheap and easy meals and require very little effort or money, plus make great kids meals for under £1 a head by Laura at Savings 4 Savvy Mums #SlowCooker #SlowCookerRecipes #BudgetFood #SavingMoney #CheapRecipes #FamilyRecipes

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