Slow Cooker Food for Kids & Parents

When time is tight, you might be tempted to make a run to the nearest fast food restaurant to save time, but cooking your own meal at home is healthier and saves you money. A slow cooker is ideal because you can toss in the ingredients in the morning and sit down to a healthy meal in the evening. Modify your recipes to include foods that even your fussiest child is willing to eat for meals that the entire family will enjoy.


A slow cooker cooks food over several hours, making it a good option for preparing chicken or beef because you can turn it on in the morning and let it roast all day. Baste a roast beef with barbecue sauce, which has a sweet flavor that appeals to many kids -- and let it cook for 8 hours. Shred the meat and serve it on whole grain bread or rolls with a side of steamed vegetables to boost your family's nutrient intake. Or, roast chicken breasts with carrots, potatoes, peas, corn, green beans and low-fat cream of mushroom soup. Serve in small bowls topped with baked puff pastry for mini chicken pot pies that even finicky eaters will likely enjoy.


Cooking pasta in the slow cooker doesn't always work well, but you can prepare a sauce that simmers all day, leaving you with just the task of boiling water to make the pasta and putting together a quick vegetable-tossed salad. To make a hearty sauce, combine diced tomatoes, chicken broth, Italian sausage, chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms and chopped basil. Cook the sauce on low all day. For a lighter sauce, puree the tomatoes first, combine them with chopped vegetables and substitute turkey meatballs for the sausage. Serve the sauce with fun-shaped pasta to grab the kids' attention.


If your child loves to slurp up a can of soup, try making your own in the slow cooker for a healthier take on a favorite meal. Combine chicken with stock, thick noodles, chopped carrots, celery and onions -- and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Remove the chicken and shred it before adding it back to the soup. Serve with your child's favorite crackers. Or, replace the stock with a can or two of diced tomatoes, toss in some white beans, zucchini and green beans for a hearty bowl of minestrone that the entire family can enjoy on a cold day.


Most kids like breakfast foods, which you can really serve to your family any time of day -- but you might not know that you can prepare breakfast in a slow cooker. Try combining oats with water, or 100 percent fruit juice, and cinnamon. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Top with your child's favorite fruits, some nuts and a small bit of maple syrup before serving. Or, mix low-fat sausage with frozen hash browns, a bit of water, low-fat cheese and your family's favorite vegetables, such as bell peppers or mushrooms. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. Serve with fresh fruit for extra nutritional value.

An Economical Slow Cooker Recipe: A Pot of Red Kidney Beans

Try to stretch the meal and grocery budget can make for difficult meal planning. Using stock from previous meals, and dried kidney beans makes a healthy, economical dish.
This kidney beans recipe uses a slow cooker to soften and meld the flavors of this meal, eliminated the soaking step so often associated with cooking beans. By using pre-made stock as a base, along with inexpensive ingredients like celery and dried beans, this dinner is as economical as it is healthy and delicious.

Kidney Beans

Red kidney beans, otherwise known as the “chili” bean are a high protein, high fiber base that blends well with many flavors. An integral part of cuisine from India to New Orleans, kidney beans provide nearly a full days supply of Folate, along with plenty of iron, zinc and calcium, making this a great food to include in budget conscious households, as it delivers a super healthy punch with every bite.

Making Homemade Stock

Making stock at home is a great way of stretching budget, and getting the most out of every meal. Stock can be made from vegetables, beef, pork, fish or poultry, and can be made of either specific ingredients bought for the purpose, or can use up leftover bones, meat scraps and vegetables.

To make stock at home, take poultry bones, left over meat from de-boning chicken breasts, left over scraps from a roast, as well as drippings from the roast pan, and combine with vegetables and water and let simmer on the stove for about two hours, periodically skimming any foam off the top.

Strain the stock and allow to cool; any fat will rise to the top and can be skimmed off at this time. The stock can then be frozen for future use, or used immediately in soups or slow cooker recipes.

Slow Cooking Food

Slow cooking has been used as long as man has cooked food. Tough meats and fibrous vegetables were simmered over a fire for as long as 24 hours to tenderize and release the flavors of meats and vegetables on hand. Using the slow cooker today can take the same purpose. Placing dried beans, along with tough or old vegetables and stock in the slow cooker, will allow the flavors to come together, and the beans and vegetables to soften over time. This is ideal for cooks with little time on their hands for cooking dinner; simply make the stock ahead of time, freeze until needed, and then combine the ingredients in the slow cooker at any time for a healthy, flavorful and economic meal.

Pot of Kidney Beans Recipe

Makes 6 Servings

  • 1 Package of Dry Kidney Beans, Approximately 6 ounces
  • 4 Cups of Stock
  • 1 Bunch of Celery, including tops
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 Medium Yellow Squash, Diced
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon White Pepper
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon Sage

  1. Layer ingredients in the slow cooker and pour in stock.
  2. Cook on low for 8 – 10 hours, and stir before serving.
  3. Serve alongside crusty bread for dipping.

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