10 best family slow cooker recipes

It is time to get the slow cooker out of hibernation as we move into autumn, darker evenings, colder days and the perfect time of the year for comfort food. I love how, with the smallest preparation, you can switch on the slow cooker and by dinner time you will have a delicious meal waiting for you, it’s the best time saver ever.

I have a Greek Lamb roast on the go as we speak which still needs writing up but by the smell it’s going to be a winner again. In fact, I have been using my Sage slow cooker for over a year now and it never gets put away in a box but sits proudly on the worktop. The beauty of the Sage Slow Cooker is it has a risotto button and a steamer button too. This summer we have enjoyed Risotto Primavera, Seafood risotto and Asparagus risotto amongst many others.

seafood risotto

I love how this one gadget doubles and triples up making it’s worktop space very valuable indeed.

So I thought I’d make one handy post linking to our best family friendly slow cooker recipes that have proven to be the most popular amongst readers over the past few years that I’ve been writing up my recipes.

10 best family slow cooker recipes

Lamb shanks in red wine and rosemary

lamb shanks with red wine and rosemary slow cooker recipe

This was a trial recipe that worked out marvellously and led on to other experiments in the kitchen. The long cooking assures the lamb shanks are so tender the meat falls off of the bone. We liked it so much it’s become our favourite slow cooker recipe.

Italian Fish Stew

Italian fish stew in slow cooker

A definite favourite of the twins who ask for it time and time again. It’s full of nutrients and has a delicious tomato taste. It can be made spicy with the addition of chilli flakes.

Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian goulash slow cooker recipe

This is a recipe that has been passed down through my family since my great grandparents came over from Hungary to settle in the UK in the 50’s. My great grandmother was an excellent cook and her Hungarian goulash recipe was the talk of the town. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Lamb shanks with chorizo and garlic

A version of the red wine and rosemary lamb shanks, this one is super tasty and once again the meat falls off the bone thanks to the long slow cooking time.

Beef in Guinness

EVERYONE needs to try this Beef in Guinness slow cooker recipe at least once. Ideal for all the family as the alcohol is all cooked out but the stout gives a wonderful thick flavour to the sauce.

Peppered Steak

This one has to be my all time favourite, I think steak and pepper is a marriage made in heaven, eat as a stew or put in a pie like I did.

Minted lamb with peas

Lamb, mint and peas are another perfect combination and this recipe is proof of that, if you’re feeling adventurous add some extra herbs to the mix.

Spanish pork and chorizo casserole

When it’s a cold grey day bring some Spanish sunshine into your life with a pork and chorizo casserole, this one works perfectly.

Hot chilli tomato and basil flavoured roast chicken

When I discovered I could roast chickens I was delighted, when I found out all the different types of rubs I could use I was over the moon. This one gives a fabulous taste to the meat that lingers in your mouth and adds to the culinary experience.

Pot roast gammon with leeks tomato and mustard seeds

Another joint that can be cooked whole is gammon and one of my favourite ingredients to use is mustard seeds. This recipe always goes down a treat with my family.

 

And there you have it, my best slow cooker recipes ever that I have tried over and over again and can hand on heart say they work for me. Please enjoy and if you think they are a success I’d love you to come back and let me know in the comments below.

minestrone slow cooker recipe

It’s autumn that means it is soup time and one of my very favourite soups is the classic Italian Minestrone. It’s full of vegetables and goodness and with the addition of pasta towards the end of the cooking it makes a real hearty comfort food option.

My trial this time round was to see if the twins would go for it. As per usual when confronted with something to eat they haven’t seen before the initial reaction was to turn their nose up and refuse BUT mummy got clever.

Alice: I don’t like that (very sad face on the verge of tears – my sensitive one)

Bessie: Me neither, I don’t want that. (very determined little face – my stubborn one)

Me: Ok, but you know the rules, first of all we try something and for those who eat it all up and see that it is delicious, there’s ice cream for pudding (NEVER fails)

Result – Two clean plates and not a murmur from either of them but lots of ‘Mmmm, this is really tasty mummy’.

Like I said, a little gentle persuasion can go a long way.

If you ask any Italian I am sure they never stick to one exact recipe when it comes to Minestrone it’s a base of vegetables with tomatoes and cannellini beans but if you haven’t got one vegetable or another chop and change, use up what needs consuming. for example the recipe calls for pork ribs but I had a pork chop in the fridge so I chopped that up (no bone) and it worked perfectly

Classic Italian Minestrone slow cooker recipe

Ingredients

Olive oil 
1 onion finely chopped
2 celery sticks finely chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
3 large carrots diced
2 large potatoes diced
2 large courgettes diced
1 tin cannellini beans
1 tin chopped plum tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 litres vegetable stock
150g pork chop (substitute with any meat, cut off the surplus fat)
200g small pasta like ditalini or maccheroncini

Method

  1. Sauté the onions, celery, and garlic until softened in a little olive oil.
  2. Add the carrot potatoes and courgettes and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Add the cannellini beans, the tin of tomatoes, the tomato puree and the vegetable stock. Stir all the ingredients well
  4. Add the pork chop to flavour the broth. I cut off all the excess fat.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  6. 30 minutes before the end add the small pasta, stir well and leave covered for the last half an hour to cook.

Best served with fresh chunky bread.

Buon appetito!

sage slow cooker minestrone

beef bourguignon

I’m two months into my Lindeman’s ambassadorship now and really enjoying getting to know these delicious wines, I’ve enjoyed using them in cooking and the latest idea, completely inspired by our recent holiday in France, was a Beef Bourguignon but instead of using the traditional red Burgundy I was going to replace it with a bottle of Lindeman’s Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Could it be done?

Of course it could.

Beef Bourguignon is a simple and very tasty casserole, I cooked mine in the slow cooker and the meat was really tender. The basis of the Bourguignon is beef, bacon, onions, mushrooms and red wine (Burgundy). You can find top chefs altering ingredients and adding others on the net but I pulled out Delia’s recipe from her Complete Cookery Course book which I inherited from my father.

Her recipe is cooked on a low heat in the oven for a couple of hours, the only other change I made was to use gammon steaks as I didn’t have any streaky bacon.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Beef Bourguignon slow cooker recipe
 
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A French classic with a #sunshine twist beef braised in red wine and garnished with gammon, onions and mushrooms. Classic beef bourguignon is made with red Burgundy wine.
Author:
Recipe type: Main meal
Cuisine: French
Serves: serves 6
Ingredients
  • 1 kg chuck steak cut into bite size chunks - remember they will shrink cooking
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 heaped tbsp flour
  • 1 bottle of Lindeman's Cabernet Sauvignon (normally a red Burgundy for the classic recipe)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 350 g small onions - I used a jar of sweet onions
  • 250 g gammon steak cut into bite size pieces
  • 150g sliced mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat some oil and saute the chunks of beef until brown on all sides
  2. Add the sliced onion and soften and brown too. Add the chopped garlic.
  3. Sprinkle over the flour and stir well.
  4. Add the wine - I used the whole bottle but just make sure the meat is covered, stir well.
  5. Season and cover, set slow cooker on high for 4 hours.
  6. One hour to the end of cooking add the gammon cubes, onions and mushrooms. If you're not using jarred onions like me then soften them first in a frying pan.
  7. Continue cooking until 4 hours are up and check the seasoning at the end.
  8. We served with new potatoes and a broccoli & french bean side
Here is how I’ve been using Lindeman’s wine in my every day cooking. First up the Beef Bourguignon with Cabernet Sauvignon and it was delicious.

beef bourguignon

 

Secondly adding a drop of Shiraz really added some oomph to my Bolognese sauce.

bolognese sauce

 

I added a glass of Sauvignon to my turkey stir fry and it worked extremely well.

turkey stirfry

and I marinaded our steaks in a delicious concoction (recipe to follow) with some added Shiraz for a real Ta-dah! moment.

marinade for steaks

There’s still the whole of September to come up with more ideas so watch this space.

Ratatouille slow cooker recipe

My mum first introduced me to ratatouille when I was at school and on hearing the name I loved the sound of the word. She would serve it up with baked chicken pieces or as a side dish to many different main courses. It sounded exciting, something I should be eating and so I tucked in and wasn’t disappointed.

It would also be delicious as a jacket potato topping!

Continuing on with my bbq side ideas that are easy to prepare and can be made in advance I’m adding to last week’s peperonata recipe with another, this classic French stewed vegetable recipe, the famous ratatouille. Only my recipe is a ratatouille slow cooker one.

This is a perfect side for all year round, great with grilled chops, sausages, gammon and chicken too. Perfect to accompany salamis and a cheeseboard and also fabulous for popping on the buffet at bbqs. It’s best served up hot but can be eaten cold too.

Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish originating from Nice. Interestingly the recipe comes form Occitan cuisine which is a Mediterranean gastronomy taking in Catalan cuisine to the east and Italian cuisine to the west. It bases its recipes on local produce and adapts them to the area.

I did serve it to my children but Alice, the less adventurous of the two ate the tomatoes and left pretty much the rest whereas Bessie wasn’t over enthused. Peppers do have a particular taste to them which can be quite prominent once the sweetness of the tomato sauce has disappeared.

ratatouille slow cooker recipe

5.0 from 1 reviews
Ratatouille - slow cooker recipe
 
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A French stewed vegetable recipe that pretty much goes with anything. Easy to prepare and delicious to eat
Author:
Recipe type: Side dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • 2 red onions cut into wedges
  • 1 clove of garlic cut finely
  • 1 aubergine cut into small cubes
  • 2 courgettes cut into cubes
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 8 - 10 fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • thyme
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • basil
Instructions
  1. I cooked my ratatouille in the slow cooker. I use a Sage multi cooker which allows me to saute and then slow cook in the same cooker, saving me time and washing up.
  2. Saute the onions until softened and add the garlic.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the basil which is added at the end to retain it's flavour.
  4. Cook on low for 4 hours.
 

beef pot roast

 

Whenever I am shopping and I see the large beef joints on special offer I always get one for the freezer because even if I don’t use it for a large party of people I can use it in a beef pot roast slow cooker recipe and freeze the cooked half we won’t eat for another day.

Many think of roast for autumn and winter but the beauty of this recipe cooked in the slow cooker is when it’s finished it falls apart, I didn’t take an after photo as it was looking more like pulled beef rather than slices of roast BUT it tasted divine.

This is a very simple but tasty beef pot roast. I have added to the classic recipe by using ingredients that were in my fridge and cupboards at the time so be adventurous, chop and change the ingredients too, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is and amazed at the excellent results.

Beef pot roast - slow cooker recipe
 
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A beef pot roast that melts in your mouth and delivers a ton of flavour with it.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 potatoes peeled and halved
  • 1 aubergine sliced and diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion cut into wedges
  • Olive oil for browning
  • 800g piece of braising steak for 4 people
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tsps paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Asafoetida (optional) (Schwartz)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 350 ml beef stock
  • 150 red wine
  • 2 tsp black onion seeds (Schwartz)
  • 2 tbsp beef gravy granules + 2 tbsp water
Instructions
  1. Toss the potatoes, aubergine, carrots and onion wedges in a little oil to colour and soften then add to the slow cooker.
  2. Seal the meat in the same frying pan adding more oil if necessary.
  3. In a glass or small pot make a paste with the mustard, paprika, cayenne pepper, asafoetida, cumin, garlic and chopped rosemary.
  4. Coat the beef with the paste and place on top of the sautéed vegetables
  5. Pour in the stock and wine careful not to wash off the rub and sprinkle the black onion seeds over the top. I added a sprig of rosemary too.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  7. Remove the beef and leave to stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
  8. Remove the vegetables from the liquid in the slow cooker and keep warm.
  9. Blend the gravy granules with the water in a glass or pot until smooth and then add to the liquid, cook on high until it thickens, about 10 minutes.
  10. Serve the beef sliced with the vegetables and gravy
Notes
I think the rub can be made in many different ways feel free to change the spices I have used.
When we cut the beef it fell to pieces, it was delicious but difficult to cut a perfect slice.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 Calories: 4855 Fat: 1g Saturated fat: 0g Unsaturated fat: 0g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 180g Sugar: 41g Sodium: 513mg Fiber: 8g Protein: 11g Cholesterol: 0mg