You can make a variety of delicious, easy-to-pack school lunches in a slow cooker.
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When packing your child’s school lunch, you don’t have to stick to a standard ham sandwich.
Slow cookers are a great tool for preparing school lunches the night before.
Recipes including chicken salad and sweet-potato hash can be kept in insulated containers until it’s lunch time.
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Skip the deli meat – slow-cooker meatballs are another way to add protein to a lunch box.
Meatballs in a slow cooker.
Place your seasoned, raw meatballs into the slow cooker, top with sauce, and let the slow cooker finish them off, says one recipe by Spend With Pennies.Put the hot meatballs in a Thermos-style, insulated container that you’ve heated with boiling water so they can stay warm until lunch. Serve on their own or with a sub roll on the side for a filling sandwich.
Pulled chicken can be served on its own for even the pickiest of eaters.
Place the chicken breasts in a slow cooker and pour over chicken broth and seasonings, according to one recipe by The Salty Marshmallow. Cook for six to eight hours on low, or until you’re easily able to shred the chicken with a fork. If you’re serving it cold, make sure it’s chilled properly and add some ice or gel packs when it’s packed.
You can also turn leftover slow-cooker chicken into a chicken salad for sandwiches.
Chicken salad sandwich.
Toss your shredded or cubed chicken with mayonnaise, celery, and season it for a kid-friendly lunch that certainly beats what they’re serving in the cafeteria. You can also add in red onion, grapes, or nuts, depending on your kid’s preferences.Keep it chilled in a lunch box with ice packs.
If your kids don’t mind a little heat, you can also make a Buffalo chicken salad for sandwiches or salads.
Shredded Buffalo chicken.
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One of the best — and easiest — ways to use your Crock-Pot or slow cooker is by making shredded Buffalo chicken.Add seasoned chicken breasts to the slow cooker and cover with your preferred Buffalo sauce. Then add a splash of ranch dressing and a cube of butter and toss your chicken in the mixture to coat fully, and cook until the chicken is shreddable. You can use it for Buffalo chicken sliders, salads, or even tacos.If you’re serving it warm, pack it in a Thermos. Otherwise, add it into the lunchbox with ice packs to keep it cool until lunchtime.
Mac and cheese can also easily be made in a slow cooker.
Mac and cheese with breadcrumbs.
Martha Stewart’s recipe for slow cooker mac and cheese calls for three kinds of cheese, milk, and two cans of evaporated milk. While the recipe does include onions, you could remove that ingredient for pickier eaters.It’s best served heated up in a microwave, but you could also chill it overnight and place it in an insulated lunch box, or keep it warm for the first part of the school day by using a Thermos-style container.
Sweet-potato and sausage hash is a nutrient-packed lunch.
Sweet-potato and sausage hash.
This kid-friendly dish only requires a few ingredients and can last all week. Add cubed sweet potato and cooked sausage to the slow cooker and add optional chopped peppers or onions, a couple of tablespoons of oil, and seasoning to taste.You can also add apple or cheese, depending on your preference.
Slow-cooker chicken Parmesan pasta will keep the kiddos full all afternoon.
Chicken Parmesan pasta.
The best part about this easy slow-cooker recipe is you probably have most of the ingredients already — plus, while it’s delicious served hot, it’s just as good after it’s been chilled.
You can also make potato salad in a slow cooker.
You might not know that you can parboil potatoes in a slow cooker. To do so, chop and cover the potatoes with water, a little salt and pepper, and butter and cook them until they’re fork-tender, usually about six hours on low.Then, mix together the dressing for your potato salad as you normally would, such as mayonnaise, dill, whole grain mustard, and a splash of red wine vinegar. Pack it in a lunchbox with ice packs to keep it fresh.
For a sweet treat, pack a Crock-Pot brownie in your child’s lunch box.
Brownies are super easy to make in a Crock-Pot and can last all week long. Feel free to add fun additions like nuts, extra chocolate chips, or powdered sugar over the top to make them extra special.
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