Make Ahead

20 Essential Slow Cooker Recipes for When You’re Feeling Lazy — Recipes from The Kitchn

We all have days when we feel so lazy that calling for takeout seems like a chore. It's on those days that the slow cooker's abilities shine the most. Muster up enough effort to toss a handful of things inside of it the morning of or night before and let it work its magic. Here are 20 of the best recipes that are made for moments just like these.

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Honey Teriyaki Chicken — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn)

Coming of age in the High Mall Era meant the food court was the first stop before buying a new halter top or catching Freddie Prinze Jr.'s latest flick. Despite being a mall regular, I always debated between choosing the oversized pizza slice or sticky-sweet chicken teriyaki. Chicken teriyaki always won. Today, I rarely make it into a mall, but on days when my energy is low and the need to feed my family is high, the urge for chicken teriyaki takeout is strong.

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Recipe: Apple-Cinnamon French Toast Casserole — Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

French toast is the gold-standard of slow Saturdays – a hot cup of coffee in one hand, a sizzling skillet on the stove, and Billie Holiday crooning in the background. There's nothing like the soothing repetition of whisking eggs and cream, cutting rich egg bread into impossibly thick slices, combining the two, and watching the toast sizzle in a pool of butter. That is the dream until you have two toddlers begging for breakfast before your feet find your slippers. I'm here to tell you that you can have all the things that French toast offers without hovering over a hot pan at 6:30 in the morning.

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Recipe: Vegetarian Chopped Liver with Shallots — Quick and Easy Appetizers

(Image credit: Colin Clark)

Chopped chicken liver (gehakte leber in Yiddish) was so iconic and central to the Eastern European Jewish diet that American Jews crafted a way to eat it with dairy as well as meat meals. The meatless version, known as either vegetarian chopped liver or mock chopped liver, rose to prominence in the scores of dairy restaurants that once slung blintzes, cheesecake, and borscht with sour cream on New York City's Lower East Side.

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Recipe: Honey-Garlic Chicken Stir Fry — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Inspired by our basic method for chicken stir-fry, this is my go-to solution for turning a pack of chicken breasts into a wholesome weeknight dinner that's packed with flavor. Thin strips of chicken get a sharp sear from the wok before shacking up with a mess of tender veggies and a savory sauce accented by honey and garlic.

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How To Make the Best BBQ Baby Back Ribs in the Slow Cooker — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You could easily take a rack of ribs, drown them with a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce, set the slow cooker to low, and come back to tender, juicy slow-cooked ribs in five to six hours, but those ribs wouldn't hold a candle to the ribs that come off the smoker or a grill.

I make smoked or grilled barbecue ribs only once a year because they take almost a full 24 hours to prepare. But following a hunch that I could take some key steps from BBQ ribs and use them for ribs destined for the slow cooker, I found that these slow cooker ribs taste just as good in their own right as barbecued, and that I'd actually make them more than once a year and now you can too.

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