01/14/2014 02:54 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:56 EST

Slow Cooker Recipes: 15 Dishes You Can Easily Make With Your Crock Pot

Dinner With Julie

If you stored the slow cooker you received as a wedding gift in your basement or in the back of a closet, January is the perfect time to break it out. Much of North America is in a deep freeze right now, and that's the perfect weather for hearty, warm meals. On top of that, we're all back to our regular schedules after the holiday break — which means time for meal prep and cooking is limited.

Slow cookers are great because they allow you to return home to a home-cooked meal, still warm and made with fresh ingredients, with minimal work. For many recipes, much of the prep can be done overnight; just pop the ingredients into the fridge before bed, then take it out in the morning and set the temperature and timer.

Of course, if you grew up with soggy, overcooked, one-note slow cooker meals, you might not be eager to give this appliance another go. Fortunately, there are so many great recipes for slow cookers out there now, for everything from breakfast to dessert. Give a few of these 15 we suggest a try, and we bet you'll find at least one to add to your family's regular meal rotation.

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1. Pulled Pork: Slow cooking is a great way to make pulled pork — lots of flavour gets into the meat over the long cooking time, which makes it tender and easy to shred.

Learn what goes into this recipe at Canadian Living.

2. Split-Pea Soup: Slow cookers are a great way to make soup, and this hearty recipe has the Emeril stamp of approval.

Learn what goes into this recipe at Martha Stewart.

3. Pot Roast: This roast is simple to make but still worthy of being served for Sunday dinner.

Learn what goes into this recipe at

4. Butter Chicken: Indian foods are traditionally marinated and cooked slowly, and using a slow cooker for this recipe helps to replicate that technique.

Learn how to create this recipe at Canadian Family.

5. Cheesecake: The slow cooker isn't just for main courses! Give this dessert recipe a try in yours.

Learn how to create this at Ricardo Cuisine.

6. Pasta With Eggplant Sauce: Isn't pasta already easy to make? The noodles, sure, but pasta with homemade sauce — including the meaty texture of eggplants — is just that much more delicious in a slow cooker.

Learn how to create this at

7. Artichokes: Artichokes, which are actually thistles, not vegetables, look intimidating but they're surprisingly easy to cook in a slow cooker.

Learn what goes into this recipe at

8. Oatmeal: If you set your slow cooker right before you can go to bed, you can wake up to a hot and healthy breakfast, no morning prep required.

Learn how to create this recipe at

9. Chili: Give this recipe a test run in January, and then break it out again for Super Bowl Sunday. Make this recipe veggie by subbing another can of beans for the meat and vegetable broth for the beef stock.

Learn what goes into this recipe at Spoonful.

10. Roast Turkey: With a slow cooker, you don't have to save turkey for a special occasion, or worry that it will get dry as it cooks.

Learn how to create this at

11. Leg Of Lamb With Mint, Rosemary And Garlic: A dish this classy definitely seems like it took a lot more work than this to cook.

Learn what goes into the recipe at Dinner With Julie.

12. Macaroni And Cheese: If your crock pot has a removable, oven-safe dish, you can finish this in the oven with a sprinkle of bread crumbs in order to get that crunchy, golden topping.

Learn how to create this recipe at Taste Of Home.

13. Lasagna: If you don't mind your lasagne being oval-shaped and not rectangular (and really, does it matter?), it's great when made in the slow cooker.

Learn how to create this at Real Simple.

14. Swedish Meatballs: Borsky borsky borsky! These meatballs are an appetizer the likes of which the Swedish Chef would surely approve.

Learn how to create these at Real Mom Kitchen.

15. Baked Potatoes: Potatoes have a bad reputation, but they're actually a great source of potassium and there's fibre in the skins. You can do up baked potatoes your favourite way in the slow cooker, or make them plain and let everyone customize theirs with toppings at the table.

Learn how to create these at Add A Pinch.