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We get it. You're stuck in the house with your family and you're wondering how you can stretch your food while making it interesting enough that your kid will actually eat it. While you're practicing social distancing, it's time to get creative in the kitchen. But don't fret, mama—we're in this together. The good news is that we'll have plenty of time to spend with our little ones and even more time to perfect family recipes.

Here are five crockpot recipes to help you make the best of pantry ingredients when you're low on ingredients:

1. Crockpot mac + cheese

Serves: 8 to 10 servings

Total time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated grated Parmesan
  • 2 12 oz cans evaporated milk
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Finely chopped chives, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Combine macaroni, butter, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan, evaporated milk, whole milk, garlic powder and paprika in a slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook on high until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 2 to 3 hours, checking after 2 hours, then every 20 minutes after.
  3. Garnish with chives before serving, if using.
Recipe from Delish.

2. Slow-cooker chicken noodle soup

Serves: 6 to 8 servings

Total time: 5 hours + 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 3 large carrots)
  • 6 oz celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 5 large stalks)
  • 1/4 small onion, peeled and root end intact
  • 2 large sprigs parsley, plus 1/4 cup chopped leaves
  • 2 large sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 oz wide egg noodles (about 4 cups)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Toss the carrots and celery together in the slow cooker. Add the onion, sprigs parsley, thyme, bay leaf and 1 tsp salt.
  1. Rub the chicken thighs all over, including under the skin, with 1 tsp salt total, and put them on top of the vegetables. Add the chicken broth. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, remove the chicken and stir in the noodles.
  2. While the noodles cook, remove and discard the chicken skin and bones and shred the chicken-it will mostly fall apart on its own. When the noodles are done, turn off the cooker, remove the parsley and thyme stems, and add the shredded chicken and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Taste, and add more lemon juice and salt as needed. Stir in a good amount of pepper and the chopped parsley and serve hot.
Recipe from FoodNetwork.

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3. Crockpot santa fe chicken

Serves: 6 to 8 servings

Total time: 5 hours + 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 24 oz or 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
  • salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Combine chicken broth, beans (drained), corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot.
  2. Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top.
  3. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours.
  4. 30 minutes before serving, remove chicken and shred.
  5. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning to taste.
  6. Serve over rice or tortillas and with your favorite toppings.
Recipe from SkinnyTaste.

4. Easy Crockpot chicken + black bean taco salad

Serves: 4 servings

Total time: 4 hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 16 oz total skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup chunky salsa

Instructions:

  1. Place the chicken in the slow cooker and season with taco seasoning and cumin.
  2. Pour the beans over the chicken and top with salsa. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, or until the chicken is tender and easily shreds with two forks.
  3. Shred the chicken and combine with the beans and sauce, keep warm until ready to eat. Makes 3 1/2 cups.
  4. To make the salad, place 1 1/2 cups lettuce on each plate, top with 3/4 cup chicken and bean mixture, 1 tbsp cheese and 2 tablespoons zesty avocado buttermilk dressing.

Recipe from SkinnyTaste.

5. Slow-cooker chicken tortilla soup

Serves: 6 servings

Total time: 5 hours + 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey jack
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 small corn tortillas, cut into strips
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Lime wedges

Instructions:

  1. In a large slow cooker, combine chicken, black beans, corn, peppers, onion, fire-roasted tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt and chicken broth. Cover and cook on low until chicken is cooked and falling apart, 5 to 6 hours.
  2. Shred chicken with a fork, then top soup with Monterey Jack and cover to let melt, 5 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, make tortilla crisps: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add tortilla strips and cook until crispy and golden, 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
  4. Serve soup topped with tortilla crisps, avocado, sour cream, cilantro and lime.

Recipe from Delish.

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