As the weather continues to cool down, families may be spending more time playing games and reading books to the little ones inside to keep warm.  One great option to warm up on chilly nights is to make a slow cooker dinner.  Placing all the ingredients into your soup pot or crock-pot and then allowing the dish to simmer uninterrupted for while allows you to create an easy but tasty meal.  This also lets you spend more time connecting with the family while dinner basically cooks itself.  The dishes below are great options to try this season and all members of the family can enjoy them together.  

White Bean and Rosemary Soup

This dish is a simple yet tasty dinner, and, depending on the age of your youngest child, the cook time can be altered to make the ingredients softer and easier for infants and toddlers to eat.  

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry white beans, soaked overnight in water, then drained
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock, plus more if needed
  • 8 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to the bowl of a slow cooker. If needed, add more stock so that the beans are covered with liquid.
  2. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for about 6 until the beans are tender.
  3. Taste the beans, and add as much salt as you'd like.

Sweet Potato Lentils

This recipe is perfect for those families with infants just starting to eat soft purees.  Even for those families without them, this dish is quick to throw together and yummy as well.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, diced (about 6 cups)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon each ground coriander, garam masala, and chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups uncooked red lentils (masoor dal)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Place the sweet potatoes, vegetable broth, onion, garlic, and spices in a crockpot. Cook on high for 3 hours, until vegetables are soft.
  2. Add the lentils and stir once. Replace the lid and cook on high for an additional 1½ hours.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and as much water as needed to get the right consistency.

Mama’s Vegetable Soup

Another delicious option that cooks a bit faster than the other recipes is this hearty vegetable soup.  Again, cook time can be altered to better fit your little ones needs.  

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 medium red potatoes, diced
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 pound cut green beans
  • 1 cup fresh cooked corn kernels
  • 28 ounces whole tomatoes (or diced) in their juices
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • Crackers of your choice for serving
  • Sliced green onion, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Preheat a soup pot to medium heat with the olive oil. Add the onion with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the potato with more salt and stir to coat in the olive oil - cook for 3 minutes more. Add the garlic to the vegetables and cook for 1-2 minutes, just until fragrant. Sprinkle the flour over the potato mixture and stir it into the vegetables.
  2. Add the vegetables to the pot, and squish the tomatoes into the pot with your hands. Add the stock, and stir the soup to combine everything and pick up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and cover the soup to bring it to a boil. When the soup boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup for 20 - 30 minutes until the potatoes and other vegetables are tender. Taste, and add more salt or pepper to the soup as desired.
  3. To serve, add a handful of spinach leaves to the bottom of a bowl. Top with soup and add any desired toppings.

Have you tried these recipes or have a personal favorite slow cooker meal? Let us know in the comments below!


 

Written by Katie Tessier

 

Sources
Title Image: http://images.kiwicrate.com/live/main/tstep/ic26820b8a4c1/2e31f625f730.jpg
White Bean Soup Image: http://i1.wp.com/funnyloveblog.com/wpcontent/uploads/2014/11/IMG_3912.jpg
White Bean Recipe: http://funnyloveblog.com/2014/11/04/slow-cooker-white-beans-rosemary/
Sweet Potato Lentils Image: http://dagzhsfg97k4.cloudfront.net/wpcontent/uploads/2013/09/lentils-21.jpg
Sweet Potato Lentils Recipe:  http://pinchofyum.com/crockpot-sweet-potato-lentils
Vegetable Soup Recipe: http://funnyloveblog.com/2013/11/07/mamas-vegetable-soup-vegan/
Vegetable Soup Image: http://i1.wp.com/funnyloveblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_8388.jpg