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Quick and Easy Back-to-School Meals

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The September rush has come and gone, but that doesn't mean that you're any less busy. Between helping with homework, driving the soccer practice carpool and attending extracurricular activities and events, it may feel as though there's hardly time to eat dinner, let alone to make dinner! When you're crunched for time, the convenience, reliability and time-saving capabilities of your slow cooker really shine. This school year, take advantage of mealtime recipes that require little prep.

Turn to these simple meals that require few ingredients and little preparation yet deliver delicious, wholesome results. The chaos of dinnertime and making sure everyone is fed gets even easier when you use your Crock-Pot® 5-Quart Smart-Pot® Slow Cooker. Try out these two recipes below:

1. Chicken Parmesan
At the end of a long day, nothing beats a warm and cheesy chicken dish, topped with red sauce and bread crumbs for a crispy touch.


  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar tomato sauce
  • 1 3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6-8 thighs)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (divided)
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (divided)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 


  1. Combine cornstarch and water together in a medium bowl. Mix until smooth.
  2. Add in tomato sauce and blend well.
  3. Cover bottom of slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Pour some of the sauce to cover bottom of slow cooker.
  5. Place chicken thighs over the tomato sauce in single layer.
  6. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Top with 1/2 of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 of Parmesan cheese.
  8. Pour remaining sauce on top.
  9. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  10. Spoon off any fat that has accumulated at the top of the sauce and discard.
  11. Add remaining mozzarella cheese and cover until melted.
  12. Combine the panko breadcrumbs, olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper on baking sheet.
  13. Put under the broiler just until browned, about 2-3 minutes.
  14. Top chicken with crispy breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

2. Homestyle Ground Turkey Meatloaf
Flavorful, satisfying and requiring just a short list of ingredients, you can't go wrong with this family-style homemade meatloaf.


  • 1 pound ground turkey (or lean ground beef)
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup diced onion or 2 tablespoons dried onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Barbecue sauce


  1. Combine ground turkey, tomato sauce, oatmeal, onion, salt and pepper.
  2. Use your hands to shape the mixture and place in a bread pan.
  3. Place the pan in the bottom of your 6-quart slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  5. Brush the meatloaf with barbecue sauce and if desired, place it in the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to crisp it up.

Top your mealoaf with your favorite barbecue sauce and serve with potatoes and veggies for a complete meal.Top your meatloaf with your favorite barbecue sauce and serve with potatoes and veggies for a complete meal.

Due to the slow ramp up, and even heating of a slow cooker, recipes featured on this site can be cooked in a range of slow cooker sizes. Recipes can be increased or decreased by one quart size per the cooking instructions. For smaller sauces and dips that call for 3 quarts or less, it is not recommended to alter the unit size. Crock-Pot® is a registered trademark and should not be used generically when referring to a 'slow cooker' within the recipes.
Sunbeam Products, Inc. d/b/a Jarden Consumer Solutions has not tested these recipes and is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe. You may not achieve the results desired due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, cooking times, typos, errors, omissions, or individual cooking abilities. Please always use your best judgment when cooking with raw ingredients such as eggs, chicken or fish.


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