Dump Dinners: 4 Essential Slow-Cooker Recipes

We’ve all been there: You’ve got a million tasks to tackle and errands to run all before it’s time for dinner. Everyone will be gathering around the table with expectant eyes and bellies, so you don’t want to disappoint them. How do you even find time to cook with everything else going on in your life? The answer is simple: You do (almost) nothing.

Let me explain.

The day after our wedding, my husband and I took inventory of all our gifts like gleeful shopkeepers in a warehouse. Some presents we could easily see using and appreciating regularly. These tended to be thoughtful, useful. Others we expected only to collect dust until we could re-gift them without the guilt of feeling ungrateful. Among the latter was a slow cooker.

Don’t get me wrong—slow cookers are wonderful tools in the kitchen. But it just wasn’t how I usually cooked. Then life happened. One day we woke up and had kids, careers and lives full of responsibilities. Oh, how I miss those moments when we could leisurely take inventory of our stuff. Now, it’s all we can do to get a moment alone before there’s a deadline to meet or a boo-boo to heal. Now I’m a full-on slow-cooker convert.

I call this my Dump Dinner Collection—all recipes that call for dumping a bunch of stuff in the slow cooker, setting it and walking away. There’s very little prep work or layering of ingredients, and my slow cooker handles the actual cooking. My kids love slow-cooking too, because they get to help with the dumping!

4 Easy Slow-Cooker Chicken Dump-Dishes

Where do I start? This recipe for Slow-Cooker Chicken “Osso Buco” is quick; it requires no chopping or dicing. It’s delicious, made with flavorful—and inexpensive—chicken thighs. It’s convenient, taking me 15 minutes to (almost literally) throw everything in the slow cooker before work. When I arrive home I open the door to the mouthwatering smell of stewed tomatoes, carrots and chicken. It’s a great way to be greeted!


Slow-Cooker Pantry Chicken Stew is an ideal dish for a family movie night in winter. Each spoonful offers the promise of the comforting flavors of juicy chicken, mushroom, carrots and veggies. Oh, and it requires only 15 minutes of prep.


It’s not always easy adhering to a low-calorie eating plan during the winter months. This Slow-Cooker Chunky Chicken Chili, however, is both amazingly delicious and better for you. It’s the answer to “What’s for dinner?” when the temperature drops and you want to warm up from the inside out.


Even well after Thanksgiving Day, our family loves stuffing prepared in unexpected ways and, usually, accompanied by something other than turkey. This Slow-Cooker Chicken & Stuffing featuring apples and bacon is a hit at our table all year long.


    • Author Image
      Danise Still says:

      I love the simplicity of those dishes, and the small number of ingredients.
      We belong to a camping club. Would love to do these when we have potlucks…. put on quickly in the morning and have my dish ready when we come home from the day’s outings or activities. Wow!

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    Melanie Richardson says:

    The receipes on this website are fabulous. Easy,quick,tasty and also very important, nutritious too! There’s just something about coming in the house after being gone all day. And you smell glorious scents and you know dinner is all ready. Cause you’re tired and that’s how you planned it.

  2. Author Image

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