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Last week on Instagram, I asked you guys which you loved more: Your Instant Pot or your slow cooker.

The results were mixed, which actually a little surprising to me. I feel like everywhere I turn, I’m hearing glowing reviews and seeing oodles of recipes for the Instant Pot. And some of you DO love your Instant Pot — a few of you even sent me your Pinterest boards that are dedicated to awesome IP recipes (thank you!) and I cannot wait to check them out.

But while I own an Instant Pot and use it occasionally (here’s the model we have), the truth is that it still kind of intimidates me.

So. Many. Buttons. SO MANY.

Why do I swear by my slow cooker? Well, for the exact same reasons many of you on Team Slow Cooker (Should we make t-shirts?!) shared with me. It’s easy to use, first and foremost, and I love walking through the door with the kids at 6pm knowing that I have to do very little in order to get dinner on the table. I actually own TWO of this Crock Pot model. Yes, they’re awesome.

And while we’ve been enjoying crock pot chili and stew recipes all winter long, I recently decided to create a long list of warm weather-appropriate slow cooker recipes I can keep on rotation during the spring and summer months.

In case you’re looking for some new slow cooker recipes to try as the weather warms up, I wanted to share my five favorite recipes I found that were not only healthy, but looked like something that all four of us actually might eat. I’m really trying to break the habit of being a short order cook at dinnertime, so I’m making an effort to pinpoint some go-to recipes that have the potential to be a hit with a six- and two-year old in order to win a spot in our meal rotation.

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICH SLIDERS

Both my kids love sandwiches, so I have a hunch this is going to be a winning recipe in our house. My favorite part about the recipe is that it’s mayo-free. You could easily make the chicken salad mix — which is a blend of just a few ingredients, including tangy plain yogurt, dijon mustard and lemon juice — the night before. Throw a bag of Alexia french fries (Our favorite!) in the oven and add a side of fruit, and dinner is served.

Slow cooker chicken salad sandwich sliders (gluten free) from Cotter Crunch

SLOW COOKER SHREDDED MEXICAN BEEF BOWLS

If it resembles Chipotle, it’s bound to get a round of applause from the kiddos. This shredded Mexican beef bowl recipe is the perfect way to fake Chipotle at home. Recipes like this are so flexible, too, which is great news for those of us with picky eaters. Pair the beef with rice and beans, or add (or subtract) whatever veggies you want. Serve it over tortilla chips to make a nacho. The possibilities are pretty much endless.

Slow cooker shredded Mexican beef bowls from Running to the Kitchen

SLOW COOKER MEATBALLS WITH BROCCOLI RABE

Okay, so the broccoli rabe might not be a hit with the kids, but everyone is definitely obsessed with meatballs and marinara! These meatballs make for a crowd-pleasing meal and require little effort to make, thanks to the slow cooker. And if you didn’t want to bother making your own sauce, I’ve gotta admit that I’m a huge fan of the jarred pre-made variety these days. The Rao’s Homemade brand is my absolute favorite — we buy it frequently through Amazon Fresh. These meatballs would be great over pasta, or you could even make your own meatball subs.

Slow cooker meatballs with broccoli rabe from Skinnytaste

SLOW COOKER BARBECUE CHICKEN

I’m a huge fan of barbecued chicken on the grill, but I usually reserve grill meals for the weekends because they require more time. This slow cooker barbecue chicken recipe could not be any easier, though — make a sandwich, serve it over rice, or pair it with a side of coleslaw. I’ve made this recipe a couple times, and we usually pile the chicken on rolls and make some easy side dishes (think small green salads, veggies and dip, or fruit) to go with it.

Slow cooker barbecue chicken from Two Peas and Their Pod

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN LO MEIN NOODLES

Chinese takeout is usually a weekend favorite around here, and this slow cooker chicken lo mein recipe would be a great way to work some Asian cuisine into the weekday menu. One thing I love about many Asian recipes is that they’re highly customizable. Not into broccoli? Leave it out. Prefer a different protein? No problem. This dish looks like a crowd pleaser, and I’d totally take the leftovers to work for lunch the next day (bonus!).

Slow cooker chicken lo mein noodles from Life Made Sweeter

There ya have it! A week’s worth of quick, easy, and healthy slow cooker recipes that are suitable for the warmer months.

Do you have a favorite Crock Pot recipe that you make during spring and summertime? Share it with me below!

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