The slow cooker is one seriously popular gadget, and for good reason. When time is in short supply, it's hard to summon the energy and enthusiasm to prepare a nutritious meal from scratch.
Slow cookers can transform tough cuts of meat, crunchy root vegetables and dried pulses into delicious, culinary masterpieces. And that's not all – they are a dab hand at preparing porridge, fruit compotes and rice pudding, too.
Here are some of our favourite slow cooker recipes to help get you through the week (especially when the kids are off school) with time and energy to spare.
mexican corn chowder
A combination of potato, corn, beans and peppers makes a very hearty soup – and a splash of cream before serving ups the indulgence-factor. You can cook this soup on low for 8 hours in a slow cooker, so it will ready to serve as soon as you get home.
jerk chicken thighs with caribbean slaw
Tender chicken, mango and jerk seasoning = one seriously tasty dish. Serve this sticky, saucy chicken with hot rice and crunchy, nutty slaw.
creole chicken and shrimp gumbo
Never had a gumbo? It's a Creole stew, and the state dish of Louisiana. Combining chicken thighs and chorizo with peppers, celery, passata and prawns, this tasty stew is bursting with fresh veg and vibrant flavours and is perfect spooned onto fluffy white rice.
no pasta aubergine lasagne
This is a fantastic vegetarian slow-cooker option. Using tomato sauce, sliced aubergine, ricotta and spinach, you can look forward to a tender, bubbling dish after four hours of cooking. Simply serve alongside a fresh, peppery salad and that's dinner sorted. Easy!
moroccan slow-cooked lamb
After being slow-cooked for 4 hours on high (or 8 hours on low), this Moroccan-inspired lamb dish is deliciously tender. Packed full of flavour, serve it with some crusty bread to mop up those flavoursome juices.
Slow cooker chicken fajitas
Who doesn't love a Friday night meal of chicken fajitas? And once you've tried making your fajita filling in the slow cooker, you won't go back. Our recipe uses thighs which fall apart once cooked for hours and take on all those Mexican flavours.