There’s nothing quite like coming home to a meal that is ready and waiting. Winter nights are especially served by a slow cooked warm meal that is hearty and nutritious.

Not only are they convenient, as ingredients can be tossed in the morning of, but slow cookers also increase the flavor of foods and cook meat tenderly. Slow cookers are relatively inexpensive and they also consume less electricity than a traditional oven.

Check out our five winter stew and soup recipes to keep you satisfied on cold evenings.

  1.   Chicken Vegetable Stew. When cooked in a slow cooker, chicken can be especially delicious if you give it enough time to get to that place where you can easily pull it apart. Adding vegetables is also great because you don’t even need to worry about chopping them up as they cook easily in big chunks. Try this recipe with a variety of herbs and spices.
  2.   Beef Stew. A classic comfort dish, beef cooks excellently in the slow cooker. You can get your fix of iron and protein easily by preparing the ingredients for this recipe the morning of.
  3.   Pork and Hominy Stew. The other white meat, pork, also cooks nicely in the crockpot. Mixing pork together with the interesting flavor of hominy (a type of dried corn common in Mexican dishes) creates a unique flavor. The hominy becomes chewy in this recipe when cooked, adding a nice consistency.
  4. Vegetarian Chili. When we think of a nice hearty winter meal, a classic that might come to mind is a good ole chili recipe. Chili is packed with a variety of nutrients as it contains several different food groups. Try this vegetarian version to keep that fat content down.
  5.   Split Pea Soup. If you want an occasion to mix together plant protein with animal protein, try this split pea soup recipe with diced ham. It’s incredibly simple and goes well with whole wheat bread.

What kind of slow cooker do you use? Tell us in the comments below!