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Set it and forget it! These 27 slow-cooker recipes will warm you right up

Winter is the perfect time to break out your slow cooker.
by Patty Lee /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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Winter is the perfect time to break out your slow cooker and try one of these delicious, TODAY Food-approved recipes. (And if you still haven't gotten yourself one, here are our favorite slow cookers.)

All you have to do is pop the recipe ingredients into your Crock-Pot before you leave the house, binge-watch your favorite show or start shoveling snow. Come back a few hours later and your hearty soup, fall-off-the-bone short ribs or even dessert, will be hot and ready-to-eat!

Pastas

Luscious Lazy Slow-Cooker Lasagna

While this lasagna is delicious served fresh out of the pot, many think it's even better the next day!

After making this recipe, you may have extra meatballs left over to utilize in a meatball sub sandwich or to use as some extra protein on your favorite salad.

Cooking pasta in a slow cooker can be tricky — you may end up with mushy noodles or a dried-out mess. But this recipe works wonderfully. Start with uncooked, regular lasagna noodles, which will hold their shape well. Adding a little water to the marinara sauce helps prevent the whole dish from drying out, too.

Make classic macaroni and cheese even easier with your slow cooker — and even tastier with the addition of bacon.

Chicken

This hearty and delicious chicken and white bean chili is a cinch to prepare. Just toss all the ingredients into your pot and let the dish simmer away!

Many slow cookers come with ceramic inserts, which are oven-safe up to 400 degrees. And that's just what you need for baking this luscious chicken stew topped with fluffy, tender biscuits.

Chicken Chili Tacos

Chicken Chili Tacos

Sweet Potato Chronicles

Fill up tacos with slow-cooked chicken breasts, pico de gallo or salsa, lime juice, cumin seeds and garlic. Yum!

Actor Anson WIlliams, best known for playing Potsie on "Happy Days," shares one of his favorite recipes from his cookbook, "The Perfect Portion Cookbook." A serving of this delicious chicken pot pie is just 100 calories.

A dollop of creamy and cooling raita is the perfect finishing touch to this simple and super flavorful one-pot chicken and vegetable curry.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili

Ancho and chipotle chilies give this yummy dish a double dose of spicy flavor that is sure to warm you up on cold winter nights.

You can't go wrong with this classic — it's pure comfort food at its finest!

Casseroles

You'll want to eat this yummy casserole for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Combine layers of shredded potatoes, sausage, cheese, onions, peppers and eggs, set your slow cooker on low before bedtime, and by morning, breakfast is ready!

Ribs and Roasts

This juicy roast may be simple but it's so delicious you'll want to serve it to guests! The slow cooker not only makes it really easy to prepare, but also gives the meat a truly tender texture.

"This slow-cooker meal is one I make for my family on Sundays," says TODAY's Al Roker. "It's perfect because you can prep in the morning, spend time with the family, and then have a finished meal waiting for you eight hours later."

You only need five ingredients to make this tasty dish!

Crock-Pot Beef Bourguignon

Siri Daly's French beef and vegetable slow-cooker stew is irresistible, especially when it's served over buttery egg noodles.

This hearty dish is spectacular in the fall or winter for a cozy family dinner at home, but is also elegant enough for weekend entertaining.

Natalie Morales' Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja

"Ropa Vieja is really a classic Latin American dish," says NBC News' Natalie Morales. "I love to cook Latin foods, because that's what I grew up watching my mom and grandmother doing. It's one of those dishes you just throw into one pot — it's a one pot wonder!"

Soups and Stews

Giada's Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

Slow cooker beef stew with kabocha squash gets an Italian spin with the addition of Marsala wine and flavorful sun-dried tomatoes.

Slow-Cooker Farro Soup

This soup is as delicious as it is filling, and the slow cooker will also bring out each of the individual, rich flavors this recipe has to offer.

Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili

Whether you need a game-day meal for a crowd or just want something warm and cozy on a cold day, this slow-cooker turkey chili is sure to please.

The gentle heat of a slow-cooker is perfect for creating this creamy, satisfying bowl of Italian comfort food.

This slow cooker chili couldn't be easier — there's very little prep work and it's truly a set-it-and-forget-it recipe. A chopped chipotle pepper adds a subtle, smoky heat that's mellowed by the lager beer.

Sweets

Slow-Cooker Triple Chocolate Brownies

This chocolate dessert is a rich and decadent way to end any meal.

Whether you're looking to feed a big crowd or just need a delicious breakfast before work, this overnight oatmeal will make mornings so much easier.

Slow-Cooker Cherry Delight

It doesn't get any easier than this. Consider this your new go-to, four-ingredient dessert dish.

This article was originally published Jan. 24, 2017.

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