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10 Valentine's Day date-night meals you can make in a slow cooker

Erin McDowell   

10 Valentine's Day date-night meals you can make in a slow cooker
Bolognese is just one meal you can make in a slow cooker this Valentine's Day.Piyato/Getty Images
  • Valentine's Day often calls for dinner out, but cooking in can be just as romantic.
  • However, you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen to prepare a swoon-worthy meal.

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and using a slow cooker is a great way to put a romantic dinner on the table with minimal effort.

From creamy mac and cheese to short ribs and brisket, these slow-cooker meals are equal parts comforting and impressive.

Here are 10 date-night meals you can make in a slow cooker.

Bolognese cooks down beautifully in the slow cooker.

Bolognese cooks down beautifully in the slow cooker.
Spaghetti Bolognese.      Shutterstock

Ree Drummond's recipe for Bolognese is an ideal meal to make in a slow cooker because the longer you cook it, the better it gets. Throw your ingredients — such as crushed tomatoes and browned meat — into the slow cooker at the start of the day to have a simmering pot of sauce by dinner time.

Serve with freshly cooked pasta and top with Parmesan cheese for a romantic dinner, without the heavy lifting.

For vegetarians, a creamy pot of macaroni and cheese is a delicious — and easy — option for date night.

For vegetarians, a creamy pot of macaroni and cheese is a delicious — and easy — option for date night.
Macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs.      Erin McDowell/Insider

Celebrity chef Martha Stewart's recipe for slow-cooker mac and cheese is easy and delicious.

"It is important to use pungent cheeses, such as sharp cheddar, mixed with a little Gruyere or pecorino Romano for extra bite, since the white sauce and pasta will absorb a lot of flavor," Stewart wrote on her website.

Chicken Parmesan is a filling and decadent meal to make in a slow cooker.

Chicken Parmesan is a filling and decadent meal to make in a slow cooker.
Chicken parmesan.      Conner Blake

Taste of Home's recipe for chicken Parmesan is a crowd-pleaser and an elegant option for Valentine's Day. For making it in the slow cooker, the process is similar to using the oven or the stove, but there's no frying involved.

Spaghetti and meatballs is another romantic dinner you can make in a slow cooker.

Spaghetti and meatballs is another romantic dinner you can make in a slow cooker.
Spaghetti and meatballs.      Alex S. / Yelp.com

Meatballs are a perfect match for a slow cooker. Simply mix your meatball ingredients, form the meatballs, and broil them on each side to brown them before adding them to the slow cooker.

This meatball recipe by Chef Savvy also includes a tomato sauce, meaning all you'll have to do at dinner time is boil the spaghetti.

Pot roast is a classic, home-cooked meal perfect for Valentine's Day.

Pot roast is a classic, home-cooked meal perfect for Valentine
Slow-cooker pot roast.      Erin McDowell/Insider

While pot roast may sound like an old-fashioned dish to make, it's a longtime favorite for a reason. This dish not only evokes feelings of nostalgia but is a filling, stick-to-your-bones meal ideal for a cozy night in with your loved one.

This simple slow-cooker pot-roast recipe only requires five ingredients, including a surprising one: gingersnaps.

Slow-cooker pork chops in a mushroom cream sauce is the height of cozy comfort food.

Slow-cooker pork chops in a mushroom cream sauce is the height of cozy comfort food.
Slow cooker pork chops in a bowl.      Erin McDowell/Insider

To make Eat Well's creamy garlic pork chops and potatoes, you'll need pork chops, mushrooms, and potatoes, plus ingredients for the decadent cream sauce that goes on top.

The sauce adds much-needed moisture to both the potatoes and the pork chops while adding flavor from the garlic and Parmesan cheese.

Salmon becomes flaky and moist when cooked in the slow cooker.

Salmon becomes flaky and moist when cooked in the slow cooker.
Salmon.      Justin Ong/Getty Images

For a simple, fresh date-night dinner, try poaching salmon fillets in a slow cooker with lemon, vegetable broth, and dill, according to one recipe by Delish. Pair with vegetables, mashed potatoes, or some kind of grain to wow your date.

Short ribs become extra tender when made in the slow cooker.

Short ribs become extra tender when made in the slow cooker.
Braised short ribs.      Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Taste of Home's recipe for slow-cooker short ribs screams "special occasion," making them perfect for Valentine's Day. Not only do short ribs get very tender in the slow cooker, but the dish also makes a delicious sauce for serving over the meat, mashed potatoes, or other vegetables.

Forget the standard steak for Valentine's Day — brisket is another great meat to make in a slow cooker.

Forget the standard steak for Valentine
Brisket.      iStock / Getty Images Plus

By cooking the piece of meat in the slow cooker over a long period of time, it will get tender while still retaining its moisture. For added flavor, cook it with garlic, carrots, and beef stock, as the Pioneer Woman suggests.

You can also prepare a leg of lamb in the slow cooker, but you might want to sear it first.

You can also prepare a leg of lamb in the slow cooker, but you might want to sear it first.
Leg of lamb.      SteAck/Shutterstock

Cooking a leg of lamb in a slow cooker might sound complicated, but using the kitchen tool actually takes some of the guesswork out of when the meat is done.

"Leg of lamb is so good as it breaks down in the slow cooker," Chef Hugh Acheson previously told Business Insider. "Cooking in the slow cooker and then finishing another way is going to make sure your meat is at its best. Whether that means re-searing the meat or throwing it under the broiler, you might want to think about other steps to really finish off your meal."

Acheson's recipe for slow-cooked leg of lamb can be found in his book, "The Chef and the Slow Cooker."

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