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40 After-School Snacks Made in the Slow Cooker

Surprise your school kiddos with these sweet and savory bites. Made in the slow cooker, these snack recipes are ready when the kids come home hungry.

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No-Guilt Beefy Nachos

Nachos you can feel good about! This meaty topping has less fat and sodium than typical nacho beef because you use lean meat and make your own seasoning. The versatile dish is a tasty go-to for a party. —Carol Betz, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Slow Cooker Coconut Granola Exps Edsc18 207065 C03 21 1b 8

Slow-Cooker Coconut Granola

Here's a versatile treat with a taste of the tropics. Change it up by subbing dried pineapple or tropical fruits for the cherries. —Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Tandoori Chicken Panini

The tandoori-style spices in this chicken give it a bold flavor that’s so hard to resist. It tastes incredible tucked between pieces of naan, then grilled to make Indian-inspired panini. —Yasmin Arif, Manassas, Virginia
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Healthy Greek Bean Dip

This crowd-pleasing appetizer is healthy to boot! Folks will love to eat their veggies when they can dip them in this zesty, fresh alternative to hummus. —Kelly Silvers, Edmond, Oklahoma
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One-Bite Tamales

Clever little meatballs deliver the flavor and rich sauce of a traditional tamale in a bite-sized portion. They’re a delightfully different addition to a holiday spread. —Dolores Jaycox, Gretna, Louisiana
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Cheddar Spirals

Our kids always loved this cheesy pasta and would sample a spoonful right from the slow cooker when they walked by. Adding cocktail sausages, sliced Polish sausage or cubed ham makes it a hearty dinner. —Heidi Ferkovich, Park Falls, Wisconsin
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Slow Cooker Party Mix

This mildly seasoned snack mix is always a party favorite. Served warm from a slow cooker, the munchable mixture is very satisfying. —Dana Hughes, Gresham, Oregon
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Pineapple-Dijon Ham Sandwiches

My kids like ham; the challenge is finding new ways to make it. When I slow-cook it with pineapple and Dijon, the juices make an amazing dipping sauce. —Camille Beckstrand, Layton, Utah
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Slow-Cooked Peach Salsa

Fresh peaches and tomatoes make my salsa a hands-down winner over store versions. As a treat, I give my co-workers several jars throughout the year. —Peggi Stahnke, Cleveland, Ohio
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Slow-Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs

My family asks for these saucy meatballs all year long. I like to make them with ground beef in the winter and ground turkey in the spring.—Rachelle Stratton, Rock Springs, Wyoming
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Slow-Cooker Spiced Mixed Nuts

What slow cookers do for soups and stews, they’ll do for mixed nuts, too. The scent of spices is delightful, and the nuts are delicious. —Stephanie Loaiza, Layton, Utah
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Warm Broccoli Cheese Dip Exps Hscbz18 28804 D08 16 2b 2

Warm Broccoli Cheese Dip

When my family gathers for a party, someone serves this flavorful, creamy dip. Everyone loves its zip from the jalapeno pepper and the crunch of the broccoli. —Barbara Maiol, Conyers, Georgia
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Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Melts Exps Sdas17 186637 D04 07 3b 1

Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Melts

After tasting a similar recipe at a sandwich shop, I knew I had to try my own version at home. Personally, I like mine even more! I like to mix equal parts salsa and ranch dressing to make a tasty sauce for these sandwiches. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
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Slow Cooker Pizza Fondue

I keep these dip ingredients on hand for spur-of-the-moment gatherings. Folks can't resist chewy bread cubes coated with a savory sauce. —Nel Carver, Moscow, Idaho
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Hot Pineapple Ham Sandwiches Exps Sdjj17 201183 D02 16 6b 5

Hot Pineapple Ham Sandwiches

Your trusty slow cooker lets you make these warm, gooey sandwiches without heating up the house on a hot day. The mustard and brown sugar give them such satisfying richness. —Nancy Foust, Stoneboro, Pennsylvania
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Corn and Broccoli in Cheese Sauce

Save room in the oven by making this savory side in your slow cooker. It is a standby in my house. My daughter likes to add leftover ham to create a hearty main course. —Joyce Johnson, Uniontown, Ohio
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Butter Chicken Meatballs

My husband and I love meatballs, and we love butter chicken. Before an appetizer party, we had the brilliant idea to combine these two loves, and the new creation got rave reviews! Want them as a main dish? Just serve with basmati rice. —Shannon Dobos, Calgary, Alberta
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Sweet & Spicy Peanuts

With a caramel-like coating and a touch of heat from the hot sauce, these crunchy peanuts make a tasty anytime snack. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Fruit Salsa

Serve this fruity salsa anywhere you'd use ordinary salsa. My son and I experimented with different ingredients to find the combination we liked best. Preparing it in a slow cooker is really convenient. —Florence Buchkowsky, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
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Pulled Pork Doughnut Hole Sliders Exps Sdfm18 191675 C10 04 5b 9

Pulled Pork Doughnut Hole Sliders

This slider recipe was created by accident when we had a surplus of root beer from a party. Now we can't have barbecue any other way! —Eden Dranger, Los Angeles, California
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Smoky Baked Beans

They’ll be standing in line for this saucy bean recipe, full of campfire flavor. A variation on colorful calico beans, it makes a great side dish with all your cookout favorites. —Lynne German, Cumming, Georgia
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Root Beer Pulled Pork Nachos

I count on my slow cooker to do the honors when I have a house full of summer guests. Teenagers especially love DIY nachos. Try cola, ginger ale or lemon-lime soda if you’re not into root beer. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Reuben Spread

You'll need only five ingredients to stir up this hearty dip that tastes like a Reuben sandwich. It's requested at all the gatherings we attend. —Pam Rohr, Troy, Ohio
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Corn Chip Chili Cheese Dip

After trying to create a Mexican soup, I ended up with this outstanding dip. My husband and two young children love it, and so do guests at football game days or family gatherings. —Sandra Fick, Lincoln, Nebraska
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Double-Duty Heavenly Applesauce

Every year my husband and I take our two daughters to an orchard to pick apples so we can make this luscious applesauce for family and neighbors. —Jennifer Purcell, Vermilion, Ohio
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Cheesy Chicken Taco Dip

We're huge college football fans (go Irish!), and my chicken taco dip hasn't missed a season opener in many years. A slow cooker keeps the dip warm for the whole game—if it lasts that long! —Deanna Garretson, Yucaipa, California
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Championship Bean Dip

My friends and neighbors expect me to bring this irresistible dip to every gathering. When I arrive, they ask, "You brought your bean dip, didn't you?" If there are any leftovers, we use them to make bean and cheese burritos the next day. I've given out this recipe a hundred times. —Wendi Wavrin Law, Omaha, Nebraska
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Creamy Hash Brown Potatoes Exps33233 Scm14342b03 12 6b Rms 3

Creamy Hash Brown Potatoes

Convenient frozen hash browns are the secret behind the cheesy slow-cooker potatoes I cook up for potlucks and big group gatherings. —Julianne Henson, Streamwood, Illinois
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Chili Coney Dogs

From the youngest kids to the oldest adults, everyone in our family loves these hot dogs. Inspired by the classic Coney dog, they’re so easy to throw together in the morning or even the night before. —Michele Harris, Vicksburg, Michigan
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Potluck Macaroni and Cheese

You'll always have a winner at the potluck when you bring macaroni and cheese. Here's an extra-rich, creamy version for the slow cooker. —Jennifer Blondek, Chicopee, Massachusetts
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Slow-Cooked Smokies

I like to include these little smokies smothered in barbecue sauce on all my appetizer buffets since they're popular with both children and adults. —Sundra Hauck, Bogalusa, Louisiana
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Slow Cooker Candied Nuts

I like giving spiced nuts as holiday gifts. This slow cooker recipe with ginger and cinnamon is so good, you just might use it all year long. —Yvonne Starlin, Westmoreland, Tennessee
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Butterscotch Fruit Dip

If you like the sweetness of butterscotch chips, you'll enjoy this warm rum-flavored fruit dip. I serve it with apple and pear wedges. It holds up for up to two hours in the slow cooker. —Jeaune Hadl Van Meter, Lexington, Kentucky
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Slow Cooked Turkey Sandwiches Exps Scmbz18 33983 D01 17 2b 2

Slow-Cooked Turkey Sandwiches

These sandwiches have been such a hit at office potlucks that I keep copies of the recipe in my desk to hand out. —Diane Twait Nelsen, Ringsted, Iowa
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Barbecued Beans

Most members of my family would agree that no picnic is complete until these delicious beans have made their appearance. Preparing them in a slow cooker makes them easy to transport to any gathering. —Diane Hixon, Niceville, Florida
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Chili Queso Dip

I’ve had this recipe for more than 42 years and have updated it from time to time. This is an easy party favorite, and everyone loves the taquito dippers. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Slow-Cooked Italian Meatballs

Slow-Cooked Italian Meatballs

What I love about these meatballs is that they can be served as an appetizer right out of the slow cooker, or alongside your favorite pasta. They also make a delicious sandwich. —Jason Romano, Downingtown, Pennsylvania
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Beer Braised Pulled Ham Exps Thfm17 186361 D09 23 4b 3

Beer-Braised Pulled Ham

To jazz up ham, I slow-cooked it with a beer sauce. Buns loaded with ham, pickles and mustard are irresistible. —Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts
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Scalloped Taters

This creamy and comforting slow-cooked side tastes great with almost any main dish and is a snap to assemble with convenient frozen hash browns. It's a good way to make potatoes when your oven is busy with other dishes. —Lucinda Wolker, Somerset, Pennsylvania

Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.

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