The following post was written by Craig Chapman,  a member of POPSUGAR Select Food  who explores cherished, traditional family dishes that can be found on Real Food Real Kitchens .
The slow cooker: throughout our childhood it was the catch-all of everything in the house that needed to be eaten up. A sort of one hit wonder, each time our Mom pulled it out from under the counter we knew we could expect a stew made of meat, some potatoes, and a few veggies to go along with it. By the time we got home from school that afternoon, it was ready to eat. It was an inexpensive way for Mom to feed the masses that usually included Dad, my brother, a few friends from around the neighborhood, me . . . and of course Mom.
Now that we're all grown up, the warm memory of slow cooker stews still linger on the back of our taste-buds each year when the weather starts to get cold outside. Since our tastes and the times have changed, we've come up with a few more modern slow cooker recipes that pack a spicy and delicious punch but still stay true to Mom's slow cooker concept: quick, easy, inexpensive, and completely hands-off cooking.
Curry, Vegetable, and Chickpea Stew
1 medium white onion, cut in thin slivers with the grain
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium baking potato, cubed
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
10 ounces cauliflower florets
1 (13.5-ounce can) coconut milk, like Goya
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 (15.5-ounce can) chickpeas, not drained, like Goya
1 (14-ounce can) diced tomatoes, like Dei Fratelli 
2 (10-ounce) vegetarian chicken breasts, cubed, like Gardein  meat free 'chick'n scallopini' patties
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup frozen green peas
3 cups fresh spinach
Sea salt to taste
- Add all of the ingredients (except for the peas and the spinach) to the slow-cooker and stir. Turn on the slow-cooker to high and cook for three hours. Then reduce the setting to low for 30 more minutes. Alternatively, set the slow-cooker to low and cook all day for about 8 hours. During the final 15 minutes of cooking, add in frozen peas and fresh spinach and stir.
- Serve in a bowl by itself like soup, or over rice. Add a touch of sriracha to the top or a spoonful of plain yogurt. Enjoy this rich, hearty, soul-warming stew that's delicious and addictive!
Note: For an easy clean up and to prevent having to scrub or soak the slow cooker overnight, we used Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners ; easy, simple, and no mess.