Summer is officially over: My boys went back to school today. Around this time of year, I start changing up our dinner menus, adding cooler-weather inspired dishes like Chicken Pot Pie Filling on Fluffy Biscuits or Minestrone Soup.

I also put my slow cooker to good use so I can get dinner on the table quickly because our evenings get more hectic in the fall. I've rounded up 10 slow cooker recipes with seasonal, healthy ingredients that are perfect for school nights.

  1. Slow Cooker French Dip: This is one my family's favorite meals. I serve it with kid-friendly oven roasted potatoes and raw carrots on the side.
  2. Slow Cooker Squash Stew: Butternut squash and Swiss chard are plentiful in the fall, and they join chickpeas in this vegetarian stew. It's slow cooked with a Parmesan cheese rind, something you should be saving in your freezer because it has all sorts of great uses.
  3. Slow Cooker Tex Mex Quinoa Casserole: Black beans, tomatoes, corn and lots of peppers go in this spicy casserole. Instead of buying pre-packaged taco seasoning to use in this dish, make your own taco seasoning with spices you probably already have on your spice rack.
  4. Slow Cooker Shredded Beef for Tacos: Beef cubes simmer in seasonings and broth in the slow cooker for taco filling. Rip up some seasonal spinach to use as a topping instead of iceberg lettuce. I switched the lettuce for spinach in tacos years ago, and my kids never noticed.
  5. Slow Cooker White Bean and Kielbasa Stew: Another recipe that uses spinach which is plentiful in the fall, this hearty stew makes enough to freeze for a second dinner.
  6. Pumpkin Soup in a Crock Pot: The pumpkin gets cooked in the slow cooker for a while before the other ingredients are added. I like this method because it's all done in one crock, including the blending if you have a stick blender.
  7. Slow Cooker Chicken Vegetable Stew: Potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onions and more go in this chicken stew that's seasoned with lots of fresh herbs.
  8. Slow Cooker Cheesy Tortellini: Save this one for the first real chilly night, add a salad with some fresh, seasonal vegetables, and you've got yourself a great fall meal.
  9. Slow Cooker Buffalo Cheddar Cauliflower Soup: Hot sauce, cheese and cauliflower make for an intriguing combination that just might please older kids with a taste for spicy foods.
  10. Apple Confit: Don't forget dessert! If you can get local apples, use them in this warm dessert that's a school night treat when topped with vanilla ice cream and nuts.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.