If you celebrate Easter with a feast, you can make life a little easier by cooking part of the meal in a slow cooker. Here are 10 recipes that will free up time and free up space in your oven for other dishes.

Main dishes

  • Slow Cooker Ham: Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: About six hours totally unattended. Could Easter dinner get any easier than this? While the ham is resting before it’s sliced, you reduce the juices to serve with the dish.
  • Slow Cooker Pork Loin in Apple Cider, Mustard and Thyme: If you’re having a handful of guests and don’t want to do a big ham, try this recipe for a savory two-pound pork loin.
  • Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks: It’s important to brown the lamb shanks before they go in the slow cooker, but once that’s done, you have eight hours of unattended cooking to get the rest of your meal together.
Side dishes
  • Slow Cooker Applesauce: This is the easiest way to make applesauce, and it's deliciously sweet with no sugar added. All you need is your slow cooker and a food mill to make what the kids at your celebration will soon call "awesomesauce."
  • Slow Cooker White Beans: This simple, vegetarian side dish uses a pound of dried beans and is flavored with carrots, celery and garlic. It’s a nice alternative to the traditional potato salad that often gets served with ham on Easter. It would also complement the pork loin recipe mentioned above.
  • Crock Pot Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin: This Easter side dish cooks in just two hours on low and leaves your oven and stovetop free for other foods. It becomes gluten-free if you substitute crushed Chex cereal for bread crumbs.
  • Slow Cooker Caramel Apple French Toast: If you’re doing brunch instead of dinner, this dish cooks in about three hours. If you’re going to Easter services in the morning and having people over right after, you can time this so it’s ready when you walk in the door.
  • Slow Cooked Spinach Strata with Gruyere and Garlic: Add ham or prosciutto (or not) to this egg, cheese and bread casserole. You need to bake the bread to dry it out first, but if you plan ahead, you can leave it out for two days to make it stale and skip that step.
  • Crock Pot Lemon Cookie Bars: Lemon curd gives these cookie bars lemony flavor and plenty of moisture. They cook in the slow cooker so your oven is available to make other foods for your feast.
  • Slow Cooker Sour Cream Cheesecake: Your slow cooker must be big enough to hold the springform pan for this Easter dessert. This method steams the cheesecake and makes it silky. It’s not difficult, but you should read the instructions carefully before deciding to make it.

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