Photo: © 2017 by Andrew Thomas Lee

A Chef's Twist on the Beloved Mexican Meal
Tacos may not be the first food that comes to mind when you think "dinner party menu," but when the recipe comes from a James Beard Award–winning chef who promises it's easy—"redeeming," even—you may be inclined to take a closer look. These beer-braised pork tacos from Hugh Acheson's new The Chef and the Slow Cooker are actually ideal company fare: They're rich and flavorful (thanks to a good amount of fat and a can of beer), customizable and can be made well in advance. Serve them with warm tortillas, minced onion, crumbled Cotija cheese, lime wedges, salsa verde and any other toppings that strike your inner chef's fancy.

Get the recipe: Beer-Braised Pork Tacos

Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

A Timeless Burgundian Classic (Requiring Little of Your Time)
The French dish known as coq au vin has been a mainstay on the dinner party circuit for years—and with good reason. Slowly cooking chicken in wine is a nearly foolproof way to render the meat fork-tender, so that humble chicken thighs wind up tasting incredibly decadent, surrounded by a velvety sauce. This straightforward recipe from the new Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker might be the only one you'll ever need. After some quick browning and sautéeing, the slow cooker takes over and you're hands-off for 5 or 6 hours, as dry red wine, bacon, mushrooms, garlic, onions, carrots and thyme all cook together with the chicken. The finished dish needs little more to accompany it than crusty bread and a green salad.

Get the recipe: Coq au Vin

Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

An Unexpected—and Delicious—Meatless Main
Here's a vegetarian dinner from Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker that anyone will love (especially you, since it's easy to make). It's part soup and part bread pudding, a sort of slow-cooker riff on traditional French onion soup that also includes greens. The slow cooker's low heat transforms half-moon slices of onions into a sweet, caramelized slump, to which you add beef stock, dry sherry and baby kale (or another leafy green). To finish this savory dish, you arrange toasted slices of rustic bread over the onions, broth and kale, sprinkle grated Gruyère cheese over the top and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Get the recipe: French Onion Panade

Photo: © 2017 by Time Inc. Books

An Italian Tradition, Minus the Constant Attention
Risotto isn't difficult to make, but it can be tedious, as you pour small amounts of liquid into the pan, stir and wait for the rice to absorb almost all of it, and then repeat, over and over again. This effortless version from Phyllis Good's new Stock the Crock lets the slow cooker do most of that work. All you need to do is add onions, rice, garlic and broth to the pot and let them cook for 3 or 4 hours; then stir in more broth, some half-and-half and sliced mushrooms; and cook them for another hour. The final step is to stir in cheese, butter and almonds for crunchy texture that's a lovely complement to the wonderfully creamy rice.

Get the recipe: Cheesy Mushroom Risotto

Photo: © 2017 by Time Inc. Books

A Chicken Dinner to Suit (Almost) Anyone's Palate
If you're unsure of your guests' tastes, this friendly chicken dish from Stock the Crock is a safe bet. It's super simple, calling for chicken thighs, butter, honey, mustard and—the surprise ingredient—a smidge of curry powder. Together, the ingredients combine to form a subtly sweet, just-a-tiny-bit spicy supper that's fantastic over rice. Garnish the platter with thin strips of lemon zest for a dinner party-worthy presentation.

Get the recipe: Honey Baked Chicken