Easy weeknight Crock-pot meals for dump-and-go dinners
Wouldn’t it be nice to come home to someone already having made dinner for you? The kitchen smells so yummy, greeting you as you open your door with two hungry boys behind you, cranky and wanting to eat ‘right now’ 🙂 – you don’t need to spend thousands on a personal chef! Just dust off that old Crock-pot in your pantry, or order one just like my new one here on Amazon
, and in two short days you will be armed with the best tool a busy momma can get for herself!”
I just love my Crock-pots (yes I have two…for when one is still soaking in the sink from the night before and I want to make another yummy stew or soup or just batch cook a bunch of chicken for the coming week). Having an arsenal of great slow cooker recipes that are easy to make and won’t break the bank is every busy mom’s must-have secret. When I am doing my meal planning for the week
on Sundays, I almost always have one dinner that will go in the slow cooker.
Soups and Stews
Soups and stews are perfect for those cold winter nights – use a cheap cut of meat and let it cook low and slow all day long! One family favorite in our household is split pea soup – nothing says Fall afternoon like a hot cup of split pea soup. I will save the bone from a ham in the freezer until I am ready to make the soup and then my favorite recipe is from my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook I have had forever.
One of the best and easiest to follow recipes I have found for beef stew, I found over on Pinterest is from Kelly over at Life Made Sweeter where she shares her favorite slow cooker, one pot, and authentic Asian meals. Here is a pin I found with a great recipe, luckily there is a video on her blog to help as she had a couple ingredients I had never heard of and threw in some extra steps I hadn’t thought of. Sometimes I just skip those when I am in a hurry, but it’s fun to try new things every now and then!
We are eating chicken way more than usual these days, especially with the price of beef right now. Especially thighs or leg quarters – they are just so super cheap right now. And when I score a crazy deal on 5 or more pounds of chicken thighs or leg quarters, the easiest thing to do, by far, is come home and throw them all in my trusty Crock-pot.
I found this great recipe from Jodi over at Create Kids Club, she calls it a 2-ingredient meal, and the second ingredient might surprise you! If I don’t have that one hand though, I just use a little chicken broth instead. Regardless, it is crazy easy and a great way to save time and money…and who doesn’t want that?! In her article, Jodi puts the chicken in still raw, you can brown the chicken on both sides before putting it in the Crock-pot if you have the time and inclination to do so – makes me a little less squeamish then just putting in raw chicken….although I don’t brown an entire chicken when I do my Rubber Chicken
Mom hack: like I said above, buy the biggest package of bone in, skin on chicken thighs that you can find! Seriously, I never pay even a dollar a pound for chicken thighs, sometimes even as low as 0.78/lb! Stock up! So I get the biggest one I can find and throw the whole package into the Crock-pot. The beauty of this is that at the end of the day you have a yummy and healthy dinner (cook up some rice and grab one of those veggie steamer bags for your microwave) and you are good to go – seriously who are we trying to impress and pretend like we actually steam our own veggies?!?!. But I digress. So now you have one yummy dinner down but a ton of already cooked chicken.
If I am having a good night and the boys aren’t running around trying to find a new way to give me a heart attack by jumping off the back of the couch in full-on Pteranodon mode….then I will ideally take the time to even prep the chicken for upcoming dinners that theoretically I have already planned out and shopped for 😉 lol! So I might cut some up into larger strips for a night of chicken fettuccine, and I might shred a few thighs for chicken enchiladas/burritos/tacos a later night. If I can head into a week with these types of meals already planned for/shopped for/ and the meat is already cooked….look out world! I am on fire!!
Don’t you just love going to get a big family style dinner at your favorite Chinese restaurant after a long day at work? Me too! However, you can recreate some of your favorite meals in your Crock-pot and the best part is they are usually fairly quick as it usually small/thin pieces of meat and lots of veggies. I like to prepare some of these ahead and marinate them in freezer bags, there is nothing quite as easy and yummy as throwing one of these meals in the crock first thing in the morning and knowing you will come home to the yummy smells of honey ginger chicken or teriyaki beef and broccoli.
Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Pork
Beef and Broccoli
One last favorite from my favorite place to find new recipes to try out: Chicken Parmesan! Yumm! Enjoy!
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