Crock Pot Meals
quick tips that really help with meal plans
Does your crock pot sit on your counter or is it stuffed away deep in the back of a cabinet?
I love quick and easy crock pot meals for several reasons.
- I am the mom to 4 busy kiddos.
- I have a husband in school so quick and easy is helpful.
- I run 3 blogs and I am quite busy — all of the time.
- Its Energy efficient. I love to be able to cook a healthy meal and not turn on the oven, heating up the house (especially living in Florida,
My Favorite Cookbooks for Crock Pot Meals are Fix It and Forget It cookbooks. You will find a wide variety of things that you can cook in a crock pot–they definitely think outside the box. You will find recipes for cakes and other desserts as well as sides and main dishes…
Using 2 crock pots can save you a lot of time. I like having a programmable crock pot but if you don’t have a programmable one that is fine.
A great use for your crock pot is meal planning. You can use your 2 crock pots to cook ahead. Throw some chicken breasts in one crock pot and some ground beef in the other. Just season with salt and pepper and nothing else. The great thing about this type of meal planning is you are not slaving over a stove for hours. You throw it in and GO!
Once you get back from games, errands etc and your meats are done you can pull them out of the crock pots to cool down. (Keep some of your meat hot for your meal that night.)
Look over your schedule and meal plans for the next 4 weeks. Saute your vegetables, pull together sauces etc that you need for your meals.
I like using ziploc baggies because they are flat and you can stack a lot in your freezer– so they are great space savers.
Fresh is always better but I would rather cook ahead than grab something less healthy for a quick meal.
NOTE: I try to rotate my meats so we don’t have chicken or beef-2 days in a row.
Week One–Sunday-Salmon Steaks, Monday-Chicken, Tuesday-Spaghetti, Wednesday-Hamburgers, Thursday-Pork Chops, Friday-Tacos, Saturday-Chicken
Week Two–Sunday-Roast, Monday-Fish, Tuesday-Meatloaf, Wednesday-Pork Chops, Thursday-Tacos, Friday-Fish, Saturday-Chicken
Week Three–Sunday-Salmon Steaks, Monday-Chicken, Tuesday-Subs, Wednesday-Hamburgers, Thursday-Pork Chops, Friday-Twice Baked Potato Soup, Saturday-Tacos
Week Four–Sunday-Chicken, Monday-Hamburgers, Tuesday-Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Wednesday-Pork Chops, Thursday-Fish, Friday-Chicken, Saturday-Tacos
Our family likes to do tacos and we typically have them once a week. I simply grab 4 ziploc baggies measure out my meat, add my seasonings to the bag, then label that bag TACO MEAT, with the date and the amount of water needed (according to the seasoning packet)when it is time to warm up the meat.
Divide up your other ground beef for your meal plans. In my meal plan above, I need a little precooked hamburger to add to my spaghetti sauce so I make up a small bag of meat and label it Spaghetti Sauce MEAT with the date.
We also like to have hamburgers–typically once a week so I pack uncooked hamburger patties into ziploc bags. I can pull them out on the day we will have hamburgers and we can either grill them or cook them in the house that night.
I mix together in a bowl my hamburger with onion and seasonings for my meatloaf and place in a baggie.
That takes care of 9 meals.
3 meals–hamburgers will be cooked fresh that day.
I divide my chicken into baggies so I have enough for each meal using chicken.
If we want chicken breasts for a meal I pack some uncooked into a baggie. I can put the chicken breasts into the crock pot that morning, or we can grill.
TIP–Adding in veggies or having bags of veggies helps to speed up the process of putting your meals together.
That takes care of 7 more meals.
TIP–When you are done grilling a meal, while your coals are still hot–put some extra chicken breasts on the grill then pack into baggies so you have tasty quick items to prepare meals with that give you a different taste than chicken in the crock pot.
I divide my uncooked Pork, Salmon and other fish into bags. Those are frozen along with my roast–which gives us 10 more meals. I can pull out my pork or roast and cook in the crock pot so we have a meal ready that day.
Fish cooks up so quickly that I don’t cook it in the crock pot. I can put fish on, cook long grain rice and throw a salad together very quickly.
My sub sandwich night will take no time to pull together for a quick and easy meal.
My Twice Baked Potato Soup is another meal that I can throw everything into the crock pot and let it cook so we have a tasty meal when we walk in the door.
Now that your meals are planned out–what is next?
If something needs warmed up for dinner it is ready to go. Pull your meat out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator to thaw. You just need to prepare your side dishes.
Taco night–When you get home warm your meat, while your taco shells are warming in the oven. Chop up your veggies and get your cheese and sauce ready.
Once you get home–this meal can be ready in 10 minutes.
Spaghetti night–When you get home warm the meat with your sauce. Cook your pasta. Make a salad. Once you get home–this meal can be ready in 15 minutes.
Meatloaf night–Place uncooked meat in crock pot with chili sauce on top add a little chopped Garlic. In your other crock pot cook your potatoes. When you get home warm some green beans. Once you get home–this meal can be ready in 5 minutes.
Did you know you can cook potatoes and sweet potatoes in a crock pot. Oh ya!!!
Chicken–having chicken pre-cooked makes the meal process quick and easy if you are making something like chicken quesadillas. You can warm the meat, and throw your meal together for a quick and easy meal preventing you from running out to grab fast food.
PORK ROAST night–Place a pork roast in one crock pot with a yummy BBQ sauce and your sweet potatoes in the other. When you get home you can make a salad and you are ready to go or serve a side dish of homemade applesauce.
Our favorite Bar-B-Que sauces (after all I am from Kansas City and we know BBQ)
Jack Stack —we load up on it. We love both flavors below.
Our other favorite is Gates and once again we love both flavors below. In our opinion–these are the BEST sauces!!
Here is a link to my recipes.
Be sure to check out my friends FREEZER MEALS ON THE CHEAP.