Confession: initially this post was going to be about meal planning. You know, “Hey guys! Let me help you make your week easier with these meal planning ideas and grocery lists!” But then I realized I kind of suck at meal planning, or at least I have much room to improve. Now what I am good at is slow cooker meals. And guys, I might not be able to help you plan out every meal of your week, but I sure can share with you my 5 Go-To Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Weeks. Because no one has time for complicated meals when you work long hours or have kids.
I try to plan one slow cooker meal a week. This really cuts down on my “what’s for dinner issue?” every night. If I had more than one slow cooker I’d probably do two or three meals but alas, I am also a minimalist so only have one.
There is just something so wonderful about plugging in an unfinished meal in the morning and coming home at 5, 6, or 7pm to dinner being ready. And if you’re a mom, this can really free up your day, too.
For my working women though there are some meals you should not make in the slow cooker, or at least save them for weekends. For instance, anything with honey.
Early in my marriage I was going to impress Josh with a honey glazed chicken and green beans meal made in the slow cooker. However, about time we came home from work at 7pm my gourmet meal was a pot of ashes. It was not my proudest “wife” moment. Although, both my husband and I were happy I didn’t burn the apartment down.
No. Busy women like us need recipes that can handle cooking ALL DAY. Many of these even get better the longer they stay in. So before I get to the recipes, I’d like to share some other useful slow cooker tips:
Slow Cooker Tips
1.) Fill the slow cooker as high as you can. The LESS food you have in there the MORE likely it is to burn.
2.) Use the leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day.
3.) Do as much prep work as you can on Sunday to free up your evenings during the week.
4.) If you make larger amounts you can eat many of these meals for two days, which equals less work and more food
5.) Buy some slow cooker liners, especially if you want to use it more than once. Game. Changer.
And now…let’s get to some recipes. These are five recipes that I have made over and over. And guys, my husband has even given them two thumbs up, and trust me, that doesn’t come easy.
Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Weeks
This recipe comes from my good friend Belinda who often makes it for our small group.
Whenever I’m in charge of making a meal for a group I always panic because I’m never sure what I can make that’s fairly easy, but will also feed a lot of people. If you’ve ever been in the same predicament this will be your new go to recipe BUT they are also easy to make ahead of time for busy weeks. My husband and I are big fans because guys, this is a seriously delicious meal.
2.) Slow Cooker Tacos
Are you ready for any even easier recipe? Brown some ground meat, drain the fat, and put it into your sprayed slow cooker Then just ad one of those bags of taco seasoning and a cup of salsa and cook that meal on low for 8 hours or high for 4. Top with guacamole, cheese, lettuce or sour cream and you’ve got Taco Tuesday in the bag.
This recipe comes from my friend Becca from Happily the Hicks. It’s one I’ve made several times and not only because it is delicious, but so different from any other meal I make. As Becca says, “it’s full of vegetables, lean protein, and healthy carbs that will keep you feeling full and happy.”
There is a bit of prep work so I’d recommend making on a Sunday. However, it makes a LOT of food and you could get several dinners out of it. Our favorite thing to do is to eat it with Cheez-Its of all things. So, so good.
My sister sent me this recipe recently and I was a big fan. My husband even said, “This isn’t as terrible as I thought it was going to be.” so you know it’s good. (Trust me, that is a huge compliment.)
It’s also super hearty and I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who won’t like it.
Last but not least is my very own chili recipe. Now, I’ve had a lot of chili in my time but this is my absolute favorite. It’s also full of hidden vegetables. So hidden, that your husband or kids won’t even know. Eat with cornbread of baked potatoes and this is one yummy, filling and healthy meal.