Planning Your Slow Cooker Meals
I’ll bet you are going to have a day this week that you know you’ll be running around all day. Between the kids having a full schedule of activities from:
- dance class,
- swimming lessons,
- or sports activities.
- Or perhaps it is your own here and there schedule you are trying to keep up with.
When you know you are going to have a day like that, plan a meal in your crock pot.
This has several advantages for you.
- Time saver
- stress reliever
- cheaper than buying fast food on the run
- healthier meals too.
What To Plan?
A great place to start is to just keep it simple. Isn’t your life stressed enough already?
Pick a one pot dish like beef stew, chili con carne, sloppy joe mix, or even crock pot spaghetti. Even try a rice casserole with some broccoli. All you have to do is get it going in the morning.
In a few minutes you can have all the ingredients assembled in your crock pot, turn it on low, and go about your busy day.
When you get home, you will be greeted to a kitchen that welcomes you with a home cooked dinner. All you may have to add is some biscuits, salad, or even just some toast, and dinner is served. It doesn’t get much easier that that!
All it takes is a little bit of prep work in the mornings. You can even prepare some items like dicing vegetables the night before and storing in the refrigerator. Making everything easy to grab and place in the crock pot.
If your mornings are too crazy and you do want to assemble it more the night before, just remember some food safety tips.
Do not assemble the meats and vegetables before hand. Prepare them the night before, but store separately in containers with lids or even zippered storage bags. To empty these containers into the crock pot will only take a few seconds this way. Then all you have to do is turn it on, and go about your day.
Yes, Some Pre-Planning Is Needed
Of course this type of meal prep takes a little bit of planning. Start by trying a variety of different slow cooker meals and find out what your family likes and doesn’t like. Pay particular attention to those recipes that don’t call for a lot of prep work before everything is ready to go into the slow cooker.
If you are uncertain where to start or what kind or recipes to try, take the 30 Day Crock Pot Challenge. Sign up here and in a few minutes I’ll send you a welcome email. Confirm that you’ve received that, and tomorrow you’ll receive your first of 30 recipes. This is a FREE Challenge so you have nothing to lose and it will help you gather some ideas about how to go about planning your slow cooker meals.
However, once you have your list of meals, write or print out the recipes you want to use and keep them somewhere handy. When you know you need to plan one or two slow cooker meals for the week, go through that stack of recipes.
Make sure you shop for everything you need well ahead of time. Don’t forget to check on seasonings, spices and other shelf stable stuff that you don’t usually buy. In fact because some ingredients are non-perishables, you should try to always have some on hand in your pantry cupboard.
If you are unsure what you even have in your pantry cupboard, try our Pantry Challenge for Beginners. It is scattered with free downloadable resources to help you organize your cupboards.
Plan A Couple Of Meals To Try
If you’re already planning your dinners and making out your shopping list based on what you’re planning to cook for the week, this will be an easy process. Just plan a slow cooker meal a few days per week.
If you’re not meal planning yet, give it a try and at least plan a few of these particular meals.
To help you stick to your meal planning, you should do some of the preparation details as soon as you get back from the store.
- For example, if you know you’ll make beef stew in the slow cooker tomorrow and it calls for browning the meat before you add it, go ahead and do that now. Then store the browned beef in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your stew in the morning.
- The same goes for chopping veggies.
Believe me, you’ll be glad you did in the morning.
Slow cooking and planning slow cooker meals is all about making it easy for you to get delicious home cooked meals on the table even on the busiest of days.
Give it a try. Be EMPOWERED towards a HOPE and a FUTURE.
I think you’ll find it a huge help not to have to worry about throwing something together when you finally walk in the door at 7 pm. And no matter what you make, it will be healthier and better for your family than the fast food you usually pick up on crazy days like this.