Our Top 5 Slow Cooker Meals & Meal Planning
Let's start off this post with our top 5 slow cooker meals. Thanks to Rebecca, my wife, for coming on this podcast episode and sharing her wisdom!
Our top 5 slow cooker meals
These are in no specific order, but rather our top 5 recipes we like to make in our slow cooker. Let's get straight to the recipes as well, no need to scroll past endless ads.
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 cup chicken broth
Tortillas, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, avocado, etc...
Place chicken in the slow cooker
Combine chili, garlic, and onion powder, salt, cumin, and sprinkle over the chicken
Put the lid on and cook on low for 4-6 hours
Drain all but 1/2 cup of juice
Shred chicken in juice and stir to soak up the flavor
We both love this meal. We have been making it longer than we have been married and it's a staple. I would recommend anyone who wants to try a slow cooker meal give it a shot!
Pesto Mozzarella Chicken Pasta
1 & 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts (1.5-2 pounds works fine, 3 chicken breasts)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8.1 oz. jarred pesto I used Classico (be sure to look at the ingredients if you have anyone allergic to nuts)
1/2 cup salted butter
These items don’t get added until the end
1 lb. dried rotini pasta (cooked and drained, see directions for more info)
1/2 cup grated parmesan (I use the powdery shake bottle type)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 tsp. dried basil to garnish
Add the chicken and top with salt and pepper.
Smear the pesto over the chicken.
Slice the butter and add on top.
Place the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time
Shred the chicken right in the slow cooker with 2 forks.
Add the cooked and drained pasta and the parmesan cheese, and stir.
Sprinkle over the mozzarella cheese. Place the lid back on the slow cooker for 15 minutes more or until the cheese melts.
This is another one of our favorites. Our favorite thing about this one is how tasty it is and how well it goes as leftovers. Sometimes recipes just don't make great leftovers but this is not one of them. Make sure you plan to eat this for multiple days because you're going to have a lot leftover if you're only cooking for 2.
1 pound of ground beef
1 large onion diced
1 bell pepper diced
30 ounces canned kidney beans rinsed and drained
30 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juices
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Over medium heat, crumble ground beef into a hot saute pan and cook until browned.
Add cooked ground beef to your slow cooker. Add all of your remaining ingredients - onion, bell pepper, beans, tomatoes, garlic, and spices. Stir to combine.
Cook on low heat for 8 to 9 hours, or on high for 5 hours. Stir sparingly (once during the last half of cooking will suffice).
Chili is a classic. We made it in a slow cooker, a stove pot, and a dutch oven while we were camping. This recipe is extremely versatile and who doesn't love coming home to a house smelling fresh with Chili? Again, another simple recipe that can just sit in the crock pot and cook for hours and hours. The great side of this recipe is the 8-9 hours on low means you can easily start it before work and it will be done after.
2 lbs/4-5 chicken breasts
1 pkt ranch dressing mix
1 8 oz block cream cheese
1/2-3/4 cup cooked crumbled bacon depending on how much you like bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 green onions sliced
In the crockpot add your chicken, sprinkle with ranch and then place cream cheese on top.
Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
Remove the lid and shred the chicken and stir in the cream cheese.
Add your cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions and give it a stir to combine.
Serve on buns, croissants, tortillas, etc.
This one is 100% my favorite recipe. I love crack chicken. It's as addicting as the name sounds. It's so good and also one that I recommend everyone tries if they like ranch or chicken.
Potatoe Leek Soup
3 large/6 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
2 medium leeks washed well and sliced
200 grams sliced bacon cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
black pepper to taste
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
crumbled bacon optional (for garnish)
chopped fresh parsley optional (for garnish)
Add the potatoes, leeks, bacon, onion, sea salt, thyme, parsley, pepper, and chicken stock to your slow cooker.
Stir well to combine, add the lid and turn the slow cooker to the 'high' setting.
Cook on high for about 6 hours.
After 6 hours, whisk together the milk and flour until well combined and no lumps remain.
Turn the slow cooker to 'low' and add the milk and flour mixture to the slow cooker, stirring well to combine.
Replace the lid and cook on low for another 30 minutes.
Garnish with fresh parsley and crumbled bacon, if desired, and serve!
This is our go-to when we don't want to eat meat. One of the things that happen to Rebecca and me is that we will find ourselves eating meat multiple days in a row. Which we don't always want to do. So we throw this great recipe in our plan. Make sure to give potato leek soup a try to change up your meal plan. It also makes for some great leftovers.
3 Tips for Meal Planning
Get a smart plug
A smart plug saves the day for Rebecca and I. We set our crock pot up around 6:00 am when we are getting ready for the day. Then I will turn the plug on with my phone whenever it needs to start for it to be done in time for dinner. It is an amazing hack that will help any old slow cooker because a lot better and a lot smarter.
Be patient and take one step at a time
There are 3 main things that can be intimidating about a meal plan. The recipes, the planning, and groceries. So don't try to do it all at once. Maybe before you really try to meal plan make a good list of recipes that you want to make or that you have made in the past.
Then when it comes to putting the plan together you have a list of meals that you can pull from. That makes it a whole lot easier for us when we have an easy list to look at and decide from
When it comes to grocery shopping. I highly recommend a grocery pickup service. Stay away from any delivery service that costs. It just isn't usually worth it. There are certainly arguments to be made if someone is a very busy stay-at-home parent. But you will know if delivery applies to you. Rebecca and I like to stick to Walmart's grocery pickup for our orders. It is super simple and easy.
Build a good database of recipes
Having your list of recipes is going to save you so much time. I can't imagine how long it would take us if we had to look up the meals we wanted online every time we meal plan. Having Paprika 3 to store all our recipes and create our meal plan with makes it super easy. So whether it's an old-school cookbook or an app on your phone. Make sure you know what recipes you want to make so you can plan easily and grocery shop easily.
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