slow cooker meal plan
Challenge,  Family,  Food,  Healthy Living,  Meal Prep

Make a Plan: What Meal Is Going in Your Slow Cooker this Week?

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Last week, we talked about some basics of slow cookers. Today, we will talk about starting to meal plan.

At some point (probably more than once!), you will have a day this week when you’ll be running around all day. The kids will have a full schedule of after-school activities that will have you driving from one ball field or meeting or dance lesson to the next. It’s going to happen — you know it…

That’s the perfect day to plan a slow cooker meal.

Plan 1: Make a Plan in the Morning

Pick a one-pot dish like beef stew, chili, or a chicken and rice casserole with broccoli and get it going in the morning. Just put the ingredients into your slow cooker, turn it on low, and go about your busy day.

When you get home, be ready to walk into a home that smells like a home-cooked dinner. Grab some crackers or make some garlic toast and dinner is ready to be served.

It doesn’t get much easier than that, and all it takes is a little bit of prep work in the mornings.

Plan 2: Make a Plan — The Night Before or Even Earlier

meal plan slow cooker

If your mornings are too crazy, or you just can’t see yourself assembling a slow cooker meal at 7 am (it really isn’t that bad), do it the night before. You can either toss everything into a large plastic storage bag or mix it right in your slow cooker crock insert and store it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, just put it in the slow cooker and turn it on.

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.

Meal Plans = Meal Prep

Once you have your list of meals, write out the recipes 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.

If you’re already meal 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 for a slow cooker meal a few days per week. If you do not meal plan yet, give it a try and at least plan these particular meals.

Cut, Grate, Peel, Brown…

meal plan

To make your life easier, prep what you can 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.

Bottom Line…

Slow cooking and planning slow cooker meals are 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. 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 {with hungry children and spouse on your heels).

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.

Also, you may find that you like planning in this fashion a lot and want to start meal planning more often. Meal prep — more on that in the future.

If you want the recipes from this month in your mailbox, sign up here: Slow Cooker Challenge

Loving Life — The Reboot!

Dominique

Make a Plan: What Meal Is Going in Your Slow Cooker this Week?

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