Crockpot Favorites

Crockpot FavoritesThis winter is just about driving me insane! The snow and cold temps are a little more than I can bear these days. I have a definite case of the winter blues. Which is why I am especially grateful for my trusty crockpot. I can have a warm dinner ready when I walk in the door from work. So I can slip into my fleece pj’s and be as lazy as I want!

Below are a few of my favorite crockpot meals. Most of them are simply dump and cook type meals – dump everything in the crockpot and let it cook all day. A couple require browning meat first, but not so bad if you choose a weekend day to make those. Here’s my round-up of my crockpot favorites:

1. Chicken Tacos. These are a family favorite. I’ve seen several versions of them on Pinterest. My favorite is to toss a bag of frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot. Then toss in a can of Rotel tomatoes (drained) or a jar of salsa, a can of corn (drained), a can of black beans (drained), and two blocks of cream cheese. I recommend a chunky salsa so it doesn’t get too “soupy.” About a half hour before serving, mix everything up well and shred the chicken. This makes enough for us to have two+ meals of chicken tacos, or you can use it over rice for southwest chicken bowls, or you can use half to make chicken taco chili (I modified this recipe so I just have to add beans, onion, tomato sauce, and chili powder). It’s pretty versatile and does freeze well! 

2. Pesto Ranch Chicken. The great thing about making this is the many, many uses for the leftovers! When I make this we have the chicken with a side of pasta and vegetable for dinner that night. Then the leftover chicken I shred or dice to use in chicken pot pie, chicken salad, or any other recipe that calls for a couple cups of diced chicken – which is most casserole recipes!

3. Spaghetti Sauce. This works perfectly to cook a crockpot full and then freeze some for a quick weeknight dinner another time!

4. Sloppy Joe’s. I use The Pioneer Woman’s recipe and it never fails! I’ve also made it using ground turkey instead of ground beef, which works just as well! This is another one that you can make a large batch of if you are feeding a crowd, or you can freeze for another meal later!

5. Chili.love chili in the winter!! And you can either save the leftovers for another dinner or lunches, or you can use it to make chili dogs, or Bubble Chili Dog

6. BBQ Pulled Pork. I have no real recipe for this, because it is just that simple. Toss a pork loin in the crock pot and season with some salt and pepper. Pour a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce over it. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Shred the pork and serve on hamburger rolls. I’ve also made this with a half can or can of soda poured in as well, such as Dr. Pepper or Diet Pepsi. You can also add some water in if you like a thinner BBQ sauce on your pork. 

7. Apple & Honey Pork Loin. Again, I have no recipe for this because it is so darn simple. Make slices in your pork loin about every couple inches, and slice about half way through the loin. Place apple slices in each of the cuts you made. Then drizzle honey over the pork loin until coated nicely. I add about 3/4 to 1 cup of water to help keep the loin moist. Then cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

8. Pot Roast. Another simple, no-recipe one here! (Can you tell I like my crockpot meals simple?) Simply place a chuck roats in your crockpot. If you want the whole meal in there, you can cut up potatoes, onions, and carrots and put those in the crockpot first. My kids prefer mashed potatoes and honey glazed carrots, so I usually do mine separately. I do often add some onion in the bottom of the crockpot, though, for flavor. Then season your roast – you can either use a good steak seasoning, or I sometimes use a packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix. Add a can of beef stock. Then cook on low all day. This is the best way to get a really tender roast. It literally falls apart it is so tender!

BONUS:

9. Chicken Stock. This isn’t really a meal, but you use chicken stock in so darn many recipes it’s nice to make your own! I do this whenever I buy a rotisserie chicken. Place your chicken carcass in the crockpot and cover with water. I usually add about a teaspoon each of basil, oregano, and rosemary. Then some salt and pepper. This just gives you a little flavor to your stock. Then I turn the crockpot on low all night. In the morning, I scoop out the chicken bones and any “chunks” of chicken or fat that were left on them, then freeze the stock in 2 oz cubes. 

10. Applesauce. I discovered how easy it was to make applesauce in the crockpot by accident. I had some apples that I accidentally left in a cooler outside when it got cold. They froze, and when I brought them in to thaw, they ended up pretty mushy. IN a last ditch effort to save them, I peeled them and chopped them up. I had a crockpot full of diced apple, and added about 1/3 cup of sugar and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Then I cooked on low for most of the day – probably about six hours. I then mashed everything up well and had perfect applesauce!

On to my menu! A bit of a crazy week. We have two days this week where we are literally triple-booked! Agh! Tuesday has ice skating after school for one little, then basketball practice for the other, than a family fitness night at the elementary school. Then Wednesday night I have a meeting with a social media client, then a committee meeting for a school bond proposal, and The Coach has football. Then add in that we are having a party to celebrate The Coach’s new job this weekend, so there is cleaning and food prep to do. So the menu this week is not spectacular, but hey – they can’t all be, right? ;) I’ll be linking up on I’m an Organizing Junkie if you’re looking for more meal planning ideas! I also often link up at Feeding BigMarvelous Mondays, and Wonderful Food Wednesday. Or check out and follow my Yummy board on Pinterest! Interested in meal planning? Check out my post on meal planning. Here’s what we’re eating this week:

Breakfasts (we don’t plan for each day – see here for why – but these are our choices along with a fruit)

• Cereal
• Granola bars and yogurt
• Pancakes
• Cream of Wheat or oatmeal
• Toast or English Muffins
• Breakfast sliders
• Banana smoothies
• Breakfast bites 

Lunches (see this post for Peanut Free lunch ideas!)

• Roo: Monday – Lunchable; Tuesday – Lunchable; Wednesday – School lunch; Thursday – SpaghettiO’s; Friday – Lunchable
• Monkey: Monday – Lunchable; Tuesday – Lunchable; Wednesday – SpaghettiO’s; Thursday – School lunch; Friday – Lunchable
• Me: Monday – Lunch date with the hubby!; Tuesday – Leftovers; Wednesday – Salad; Thursday – Leftovers; Friday – Leftovers

Dinners

• Monday – BBQ Pulled Pork in the crockpot, fries, carrots
• Tuesday – Pick up Happy Meals
• Wednesday – Rotisserie Chicken, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables
• Thursday – Mashed Potato Soup, rolls
• Friday – Pizza
• Saturday – Party!!
• Sunday – Leftovers

What are you eating this week? Leave a comment and feel free to link back to your blog if you have your plan posted!

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