As a mom of two, I know three things. 1) I don’t love to cook like I used to. 2) Dinner time, you know, 4pm to 6pm are easily the most chaotic hours of the day. 3) Meal planning is not my thing. I’ve tried to keep up with it, but nothing ever sticks.
A few months ago, we started using Home Chef which has been SO great for my sanity (we’ll talk about that another time!) but what the heck do I cook on the other 4 nights of the week. What will keep us away from ordering takeout like we do far too often, and what will my kids actually freaking eat?! Bonus points if it makes enough for leftovers for my husband’s lunch the next couple of days, if it can be multipurposed into a couple different meals, or if it freezes well. Enter: my favorite, tried-and-true crockpot recipes.
I’ve definitely gone through seasons of life where my crockpot is out multiple times a week, and other seasons where it’s collecting dust in a cabinet. But right now, the crockpot is my jam. I have a VERY mobile 1 year old, and a high energy 4-year-old, so if I can just set it and forget it for dinner, you better believe that’s what I’m doing.
My absolute favorite type of crockpot meals are the ones that call for just a few ingredients, that all gets dumped in at once and you walk away. Boom. Dinner is done in 6ish hours and your house smells like you’ve been cooking all day! (except, you haven’t had to do a dang thing!)
These four meals are all well-loved in our house! I tend to prefer a lot of Mexican-style food, so those are generally my go-to recipes, but my husband loves these too, and so do my kids. Win-win!
First up, my favorite Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken from Belle of the Kitchen. It is by far the easiest – chicken breasts, taco seasoning, salsa, cilantro, and lime. Dump it all in, cook for 4-6 hours and it’s amazing! We love it for tacos, burritos, rice bowls. We used it on sweet Hawaiian rolls recently and it was delicious. It also freezes well, so occasionally I’ve made a double batch just so I can save some for another time I don’t feel like cooking.
PRO TIP: when freezing, portion it out into smaller bags that would be enough for 1-2 people so you can have easy work lunches or be able to pull out a couple bags for a family dinner. That way you aren’t having to use up the entire thing at once.
photo cred: Together as Family
Another favorite is Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken from Together as Family – very similar to the first but with beans & corn, then you add cream cheese at the end to make it nice and creamy! Most of the time, we serve this over rice, but its great with chips almost like a chili, or as a taco/burrito filling too. This is another one that freezes well – of course! Even my husband who hates cream cheese loves this one. It’s a crowd pleaser and makes a big batch, great for serving a crowd or just for your family and lots of yummy leftovers.
photo cred: My Natural Family
Next up, surprise surprise, another Tex-Mex inspired dish – Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili. This one is my husband’s favorite. He requests it all the time! I made it for my daughter’s first birthday party, and everyone was raving about it. This one requires you to chop an onion (*gasp* lol) but if you have one of those handy little choppers, it goes super quick! You just dump the rest in the pot and you’re good to go. We love to eat this with tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream and maybe a little hot sauce. Another great freezer option, but my husband ends up eating this all week for lunch, so it rarely makes it to the freezer!
photo cred: Girl Versus Dough
This last one takes a little more time, but I promise you it’s so worth it! Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs from Girl Versus Dough. Yummy! I typically don’t even like meatballs, but these are so delicious they practically melt in your mouth. Is that weird? I don’t know. But they’re REALLY good! It makes A LOT of meatballs. Which makes this a great one to make if you’re preparing for a baby on the way. When I was pregnant with my first, I spent a weekend making freezer meals, so we’d have some easy meals ready to go after he arrived, and this was one of them. I portioned out 8ish to a freezer bag which made for extremely easy spaghetti & meatballs dinners when I didn’t feel like cooking.
With spring & summer right around the corner, life is gearing up to be a little busier with more days spent outside (*hopefully*). The last thing I want to do is spend extra time in the kitchen. I hope you found some new recipes to try for your family. If you’re interested in more family-approved recipes, head over to our group Pinterest Board here. Ask to join so you can save some of your family’s favorites too!
Let me know if you give one of these a try! Do you have any easy dinners your family loves? Drop them in the comments below!