By: Jennifer Serda
During the week, when a busy mom hears the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” it can literally put fear into her heart. But fear not, and grab that slow cooker! (Dad, you can pay attention, too!)
After a hectic day, your slow cooker can be your saving grace. And now, thanks to crockpot liners, cleanup is even breezier.
Many people think you need to find specific slow cooker recipes, but that is not the case. Any of your favorite recipes can be turned into a slow cooker recipe, and they can be there just waiting for you when you get home.
The key to getting the most out of your slow cooker is pre-planning. Set aside a few hours one day to chop, bag and freeze all of your ingredients. This way, in the morning before work, you can just throw everything in the pot and run out the door.
At first, all that chopping may seem like a chore, but trust us, you will be grateful for those few extra hours that you will find as the week unfolds.
Below are a few of our favorites, which use similar ingredients so you can get them all done and frozen ahead of time. So when your family asks, “What’s for dinner?” you don’t have to say, “Pizza!”
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
1 ½ lbs. chicken breasts, chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen broccoli florets
2 (16 oz.) jars Alfredo sauce
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 (4oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained
Place all ingredients in a gallon-sized freezer bag, mix together and freeze. Before you go to bed, remove bag from freezer and let thaw in fridge overnight. The next day, pour the ingredients into the crock pot and cook on low for four hours. Serve with pasta or a green salad.
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into strips
1 (26 oz.) jar chunky vegetable-style spaghetti sauce
1 zucchini, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
Place all ingredients in a gallon-sized freezer bag, mix together and freeze. Before you go to bed, remove bag from freezer and let thaw in fridge overnight. The next day, add the ingredients to the crock pot and cook on low for six to eight hours. Serve with pasta and garnish with olives and cheese.
French Dip Sandwiches
2-3 lbs. beef chuck roast
2 cans (14.5 oz each) beef consommé (found near soups)
6-8 hoagie buns
Place roast in a gallon-sized freezer bag, pour beef consommé on top and freeze. When ready to eat remove from freezer and thaw in fridge. Cook on low 8-11 hours. Remove roast from slow cooker and save extra juice for dipping. With two forks shred roast and serve meat on buns. Serve with fries or fresh fruit.
Put washed and dried chicken in the slow cooker with no added water. Add a lemon cut in half and some fresh herbs and garlic to taste—this will add flavor to the chicken. Cook on low for 4-8 hours.