I love to cook! I do the majority of the meal planning and cooking in our house. I try before heading to the grocery store every weekend to plan what we will have for the week so I can shop more efficiently and not feel so overwhelmed during the week.
Now that we are full on into fall and the craziness of kid’s activities, I am happy to take help in the kitchen wherever possible. This is an ode to my crockpot meals, which helps make my life easier, my house smell delicious, and helps get my family fed when time is limited.
I am sharing some of my family’s favorite crockpot meals. Many of these I have found while scrolling Instagram, and some are family creations we make repeatedly.
This recipe is the ultimate meat and potatoes comfort meal. Though this recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, Keto, Whole30, and Paleo, it doesn’t have to be! Use what you have, set it, and forget it! I love to use bone broth instead of stock to add some nutrients, and I will assemble everything in the crockpot the night before, put it in the fridge, and then plug it in in the morning while I head off to work. Mary focuses on whole foods in her recipes and specializes in gluten-free and dairy-free meals, so while this is a healthier version of a classic meal, it feels 100% decadent and fancy after a busy day!
If you make this recipe, MAKE EXTRA! This is the perfect meal to make in batches and freeze. Pull this out when you want to eat something delicious, filling, and comforting! The chicken filling is also so good on its own. I tend to have a few forkfuls when making this dish. Again, there are some easy substitutions, and though this one is a bit more labor-intensive, it is worth it! Throw the crockpot on over the weekend, assemble the enchiladas, and then bake and eat when you want them during the week.
I often throw about four chicken breasts into the crockpot and use that chicken a few different ways throughout the week. As I write this, I have chicken in the crock simmering away that I will use for chicken noodle soup tonight and shredded chicken tacos tomorrow. I will also use some of the meat for my lunches for the week, over salad, or mixed with mayo and pickles for a quick “pickle chicken salad.” I cover the chicken breasts with bone broth (I use the organic one from Trader Joe’s), garlic, salt, and pepper. This creates flavorful and juicy chicken but with a mild enough flavor that I can doctor it up depending on how I use it throughout the week.
4. Chili – The Ultimate Cold Weather Meal
Chili is the ultimate dump-and-go food. The longer it sits in the crockpot, the better it tastes! Depending on my ingredients, my chili taste varies from a white chicken chili to something with ground beef, tomatoes, and spices. I love adding corn to the end of cooking and serving my chili with shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, and tortilla chips. The crockpot does all the heavy lifting when making chili and makes the house smell amazing!
5. Butternut Squash Soup From My Mom
I don’t remember exactly when my mom started making this soup. Whenever we visit their house during the cooler months, this delicious soup is kept warm in the crockpot. She found the original recipe somewhere years ago and has tweaked a few things to make it just right! It is so simple, yet warming, healthy, and oh-so-good!
- Butternut squash (she uses the precut squash as a shortcut, 2-3 packages)
- 2 chopped Granny Smith apples
- 1 chopped onion
- Put everything in the crockpot and fill it with veggie or chicken broth. Cook on low for four hours. Once everything is soft, use an immersion blender to make it smooth—salt and pepper to taste. The soup becomes thick and creamy and is best garnished with bacon crumbles, goat cheese, and scallions.
My crockpot is heading into its busy season. My goal this fall and winter is to make at least one crockpot meal per week for my family, which will give me back so many precious hours as we schlep from gymnastics to soccer to meetings and more.