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Meal planning usually brings to mind ideas like boneless skinless chicken breasts and steamed vegetables. Though this can be a good meal, there are other meals open to you. In fact, if you have a slow cooker, you have an entire world of meals open to you that take little prep and time. Before you get stuck in a boiled and baked rut, here are 3 tips for meal planning with your slow cooker.
Plan Larger Meals
When you plan your slow cooker meals, try planning for much larger meals that fill your slow cooker. This can easily give you two to three dinners and a lunch or two. You don’t have to eat on it for a week either. You can dish out the meal for the evening, then take the rest and freeze it for later meals. This can cut down on prep time later in the month and give you more meals than you expected for your money. Some meals to consider for this are chili, chicken stew and biscuits, chicken fajitas, sloppy joes, shredded chicken, and crock pot lasagna to name a few. I am sure there a quite a few you could come up with as well.
Cook Meats First
If you have several crockpot meals that use shredded chicken or pork, consider making all the meat first. You can put in a crockpot full of chicken or pork, add a cup of water, and cook on low for six to eight hours. This will allow you to cook the meat base for several meals at once. You can even separate the shredded meat into multiple bags with a little of the broth and no seasoning. When you get ready to make your meal, pull out the meat, and use your choice of spices or add it to your meal. This way you don’t have a ton of taco meat or seasoned meat ready for a specific meal instead of meat ready for any meal.
Plan Longer Meals for Overnight
If you have meals that require eight hours of cooking in the slow cooker, consider starting them when you go to bed. Most people sleep between six and eight hours a night which allows you to sleep while letting the food cook. You don’t have to worry about it burning and you are home if something goes wrong. This also means your meal for the day is ready to go without any stress.
Remember, slow cookers can make a lot of food. So, when you make a meal, consider freezing the remainder or having it again in the week. It will save you time and money and will help you stick to your meal plan and avoid the drive thru because you forgot to pull something out from the freezer to cook.
What are a couple of meals you can add to your menu that can go in that slow cooker that is collecting dust on the shelf?