Meal Planning: Slow Cooker Meals
When I first started to cook for my family my husband said he wasn’t a fan of Slow Cooker Meals; he thought they would be flavorless, over cooked and well, just not good. I can tell you that’s NOT the case now, and some of his most requested meals come from the Slow Cooker. The Meal Planning Slow Cooker Meals take advantage of the low, slow moist heat that brings out the best in many dishes. I’ve collected some of the best choices here. PIN this to your Crock Pot / Slow Cooker Pinterest Board so you can find them later.
What types of meats work well in the slow cooker?
Tougher cuts of meat, with good marbling are perfect for this low and slow method of cooking.
- Pork Butt or Shoulder
- Chuck Roasts or Stewing Beef
- Chicken Thighs (breasts work too but can dry out)
- Beef Brisket, short ribs
- Pork Baby Back or Side ribs
- Lamb or Veal Shanks
What types of food should I avoid in the Slow Cooker?
While you CAN cook almost anything in a slow cooker, it doesn’t mean it’s always the best choice. When using these ingredients, you will need to watch the cook time carefully to be sure not to end up with mushy flavorless meals
- Steak; any cut, better on the grill, barbecue, broiled or pan fried
- Pork Tenderloin or Pork Loin; these cuts are very lean and require a shorter cook time
- Fish & Seafood easily over cooks
- Instant Rices or rice noodles
- Soft vegetables; peppers, zucchini, summer squash, asparagus all need shorter cook times
- Cream, Sour Cream, Yogurt can all curdle in the slow cooker, they are best added at the end of cooking
TIP: The slow cooker produces a lot of moisture and you may find sauces and gravies too thin. To thicken them up takes a simple “SLURRY” a combination of water and cornstarch stirred into the sauce for the last 15 minutes or so of cooking.
One of my families all time favourite Fall Slow Cooker Meals. Using prepared or homemade meatballs, and some fall root vegetables and simmered all day to make a delicious gravy, this Meatball Stew recipes is prepaheadable, freezer friendly, and easy. I like to serve this in big bowls, with mashed potatoes or even rice. Crusty warm buttered bread is never a bad thing with meatball stew.
Tender beef, rich creamy mushroom sauce, my version of Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff had creamy cheese and sour cream for an even creamier delicious sauce. Set this to cook in the morning when you leave, and enjoy the rewards when you get home. This is a dump and go recipe you'll make often. Serve over Egg Noddles, Rice or Mashed Potatoes.
Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti, in the Slow Cooker! The long slow cook produces a moist juicy chicken, in a deliciously creamy sauce. For the ultimate in quick dinners, pre-cooked pasta is made ahead and tossed into the chicken and sauce in the last few minutes. Salad and some bread is all you need to finish off your meal.
Rich & decadent this Chocolate Peanut Butter Lave Cake cooks in the Slow Cooker for and easy hands off dessert.
Crock Pot lettuce wraps from Shugary Sweets is a nice change from the normal Soups, Stews and Roasts we often cook in our Slow Cookers. If you are looking for something on the lighter side, with delicious flavour and a fun to eat meal, this one is for you!
My friend Jenne from the Blog Mu Shoo Jenne shares with us her Green Chile Chicken Stew. She's a great cook and says this one is Da' Bomb so it made the list. I love Green Chile everything, the slightly smokey, not too spicy, tangy flavor of the Green Chile's pairs really well with corn bread another of my faves!
Kim from This Ole' Mom shares with us her recipe for Slow Cooker Spare Ribs. I love how tender ribs get from a long, low, slow cook time. This recipe features a homemade rub and Apple Barbecue Sauce that is a must make! These do take a few minutes of prep before you pop them in the Crock Pot. A few minutes the night before mean there is nothing to do on cooking day but turn on the Crock Pot and go.
Looking for the Printables for the 30 Day Meal Planning Challenge? You can download them for free here.
Did you miss the first 2 days of the Challenge? Check out these other great Meal Planning Options: