We all lead busy lives. From work to school to taking care of the family, there’s so much to do and never enough time. Because we lead such busy lives, eating out has become more popular than ever. If you haven’t already, now is the time to invest in a crockpot!
With a crockpot dinner can be cooking while you’re away from home, and by the time you arrive, dinner will be ready!
Check out these three easy and stress-free crockpot meals.
1. Spaghetti & Meatballs
There’s nothing more cozy and traditional like spaghetti and meatballs, but with a busy schedule, it can be hard to find time to make such a meal. Thankfully you can enjoy this Italian favorite without all of the prep work! All you need is tomatoes, the best frozen meatballs, spaghetti noodles, and a crockpot!
- 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1 cup beef stock (can substitute vegetable stock)
- 1 package of frozen meatballs
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 8 ounces spaghetti, broken in half
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Italian seasoning
- Defrost frozen meatballs.
- Add olive oil, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef stock, garlic, onion, and sugar to a 6 quart crockpot.
- If meatballs are uncooked, brown them in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown each side for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in meatballs until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8. This dish can also be cooked on high heat for 3-4 hours.
- Stir in pasta and cook on low heat for an additional 40 minutes or until pasta is tender. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
- Serve and enjoy!
2. Mexican Casserole
Who doesn’t love Mexican for dinner? This crockpot meal is especially great if you’re craving a little spice for dinner. Celebrate Taco Tuesdays with the help of your crockpot with this Mexican casserole recipe. This meal is protein-packed and is sure to please even the pickiest of palettes.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound of ground turkey, chicken, or lean beef
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa or rice
- 2 10 ounce cans of red enchilada sauce
- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can of diced tomatoes (fire-roasted is best!)
- 1 cup of sweet corn
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
- Toppings (chopped fresh cilantro, chopped green onion, diced avocado, or sour cream)
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground meat and onion. Break the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Maintain medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink. Add meat to the slow cooker.
- Add quinoa or rice, enchilada sauce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, red bell peppers, and spices to the crockpot. Add 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine ingredients and cook on high for 2.5 to 3 hours.
- Remove lid and stir. Taste and add seasonings as required. Stir in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and sprinkle remaining over the top of the casserole. Cover and cook until cheese is melted. Serve with desired toppings.
3. Beef & Broccoli with Rice
Beef and broccoli is a Chinese food takeout favorite. This recipe is better than any takeout and only requires a few minutes to prepare! Cooking the meat for hours makes it super tender. It almost melts in your mouth! And let’s not forget about the amazing sauce that tastes like it was made in a restaurant.
- 1.5 pounds of boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 3 cups of chopped broccoli (or 14-ounce frozen bag)
- White or brown rice, cooked
- In a medium bowl mix beef stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, dark brown sugar, and garlic.
- Place the beef strips in the crockpot and pour the sauce over them. Coat completely.
- Turn the crockpot on low and cook the beef for 5-6 hours.
- Remove 4 tablespoons of the sauce and whisk in a small bowl with the cornstarch. Pour slowly into the crockpot. Add broccoli and let cook for another 30 minutes.
- Once the sauce is thickened and the broccoli is tender, remove from heat.
- Serve over rice.
With these three stress-free crockpot meals, you can spend less money eating out and instead spend more time at the dinner table with your family.