Busy working moms, or moms who are just busy, what better way to save time than using your slow cooker? Even better, what if you could turn one meal into two or even three meals?
In addition to saving time, you’ll also save money. These meals will feed a family of 3. If you have more people or hearty eaters, you’ll want to double up. I’ve chosen items that don’t take a lot of prep work, but you can go homemade if you want to control the ingredients and costs.
The image above is my pot roast just after I finished putting all ingredients in the crock pot. Aren’t the colors beautiful? As I type this, the aroma is filling the house and making my mouth water. Here is what you’ll need to make your own:
- Largest pot roast you can find (mine was 5 pounds). You can also use two smaller ones.
- 1 white onion
- Bag of baby carrots
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 1 bag frozen mixed veggies
- 1 large can whole tomatoes
- Hamburger buns
- Favorite barbecue sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Small serving of ready made coleslaw from bakery (or you can make your own)
- French bread (you can buy already made in bakery, frozen that you thaw and bake, or refrigerated in the can. You can also make from scratch if you are so inclined.
- Reynolds Slow Cooker Liner bags
Meal # 1: Pot Roast, Potatoes, Carrots
Line your slow cooker with a Reynolds slow cooker bag. Place in your pot roast. Sprinkle liberally with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add carrots (about half the bag), cut up two potatoes and place in several rings of onion for flavoring. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Good news! Your sides are built into this dish with the carrots and potatoes you’ll be cooking. You can add bread or a salad if you wish.
Cut the pot roast into thirds at this point. You’re going to eat 1/3 tonight and use the other 2/3rds for the other two meals. Place leftovers into fridge.
Meal # 2: Beef BBQ and Microwave Potato Chips, Cole Slaw
Your pot roast has been in the fridge and should be completely cooled. You want to take ALL of what is remaining and shred it with two forks. Now, this is not fast work. You may want to enlist the help of a family member or do it the night before if you are crunched for time.
Once it is shredded, line the crock pot with another Reynolds liner an place half the shredded beef in there. Put the other half back in the fridge for tomorrow.
Add your favorite BBQ sauce and cook on low for 1 hour. If you are going to be out of the house, you can also mix this up on the stove in about 15-20 minutes and that might be a better solution for you than the crock pot since the beef is already cooked.
While the BBQ is heating, slice the other two potatoes into very thin slices and nuke in the microwave on parchment paper. I like to drizzle on some olive oil, pepper and sea salt and cook a minute at a time until the potato chips are very crispy. Just be careful not to burn them. You don’t want them brown other than in a few spots.
Serve the beef on buns with coleslaw and the chips on the side. Yum!
Meal # 3: Beef Veggie Soup, Crusty Bread
This is one of my favorite meals I get out of a good pot roast. I like this better than eating it that first day actually. Line your crock pot again. Add 2 cups of water and some beef bullion (I like the kind in the jar called Better than Beef, but use what you have on hand). Place shredded beef into the water. Add all your seasonings. I add salt, pepper and a little rosemary, but add what you like best in beef soup.
Now, open up your bag of frozen mixed veggies and add them. Top up the crock pot so the water covers the veggies. I also will throw in any leftover carrots and potatoes from Meal # 1 here. If you don’t have any potatoes left, you can use canned potatoes.
I also like to add a can of whole tomatoes to this recipe. I just think it adds that little extra acidic zing that makes this soup so delicious.
This should cook a minimum of three or four hours on low, but can also cook much longer if you will be out of the house all day.
Bake your crusty bread and dinner is ready.
More than Three Meals?
I truly adore this beefy veggie soup. It is a recipe I’ve adapted over the years from a stew I once had called Hobo Stew. It was 20 years ago when we went to the Grand Canyon in my parents’ RV and got snowed in. The campground made us a stew that was so warm, cozy, thoughtful and filling that I brought the recipe home. I then began to adapt it. The original had hamburger and I use shredded beef (sometimes still make with hamburger, but prefer the beef). I added tomatoes. I added beef flavoring to the water and so on. Over the years, I’ve just adapted it to be my own recipe.
The soup is filling, it is fairly healthy (meat and veggies) and it is so easy to make. As a bonus, we almost always can eat on it at least two days. If you don’t want to serve the same thing two days in a row, throw it in the fridge and cook a different meal between and then serve it again.
It also freezes really well, so sometimes I will just freeze what is left and then thaw it the night before I want to serve it again. When I do that, I reheat on the stove, though.
I hope these three recipes save you time, money and keep your family well fed.