When life is crazy, getting a meal on the table can seem impossible. Don’t stress—we’ve got you covered!
Making meals ahead of time is easy with a slow cooker. Just add all the ingredients to the insert and put it in the fridge. When you’re ready to start cooking, put the insert in the cooker and press start. You’ll enjoy the smells and the taste of a ready-made meal when you walk in the door that night.
We love these slow cooker meals for their healthy ingredients, easy prep and overall deliciousness! They require only a handful of ingredients and you can switch up the meat and toppings so you may never eat the same taco twice. Plus, they make great leftovers for lunch, or even dinner later in the week.
Here are a few pro tips to get you started:
- Cut veggies ahead. See what veggies need to be chopped or diced and put them in a freezer bag. Then you can just throw everything in the slow cooker when you’re ready to start.
Make a double batch. The freezer is your friend! Make extra and store it in the freezer. When mealtime arrives, all you have to do is heat and eat for a super-quick home cooked meal.
- Marinade early and often. Using a marinade is an easy way to boost the flavor of lean proteins, infuse flavor into vegetables or tenderize tough cuts of meat and the longer the soak, the better. PS: Always marinate in the refrigerator. Marinating at room temperature can allow dangerous bacteria to grow and lead to foodborne illness.
Crock-Pot Taco Meat
The best taco meat is about a long, slow simmer with ground beef, tomatoes, and spices. Just 3 ingredients [including store-bought salsa!] make this Crock-Pot Taco meat recipe an easy midweek win. It’s also amazing on nachos!
12-oz bottle of your favorite salsa [the chunkier, the better]
1 lb. of lean ground beef
¼ cup prepared taco seasoning
½ cup chopped onion [optional]
- Add all ingredients into a crock pot.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours. Drain off any extra liquid.
- Serve with your favorite taco fixings and enjoy!
Slow Cooker Barbacoa
What is barbacoa? It’s juicy, tender beef that sits in a tub of liquid and seasoned with flavorful chiles and spices. The best Mexican Barbacoa cooks low and slow for meat that falls right apart. With the help of a flavorful spice blend, chilies, and other aromatics, this recipe is a flavor sensation!
Plus, this recipe makes the ultimate barbacoa tacos, burrito bowls, salads, and so much more. Even better, you can make it up to 3 days in advance and store in the fridge. Then reheat with the juices in a baking dish at 350 for 15 minutes. The barbacoa will also keep for 1-3 months in the freezer.
4 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 chipotles in adobo sauce, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoons Ground cumin
½ tablespoon Dried oregano
3-4 whole bay leaves
¾ c to 1 cup beef stock
- Add all of the ingredients, except the bay leaves, to the slow cooker.
- Mix all ingredients together in the crock pot then add bay leaves. Cook meat on low for at least 8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours. The beef should be tender and fall apart easily when shredded with a fork. If it doesn't shred easily, cook it a bit longer.
- When beef is ready, move to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred it.
- Place shredded beef back in the slow cooker and stir to help it absorb all those wonderful juices.
Serve the barbacoa straight from the slow cooker and garnish with chopped cilantro and an extra squeeze [or 2] of lime.
Low-and-Slow Chicken Tacos & Avocado Slaw
Chicken is a fantastic source of lean protein, making it a healthy choice for mealtimes. You can use chicken breast or boneless chicken thighs.
Add chicken, salsa, tomatoes, and seasoning and let the slow cooker work its magic.
You can also add this flavorful shredded chicken to wraps, casseroles or soups. The possibilities are endless These tacos are topped with a cabbage slaw and avocado for an extra health kick. Serve with corn or flour tortillas and a squeeze of lime on the side.
You can make the chicken ahead; just cover and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also store it in freezer-safe container for up to 4 months.
- 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- adobo seasoning, or salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1-1/4 cups chunky salsa
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 tablespoons cup chopped cilantro
- Salt to taste
- 1 medium avocado, sliced
- lime wedges
- 12 corn tortillas
- Season the chicken all over with salt, pepper, garlic powder, adobo and cumin. Add to crock pot.
- Top chicken with salsa.
- Cover and cook LOW for 5-6 hours
- When cooked, shred chicken. Cover and keep warm while you prepare the slaw.
- Make the slaw In a medium-sized bowl, combine cabbage, cilantro and salt. Add lime juice and and toss.
- Meanwhile, heat tortillas. You can place the tortillas between damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds. Or Heat the tortillas about 30 seconds on each side over the flame of your stove until slightly charred, transfer to a plate with a towel on top to keep warm.
To serve, place 3 tortillas on each plate, top with chicken, slaw, sliced avocado. Serve with lime wedges on the side.