I. Am. Exhausted.
This is the time of year I run on fumes, coffee, and wrinkled clothes I grab out of the bottom of the laundry basket. What? They’re clean at least! Not like my daughter’s Tball uniform top. It was fished out of her dirty’s clothes basket last night in an epic moment of #momfail. And you know what’s even worse? I didn’t even care. I was just glad we got to her game on time and everyone survived. Because that’s what spring is to me. Survival.
Jeremy coaches high school baseball. For those of you unfamiliar with that sport on that level, that means from mid March until hopefully beginning of June, he has 3-4 games per week. Chances are, a few of them will be home games and a few will be away. The earliest he gets home on a home game night is 9:30, if I’m lucky. Obviously, away game nights are much later.
In fact, it’s not unheard of for him to sneak in the door around midnight. That’s not counting the practices, the scouting, and all the other extras I’m not remembering. I joke that I’m a single mom during this time of year. But I’m actually serious too because that’s what it feels like. I’m solely responsible for our kids during this time.
And I’m not complaining. There are some moms out there who rock being a single mom full time. You definitely don’t get enough kudos for what you do. But I am trying to paint a picture of what daily life looks like for us right now. I’m sure many of you can commiserate.
So, on top of both my husband and I working full time, and him working another full time job as a head high school baseball coach, I’m trying to shuttle my daughter to her own games and practices, keep up with my house, bills, budgeting, meal planning, grocery trips, remembering to water my flowers I spent too much on earlier in the month, trying not to reward myself with blizzards from Dairy Queen, and maybe, maybe find a night to exercise. Or in my dream world, binge watch something on Netflix while eating a blizzard.
One thing I do know is learning to utilize my crock pot has been a game changer for me. If I can just get up five minutes earlier in the morning, I can come home to a delicious home cooked meal with very minimal effort. It is such a
life time saver.
I’m going to share with you my favorite workhorse recipes that can easily be adapted to your family’s personal tastes’ and preferences’. Most of these are just a base recipe and you may need to come up with a side dish, which I’ll try to include an example of what my family would typically eat.
So, without further ado, here are my personal fav crock pot recipes for busy moms! They’re versatile, yummy, and so easy.
1.) Ranch Chicken Wraps
My personal favorite crock pot dinner to make is this ranch chicken wrap recipe that I found on Pinterest. Although using the chicken in wraps is delicious, I also like to change it up and make quesadillas or use as a homemade pizza topping. You also could just serve on a hamburger bun and dress with lettuce, onion, and tomato. Really, the possibilities are endless!
And it is soooo good! It’s rare I find a recipe that pleases all the differing palates in our family but I have to say this is one both my meat loving husband, son, and my picky daughter all enjoy.
I usually serve this with a quick hitter like a side salad, sweet potato fries, or broccoli tots. I’ve really been working with my daughter on healthier eating habits and trying new things and I gotta say, she will now eat all these things with pleasure. (I just have to smother with ranch!)
2.) Salsa Chicken
Have you ever eaten at one of those taco food trucks that are all the rage these days? This recipe reminds me of those type of street tacos so that’s usually what I use this for. You could also make Mexican quesadillas, enchiladas, tostadas, or even just put as a topping on a salad. There’s not really a real recipe for this. It’s just something I learned from a coworker so you could probably google it or search for an actual recipe on Pinterest.
But here’s what I do. (Tip: I always use those slow cooker liners for easy clean up.) Throw in some chicken breasts, a packet of taco seasoning (can use low sodium if desired, or homemade if you’re really on your game. Disclaimer— I am not), and some salsa. No rules really. You can use fresh salsa, jarred salsa, salsa verde, whatever strikes your fancy. Turn it on low before you leave the house and return home after work for dinner. I’m usually gone for 10 hours a day and my chicken is definitely done by then. If you are gone for less time, just check and make sure your chicken is done.
Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.
3.) Mississippi Pot Roast
This is my husband’s favorite. Theoretically, there should be plenty for leftovers with this meal, but usually there is none with my family. Something about the combination of the smoky taste of the au jus seasonings and the tart surprise of the pepperoncini peppers combined with fall apart roast is just amazing. I always throw in some washed, sliced red potatoes and a pack of pre-washed baby carrots to make it a well rounded meal. I’ve also been meaning to try adding baby bella mushrooms as well since my husband loves them. This is one of those crock pot meals that would be perfect for a night where you have ball games or meetings since it can stand up to a longer cooking time.
Find the recipe here.
4.) Pulled Pork
This makes sooo many leftovers too, so it’s a big win for my family. It actually can provide 2 dinners, or 1 dinner and 4 lunches for us plus some to go in the freezer for a future meal. It makes a ton.
I like using a Boston Butt pork roast for this meal. This meat becomes so tender when slow cooked for a long period of time. I just kind of eyeball what I add next: Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, some apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and some brown sugar. Cook on low all day, (probably around 10 hrs but check doneness with a meat thermometer) and come home to a delicious dinner. If you want more of an actual recipe to follow, I’ve included one here that appears similar.
I serve this usually on buns with mac and cheese, coleslaw, and lots of pickles and extra BBQ sauce. An easy coleslaw recipe is to just mix a bag of coleslaw mix with half a jar of Marzetti coleslaw dressing. You can add some chopped cherry tomatoes and chopped green peppers as well. Simple and easy.
5.) Baked Potatoes
Something my coworker turned me onto also was making baked potatoes in crockpot. Just scrub and wash some russet potatoes, pierce them with a fork, and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and cover each individual potato with aluminum foil. Throw in the crockpot and cook until tender.
This could be an easy side to already have prepared or you could make it a main dish by adding leftover BBQ and topping with all your favorite toppings, like a potato bar. Some ideas would be: sour cream, butter, chopped bacon, green onions, jalapenos, shredded cheese, and chopped onions. This would also be a good idea for a birthday party or get together.
So there you have it! Some quick hitters to have dinner on the table no matter what crazy, chaotic season of life you’re in! I’d love to hear you’re favorite crock pot meals. Feel free to share below!