A slow cooker is already a great tool for cutting down on work in the kitchen, but combine its simplifying ability with the time-saving benefits of meal prep, and you’re pretty much set for life. Check out these seven dishes, which can be prepared ahead of time, frozen, and tossed in the slow cooker whenever you’re ready to eat. Healthy eating just got even easier.
1. Freezer to Crock-Pot Beef Stew
Chop, mince, dice, cube. Prepping a beef stew can take foreverrrr. Get the dirty work done when you *actually* have time, then freeze everything. Next time a weekend calls for hearty stew, pop the ingredients in the Crock-Pot. You’ll feel like a master chef because dinner is ready in no time.
2. One-Pot Chicken Soup
Chicken noodle soup is supposed to be a comforting meal, so making it shouldn’t be stressful either. Make it even easier on yourself by using coiled fettuccine nests (instead of the long, uncooked strands) that fit perfectly inside the plastic bags, so that all your ingredients are in one place.
3. Rosemary Pot Roast
Sear your meat first before sealing it into baggies along with the veggies and herbs. It’s one small step for pot roast and one giant leap for a stress-free meal later.
4. Freezer to Crock-Pot Bacon Lentil Soup
There’s nothing like having a nutritiously prepped meal (that also has bacon in it) waiting in your freezer. You do have to cook the meat before freezing it, but you won’t regret that extra bit of effort.
5. Slow-Cooker Pizza
It’s not quite pizza, but it sure tastes like it—using macaroni noodles instead of a crust, ground turkey for extra protein, and of course, cheese, this prepped packet is a delicious cross between pizza, mac and cheese, and lasagna. Who wouldn’t love that?
6. Chicken Cacciatore
Find a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (or make your own, if time permits!) and pour it into plastic baggies along with your chicken and veggies. As far as ingredients and prep goes, it’s a shortcut to cacciatore, but the slow cooker makes sure it tastes like the real deal.
7. Slow-Cooker Shredded Pork Barbecue
Bottled barbecue sauce makes prepping this meal even easier (check out some of our favorite lower-sugar options). A few simple spices are the only other ingredients you need to make the pork mouthwatering.