It's not unusual for our school nights to be filled with soccer practices, tutoring sessions, gymnastics, fundraisers and information meetings. Weeknights can become a mad dash from activity to activity—especially if you have active kids in the house—rather than a chance to relax and connect as a family.
While you might not be able to slow down the schedule, you can give your family the chance to connect over a meal that requires no fuss in the evening by using the ever-reliable slow cooker.
Not only does the slow cooker let you set it and forget it, it helps you make healthy, hearty meals that satisfy your family. Recipes rarely require added fat and it's easy to load up the crockpot with fresh vegetables.
Here are some of our favorite set it-and-forget it meals to keep your family going this fall.
Bison and Vegetable Stew
There's nothing like a warm bowl of stew on a cool day, especially after a night of running around. Bison gives this dish a hearty and unique flavor.
2 pounds bison meat
2 potatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup baby carrots
1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups beef broth
Directions: Add everything to the crockpot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Time Saver: Sub out the diced potatoes for frozen and pick up pre-chopped onions in the produce section of your local grocery.
Slow Cooker Southwest Beef Bowls
Burritos from your favorite fast casual restaurant can be a quick meal on the go, but they pack a lot of calories in one dish. This recipe lets you customize dinner for the family like they would at the restaurant without the nutrition bomb.
2 pounds chuck roast, trimmed and cubed
1 packet taco seasoning
2 (4-ounce) cans green chiles
Directions: Add beef, seasoning and chiles to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
To Serve: This beef, which shreds nicely when cooked, can be served over rice, a southwest slaw or can be stuffed in a tortilla. Don't forget the store-bought guacamole and pico de gallo.
Time Saver: Prepare your rice in a rice cooker or make it in the beginning of the week and store in the refrigerator.