Posts Tagged ‘Dinner’

Slow Cooker Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Slow Cooker Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

I believe that the slow cooker can be every mother’s best friend. What could be easier than throwing in a few ingredients, plugging it in, and then going about your day, without the worries of needing to figure out what everyone is going to eat for dinner?

A few years ago I discovered the beauty of slow cooking for breakfast and lunches as well as dinners. Setting a slow cooker to cook overnight and waking up to breakfast is a glorious thing on busy weekday mornings and having meat, soup, or a filling that’s been cooked and ready to go into a sandwich or thermos takes the “what’s for lunch?” out of the busy morning equation.

With this in mind, I’ve rounded up some of the best slow cooker recipes to boost your menu ideas and to be a resource for our M Challenge focus on meal planning. Plug these recipes into your menu planner and you will be able to take advantage of the cooker’s “set it & forget it” function and help make your meals go smoother. Some of these are Mom Advice recipes that weren’t featured in our 21 Easy Slow Cooker Meals and the rest are from around the web that I chose to show the variety of foods that can be cooked in your slow cooker. I hope you enjoy them and that they make your meal planning a breeze!



Slow Cooker Creamy Coconut Oatmeal

Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole @ Spend With Pennies

Crock Pot Cinnamon Roll Casserole @ Recipes That Crock

Slow Cooker Nutella French Toast with Carmelized Bananas @ I Can Cook That

Slow cooker Egg, Spinach & Ham Breakfast Casserole @ 365 Days of Crock Pot

Slow Cooker Breakfast Quinoa @ My Whole Food Life

Slow Cooker Black Bread @ Kleinworth Co.

Slow Cooker Bread Pudding @ Nourishing Joy



Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches @ The Recipe Critic

Lentil Sweet Potato Chili @ Delightful Adventures

Sausage-Bean Soup with Spinach & Tomatoes @ An Oregon Cottage

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Sandwhiches @ Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Skinny Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken @ Skinny Mom

Garbanzo Bean-Veggie Pitas with Creamy Avocado Dressing @ BHG



Slow Cooker Carnitas

Slow Cooker Meatloaf @ The Magical Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken & Veggies @ Damn Delicious

Slow Cooker Beef and Cheese Pasta @ The Cooking Jar

Slow Cooker Dinner Rolls @ Growing Up Gabel

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas @ Cooking Classy

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken & Rice @ The Southern Plate

Slow cooker BBQ Ribs @ Number 2 Pencil

Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese @ The Food Network

Crockpot Sweet & Sour Chicken @ The Frugal Girls

Pin It

16 Ideas for Quick Weeknight Dinners

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Originally published in 2011, this remains one of our site’s most-searched articles so I’ve updated it with a Pinterest-friendly header to go along with this month’s M Challenge Focus on Meal Planning. These dinner ideas are perfect for those busy school nights ahead!

16 Ideas for Quick Weeknight Dinners

The school year is upon us and along with that comes the chaos of planning what to make for dinner each night so I’m sharing 16 easy weeknight dinners that are perfect to share with your family around the dinner table. These can be made very quickly or can be thrown in your slow cooker for those busy nights full of activities after the school day has ended. I’m also including ideas for side dishes that are just as easy. They happen to be our family favorites and I know that they can be your family’s favorite too!

Don’t forget that you can use our free printable meal planner or use the menu planner in our Home Management Binder to get your dinners organized! 

1. Grilled Ground Beef Gyros 

Skip heading out to your local gyro joint and enjoy a gyro at home with this handy recipe. The toppings and sauce can be prepared the night before and keep a package of store-bought pitas in your freezer just for this easy weeknight meal. This one is ready in about twenty minutes. Serve this delicious dinner treat with baby carrots.

2. Rosemary Chicken

Rosemary Chicken is my go-to dish that can be made with a couple of ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry. If you do not have fresh rosemary on hand, you can substitute with dried rosemary instead. This quick chicken dish makes for fantastic leftovers that you can put in tortilla wraps to send to school with your children or can make a fantastic addition to a delicious salad. Serve this easy and elegant chicken dish with a side of pesto rice and microwave lemon broccoli for a quick dinner that the whole family will love.

3. Salmon Patties

Even if you have never been a fan of salmon patties before, I believe this recipe can convert anyone over to this easy and frugal weeknight dish. These patties are filled with a little lemon zest within the patty and a baked potato to stretch the salmon The breadcrumb coating made with Italian breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan makes these taste like something served at a fancy seafood restaurant and a little squirt of fresh lemon juice turns boring cans of salmon into something spectacular!  Serve these wallet-friendly wonders with my easy perfect baked potato and lemon roasted green beans.

4. Perfectly Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled Pork Sandwiches not only make the perfect slow cooker dish for busy weeknight activities, but they just so happen to make the world’s greatest leftover sandwiches for other nights too. This pulled pork can be simmering away in its root beer bath while you tackle all of the rest of the day’s activities. Serve these sandwiches on whole wheat buns with corn on the cob or a bag of frozen corn.

5. Chicken Italiano

Fewer dishes are loved more by me than this simple dish that can be created out of frozen chicken when you (whoops) forget to thaw your chicken for the evening’s meal or that can be popped in the slow cooker when your family feels swamped with activities. I love to serve this dish over spaghetti noodles or baked brown rice with a simple salad.

6. Baked Ziti With Turkey Meatballs

Entertaining your child’s entire football team? Have company coming on a school night? This is your dish because it is made with store-bought meatballs, can easily be doubled, and can be prepared the night before so it is ready to go. This isn’t your typical dried out ziti thanks to the addition of chicken broth to the sauce, which really coats the noodles well and adds a depth of flavor to the dish. Serve this with some easy Portuguese White Bread (made in your bread machine, of course) and a spinach salad.

7. Braised Balsamic Chicken

This braised balsamic chicken comes together in a mere twenty minutes, but tastes like it has been cooking all day long. The balsamic vinegar compliments the diced tomatoes perfectly and the addition of these spices makes this dish a true winner in our home.  Serve this braised balsamic chicken over angel hair pasta and with your favorite side salad.

8.  Skillet Penne & Sausage Supper

You want simple, easy, and less dishes? Skillet suppers are the way to go and this one is packed with veggies and flavor. This dish has all the ease of Hamburger Helper, but without the sodium and preservatives that you really don’t want your kids to be eating. Serve this simple supper with bowls of applesauce on the side and prop those feet up thanks to a night free from a kitchen full of dishes.

9. Skillet Ziti with Chicken & Broccoli

This is another night for embracing your vegetables and not embracing dishes. This Skillet Ziti with Chicken & Broccoli can easily be personalized with fresh diced tomatoes on top for the tomato lover’s in the family. To make this dish vegetarian, just omit the chicken and up the veggie quotient. With the sprinkle of tomatoes or a handful of sundried tomatoes and spinach, it could make this a veggie packed dish worth repeating. Serve this fun dish with your favorite fruit and slices of whole grain bread with butter.

10. Panko Crusted Tilapia Nuggets

While breading fish can be a bit labor intensive, this dish can easily be done in stages for quick assembly in the evening and is truly a dish that the whole family will love. These tilapia nuggets can replace your kid’s adoration for those fried chicken nuggets and offer a fun & healthy choice in their place. Serve the nuggets with lemon rice pilaf and steamed edamame. I love to make these sides in my rice cooker, for a fun meal that is ready in under thirty minutes.

11. Bow Ties With Tomatoes, Sausage, & Cream

This delicious dish is the one that I go to whenever we have unexpected company or when I am looking to make a dish that I can serve as an elegant lunch the next day. This dish restaurant-worthy and can easily be doubled when running a meal to someone else.   Once you try this one, I promise that it will go into your regular rotation forever. Serve this dish with lemon roasted green beans.

12. Pot Roast Italiano

My Pot Roast Italiano is guaranteed to knock your socks off and will change any feelings you previously had about roast forever.  This roast simmers away in the slow cooker all day and at the end of the cooking,  a can of tomato paste is whisked in to finish off the delicious gravy. I served the roast over cheesy orzo pasta and with a simple side salad. Leftover meat can be placed into slider rolls for Italian beef sliders the next night served with tortilla chips and carrot sticks.

13. To Die For Pot Roast Sandwiches

You will notice that few of our recipes have convenience foods or mixes in them, but this roast is my one exception to the rule since it relies upon three packaged mixes to create.   Do your best to look for low-sodium mixes though and avoid adding any salt to this recipe. These three little mixes and some water make the most flavorful roast. Not a hint of dryness in this roast and the leftovers heat up perfectly for a special lunch. Serve these easy sandwiches on whole wheat buns (homemade or store-bought) with fresh apple slices and glasses of milk.

14. Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenders

Made from ingredients that are likely already in your refrigerator and pantry right now, these simple ingredients are exceptionally delicious and create a flavorful & juicy chicken tender that you will absolutely love. This recipe yields a pound’s worth of tenders. I triple the batch for salad topping and grilled chicken wraps that make easy weekday lunches or a busy weeknight dinner for another night in our house. Serve these with baked brown rice and baby peas.

15. Presto Pesto Pasta Con Pollo

This dish replicates the flavors from my favorite meal at a local Italian restaurant. With the simple addition of sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and sun dried tomatoes, it takes this easy dish to an elegant level with minimal effort. Of course, no dish is complete without my signature addition of lemon zest and a squirt of lemon juice to freshen and lighten the flavors. The best part about this dish, in my opinion, is that it incorporates items that I already have in the pantry and can easily be pulled together with leftovers in the fridge. Leftover chicken, vegetables, and any type of pasta can be pulled together for a dinner that is worthy of an evening gathered with friends and family around the dinner table. Serve this elegant dish with my easy pumpkin cornbread muffins.

16. Italian Turkey Sliders

Sliders are a new addition to our family’s meal rotation and I guarantee if you try these that they will go into your rotation too! These Italian Turkey Sliders not only are quick to prepare and easy to bake, but thanks to their tiny size, these pint-sized sliders are ready in only fifteen short minutes. Sliders are not only highly fashionable for entertaining, but they also are super fun for little ones who will appreciate your small burger efforts as a way to make the dinner hour more fun. Serve these with homemade oven fries for a fun dinner at home.

What meal always makes it into rotation at your house? Have you tried a meal from this list? Please share your thoughts on the dishes you have tried from MomAdvice. We would love to know what dishes have graced your menu planners!

Pin It

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry

Monday, April 7th, 2014

From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry #recipe via Shaina Olmanson at
Thinking fast on your feet is one of those skills no one ever tells you you’ll need as a mom. I often feel like there should have been a prerequisite before choosing to have kids, a mini boot camp that presented you with harrowing situations and tight time limits for figuring out the solution. Where were those life skills taught?

More often than not, when I reach the 5 o’clock hour I’m in a mad rush to throw something together before whatever activities the evening holds. I have four kids emptying their backpacks on my dining room table as I stare into the refrigerator, and as I’m stress-searching the contents of crisper drawer and the inner door, one of them is bound to ask for homework help. Why didn’t I remember to take the meat out of the freezer?

It is in these parenting moments where I feel utterly defeated by life that I find the greatest opportunities to defeat it instead. This meal is one of those that lends itself to last-minute meals. I try to keep ingredients for it on hand, ready at a moment’s notice, along with a Greek seasoning blend and taco seasoning and cans of beans in the pantry (which isn’t really a “pantry” as much as basement shelves and a cupboard in the garage at my house). They’re the things I turn to when everything is falling apart, when I’ve dropped every ball there was to juggle. The thing they have in common: quick cooking times.

Cutting the chicken thin helps it cook faster. If you only have chicken in the freezer, thaw it partially and then cut it. It’s wonderfully easy to slice thinly when there’s still a bit of frozen resistance. The vegetables are interchangeable, for the most part. Use what you have on hand. Zucchini and mushrooms can be great in this curry, too.

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry #recipe via Shaina Olmanson at
Let’s talk rice. I’m not going to judge the type of rice you use here, whether you’re a boil-in-the-bag home, a minute-rice family, you rely on those microwaveable pouches and trays, you are a diehard stovetop rice cooker, or you – like me – are devoted to your rice cooker. For me, I find that the best way to cut down on rice cooking time is simply to make exactly the amount you need. My rice cooker takes far longer to cook six cups of rice (I like leftovers) than it does to cook two. Similarly, if you are making it on the stove, bringing several cups of water to a boil is going to take more time than if you only make what you’ll be eating.

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4-5
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 daikon, julienned (see notes for substitutions)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  1. In a wok or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add in the chicken and cook until white on all sides. Stir in the curry paste. Add the red bell peppers and the daikon and saute for 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Bring just to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle green onions and cilantro over the top just before serving. Serve over rice.
You can substitute bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, or another vegetable for the daikon.


Pin It

Nearly Classic Shrimp and Grits Recipe

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.

Classic Shrimp and Grits #recipe via
I feel under qualified to be talking about grits. Coming from the Midwest, grits are not exactly an everyday food. In fact, an upbringing and solidified love for farina and creamed wheat cereals is what led me to believe I would love a bowl of grits equally, and so when the opportunity arose to order them on a road trip well into my teen years, I did just that.

I’ll leave it at this: Truck stop grits are not the type you fall in love with. Still, there was something to that bowl of white and creamy food with a big pat of butter melting on top. I was not to be thrown off course in my desire to adopt grits as my new “it” food. It had all the same promises as my breakfast favorites, but with expanded possibilities for my palate. At the top of the savory list: shrimp and grits.

Creamy, cheesy grits get topped with vibrant shrimp and crisp green onions. What’s not to love about this? The idea of adding butter and cheddar and plump shellfish to a bowl of warm comfort food seemed to me like a decision that was already made in the affirmative. So I set out to learn as much as I could about grits.
Classic Shrimp and Grits #recipe via
The first issue was obtaining them. Outside of the generic “quick-cooking grits” on the market shelf, there weren’t many options at first in the urban Midwestern area I lived in. I finally settled on making grits with white cornmeal to begin my experiments and then ordering online. Traditional grits are made from hominy, alkali-treated corn, and were stone ground in a rough, coarse texture. You’ll find both white corn and hominy when looking, so determine which you want to go for.

Once you have the grits in hand (or nearly grits), the rest of the preparation is satisfyingly simple, and the payoff is pure comfort food. It’s the kind of meal that leaves you satisfied at the end, the type of dish that begs to be made again and again.

Nearly Classic Shrimp and Grits
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: southern
Serves: 4
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup stone ground white grits
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (I used Kerrygold Dubliner)
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed (if desired)
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly whisk in the grits. When all the grits have been added, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, for 25 minutes. Keep the butter and cheddar cheese ready off to the side.
  2. While the grits are cooking, in a large skillet cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon pieces, leaving the grease in the pan and add in the garlic and the shrimp. Cook the shrimp over medium heat just until pink.
  3. Add in the scallions, parsley, and the lemon juice. Cook for 3 minutes to combine the flavors and then remove from the heat and stir in the bacon pieces.
  4. Stir in the butter and shredded cheese at the end of the cooking time for the grits. Immediately spoon into a bowl and top with shrimp and bacon to serve.


Pin It

Summer Dinner Inspiration

Monday, June 18th, 2012

I love planning summer meals because they are so easy to execute. I am hoping to provide a few ideas for summer dinner inspiration from recipes we have available on our site. I believe though that if you have a grill and you have a slow cooker, you have all the tools you need in the world to get a great dinner on the table without a lot of effort in the summertime.

This summer I am taking a few mobile pictures to help inspire your summer meals. I will try to share three great dishes to enjoy each week around the dinner table. 

I love a good Sunday dinner and one of our family’s favorite dishes is roast chicken. There are a million ways to roast a chicken, but absolute favorite is this Roast Chicken Cooked in Milk. Once I found this recipe, I have never cooked my chicken any other way. It is a fun flavor combination of sage, cinnamon, lemon, and milk. The sauce is heavenly. I served this with crusty bread with dipping sauce (pesto with a generous drizzle of olive oil) and roasted fingerling potatoes.

The potatoes were cooked at 375 for 45 minutes. They were tossed with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and kosher salt. These were golden and crunchy. We dipped those in our pesto dipping sauce too.

There is pasta and there is summertime pasta. My Rotini with Turkey Meatballs is one of those deliciously light dishes that you just can’t stop eating. If you have cherry tomatoes and herbs in your garden, you have the makings for a really great sauce for this dish. We served it with the leftover bread from our meal and my favorite roasted green beans. To drink, I have become addicted to Tazo Passion Fruit Tea. I mixed this with some lemonade and it was so delicious and refreshing.

Breakfast for dinner is always a hit around our house. Thanks to using the Cooks Illustrated guide to freezing my blueberries last summer, I still enjoying the last of our fabulous blueberries for our dishes.

Nothing screams summer to me more than a pile of these blueberry pancakes. If you have some blueberries on hand in your house, I highly recommend visiting my list of eight great recipes to try with your blueberries this year.




Pin It