If you follow me on Instagram, especially, you’ll see that we spend a lot of time cooking at home. When we lived in Houston, we did a lot of pre-made meals from Central Market or Whole Foods when things got busy, but we don’t really have that option up here, so over the years we’ve really gotten into cooking and now we really enjoy it.
As we’ve also gotten busier with work and activities for the boys, we’ve had to change up the way we meal prep and plan in order to accommodate our schedule. About 3 weeks ago, I did a week where I planned 3 slow cooker meals (all that would make leftovers for lunches), two leftover nights and one “sheet pan meal” night. That was about the easiest week we could have possibly had! I had a couple of out-of-town meeting days so I would just put dinner in the slow cooker before I left and I’d come home to a house that smelled wonderful and the work done for me.
The following week, I thought that previous week proved that we had “so much time” so I did a Whole 30 meal plan where we had to prep every night. Well, that was a TOTAL fail. We ended up just using the ingredients to make up other things that were easier and quicker.
That takes us to last week, and I brought back the slow cooker/sheet pan meal plan and it worked SO much better! Even though we had a week full of snow days, we still had different dinners every night, with plenty there for leftovers and
I wanted to share a few of the recipes that went really well and that are all great, warm winter recipes that are easy and delicious!
This is my sister’s recipe and I actually make this quite a bit. This one is great because you can make the sauce in advance and it’s super quick to assemble. It makes great leftovers and heats up well for lunches. I do just two things differently on this: 1. I add chicken (which I also sometimes make in advance) and 2. I layer it as a casserole instead of rolling up enchiladas because it’s just easier.
Tex Mex Chicken and Beans
This one came from a recipe in a Martha Stewart Everyday Food E-mail with healthy slow cooker recipes. We really liked this one and it also was great for leftovers. I forgot to soak the beans overnight, so I did a quick soak and got the instructions to do that here.
Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan
The Instant Pot is new around here and we are OBSESSED with it. We’ve had it just over a week and have already made banana bread, hard boiled eggs and a couple of dinners, including this Chicken Parmesan. I served it with an arugula salad and a quick dressing (lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper) and roasted zucchini.
Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken
I was pretty excited to try this one because the whole one-pan concept makes me very happy (hello minimal clean-up!). Thankfully it was as good as I expected and we ended up making another sheet pan meal from Half Baked Harvest this past weekend too.
Chipotle Chicken Tamale Chili
It’s not a winter slow cooker meal plan without chili! We tried this Chipotle Chicken Tamale Chili and it was amazing. I especially liked the toppings that were suggested with it: mango, avocado, goat cheese and tortilla strips. I just sliced up some corn tortillas I had on hand and fried them up in olive oil and they were perfectly crispy and delicious. This one is a great weekend meal for cold nights!
Let me know if you try any of these meals! I’d love to hear how you like them, or please share your favorite easy winter recipe in comments!
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Photos thanks to Eleven Creative