This week my big kid starts first grade, and my littlest heads back to pre-k. I'm welcoming the return of our routine with open arms, despite the fact that back to school also means back to packing lunches and snacks, and getting up a little earlier to prep breakfasts and dinners before drop-off.
Of course, we're still in the midst of warm weather that is keeping me from cranking up the oven and sweating during dinnertime, so this week I'm reaching for my slow cooker to assist me in making five easy dinners.
Welcome to This Week's Meal Plan
I believe meal planning is the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. Since I'm frequently asked by friends and family what I'm cooking for dinner each week, I share my weekly meal plan here. Whether you're just learning to meal plan and looking for a real-life example of how this works or you're an old pro on the hunt for inspiration, here's a peek at how I'm feeding my family this week.
New to meal planning? Start here.
This soup tastes like fall and makes a ton, so the game plan is to have it for dinner on our meatless Monday night and then freeze the rest for September. Even better: You can throw pretty much any of those end-of-summer vegetables that you're just overrun with into this slow cooker soup.
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Peach Carnitas
This is another recipe that I love to make at the end of summer, when the peaches are so good. It also makes a big-enough batch for the freezer. Because this has a fair amount of prep work and a longer cook time, I plan on starting this after dinner on Monday, cooking it overnight and then chilling on Tuesday morning. In the evening a quick broil (per the recipe directions) reheats the pork and makes it extra delicious.
Wednesday: Hot Dogs and Slow Cooker Baked Beans
Hot dogs are my least favorite dinner, but I oblige my hot dog loving husband and daughter once a year with this super-quick dinner. We love the Applegate brand we discovered in a Kitchn taste test a few years ago. Me? I'm into this dinner for those gorgeous baked beans — made in the slow cooker, of course.
Thursday: Slow Cooker Ranch Sandwiches
Admittedly the first half of this week's meal plan has been pretty heavy on the cooking, so I may end up freezing the chicken for this recipe for future use and just reworking leftovers. But this easy slow cooker recipe is super simple, and the slaw is made from a really quick dress-up of bagged coleslaw.
Friday: BBQ Chicken Pizza
Thursday's leftovers (or even Tuesday's) would be perfect for these BBQ pizzas — and for giving the slow cooker a break on Friday night.