Slow Cooker Time Savers

I try to make meals that are both economical and healthy. I also lead a very busy life (as we all do) and time is precious. So I use some of my “free” time to plan and cook Slow Cooker meals ahead of time.

If you can find at least 20 minutes or less to prepare a meal for the slow cooker at night you are set.

If you are not preparing these meals on weekends, prepare ingredients at night by chopping vegetables and meats the night before. I put them in sealed containers and drop them into the slow cooker in the morning for that night’s dinner.

I hope you and your family enjoy these as much as we did.

Chili – Serves 6

  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 2 -14 ounce cans chili beans (regular kidney or black beans will do)bowl of chili
  • 1 -8 ounce can homemade tomato sauce
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a skillet, brown the ground beef and drain. Put in slow cooker. Add all ingredients, except cheese and beans.

Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Add beans during last hour. Garnish each bowl with 1 teaspoon of cheese.


Chicken – Serves 6

  • 6 boneless, skinless chick breasts
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 can fat-free, low-sodium cream of mushroom soup (or homemade)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded fat-free, low-sodium Swiss cheese


  1. Blend salt, pepper, celery salt and paprika. Stir in mushroom soup and wine.
  2. Pour 1/2 of soup mixture into slow cooker. Put in chicken breasts. Cover with remaining soup mixture. Cover and Cook 8 hours. Before taking it out, sprinkle cheese over cooked chicken and continue cooking for 30 more minutes.
  3. While cheese is melting, make enough rice for 6 people.


Pot Roast

Makes 8-10 servings

  • 1 cup vegetable or beef stock
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (14 oz) (homemade if you have them)
  • 1 package of onion soup mix
  • 1 cup dry red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons diced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon each – dried rosemary, thyme and marjoram
  • 3.5 lbs lean boneless beef pot roast
  • 2 cups peeled carrots, sliced into circles
  • 5 yellow potatoes quartered


  1. Mix tomatoes, wine, dry soup mix, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and herbs in separate bowl.
  2. Put potatoes in bottom of slow cooker. Put meat on top of potatoes. Add carrots around sides of roast. Pour stock over everything.
  3. Pour tomato mixture over meat, potatoes and carrots.
  4. Cover, and cook on low 8-10 hours.


I got all of these recipes (and made adjustments for my family) from the Fix It and Forget It Lightly book by Phyllis Pellman Good.

What are some of your favorite time-saving food prep ideas?  I’d love to hear from you.


  1. I bought a larger slow cooker to make meals ahead of time, so I appreciate you sharing your recipes with us. I liked all three and would love to give them a try. Thank you.

  2. Like the idea of making more than one meal at a time. I chop everything i can for several meals too. As long as i have the ingredients,might as well do it all at once.

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