Easy Meals for the Holidays

I don’t know about you, but today kicks off a very busy weekend in my household.  Although I have cookie dough and fudge in the freezer ready to rock and will be making a simple flank steak instead of turkey for Christmas Day, I still have a lot to do between now and Christmas night.  So for dinners this week, I’ll be looking for easy and fast–and preferably one-pot clean-up.

I’ll be using my slow cooker a lot this week.  If you’re strapped for time in the evenings, I’d encourage you to do the same.  Here are a few slow cooker meals that work in my household.  I hope they work in yours, too.  And I’d encourage you to double them and eat leftovers if your slow cooker is big enough to do so.  (Note:  You’ll need to add sides.  Frankly, we’ll be eating a lot of green beans this week because they are easy peasy out of a can; I simply add garlic, butter, soy sauce, and/or bacon.)

  • Cream cheese chicken
  • Buffalo ranch chicken drumsticks
  • Salsa chicken:  Simple!  Place a boneless, skinless chicken breast (or two, depeding on the size of your family) in your slow cooker.  Season chicken with salt and taco seasoning; then cover the chicken with salsa.  Add a little water.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Remember to check the chicken for doneness!  Then add a block of cream cheese.  Add toppings such as cheddar if you choose.  Serve over rice.
  • Chicken sandwiches:  Another simple recipe! Place a boneless, skinless chicken breast (or two) in your slow cooker.  Pour in a little chicken broth.  Cook on low for around 3 hours or until chicken is done and easily shreddable.  Pour a sauce on the chicken (Moore’s Creamy Buffalo Ranch Wing Sauce is as close to perfect as I’ve found!), and place the chicken on a bun.
  • Pulled barbecue chicken sandwiches:  And another!  Place a boneless, skinless chicken breast or two in your slow cooker.  Season it with salt.  Slice an onion or two, and cover the chicken with the onion slices.  Then pour a jar of barbecue sauce over the chicken and onions.  (I use Piedmont homemade barbecue sauce.)  Cook on low around 4-6 hours.  Then place the chicken on buttered and toasted buns (maybe with some garlic salt on it?).

I serve sandwiches with McCain’s frozen craft beer-battered fries.  They are the only fries everyone in my household can agree on.  They are just so good!  I cook them as instructed on the bag and then broil them for the last minute or two to crisp them up–just remember not to leave your oven while you’re broiling!

(Yes, all of these are chicken recipes because I have yet to find a pork or beef slow cooker recipe that I love.  On the recipes I have tried, the texture of pork or beef in the slow cooker drives me nuts!  Maybe you have a good pork or beef slow cooker recipe?  If so, please share in the comments!)

Sometimes a slow cooker isn’t the best answer, especially if you sleep late and don’t have time to prep in the morning.  When I’m in a hurry, I enjoy making a comforting bowl of chili, an easy pot of spaghetti (add a bit of Italian dressing or cream cheese to make it really wonderful!), or even a quick skillet lasagna at this time of the year.  I always fall back on this terrific skillet chili recipe.  But I also love this fast and easy white chicken chili recipe.  I have translated both of these to the slow cooker on a few occasions, but prefer them on the stovetop.  And here’s an added benefit:  If you’re having a few people over for a get-together the night before Christmas Eve or on Friday night, a chili dinner is an easy solution.  Just throw out some cheddar, some extra onions, and some saltine and/or oyster crackers, and you have a simple meal.

What Are Your Favorite Fast and Easy Recipes?

Do you have a favorite slow cooker recipe you’d like to share?  One that doesn’t require any extra prep?  Or another fast and easy recipe that requires a single pot on the stovetop?  Let us all hear from you in the comments!

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Bridget | Ordered and Organized

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