Balancing meals and homeschooling seems to be an impossible task. We’re busy homeschooling all day. Kids have activities all over town. We’re running here and there until dinner time, and then cooking seems an insurmountable chore. So we pick up fast-food for dinner.
Meals can be balanced with homeschooling! One simple solution is to use easy crock pot meals to feed your family.
Easy Crock Pot Meals
While crock pots can dry out meat, I’ve found they’re perfect for chilies, soups, stews, pasta sauce, roasts, and BBQ beef sandwiches. Combine these easy crock pot meals with a bread machine to turn out loaves of bread and dinner is set.
We can even leave for an afternoon of socializing with our friends or long nature walks in the rain and arrive home knowing a dinner of hot soup and fresh bread is waiting for us. I love modern machinery!
Obviously to start you need a crock pot. Currently I am using Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel.
We need the 7 quart size with 6 children, two of whom are ravenous teenage boys. Active teenage boys eat a lot! This is a wonderful, reliable crock pot.
There are certainly fancier crock pots on the market, but this crock pot has reliably turned out delicious meals for my family for the last several years.
The bread machine I recommend is a Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker. I’ve loved this bread machine. It turns out bread the family enjoys day-in and day-out despite my husband insisting we eat only whole wheat bread.
Our previous bread machine only turned out whole wheat bricks, so I was thrilled this machine could create whole wheat bread.
I do increase the liquid slightly or use the higher amount of liquid suggested in our bread recipes. In addition, I add gluten to the recipes. In general I’ve found 3T Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Flour to 4C whole wheat flour works very well for us. I’m not a chef or a baker, so please use these recommendations at your own discretion.
Along with the crock pot, I use these cookbooks: America’s Best Slow Cooker Recipes, Pillsbury: One-Dish Meals Cookbook: More Than 300 Recipes for Casseroles, Skillet Dishes and Slow-Cooker Meals, and The Complete Bread Machine Bakery Book.
The next few meals come from America’s Best Slow Cooker Recipes and The Complete Bread Machine Bakery Book teaming up together to provide my family with easy crock pot meals after a busy homeschool day.
We pare the clam chowder recipe with a molasses rye bread for a delicious evening meal. It’s a meal that keeps the kids going back for more.
Another recipe that’s popular with my family is the Hearty Beef Goulash and the Russian Black Bread. It’s especially delicious on the cold winter nights when everyone wants a warm, hearty meal.
Stratford’s Sweet Chili and cornbread is a family favorite. The kids adore it and keep requesting me to make it.
The Homestyle Pot Roast with basic rye bread is delicious. It’s also a lovely meal to come home to after a day playing outside.
Pillsbury: One-Dish Meals Cookbook: More Than 300 Recipes for Casseroles, Skillet Dishes and Slow-Cooker Meals and The Complete Bread Machine Bakery Book provide more variety for easy crock pot meals.
Everyone in the family loves the slow-cooked cabbage soup pared with a pumpernickel bread. It’s a great way of sneaking greens into the kids’ diet.
The sausage and sauerkraut dinner I tried on a lark pared with the molasses rye bread and everyone loved it! Everyone requested I make it again.
The Navy Bean Soup with rye bread turned out to be a family favorite, much to my surprise. We added some cheese to the Navy Bean Soup, and the kids even fought over the left-overs.
These are some of my family’s favorite easy crock pot meals. These meals are perfect for those busy homeschool days when we need to find a good balance between mealtime, homeschooling, and activities.
Find more wonderful tips on balancing homeschool and life over at iHomeschool Network!