Next Week's Meal Plan

Next Week's Meal Plan: 5 Simple Summer Dinners from the Slow Cooker

Image Credit: Diana Yen

Summer is in full swing at our house, which means between summer camps and pool dates, we're all getting home later and hungrier than ever. We've survived much of the summer already on easy no-cook dinners or leftovers. While that strategy has its own merits, this week is more jam-packed then ever with guests (and neighborhood kids) dropping by throughout the week.

This week I'm looking at my slow cooker to feed us hearty dinners without heating up the kitchen. Most of these recipes just require simple assembly before they cook for the day, and they take advantage of summer produce, dried beans, and bulk meats. Here's what a week of simple summer slow cooker meals looks like at our house.

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.

Image Credit: Diana Yen

Monday: Slow Cooker Ratatouille

Yes, this recipe is an excuse to buy all the produce at the farmers market. Double up on the vegetables while you're shopping for Friday's pizza too. We'll be serving this with grilled bread for adults and quick-cooking pasta for the kids.

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Peach Carnitas

This taco Tuesday recipe makes a ton, which is perfect for feeding my hungry crowd and having leftovers to use later in the week. If you can't find fresh peaches where you live, frozen peaches work well for the carnitas (and you can substitute plums or nectarines for the salsa).

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Baked beans for dinner was a direct request from a 6-year-old who loves this recipe. We'll have these with a side of freezer biscuits and some celery and carrot sticks, but you could easily grill some sausages to serve alongside these, if beans feel like more of a side than an entrée.

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman

Thursday: Slow Cooker Breakfast Burrito Bowls

Okay, so here's my plan for Thursday: I'm going to substitute the sausage in this recipe for Tuesday's pork and swap in last night's baked beans. I'll use a different salsa from Tuesday's to keep things interesting, but this breakfast-for-dinner meal works well for using up leftovers.

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman

Friday: Veggie Supreme Pizza

I will heat up the kitchen for pizza because pizza Friday is our tradition. I'm making a big veggie pie from whatever market vegetables don't get used throughout the week to feed a few friends who are coming over after camp for a playdate.

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