I have conflicting views on meals at home: half of me wants something gourmet that’s delicious and at least mostly from scratch, and half of me wants something quick that I can get on the table in no time. Some nights I go all out and make an elaborate meal, and some nights we thank the microwave for giving us food in minutes. Truth be told, I’d love to make an elaborate meal every night, but ain’t nobody got time for that! So I found a compromise that works great for us! Once a week I find a meal that takes some time, several fresh ingredients, and is a huge winner in our house that I think will freeze well. I double the recipe, and make one meal for now, and one meal for later. I try to make these slow cooker meals more often than not because that just makes life all the easier, but a few casserole trays or sauces have been known to happen too. It’s easy to chop two onions instead of one, open two cans, etc. and add each to either the slow cooker or a freezer bag. When I’m done even if I spent an hour or more cooking, I feel like I’ve accomplished tons since we got a two-for-one.
I figure if this is saving me at least one night a week while still offering a great meal, and it’s something I see asked about often on social media, then maybe others can benefit from my meal planning and my meals that are great the day of, and also great after spending some time in the freezer! So I’m going to start a new series here, One Meal Now, One Meal Later where I share the recipes that just work great for both.
Being winter and all, I figured a classic soup in the slow cooker would be perfect meal to start with!
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup
(This makes one batch so be sure to double if you’re making one to freeze)
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you’re making it vegan)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
5-6 baby carrots
1 diced apple
1 medium butternut squash (I buy the pre-chopped stuff at Costco and split it between both batches of soup to make my life easier)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg
1 can coconut milk (if vegan) or 1 package of cream cheese if you want it creamy and thicker
A tiny sprinkle of cayenne pepper (optional if you want a little heat)
Put all ingredients EXCEPT the coconut milk or cream cheese in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. Just before it finishes cooking blend the ingredients together and pour back into the slow cooker. Add the milk ingredient of your choice and allow to cook for a few more minutes. Stir well. Serve hot! It’s that easy!
We had this this week and enjoyed it immensely! We’ll pull the other one out in about two weeks on a busy night, or I’ll pull it out and we’ll try to add an ambitious side like homemade bread.
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