If you are busy professional or student and find it difficult to cook high quality meals, let me reintroduce you to the crock pot. You know, that thing your mother and grandmother used to cook with every once in a while.
A crock pot (or slow cooker) is a great way to automate the cooking process while you are busy working or doing other things. There are limitless possibilities when it comes to cooking meals in the slow cooker.
One of the best things about crock pot cooking is there's no need to follow exact recipes. Slow cookers are very forgiving, so feel free to experiment with your favorite combos. Here are some suggestions for high protein meals that can be made in the slow cooker for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Crock Pot Breakfast Ideas
The slow cooker is not just for dinner! You can make awesome breakfasts with very little time and effort.
Strength coach Dan John has a great recipe for slow cooker oatmeal. He even calls it “Crack oatmeal” because it tastes so good! In a crock pot, add about two inches of old fashioned (non instant) oats, a couple handfuls of raisins, cinnamon to taste, a couple of more handfuls of fruit, vanilla to taste, chia seeds, and enough water (or milk or cream) to cover up the ingredients.
Cook for three hours on low and then add two scoops of protein powder and some extra liquid to find a texture that suits you. There you have it! Scoop some out and reheat it for breakfast. One crock pot full of oats can last you three days or more depending on your portions.
You can make a killer egg breakfast in the crock pot. Depending on the size of your crock pot, you can use around 8-12 eggs as your starting point and add whatever your heart desires whether it's bacon or sausage, fresh vegetables, a can of beans or lentils, and seasonings and spices. Stir it all together and turn the crock pot on low for 3-4 hours until the eggs are fully cooked and you’ve got an awesome nutrient rich breakfast.
3. Bacon and Egg Hash Brown Casserole
Use one bag of frozen sweet potato hash browns, cheese, veggies, 8-12 eggs, and four or five strips of bacon chopped. Put the slow cooker on high for 2-3 hours and you'll have breakfast for up to 8 people or meal prep ready breakfasts for one!
Crock Pot Lunch and Dinner Ideas
Low and slow is the name of the game when it comes to cooking ribs. Rub the ribs with your favorite seasonings and set them in the slow cooker on low for eight hours. Take them out of the slow cooker, baste them with a lower calorie sauce, and finish them off in the oven at 375 for 10 minutes and enjoy!
5. Pulled Pork
One of the best crock pot meals is pulled pork. Start by rubbing a bone in pork shoulder with a spice rub that you have created or bought. Then, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning, throw it in the crock pot for 8-10 hours and wait until the meat pulls apart easily. It's great for sandwiches, on baked potatoes, or by itself.
There are a million secret recipes out there for the best chili. All I know is that you can get a great high protein meal in the slow cooker by mixing your favorite ground meat with cans of roasted tomatoes, beans, chopped peppers of all varieties, and all kinds of different spices. Some recipes even call for throwing a couple of chunks of chocolate into the mix. Find a recipe that you like and you have an awesome cold weather classic in your arsenal of high protein meals.
7. Shredded Chicken
Start this high protein meal by lining the bottom of the crock pot with onions and then add up to two pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Finish by covering with chicken broth and adding any desired spices or additional vegetables. Remove the chicken from the crock pot after 8 hours of cook time and shred. Bonus points for turning the drippings and vegetables into a sauce to top the chicken!
8. Pot Roast
A crock pot classic, pot roast is an awesome high protein option that will keep your fridge stocked for days. Once you have purchased your roast, I recommend searing all sides of the roast on a medium-high heat before throwing it in the crock pot to make sure that you don’t get a dried out roast. From there toss in some potatoes, carrots, fresh herbs, and some stock or water and set the crock pot and you’re off to do other things while your meals cook themselves.
9. Chicken Wings
I can put down some chicken wings and one of the easiest ways that I have found to cook wings without frying them is in the slow cooker. Buy your wings, create your sauces (just don’t get too carried away with some of the more calorie dense barbeque sauces) and throw it all in the crock pot on high for 2-3 hours and enjoy.
If you are feeling like an Indian style curry, you can use your slow cooker for that too. Combine your seasonings (you can try garlic, ginger, and curry powder) with some tomato paste and two pounds of skinless chicken thighs and set the crock pot on low for 8 hours. Serve over basmati rice and you’re set for an awesome spicy high protein meal.
11. Ham Bone and Bean Soup
Don’t throw away that ham bone from Christmas. Instead turn it into an awesome high protein soup. Start by tossing in some of your favorite vegetables like onion, celery, and carrots and then add your ham bone, a can of white beans, and enough stock (either chicken or vegetable) to cover the rest of the ingredients and walk away for 6-7 hours. When you come back skim off any fat that has risen to the top and you’re set to enjoy a hearty, high protein soup.
As you can tell the possibilities are endless when it comes to crock pot cooking. What are some of your favorite crock pot meals? Share the recipes with everyone in the comments section below!