Meal Planning Month is off and running – thank you for joining in on the fun! I’ve taken a lot of  time in my kitchen to work out a simple and manageable system that really works – I’m so excited to be able to share what I’ve figured out. Hopefully when you come here you find useful information that helps you at home and ultimately allows you more time with your family and less time stuck in the kitchen.
Ready to get started? Wednesday I gave you an assignment to determine your family’s favorite recipes. Today we’re going to use that list and highlight or mark the recipes that are “winner dinners”. What’s a “winner dinner”? (This is my own definition, you won’t find it in a cooking book). To be classified by my definition, a winner dinner should be at least one, hopefully two  or more of the following:
  • can be made ahead (earlier in the day and refrigerated until time to bake or eat)
  • easily doubled or tripled or quadrupled
  • freezes well
  • can be used for more than just the first meal (for example: baked chicken leftovers can be made into chicken quesadillas)
  • excited about leftovers
  • economical
  • family favorite recipe

So today’s assignment is simple – go back to your family favorite list and highlight your Winner Dinner Recipes, like this:

Today I’m going to share a favorite winner dinner with you that fits ALL the qualifications – it can be made ahead (it’s a crockpot meal), easily doubled, tripled, or quadrupled, it freezes amazingly well, can be used in different ways than the first meal, we’re excited about leftovers, it’s economical, and a family favorite. Bonus? This is a great recipe for a crowd or Labor Day weekend celebration.
Ready for the recipe? It’s Crockpot BBQ Beef  – delicious, fool proof and hearty. We like it on buns with grated cheese, but it’s also great as a “Chipotle-style” burrito with cheese, avocado, black beans, dirty rice, salsa and sour cream. It can also be put on a hoagie roll with melted cheese and sauteed peppers and onions. Versatile. If you have two crock pots, do two at a time, shred the roasts up and you’ll have a freezer full of the yummy goodness.
Here’s how I make Crockpot BBQ Beef – there’s a recipe printable at the end of the pictures:
I always buy a 2 pack of chuck roasts at Costco and toss the other roast in the freezer for another meal. So one roast (2-3 meals is a little over $9 – for a family of four that’s about $1 per person per portion of meat – cheap!)
The crockpot cooking ingredients

pre-prepped ingredients from the freezer make meal-making easier – I keep chopped onions in the freezer
crockpot on high – 6+ hours 
onions and beef go in first
 then the liquid
 save out 1/2 cup for the sauce when it’s all done
 halfway through the cooking it looks like this

when the 6+ hours is up, pull the beef out and put it on a cutting board and shred with two forks

 put butter and ketchup in a saucepan on medium

add reserved ingredients and stir over medium until heated thoroughly

 add shredded beef into liquid

 assemble as desired – here’s my favorite way

Wanna freebie printable of this yummy winner dinner? Go here to grab your own.  As always, if you don’t do Scribd, email me for the pdf printable. 

The assignment? Highlight your winner dinners, and make one over the weekend, try to freeze something ahead – leftovers or double/triple a recipe so you have extra to freeze. What’s your go-to winner dinner? I’d love to hear it in the comments section.

Later today (Friday – around noon to be exact) I’m going to have a special blog-iversary post and printables shop sale announcement – I’d LOVE it if you’d come on back to check it out!