This vegetarian recipe is not for the crockpot, but I think it would do ok in there, and it is yummy:
Harlequin Baked Beans
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large sliced onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup brown sugar (I prefer less)
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp dry mustard
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, with liquid
1 (15 oz) can lima beans
1 (15 oz) can Boston baked beans
Combine in slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours
Optional: add 1/4 tsp liquid smoke 5 mins before serving.
I do alot of pasta and skillet - type meals. They are cheap, fast, and the kids will eat it.
On the weekend, buy several pounds of ground turkey or beef, or use deer if your family hunts. Brown it all at the same time and freeze it in separate margarine tubs. Then all you have to do is nuke it and dump it into whatever is in the skillet. I do this with leftover holiday turkey and ham, too. Tonight we had turkey&broccoli fettucine alfredo.
I also make big pots of homemade soup on weekends when I will be home all day studying. It simmers all day while I do laundry and study. Then I freeze it in yogurt cups to take to school for my lunches.
I think cooking is not only a "mom" thing, it is also an economic necessity for those of us with several mouths to feed on student loan budgets. Fast food breaks the bank very quickly. Why pay three dollars for a "value meal" for one person, when you can feed five with a 20-minute casserole? Tuna is cheap, so are eggs and beans&rice. I rarely buy soda pop - why pay for the water and the packaging? I can make a half-gallon of herbal iced tea at a time instead, for only a few pennies. I also rarely buy "name-brand" anything. Store Brands(like Aldi), are just as good for almost half the price, so I can make the child-support check and the studentloan stretch further.
Also don't get stuck in the "mom makes a traditional dinner" thing if you are really pressed for time. Scrambled eggs are ready in nothing-flat, and there is nothing wrong with letting the kids eat cheerios and yogurt for supper on the night before an exam, if that would help keep your stress-level down. It's probably alot more nutritious than McDonald's. :yes:
The hardest thing for me while being in school is sometimes making myself back away from the kitchen when I have other, more important things to do. I LOVE to cook, so it has been hard. When I do cook now, I cook more than one meal at a time. We also eat alot more "easy to fix" items, like Taco Salad, etc (which the kids love of course). Sometimes we just say 'what the heck" and get a hamburger out, but I don't like doing that. Too hard on the wallet. Try cooking meals, or components of meals that store well. That works for me
I enjoy cooing and am a good cook, but I don't usually have time to cook regular meals, and my family is so varied in their likes and habits that I have fallen into a "organized chaos" pattern which seems to work. My husband is on Atlin's diet. My teen daughter hardly eats at home. One son lives on cheese and fruit, and the other likes to eat tradional, regular and balanced meals like me. So, I cook various things and put them in the frigde. Whoever is around for dinner puts their plates together cafeteria-style, and then we go to the table together. We use the microwave a lot.