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Friday, April 25, 2014

Make Ahead Crock-Pot Meals

The idea is that you create a mass number of slow cooker meals and freeze them to be made at a later date. I had seen this idea a lot on Pinterest. I knew I would do it when we have children, so to make week nights easier, but it dawned on me that I could do it now as well! I collected recipes for crock pot meals, created a shopping list for the ingredients I did not have on hand, and then prepped all the meals. I decided on 10 meals this go round. In total the process took about 3-4 hours, including the trip to the grocery store. I will include the recipes I made at the end of this post.

 This is all of the ingredients I bought at the store because I did not have them on hand. The rest aren't pictured.
After getting back from the store I started by preparing all the ziploc bags for the meals. I put the title of the recipe and the cooking instructions in sharpie on the bag. Then I wrote out the ingredients to add to the bag on a post it note to be removed before freezing.

Next I prepped all the meat by rinsing and cutting off the fat. I put all the chicken in a large bowl since that is what most of my meals called for.
 I set the meat aside and started on the produce. I went through each vegetable/fruit to be cut up and added them to their respective bags.
 Next I added canned and frozen vegetables to the bags.

After that I put in all the spices and liquid ingredients.

Last I added in the meat. I had my husband help me hold open the bags so I could add all the meat without worrying about the safety of handling all that raw meat.
 I closed each bag, making sure to get all the air out that I could.
Lay each bag flat, one on top of another, so you can stack them in the freezer easily. This is all ten meals stacked up, and it surprisingly did not take up much room!


It was a lot of work at once but it will save so much time later! I actually had a lot of fun doing the process.

Here are all the recipes I chose to make. There are a ton on Pinterest.



Hearty Beef Stew
Ingredients:
1 pound beef stew cubes
4 carrots, sliced
4 red potatoes, cut into large cubes
1 package dry onion soup mix
2 cans 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (10 oz) package frozen green peas
Directions:
Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix together and zip bag closed. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on LOW for 7-10 hours (or HIGH for 5-6 hours).


Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken
Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: 
Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix together and zip bag closed.
When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on LOW for 8 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours). Sprinkle with fresh or dried rosemary for serving.

Cilantro Lime Chicken w/ Corn and Black Beans
Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
Juice from 2 limes
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 (16 oz) bag frozen corn
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin 
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: 
Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix together and zip bag closed.
When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on LOW for 8 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours). 
Serve with tortillas and toppings such as with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and cheese.
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken  
Ingredients:
2 lbs chicken breasts
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1 ½ cup barbecue sauce
Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag and zip closed.  When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours. 

Slow Cooker Sweet Teriyaki Chicken
Ingredients:
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
Directions:
Mix together soy sauce, sugar, garlic salt and chopped onion in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Place chicken breasts inside the bag and zip closed.
When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 7-8 hours.
Serve over rice.

Slow Cooker Creamy Ranch Pork Chops and Potatoes
Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs pork chops, boneless (about 4-6 chops, thick sliced)
6-8 medium potatoes, chopped into large pieces
2 (10.75 oz each) cans cream of chicken soup (I used 1 chicken, 1 mushroom)
2 (1 oz each) packages dry Ranch dressing mix
1 cup milk
Dried parsley to sprinkle on top (optional)
Directions:
In a bowl, mix together the soups, milk, and ranch dressing mixes and pour into a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Combine all other ingredients together and zip closed.
When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.
Use the extra sauce in the slow cooker as a gravy for the potatoes and the pork chops. Sprinkle with dried parsley if you want.


Crock Pot Orange Chicken
Ingredients:
1 orange
1 onion
¼ soy sauce
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup honey
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1-2 chicken breasts
Instructions:
1.    Place 1 sliced orange, 1 sliced onion, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/8 cup honey, 1 T fresh minced ginger, and 1 T minced garlic in a gallon freezer bag.
2.    Seal bag, and massage sauce.
3.    Add 1 lb. of chicken to the bag, seal, and massage sauce into the chicken.
4.    Freeze.
5.    The day before serving, thaw in the fridge for 24 hours.
6.    Day of cook for 4-6 hours on low depending how hot your crock-pot cooks.
7.    Carefully remove orange peels, and enjoy!


Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken
Ingredients
·        Chicken 
·       5 garlic cloves chopped
·       1 tsp. oregano
·       3/4 cup soy sauce
·       1/4 cup ketchup
·       1/2 cup spicy honey bbq sauce
·       1/3 cup honey
·       pinch of salt
·       dash of pepper
·        
Instructions
1.    Place all ingredients in gallon-sized freezer bag. Freeze.
2.    Thaw overnight & dump into Crock-Pot, cook on low 6 hours.

9 comments:

  1. How many servings are you making per bag? I would love to start doing this!

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  2. Thank you for posting I love the variety!!

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  3. It looks like what I make to serve 4 people.

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  4. Fantastic ideas, but just a reminder- you don't need to rinse raw meat. In fact, you shouldn't, especially chicken. That's how the campylobacter bacteria spreads and is the main cause of food poisoning. Campylobacter poisoning can be fatal. Raw meat doesn't need to be washed - you're going to cook it. Fruit and vegetables, however, should be washed before preparing and cooking.

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  5. Just wanted to mention that when you place your loaded ziplock bags in the freezer, you should stack them all together until each bag is frozen. Layer your bags in stacks of two until they are all frozen and then you can stack them all together. Do not over load your freezer. It needs romm for the cold air to properly circulate and keep everything evenly frozen.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I meant shouldn't stack them together.

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  7. Is there a shopping list for portions of item required to make all recipes? If you were doing all on one prep day?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Is there a shopping list for portions of item required to make all recipes? If you were doing all on one prep day?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good sharing, for healthy purpose, apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps to boost metabolism, blocks the body’s storage of dietary fat plus breaks down and dissolves existing body fat. A study at Australia’s University of Sydney in which subjects who consumed two tablespoon of ACV daily experienced fewer surges and crashes in blood sugar levels. Read more at:
    http://kidbuxblog.com/apple-cider-vinegar-acv-helps-to-boost-metabolism/

    ReplyDelete