40 Meals in 4 Hours Crockpot Slow Cooker Freezer Cooking


Freezer cooking! Have you heard about this? You spend one day preparing meals for the month to keep in your freezer so you don’t have to think about it later. The meals can either be fully cooked and just need to be warmed or they can be raw & placed into your slow cooker,  all prepped and ready to go when you need them. It saves time, money, and your sanity! I am in school full time, working part time, and still have to maintain my full time mom and wife duties as well. There are some days that I don’t even get home with the kids until 6:30 and bedtime is around 7ish. That does not leave much time to cook dinner (and for some strange reason, my kids want to eat every.single.night!). That’s where the freezer cooking comes into play. All I have to do is pull a bag out of the freezer the night before and place it in the fridge to defrost. The next morning I dump it into the slow cooker and turn it on. That’s it! Dinner (at least the main dish) will be done and ready to serve the minute we walk in the door. (Use the slow cooker liners for super easy clean up too!) How amazing is that?! I loved the idea of it so I started collecting recipes I thought might work for the freezer and that my family would eat. I finally compiled a list of 19 different meals and planned to double each one. Want to make all these recipes for your family? Go HERE for the master shopping list! (I use a 5 qt slow cooker for all of these recipes)

Check out our Newest Set of Freezer meals - 30 meals in 3 hours!

I created a freezer cooking pin board for the recipes on Pinterest if you’re a visual person and for easy repinning :). Go here and check it out! I will also be adding to the board so be sure to follow us!  (The maple dijon chicken and the balsamic glazed drumsticks are tripled to make the 40 meals!)

Looking to start crockpot/slow cooker freezer meals on a smaller scale? Then check out our 20 Meals in 2 Hours and 7 Meals in 1 Hour posts too!

My sweet helper. She was home from school sick. She sure looks sick, doesn’t she? :)

Applesauce BBQ Chicken
Buffalo Chicken
Pesto Chicken (only do the chicken part of this recipe)
Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs
Cilantro Lime Chicken

Green Chile Pork Stew

Easy Pulled Pork
Mongolian Beef
Chicken Tacos
Ranch Chicken Tacos 
Island Chicken
Chicken Cacciatore
Chunky Beef Stew
Beef/Chicken Fajitas
Balsamic Glazed Drumsticks
Orange Chicken
Honey Garlic Chicken
Beef Tips
Teriyaki Chicken

**some of the recipes above don’t have specific crockpot instructions – I cooked them all on low for 6-8 hours**

I happened to hit a great sale at Kroger on meat ($1.68/lb for boneless skinless breasts and thighs!!) so my total for all of the ingredients was $225. I also ended up tripling two of the recipes so my grand total of meals for the freezer was 40. Divided out, that’s $5.63 per meal(main dish)! Feeding a family of 5 with 4 of the 5 eating like adults, I am very happy with that number! I didn’t add a ton of vegetables to these meals because I am not a huge fan of super cooked veggies (it’s a mushy texture thing), so we will add fresh cooked veg to serve on the side for most of these meals! The steam bags of frozen vegetables are the best thing since sliced bread :).

I decided to take the process step by step. First I labeled all of the freezer bags. After that was done, I prepped and chopped all of the vegetables I would need.

Then, I put all of the meat into each freezer bag. Raw meat skeeves me out so I was super happy to get all of the raw meat touching out of the way at once. I was able to wash my hands a million time and bleach the counters after I finished this step ha… :)

Lastly, I added any remaining ingredients to each bag. I had a notebook set up on the counter with each meal and the additional ingredients so I feel that this step went pretty fast. I do admit I am not the best measurer, I tend to eyeball a lot. SO far for the meals we’ve tried- eyeballing works just fine! :)

After 4 hours from start to finish (clean kitchen!) I had 40 meals prepped and ready to go in my freezer. I felt so accomplished! We have eaten many of the meals since then and so far they have all been big hits! I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to come home at 6:30 (with the house smelling delicious, by the way), pop a steamer bag of veggies in the microwave and have dinner on the table in less than 10 minutes. This whole experience has made evenings so much less stressful. I will definitely be making this a regular thing in our house.

To view the entire 40 Meals/4 Hours Recipe Collection with photos, click HERE!
40 Meals in 4 Hours Recipe Collection | Who Needs A Cape?

**EDIT** First I want to thank all of our readers- I am thrilled that there are so many people excited about this post. I have been asked many many times for a master shopping list for these recipes and a wonderful reader took the time to make the list for me! Go HERE for a shopping list for all 40 recipes! 

Check out our other Slow Cooker/Freezer meal posts:

7 Meals in 1 Hour

7 Meals in 1 Hour Crockpot Freezer Cooking Collage | Who Needs A Cape?

20 Meals in 2 Hours

20 Meals in 2 Hours Slow Cooker Freezer Meals | Who Needs A Cape?

30 Summer Freezer Meals in 3 Hours

30 Freezer Meals

The State Fair of Texas
Hiding Birthday Gifts in Balloons

Comments

  1. This is brilliant! I’ve bookmarked this because I’ll definitely use this soon! :-D

    • Dr. Carol Suter says:

      Me, too. As a Marriage and Family Therapist I keep “flexible” hours, and I would love to come home to any one of these dishes.

      • @Dr Carol Suter, As a marriage therapist, you should *suggest* this to spouses who are overwhelmed and under-organized, as a nice “fix”. My own mother suggested starting out at just once/week freezing, just to get used to it. (Don’t forget to add salads to these meals!)

        • I totally agree with you, Jen! :o) Maybe a little printed brochure that could just sit on the desk for them to ”notice” and take home! It could have a list of ideas on how to simplify their days/evenings and references to different helpful blogs/websites!

        • Jen, I should have that painted inside my glasses. Don’t forget the salad! My assistant and I agreed just today that starting after my next shopping trip, she will make one or two small salads and put them in the refrigerator before she leaves each day. She will then put a huge note on the front of the refrigerator that says: Eat Your Salad! I love salad but I don’t like seven of them made in advance and I’m becoming too disabled to function well in the kitchen, so what we decided today is that she will make salads and remind of them and all I have to do is get them out, dress them, and eat them. I love salad! But it is so easy to forget them this time of year. In the summer, I make them on dinner size plates and throw everything in them.

    • I never frozen raw veggies. Do they cook up ok? or, do they become soft? Is there anything that should not be included?
      Thanks

      • Honestly – I don’t think they will be on the crisp side ;) I’m ok with that though – I like my veggies soft

        • when you cook veggies till they are too soft… it reduces the vitamin retention

          • I believe the veggies do lose vitamins, but I have read that is leeches out into the cooking medium (i.e. water, if they are being boiled). In this case, my assumption would be that the veggie vitamins would still be in the other food/gravy that is being cooked. I’m not sure about this, though.

      • With regards to veg going soft, I believe you just have to avoid those with high water content, such as tomatoes (I know, not technically a veg), as the soft flesh doesn’t survive defrosting very well. So, basically you’re fine with root veg, carrots, squash etc.

      • Once it is frozen, you are not going to have a “crisp” veggie, so if that is what you are looking for you may want to make the meal as written but leave out the veggies until you are ready to make it. For instance, Beef and Broccoli. Follow the recipe as written but omit the broc. Then, on the day you are going to make it, use fresh broccoli so you have that crisp veggie you are looking for.

      • really sorry and u have probably heard this before but u could use frozen veggies cause there is a ton of different varieties or blanch them for 2-3 mins then put them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and it also keeps the bright colour.

      • Shirley says:

        Sounds good now if I just get motivated to do it. I’m going to try!!

      • lori Hunsicker says:

        I always frozen raw vegs they cook up better I think

        • I agree lori, I grow my own veggies. At the end of the season, I sliced squash and froze it, as well as brussel sprouts and the rest of the garden. They cooked up just fine. And we had organic veggies all winter.

    • I’ve linked this for my readers on my blog! Great post and my family loved the recipes!
      Trish at moderndaysuperwoman.blogspot.ca

  2. This greatly appeals to me as both a huge fan of Crockpot meals, and a college student.

  3. HungryLittleGirl
  4. One thing I’m curious about… Recipes where you have to prepare the meat before (for example the Mongolian Beef, which requires browning the beef before adding to the other ingredients…) Do you do the browning before, let it cool, then add it to the bag with the rest and freeze?
    Or leave it unbrowned and freeze, then brown it in the morning before adding it?
    Sorry if I sound like a total idiot asking this (what might be totally obvious) question, but if you don’t know… :)

    • I’ve done it both ways, not sure what she did but I either brown it then cool and freeze or brown it quickly before we eat.

    • John, I suspect she browns the meat, allows it to cool, then adds it to the rest of the bag and freezes it. Using raw meat when the recipe calls for cooked rarely turns out well…. don’t ask me how I know this ;-)

    • I did not brown anything before throwing it in the bag nor did I brown it before putting in the crock pot- so far I haven’t found it a necessary step for flavor :). I also left out any flour, etc. so I could make the recipes gluten free. The mongolian beef was DELICIOUS, no browning necessary!

      • Thank you katie, as well Keley and Diane :)

      • I think about beef specifically….do you have issues with the grease from the meat being in the crockpot all day and everything tasting greasy…

        • Use grass fed beef…. There is hardly any fat and it’s healthier for kids and you!

        • The fat (good, bad or otherwise) is truly what gives meat much of it’s flavor, plus soaking up any spices you use – many recipes call for oil/butter to add flavor, but the meat juice does that for you. Cooking all day in it’s own juices is the beauty of slow-cooking meat, nice and juicy and moist, plus “au jus” sauce left over for serving! Perhaps not fabulous for you, but the grease would be there if you roasted in the oven too…

        • I made the beef tips last night and the Mongolian beef two nights ago…trust me, they are delicious! Just follow the recipes as they go ..my husband rushes home for dinner excited ever since I’ve been cooking all these recipes and so far the beef ones has been his favorites! No, there is not a grease issue, you need the grease because that is how you get the gravy, otherwise it would be dry!

      • Oh wow! That’s good/interesting to know. I have recently gone gluten free and lost all my stamina to cook. I do know that you can get gluten free cornstarch to use as thickener. I’m thinking this would be great to do for the next few months with things getting crazy before the holidays . Will cut down in all these nights of grabbing something while out too!

        • I believe that tapioca (which works well in the crockpot) and arrowroot powder (same as tapioca but in powder form- good for stove top) are gluten free… and healthier altogether.

          • You might have a little trial-and-error period while trying various thickeners & their varying ratios of powder to liquid. Arrowroot is VERY different from tapioca or cornstarch! I find that very difference makes it better for some recipes & not with others.

        • Jeannine R says:

          If you sub cornstarch for flour, use half as much!

        • I’m gluten-free (not celiac) and don’t seem to have a problem with corn-starch, could it just be the brand you are using? If I ever need to substitute flour to thicken something I always use the Pamela’s Products Artisan Flour, works every time. Also, with baking, I need to cut the fat in half (for most recipes) and use that flour with no problems. Hope that helps, good luck! :)

        • Is tapioca gluten free? I use it as a thickener all the time and it work well

    • Patricia Combs says:

      I have made a lot of these freezer meals. They taste wonderful and it’s so nice to have them in the freezer for those busy days when I know I won’t have time to cook later.

    • Patricia Combs says:

      I brown the meat let it cool while I make another meal or two. Then add it to the freezer bag and freeze. I’d much rather do it while I’m assembling the meals rather than the day I use the meal because I use these meals on very busy days.

  5. This is awesome!! I am all about making meals ahead of time and using my magical Crockpot to do the work for me!

  6. Thanks for your list of recipes … pinned your post to Pinterest for future reference. I think my family will actually eat most of these without complaint. It’s been challenging looking through loads of crockpot freezer recipes and finding ones that would be beneficial in terms of time, budget and taste :)

  7. Awesome! Thanks for sharing all these recipes! I have somehow jumped onto the freezer cooking bandwagon (a slow, hesitant jump), and it really IS a sanity saver! For these recipes that are not originally labeled as slow cooker recipes, is there anything you’ve done differently (i.e. add more water, sauce, etc.) before throwing it all together? Or did you follow the original recipe as is and it turned out just fine?

    • For the most part I kept the recipe as is. When I go to dump the bag into the crockpot I have been adding a touch of extra chicken broth and whatnot to help keep the recipe from drying out during the day.

      • So for the Pesto chicken recipe, so you freeze the meat/marinade and the sauce? same bag, two bags?? then when you put it in the crockpot you add pasta? did you write a note on your bag that you need to add pasta or did you already have it in the freezer bag??

        • No, all I made from that recipe was the chicken. I rarely eat pasta so I didn’t even plan on making that part of the meal. I put the chicken, marinade, and pesto in one bag and froze. Then when I made it I defrosted the bag and dumped it in the crockpot. No pasta at any point. I think I will need to make my own post for that recipe soon because it has definitely gotten the most questions!

          • I recently came across this amazing site about all the things you can freeze.

            http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/10/31-things-you-can-freeze-to-save-time-and-money.html

            So if you are interested in making the pasta with it, it’s okay to freeze according to that site:

            Pasta
            Whenever you make pasta, go ahead and cook the whole package and freeze any leftovers for later to add to soups and casseroles.
            Or freeze individual size portions in a baggie, making sure to squeeze out the air and get the bag as flat as possible. Reheat by running hot water over the bag for a few minutes!

          • Kourtney – thanks ;)

            I have frozen pasta (as part of soup) and it was meh – ok. I prefer to add it fresh I guess!

  8. This is an absolutely amazing post. The idea of freezing up batches of crockpot meals is pure brilliance. I am so doing this! Thanks for sharing :-)

  9. some of the recipes dont have crockpot instructions. on average how long do you cook yours? do you add them frozen or thaw first?
    thanks!

    • I pull a bag out of the freezer the night before so it thaws in the fridge overnight. Then I just dump it in the crockpot the next morning and go! I almost always cook on low for 6-8 hours depending on how long I am gone during the day. If I am going to be gone longer I will add extra chicken broth so the recipe doesn’t dry out during the day. :)

      • One thing I’ve done if I’m going to be gone for longer than the recipe needs to cook, is to add the meat frozen. I’ve found that by doing that, it gives me a good hour of “buffer” cooking time so as not to dry it out. You could just peel off the plastic bag and stick it in there frozen.

        btw, absolutely brilliant post! I’m going to try that Mongolian Beef for sure.

        • Thank you so much- that’s a great idea!!! And the mongolian beef is to die for- I couldn’t stop eating it!

        • USDA guidlines indicate that you should not add frozen meat to crock pots. Adding the meat frozen can lead to excessive bacteria growth because the temp stays to low for too long. This can lead to you getting sick.

          • I often do frozen meat and have NEVER been sick from it…. but to each his own :)

          • this is weird, even on low, the food in my crockpot gets to boiling point. maybe they mean on warm.

          • Amanda and Erin, I do it all the time to and never have trouble. It always boils on low for me too!

          • You are right Dawn. These are great ideas but frozen meat should NEVER be put in crockpot. Many people have never been sick doing this but it just takes once to jeopardize your family. I would make all these recipes but put meat in separate bag to thaw before cooking. Here is the FDA link:
            http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/a181017c-cc51-4261-bfeb-f78cfc24c022/Slow_Cookers_and_Food_Safety.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

          • Thanks Cyndi for the reply. There are a lot of safety guidelines when cooking dinner! :) Some I am adamant about following – others not so much (i.e. I ate lunch meat when I was pregnant but would NOT TOUCH Sushi – even though Japanese women do every day ;)).

            I appreciate the heads up – but personally I’m pretty comfy with using frozen or partially frozen meat – I’m just probably weird that way.

          • I have two crockpots, the Large one boils on low, the smaller only boils on high and simmers on low.
            I can cook for longer using the small one on high, but the big one is quicker for thick soups and big meals, even whole chickens.

          • Doesn’t it state to allow the food to thaw the night before? So that should never be an issue in the first place.

          • OMG, putting frozen meat in a crockpot is not going to kill anyone esp if it is cooking for 6-8 hours. Yes, there is a higher chance of bacteria growing while it is at a lower temperature BUT by the time you eat it as long as your crockpot is functioning properly it will have killed that bacteria. Yes, the USDA warns against doing it, they have to warn against anything that has potential issues, hence homaginization and pasteurization, both completely UNNECESSARY if the animal is properly inoculated and vetted! It’s a warning nothing else.

          • I really would like to hear more people’s opinions on putting frozen meat straight into the slow cooker and cooking on low for 6-8 hours. I have done it a couple of times when things hadn’t fully defrosted overnight, and didn’t get sick. I used to defrost things covered on the kitchen counter until I read that this was not “safe” so then I started defrosting things in the fridge; although, if your fridge is set too high, things actually stay pretty much frozen for 12 hours or more. The main reason I like to defrost things at least a little is because they are in freezer bags, and I don’t want any plastic from the bag getting into the slow cooker if the bag tears getting frozen food out of the bag. I don’t know what the answer is, but there are so many guidelines that seem designed to just save stupid people from themselves, and the rest of us are left wondering if we are doing anything right anymore. On a side note, we have been having huge debates in our family over sterilising bottles for our baby, and have come to the conclusion that we don’t have to sterilise EVERYTHING EVERY TIME. So… I guess the answer for me is always to find the middle way and follow common sense.

          • Heather says:

            I agree with you. I have done it (the partially frozen in the slow cooker I mean). I have also *gasp* almost always thawed things on the counter for a certain amount of time. Is it “right”? I’m not sure. But I have never had a problem with any meals in the crock pot.

          • My family has put a frozen roast into the crock pot every Saturday night, for dinner on Sunday, for my entire life. None of us (7 in all, and now our own children who eat at grandma’s house on Sundays) have ever gotten sick. We have also always thawed our meat on the counter. Never been sick from that either. My dad is a dairy farmer. We drink raw, unpasteurized milk. Still not sick, in fact, probably have healthier immune systems because of the natural bacteria that is killed during pasteurization that that majority of the public don’t get. But, it’s all going to come down to doing what you feel comfortable with.

          • :)

      • I really wish these were exact, step-by-step, recipes set out JUST for the slow cooker. I am new to this! I suck at cooking, honestly. And I want to try this but the things that you add in, I would know nothing about. And I also know nothing about the slow cooker settings. :( I need step by step directions and help.

        • Jennifer maybe we’ll do a slow cooker 101 guide in the future! Keep us bookmarked!

        • oh and I forgot to mention if you look at some of the posts like the Mongolian beef and the Crockpot Tacos, you will find more details there!

      • how do you keep your chicken from tasting grainy or yucky when it cooks that long in the crock pot? I have stopped cooking chicken in the crock pot because the chicken always gets over-cooked or something and tastes bad. help!!!

        • I use frozen chicken pieces in the crockpot to help with the overcooking. If it takes an hour longer to defrost and cook, that’s one less hour of overcooking.

          • Jessica says:

            I had the same problem with my slow cooker. I was putting the food in at 7am, completely frozen, and not shutting it off until almost 6pm. My chicken was always overdone and I had the Honey Romano Park Chops scorched when I came home. I went online to Bed Bath & Beyond. They have a Cuisinart 6.5 Qt Programmable Slow Cooker. You can program it to cook on low for a length of time and when the timer is up it switches over to warm. I found an online coupon for 20% off and it had free shipping. Solved all of my overcooking problems. BTW, we LOVE all of the recipes under the 20 meals in 2 hours. I haven’t been this relaxed when I walked through the door in over a decade! Thank You!

          • Heather says:

            Sometimes it’s better to invest in a more expensive crock pot…especially when you’re going to be gone that long! SO SO SO happy you love the meals ;)

  10. Love it. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I love this – it has made my life so easy! I have create 3 part so far that is an hour in the kitchen to make 5 meals. My plan is to get 4 part so there are enough meals for a month. I will have to check out the recipes you used above :)
    Here’s my link if you haven’t seen it yet – http://bit.ly/OTYwmn
    I need another freezer to do 40 meals :)

  12. can you come over to my house? I’ll pay for the ingredients :)

  13. This looks great! I was planning at picking up a big pork loin at the warehouse store tonight, and I think I could make a lot of these with it. It will be good to try something new.

  14. Thanks so much for the recipe links. I am headed over to pin your board and take a look.

  15. Do you package the veggies separate from the meat if they aren’t to go in the crockpot together? I see you have lots of veggies, but also mentioned not putting them in the crockpot for fear of the mush.

    • Oh no, the veggies in the picture all went into the bags and into the crockpot. Besides a few of the dishes, the veggies are lacking in the meals I prepared. I just felt like I should mention that we don’t just eat meat for dinner! Those microwave steamer bags of vegetables accompany most of our meals :)

  16. Rudi Pittman says:

    Sorry if I missed something obvious….I don’t normally use pinterest…is there one big grocery list somewhere to purchase EVERYTHING to make the 40 meals? I have an empty freezer and a new crockpot ready to go.

  17. I would love to do this but a couple of my kids won’t eat meat. Any ideas for vegetarian dishes?

    • Late reply I know but there ate multiple cookbooks now specializing in crock pot cooking for vegetarians. Looking through them they are pretty easy to convert to freezer meals.

  18. I think this is a great idea and one I plan to share with some friends who are getting together to do freezer cooking. I do want to stress that your meat should not sit on the counter for 4 hours while you put the bags together. That could possible cause bacteria to grow rapidly. If you divide up your meat and put it back in a cooler with ice or the refrigerator while you make up your meals, you’ll be fine. Just keep it below 40 degrees F.

    • Adding the meat at the very end, before putting the bags in the freezer, might be easiest :)

    • After I took the first grocery photo and also after I took the photo of the bags lined up on my counter the meat went back into the fridge. It did sit on my kitchen table for about 30-45 minutes while finishing up all the other ingredients. Thanks for looking out for me! I think I will try adding the meat in last next time like the poster below suggested!

  19. Sorry if this is a silly question but do you put pasta in the freezer bags or just add it the day you put the ingredients in the crockpot (ie, pesto chicken)?

  20. Love the compilation of meals….Do you think you could give us your grocery list? Why reinvent the wheel, right?

    • Sorry, I had already thrown away the grocery list when I made this post. Next time I will be sure to type it up though!

  21. I shared you post on my blog. Thanks for all the great recipes and inspiration.

  22. Hello. Great meal list. I just have a quick question–which recipes did you triple? And did you double all of them (the ones that weren’t tripled?) Sorry I’m a bit confused on the math!

    • Yes, everything was doubled. I just happened to have more chicken leftover so I got an additional two meals. I tripled the maple dijon chicken and the balsamic glazed drumsticks. So 19 meals doubled = 38 + the 2 additional from ‘leftovers’ = 40 total meals.

  23. Thank you for this post. I love the idea of prepping recipes for the crockpot ahead of time and freezing them.

    Thank you for adding all of the links to the recipes. I already have some that I want to try. Definitely bookmarking this.

  24. Jennifer W says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I love the idea of having many meals ready in the freezer for busy days. This just may be my project for this weekend. I appreciate your sharing!

    Also, your little helper is adorable! She looks happy to be home helping her mommy.

  25. Thank you for this post. Would love your advice on where to find a crockpot that I can set to start AFTER I leave the house. Our routine is out the door by 7:00am and not back to the house until 5:00-5:30pm. Suggestions?

    • I have seen those! that have timers and start and stop at a certain time…My old one used to turn itself to warm after it was done with the cooking time – it was a Kitchen Aide…my she died :)

      • If ur crock doesn’t have a timer…you can always buy a timer that you plug the crock into. We had one for one of our lamps that we used to have it go on when we were out of time….and I used it for my crock…worked great!!

        • What an awesome idea about the timer! I am usually gone about 12 hours and that is too long to cook anything in the crockpot. I usually rely on the hubby (who telecommutes) to throw the meals in a little before lunch time.

        • Viki why have I never thought of that? I cheaped out when buying my new crockpot and I never thought of using one of my light times! GREAT IDEA!

    • I think a better option would be a crockpot that sets to warm when cooking is completed. Otherwise you have raw meat sitting at room temperature for far too long to be considered safe.

  26. I’m excited to do this! And I felt like I was reading about myself when I read your description of handling raw meat…..yuck-O! =)

  27. Question – can you fix the link to the ranch chicken tacos? That sounds really tasty, but it links to the crockpot chicken tacos recipe.

    Thanks for the idea – I think I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!

  28. 1st of all thank you for the great idea!
    2nd do any of these recipes’ leftovers freeze well? I’m only cooking for my 9 year old daughter & myself and still haven’t figured out how to Crockpot small meals without burning them! Leftovers tend to turn into science experiments in our refrigerator unless frozen.

    I’m going to pre-prep & freeze a couple of our favorite recipes

    • You might try subdividing them into smaller amounts and using a smaller crockpot. I have a small one which I use for making rice or 2-3 chicken breasts.
      Otherwise, I think it would be fine to freeze the cooked leftovers if you did it right away (as soon as they are cool enough–that evening or the next day). I don’t know that putting them back in the crockpot would work well.

  29. Tracy Timberlake says:

    You mentioned that you don’t add much veg to the plastic bags. Have you added raw potato before (i.e. for the Hearty Beef Stew) and if so, did they turn out okay after being frozen, thawed and then cooked?

    Thank you SO much for this post! I’m expecting my 4th baby in 4 weeks time and have been working on stocking my freezer ahead of time. I really think this “meals in a bag” idea is going to be a great help!

    • I haven’t had the beef stew yet, it’s been too hot here in TX still for stew :). But I think the potatoes will do fine, they can stand a lot of cooking in my opinion! Also the carrots, onions, and celery will do fine too.

      • Let us know how that works. Usually potatoes don’t freeze well–the texture changes. But I don’t think I’ve frozen raw chunkc of potato before!

      • I use the whole bite sized potatoes in the crockpot, they stand up very well to the longer cooking. Sometimes cut potatoes turn to mush and disappear.

  30. Thank you, thank you! I am preparing to start making more of these freezer meals once we buy our new garage fridge/freezer. It’s awesome that you have put all of these recipes in one place! I’ve also begun following your board on Pinterest! Thanks for doing all the dirty work for us:)

    • Kathleen one way to fill up your freezer is when you make things make double…or when you make something make a VAT :) I do it with spaghetti sauce, chili, soup (I don’t freeze the noodles though add those the day you cook) :)

      • Tracy Timberlake says:

        I agree Heather! Most weeks I only cook twice with each meal doubled, tripled or even quadrupled. An extra portion from Monday becomes Wednesday’s supper, an extra portion from Tuesday becomes Thursdays meal, ideally a portion from each is frozen in our large chest freezer to cover days/weeks I’m too busy to cook and Fridays are along the grilled cheese sandwich lines because my husband and older children are involved in Church activities and something quick & easy to individually prepare is best. Weekends are relaxed and the whole family is involved in meal prep so this is when we get to eat the more ‘special’ kind of meals that involve more work. (BTW, this has also kept my food budget down in a time of rising costs and saves time cleaning up the kitchen too.)

  31. I think other recipes you might like for cr

    • crockpot include taco soup (a Paula Deen Recipe) and lasgana (you could prep meat sauce for freezer, I use a small jar of store brand sauce then add large can tomato purée to stretch that dollar)

  32. SHOPPING LIST FOR CHICKEN RECIPES :
    FREEZER ZIPLOCK BAGS in appropriate size (obviously very important ;-)
    29 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I did not double the recipes, although two of the recipes linked from the blog post are already doubled, the rest are not)
    1.5 lbs Chicken Thighs with skin and bones
    1 ½-2 lbs. + 8 individual boneless skinsless chicken thighs
    8 Chicken drumsticks
    Chunky apple sauce
    17.5 oz bottle of buffalo wing sauce
    Pesto
    Lawry’s Herb and Garlic marinade
    Chicken broth (I will get a couple in the cartoons that can be reclosed rather than a can)
    Dijon Mustard
    Rice or rice wine vinegar
    Chicken taco seasoning
    Fresh limes
    Cilantro (enough for 2 cups when chopped)
    Large bag frozen corn
    2 cans black beans
    28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
    Balsamic vinegar
    Teriyaki sauce
    Red and green bell peppers
    Bag of carrots
    Red onions
    2 large cans of pineapple in juice (not syrup)

    CHECK IF YOU HAVE ON HAND (either for recipes, of if to complete meal, that meal is in parenthesis)
    Salt
    Pepper
    Brown sugar
    Chili powder
    Fresh garlic
    Cumin
    Onions
    Soy sauce (will also use this to replace Tamarin in Balsamic Glazed Chicken recipe)
    Oregano
    Honey
    Lemon Juice
    Maple Syrup
    Olive oil
    Coconut oil
    Half and Half (Pesto Chicken meal completion)
    Fresh pico de gallo (Chicken Tacos)
    Fresh rosemary (Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs)
    Zucchini or squash, maybe mushrooms (Chicken Cacciatore)
    Ranch dressing seasoning packages (dry)
    A Sharpie to write on outside of bag any directions/aditions/meal suggestions

    What I will need to add to make it a meal (these are my ideas, not necessarily suggested from the recipe links):
    1. Apple Sauce BBQ Chicken: potatoes and green beans
    2. Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches: Hoagie rolls, green salad or cole slaw, chips
    3. Pesto Chicken: Noodles with sauce (recipe for sauce is at link for recipe for chicken)
    4. Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs: Bushes beans, French fries or tater tots
    5. Cilantro Lime Chicken: chips and salsa, tortillas, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, corn, Spanish rice
    6. Chicken Tacos: tortillas, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream
    7. Island Chicken: Green beans, mashed potatoes
    8. Chicken Cacciatore: Pasta
    9. Balsamic Glazed Chicken (use soy sauce, not Tamarin in recipe): brocilli with cheese, rice
    10. Honey Glazed Chicken: Rice, Asian vegetables (from Aldi)
    11. Teriyaki Chicken: rice

    • This was awesome. I am SUPPOSED to be on bed rest here at 32 weeks pregnant, but I have a 4 and 5 year old, so it’s difficult. Luckily my sister has been staying here for a few weeks. She doesn’t really cook, but she was willing to go to the store and get everything on the shopping list (although I halved it because I wanted to be sure each recipe was approved before I made double). She is at the store right now, and I am writing out all of the recipes on index cards for my box, which will also make it easier to know which ones were approved, because I can trash the rest (Tip from another commenter). I am just now looking at all the little extra things I will need that weren’t on the list posted above, like pasta noodles and tortillas. I thought this would be awesome for when I am going into labor/recovering so that we can all still have home cooked meals without the effort of ordinary cooking, but I wish I had taken the time to look at each individual recipe before because I needed things like tortillas and buns just for the main dishes that were not on the list linked above. I’m not about to complain because that is my own fault, but this list is extremely helpful. I can also still use the bottom portion just to stock up on the extras in a separate trip (:

  33. Excuse the typos in my previous post, I am sitting in Ukraine during the 10 day waiting period of our family’s adoption a teenage girl, and after having been here now 4 weeks as of today, creating this list was a very productive thing for me to do during this time of waiting…since I noticed there were so many chicken recipes, I focused on those and will make my own list with more beef and pork recipes :-) Hope this is a blessing! Thanks, Katie, for coming up with all these great ideas and posting them :-)

  34. I love this post and I actually think it’s genius!
    Thank you so much for sharing this at Wednesday Extravaganza! Hope to see you there this week too :)

  35. I made the maple Dijon recipe but with wild turkey and oh my delish, not to mustardy for us at all! i plan on making the Mongolian beef but with venison as well. So I was just wondering because I’m not freezer meal savoy at all, I already have lots of frozen wild turkey and venison so could I make all of the ingredients exclude the meat, freeze them and then defrost along with my meat for the following day and the dishes will still turn out tasty or does having the ingredients with the meat freezing together add to the taste of the dish?

  36. Awesome website! I am new to freezer cooking – could you clarify something for me? Do I just put all of the ingredients into the bags and ignore the directions for cooking? Thanks!

    • Yep, that’s what I did. I cook all of the meals in the crockpot on low for 6-9 hours depending on how long I’ll be gone. If it’s towards the longer end- I’ll add some extra liquid so it doesn’t dry out through the day.

  37. Just wondering, and you may have answered this question for someone else, but what size crock pot are you using? I know if there is too much space left at the top of the crock, your contents will cook quicker than you want them to ie: 8 hours. Do you use a 4 quart for most of your recipes? I look forward to giving this a try.

    • I am pretty sure mine is a 6 qt. cooker. If I am going to be longer than 6-8 hours away I will add extra liquid so it doesn’t dry out.

  38. Do you have a grocery list for all these great recipes? ;) I’m being really lazy I know…but hoping you might share the grocery list as well. This has been my biggest challenge of late..(daily meals)…after 7 kiddos and 23 yrs of marriage you would think I would be a pro. {:-x

  39. You are a god to me! Thanks!

  40. I love this idea. I just wish there were some vegetarian dishes!

  41. The shopping list has flank steak listed on it. What recipe is this for? I have searched through them all and can’t find it. All of the beef ones seem to require stew meat. Please help! I bought 3 lbs! -)

    • I used flank steak for the beef fajitas. It was also originally used in the mongolian beef recipe but I used stew meat there because it was cheaper. Hope that helps!

  42. Do you freeze the raw meat and the raw veggies in the same bag?

  43. How many people did you prepare these meals for? I have a family of 8 should I make more?

  44. quick questions… does each recipe make a double batch? is that how you ended up with so many meals?

    • Each recipe is only meant to make one batch so I did double every recipe and then had enough chicken leftover to make a triple batch of the balsamic chicken and the maple dijon chicken. So that is where the 40 meals came from. Thanks for asking!

  45. I love this plan. I am nervous/curious about freezing the raw potatoes but I will give it a try and see what happens.

    For easy planning ahead of these recipes (we are a family of 8 with five boys!) I love the Excel Spreadsheet from FoodStorageMadeEast.net. I entered every meal (in the doubled amounts) plus a few extra meals we normally eat and it automatically calculates how much of every ingredient is needed for one and three months. Here’s the link:

    http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/babysteps/step-3-three-months-of-normal-food/

  46. Are all recipes for a serving size of 4 adults? It’s just me and my husband and our 2 month old at home, so would I theoretically be able to make 4 bags per recipe if I bought what is listed on the grocery list?

    • We feed 2 adults and 3 small kiddos with these meals. I guess you could get 4 bags per recipe with the shopping list though I’m not sure how the smaller quantities would work in the crockpot. You may need to adjust the cooking time so it doesn’t overcook.

  47. Thomasina Zuver says:

    Unable to find individual crock pot recipes the link keeps saying unavailable. Can I find these somewhere else, really want to try the 40 Meals Crockpot recipes!! Thanks!

    • Hi! Thanks for alerting me, the pinterest board link has been fixed! All of the individual recipe links are in the main post as well.

  48. I clicked on your master shopping list and the recipes & it won’t open? Is there something I’m doing wrong? I own and operate a salon and my husband passed away last December , he had a business i am now CEO of ,so I am extremly busy use my crock pot often and would love to prepare 40 meals ahead of time!!! Is it possible for you to email me the shopping list and recipes? If you can’t I understand ! Thank you!!
    Jodi

  49. Applesauce BBQ Chicken and Beef Stew, How long to cook in the crock? The recipe links just mentioned how to cook them stovetop/oven
    Thanks!!

  50. Can you use the individually quick frozen chicken in the recipes? We buy all of our meat in bulk at Sam’s and am wondering if this will effect the preparation or end results?


  51. mop it up mondays

  52. Thanks so much for sharing! Im just started planning some Freezer recipes, and Im looking forward to it!

    Following you from “Marvelous Monday” linky party. =)

  53. Is there a way to print all the recipes at once? Thanks!

  54. I wish I had the freezer space for all that! Thanks for linking up to The Best of 2012 Link Party! Diana

  55. What's cooking, love?

  56. YOU ARE MY HERO! I needed someone to organize this for me… thanks so much!

    hugs x
    Crystelle

  57. The shopping list does not list hoisin sauce. Is the 2 bottles of spicy BBQ sauce meant to substitute for the hoisin sauce?

  58. Thanks so much for linking up with us at Foodie Friends Friday this week. LOVE crock pot and freezer meals!

  59. one of the recipes (balsamic glazed drumsticks) calls for coconut oil, and I do NOT see that on the shopping list. perhaps it can be added.

    • I don’t think the coconut oil is a MUST HAVE ingredient for most people. Olive oil would do the job just fine :).

      • Would someone explain how to do the balsamic-glazed-drumsticks http://www.marksdailyapple.com/balsamic-glazed-drumsticks/
        Do I just dump everything in a freezer bag or do I pre cook the chicken legs?

        • Just dump everything into the bag (raw) and freeze. You will cook the chicken legs in the crockpot. :)

          • This is my first time to do anything like this, so I’m sorry I’m so daft! On each of these recipes, do I just put all of it into the bag and freeze? On the preparation (to make it easier), do you chop all veggies first? Do you cut any of the meat first? Do I need to click on each recipe separately to prepare each meal for the bag, or do you have a master order? Thanks so much!

          • You do have to click each recipe to see the recipe :) and yes chop your veg, cut any meat as per the recipe instructions, put all ingredients into a bag and freeze (don’t forget to label it!!!)

            Have fun!

  60. I want to try this but I’m a little leery of freezing fresh veggies… Usually you blanch veggies before freezing them. Has anyone had a problem with this? Maybe I’m just over thinking it??

    • I haven’t had any problems whatsoever. Even the potatoes in the beef stew held up perfectly!

    • You usually blanch veggies if you’re doing long-term freezer storage (eating over a year,etc). Since these are used within a month, they should be fine without blanching.

  61. Michelle Pro says:

    Your picture shows red potatoes and zucchini but they aren’t on the grocery list–is that a different recipe?

    • The red potatoes I subbed for white potatoes (which is on the list). Just a personal preference. The zucchini I used in the chicken cacciatore and it’s not in the original recipe- just something I decided to add myself :).

  62. Thanks for the great recipes! One questions on the orange chicken. The link has it made stovetop. How have you altered the recipe to freeze and cook in the crockpot?

    • I just throw all the ingredients into the bag (except the green onions) and freeze. Then defrost in the fridge, dump in crockpot, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. :)

      • I was curious about the same thing, but for the Applesauce Barbecue Chicken, just to confirm for every recipe listed that is stove top do you just use the same cook time (low for 6-8 hours)?

        • Yep, I cook everything on low for 6-8 hours. If I am going to be longer than 8 hours I will add more liquid (chicken broth usually) so the meat doesn’t dry out while I’m gone. I hardly ever use the high setting on my crock pot.

  63. I love your list. I do this every few months and it saves so much time. My husband is a coach and both my kids are involved in sports AND I teach…talk about no time. This allows us to eat healthy! Come visit my brand new blog http://www.lifelaundryandlaughter.com I’m just getting started in the blogging world.

  64. I was very disappointed! this did not take 4 hrs ! It took me a day and a half . I don’t know if this person had some kind of help but they had to to only take 4 hrs ! I hate false advertising. If you are short on time and looking to do this . I would advise against it.

    • “This person” did not have any help, with the exception on my two year old daughter who was home sick from school. The planning and shopping was not included in the 4 hours but I absolutely did package all the meals and clean up my kitchen in 4 hours start to finish. I am sorry that it took you a day and a half, sounds like you weren’t organized enough. Thanks for stopping by!

      • “This Person” put all of this togetther for others to share. EVEN prepared the shopping list!!!! My husband actually helped me do it today and it did take us longer then four hours. That does not mean that she didn’t get it done in four hours and either way I appreciate all of the work she put in that I didn’t have to do!! I am sure we were not nearly as organized as her and that is why she was faster. Either way I think this is awesome and I very much appreciate all the work you put into this Katie. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!! I can’t wait to start trying the different meals

        • No, thank you Felicia for the kind words. I really appreciate it!! :) Come back and let me know how you guys liked the meals!

      • It is possible that the problem is a difference in kitchen skills. It would take a lot more than four hours for some skill levels.

        I have mad knife skilz. (Lived a few years with a chef) It took me about two and a half hours to make 40 meals when I did my own freezer cooking session.

        But yeah, I think four hours to do this is about average.

      • I just did half of these (got a picky family) and it took me a total of 2.5 hours WHILE preparing homemade chicken stock and dealing with three kids under 5 :) I prepared ahead of time and read everything so I knew for the most part what was going into each recipe. Katie, I am so grateful for your time and all the work you put into posting this with pictures, shopping lists, etc! I know it was hard work :) Thanks again. I am very excited to have come across this!

    • wow… celeste is not too nice! katie, thanks for putting everything together for all of us to use!

  65. So on recipes like the buffalo chicken, you put the chicken, sauce, butter, and ranch all into the bag and freeze. Then thaw and throw in crockpot. Just making sure that we are just dumping all of the ingredients into the bag?

    Thanks so much! Can’t wait to get started!

    • Also, do you rub the pork before you put it in the freezer or after?

      • I didn’t rub the spices in, I just put them in the bag over the pork :). I really like taking the easiest way out haha!

    • Yep, that’s exactly what I do- just dump and freeze! Then when you are ready to make just defrost and dump :). I hope it works well for you too!

  66. Question….for the pesto chicken….do you put marinade and sauce and chicken – all in the same bag? and then that is what you pour over the pasta? and do you put pasta in the crock – after you cook it? Sorry – i know you might feel like you are repeating yourself. THANKS!!

    • No, you’re fine! I actually only made the pesto chicken from that recipe – no pasta. But yes, I put the marinade and the pesto in the bag with the chicken. If you wanted the pasta, definitely don’t put it in the crockpot, just cook it that night right before you serve dinner.

  67. jessica edmonds says:

    I have been reading through some of your comments, I hope to do this tomorrow, it seems to me that you just take the ingredients and throw them all in a bag (uncooked) then thaw and place in crockpot for 6-8hrs on low, am I getting that right? I was going to print the recipes but don’t want to waste paper if its easier to do it this way….. Thank you so much!

  68. Wow! I have never frozen any meals before, but I use my crockpot all the time. I have a new baby and work all day, so this idea sounds like a lifesaver! Just curious- can you do freezers meals with any crockpot recipe? I am on a tight budget so I don’t want to mess up and waste anything. Thanks!

  69. Thank you for sharing your recipes with us! But I have to say, I did not think there was another person in the world like me who hates touching raw meat!!! Everything you did, I do the same thing!! Glad to know I am not alone!

  70. I am a huge fan of this idea. That being said, I am trying to reduce our meat intake and am interested in this same concept but with some vegetarian fare. Have you any vegetarian recipes?

  71. Your post says 40 meals, but I only see recipes for 19. Am I missing something?

    • Yes, if you read through the post- you’ll see that I ended up tripling 2 of the recipes to get to a total of 40 meals. :)

  72. I had the delight of spending an afternoon preparing crockpot freezer meals with my daughter in law before our grandson was born. Since then I have shared the idea with several of my soon to be grandma friends. And I’m about to spend another afternoon preparing meals with my daughter who is about to bless us with a grand daughter. This is a wonderful way to spend time with my girls and be a genuine help to them. Thank you for sharing all your research with us!

  73. I see that you don’t brown the meat before placing in bag–do you still add the fat (olive oil, etc.) that the recipe called for to brown the meat given you aren’t doing that?

  74. OK for example on the beef and chicken fajitas it is a meal that’s to be cooked in the oven.. So you just throw all the ingredients in the bag and thaw the night before and cook in the oven? Silly question I know, but I want to be clear before I make all this stuff lol

    • No, I still make it in the crockpot! You *can* cook it in the oven obviously, but I wanted a crockpot meal :). It works GREAT! So thaw overnight, dump in the crockpot, turn it on low and cook for 6-8 hours. Add a touch more liquid if you’ll be gone longer than that.

      • Awesome. Thank you. I’ve been investigating recipes all morning and am starting to organize this. Baby #2 is due in 10 weeks and my husband is taking off a few weeks we wanted to be able to just enjoy her and not have to really do anything. This will be wonderful. Thank you so much!

  75. Linda Combs says:

    Just bookmarked this and wanted to thank you for all of the work to put together the info. I ended up unearthing the crockpot not long after the oldest granchild came to live with us. He is ALWAYS hungry at dinnertime and my husband and I have hectic schedules. The crockpot totally came into play six weeks ago when the husband had a car accident and I have been spending a lot of time with care giving and doing all of the driving in addition to my work as a City Council Member and of course there were the holidays ! These ideas and all the instructions help tremendously.

  76. Great idea! I am planning to do my first freezer cooking day soon, thanks for the tips!
    I would love to have you share this (and anything else you have been working on) at my linky party! http://domesticrandomness.blogspot.com/2013/01/friday-fascinations-8-everything-linky.html

  77. This is simply amazing! I did something similar before the arrival of my 3rd and would love to do it again! I just don’t know how you managed to do it all in 4 hours! It took make a few days but I’m going to blame it on being full term with two little ones and only having a little time LATE at night.

  78. This is all so great! But some of your recipes don’t have crock pot directions? Like the Pesto Chicken. I even went to your pinterest board and they don’t have the directions either. Any chance of you sharing how you did those recipes via freezer into crockpot?

    • Any of the recipes that don’t have crockpot directions- I cooked them on low for 6-8 hours after they had been defrosted. Thanks!

  79. Love this! Just wondering which two meals you tripled. Shopping on Sat :)

    • I tripled the maple dijon chicken and the balsamic glazed chicken legs. These two aren’t accounted for in the shopping list- I just overestimated the amount of chicken and had some leftover :)

  80. My sister and law and I did this together a few weekends ago, we each went home with meals (we got 34 out of it), and it was fantastic! We are about halfway through trying them, and I had some suggestions. 
    -BIGGEST ADVICE: REVIEW THE RECIPES AND MEAT QUANTITIES BEFORE YOU SHOP!!
    -Following the directions, and accounting for larger portions, we still WAY underestimated the chicken. I was under the impression that each recipe served 4, and I could have mis-read it, but based on the directions we easily needed to double the drumsticks and thighs, and still didn’t make it, even though we had 3 extra bags of boneless skinless chicken. We are feeding a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 kids) who don’t eat a whole lot and a family of 4 (2 adults, one who eats like 2 adults, 1 kid, 1 toddler). BUT, boneless skinless chicken came to the rescue, and we were able to supplement with those.
    -I did not defrost before adding to the crockpot, and everything was great!
    -We had a lot of canned tomatoes left over. Don’t know if again we mis-read, but we followed the grocery list to a T. (don’t open all your cans at once, open as you go to avoid this)
    -We added fresh vegis to the following: zucchini and mushrooms to the cacciatore, zucchini to the beef stew) *** we chopped all into larger chunks and it worked out well, they did not disintegrate
    - Keep some stock and CORNSTARCH on hand. If you need to thin out, or thicken.. I thickened the cacciatore and the man pleasing/honey dijon chicken so far (served over mashed potatoes was great!!) It made a huge difference!
    -Pulled pork was AMAZING!! I served like this: French roll sliced in half longways. Butter then toast under broiler. Add meat with some juice = YUM!

    All in all this was GREAT! We haven’t had anything we don’t like yet, and I cna’t wait to do it again!! Thank you!

    • This is so awesome ;) I can’t speak for katie – But I’m LOVING That you did this ;)

    • You explained this perfectly! We just finished prepping all the meals last night. We had to spread it out over a couple of nights. We ended up with 36 meals. You are exactly right about reading the recipes first!! We underestimated the chicken as well and ended up making multiple trips to the store. We also ended up with some extra tomatoes and canned goods, but I’m sure they will come in handy soon. I followed that shopping list exactly, but now wish I had read the recipes and jotted notes. We tried the Mongolian Beef tonight. It was delicious. I would add to your tips to buy BONELESS, SKINLESS everything! (with the exception of drumsticks of course) Deskinning chicken was not fun and added extra time. Excited to try tomorrow’s meal!!

  81. Thank you for sharing. I can’t freeze 40 days worth because I don’t own a generator yet, but I do need to start freezing a week’s worth on Saturdays. Your post has been helpful in my research.

  82. planetmaxwell says:

    I was part of a neighborhood cooking co-op for many years, and we basically did this every month. It was awesome…we have since moved, and I miss my co-op very much!! I’m going to use this article and do it myself!! So much easier to have frozen meals than to think of something to cook at 4pm… =)

  83. Wow, what a great menu you put up. I’ll look forward to adding some of these recipes to my mix. On wrestling tournament days I love to use the crock pot since we’re too tired to even reheat food at the end of the day.

  84. Bought everything on shopping list. Trying to make sure I just put all ingredients in bags (raw and all), freeze, thaw night before using and cook 6-8 hours following day?

  85. What recipe is the beef flank used in?

  86. Awesome recipes!! I did 5 of them to start me off. I tried 1 on Sunday to run it through. I know now to thaw before placing in crockpot. Amen to some sanity.

  87. I’m sorry if this was asked already but I don’t have time to read all 200+ comments… :) I’m a little confused, some of the recipes you linked to require multiple steps of cooking, do you just skip all that? For example the Pesto Chicken – the recipe says to heat olive oil, cook garlic, add pesto, simmer in chicken broth, etc……. Do you just put all the ingredients in the bag and not do these steps?? TIA!!!!

  88. I just wanted to comment on a few of the recipes I’ve made so far. The fajitas were amazing (although I cooked them in a skillet), the cilantro lime chicken was delicious ( I mixed in some cooked brown rice, a little guacamole and some homemade salsa before rolling them in a tortilla shell), the Mongolian beef was good/great (although I’ll add some peppers next time) and the beef tips were soooo good (I thickened the sauce with a little bit of cornstarch before serving over mashed potatoes. these would also be good with mushrooms added during the last 30 minutes of cooking). The only ones that I probably won’t make again are the Orange chicken and the teriyaki chicken. Thanks for the great recipes!!!

    • applesauce BBQ chicken and pork Chile stew were also yummy! A drop of sour cream, some shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips took the stew from delicious to OMG!!!

  89. Wow!!!!

    Had to pin this!

  90. Have you ever seen potatoes turn a dark color after freezing and then cooking them?

    • Nope. The red potatoes I used stayed the right color and consistency after freezing and cooking.

      • Sometimes when potatoes are cut up and sit out in the open while waiting to be bagged, they will turn dark. I like to keep any cut up potatoes in a bowl of water to prevent that from happening. A trick I learned from my grandmother. :)

  91. Mary Hall says:

    So excited! Picked up everything to do this yesterday and today we are going to assemble the bags. We both work full time, run a parttime business and I am the mayor of a small town. This doesnt even take into account that we have three kids still at home! Our 16 year old is going to love this! I would like to see more beef recipes (my hubby is totally a “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner!” kinda guy). Any suggestions?

  92. You had me at $225 for the month! I’m definitely doing this next month and I only have two adults to feed. Thank you!!!

  93. This is extremely Smart. Since 40 or even 20 doubling sounds a little overwhelming to me personally. I am doing this today for about 7-10 dinners. For me baby steps on anything to start. That is why I love this whole blog, you take away what works best for you and your family. You can modify any of these dishes and even add some of your own that you know well.
    Great Job. I just finished making my list, now I’m going to shop, then prepare. Thank you for the great idea, and even more the Motivation.

  94. This looks amazing. I feel inspired to start planning ahead more!

  95. What a fantastic post! Even though its summer here in Australia and not the best weather for hot meals, I’m putting this one away in the vault for winter time. Just excellent information. Thank you so much for sharing at Thriving on Thursday last week. I’m featuring this tomorrow. I do hope to see you again.

    Anne xx

  96. Hi there! I’ll be guest blogging about my experience doing this “40 meals in 4 hours” starting this Friday. Just wanted to let you know, as I’ll be sure to link to the post! :)

    (I normally would blog via my website for Chicago-area photography at http://www.appelmanimages.com – but this guest blogging spot is obviously about food and family!)

    (Sorry, I posted this comment on the wrong page originally!)

  97. Do you have an itemized list of groceries and recipes on one site/area so we can just go shopping and not go to a different site for every recipe?

  98. I noticed for the Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs there is not a specific amount listed for the chicken thighs? How many did you use or would you recommend?

    I absolutely LOVE this post and am so excited to get it all prepped. The recipes all sound amazing! Thank you for taking the time to put it all together!

    Kate

  99. When you made the Orange Chicken, what exactly did you just add all the ingredients to the bag and freeze? Silly question I’m sure, but when I went to the recipe, there was nothing there about freezer cooking for that dish. Thanks!

    • Yep, that’s exactly what I did. Dumped all the ingredients in a bag and froze (except the green onions- I didn’t freeze those since they are a garnish:) )

  100. I’ve fallen in love with freezer cooking! You can see my post about my first time here.

    http://craftsbycj.blogspot.com/2012/05/cook-thon.html

    Can’t wait to try some of these recipes!

    ~CJ

  101. I am another mom that is creeped out by raw meat. The solution we came up with was to buy a box of gloves (the kind used in the doctor’s office) to wear during the process. We buy most of our meat in bulk cases of 20 to 40 pounds and repackage it ourselves at home (vacuum seal and freeze). That way, your hands are clean the moment you need to take them off. For my sanity, it was a very inexpensive price. <3

  102. If your recipe calls for beef or chicken broth, does that go into the bag with the meat for freezing as well? I just wonder how the broth would do for freezing. I want to do this for my stepson when we go visit him, but if I tell him that there are additional steps (such as the physically demanding task of having to actually open a can of chicken broth), he likely won’t do it :)

    • If it’s just a cup or so of broth, I’ll go ahead and add it. If it’s 2 or more cups I just make a note an dadd it later otherwise it takes up too much space in the freezer.

  103. Awesome job. I am picking and choosing some recipes right now, but will roll out the whole thing over summer. Fringe benefits of being a teacher. That and it will save tons of money in the long run.

    Thanks for a great post.

  104. Thank you for posting this! I just had a baby a month and a half ago and made 30 of these! So far 2 of the 3 we have tried have been successes!! My question is – do you add water to the crockpot for any of the recipes? I’m finding that if there isn’t much liquid they are burning/sticking to the crockpot (even after spraying with PAM). I don’t want to ruin the recipes by adding water…but don’t want to burn it either. So water or no water? Or how do you avoid this? I’ve used the liners before but would rather not of possible. Thanks!

    • Whitney says:

      If you feel a recipe is dry you can always add chicken/beef/vegetable broth to not take away from flavor.

  105. Just wondering how long these meals are ok to last in freezer? I’m expecting #2 soon and hubby isn’t the best cook so want to be prepared.
    Thanks!

  106. Karen Nejedly says:

    I’m disappointed there isn’t a single vegetarian option….

  107. Had meal #1 last night – Beef Stew – it was delicious! I couldn’t believe how a few simple ingredients could taste so good. Applesauce BBQ Chicken tonight! Thank you so much for all the hard work that went into compiling these recipes!

  108. Anastasia says:

    Hey! I love this idea and would really like to try it, but I am a little confused. It says 40 meals in 4 hours… but, I don’t see 40 recipes. Do you have a list or attachment of all recipes and grocery list that you could email me? Thanks! :)

  109. is there a easy way to print out all the recipes too?

    • If the recipe is one of ours on our site they are all printable from zip list so yes. If it is on another blog – it’s out of our control;)

      • Kristel Nickerson says:

        whats with the cillantro lime chicken recipe…. cant find a link to the ingredients or the how to… help!

        • The website for that one seems to be down for me right now, it’s not my website but it should come back up soon! I apologize for that.

  110. I’m assuming that you did not leave all those bags with meat out on the counter for four hours. That you put them back in to the refrigerator and took a few out at a time to fill. Raw meat out for four hours is a recipe for illness. Please tell me you didn’t do that.

  111. Wow thanks. Going to try these out. I love freezer cooking . Those slow cooker liners and steam bags freak me out though. I worry about the chemicals leaching out to the food. Thanks again for the recipes!

  112. For the life of me I cannot figure out why flank steak is on the shopping list!!! I have printed and scrutinized every recipe and do not see it!! I also used an average of 3 large chicken breasts for those recipes (some called for 4) and I had to return to the store for more. Same with the drumsticks and thighs….so I think I will revise my shopping list next time….Cannot wait for next Sat. though when a friend of mine is joining me for “Crock Pot Crazy Day”!

    • I just did it yesterday and found the same thing. Had to go back for more of the meat and we didn’t even make the chicken ranch tacos. Also was missing the half and half on the list as well as the mushrooms. I think there may have been some others as well. Though IO still think it is great and can’t wait to try them.

      • I apologize for you not having enough meat on hand to make the recipes. I admit I eyeballed most of the meat when I was buying and placing in the bags (which is how I ended up with enough extra to triple a couple of the recipes). About the missing ingredients, the half and half was for the pasta part of the chicken pesto recipe- I did not freeze that part of it, only the chicken part. The mushrooms I’m pretty sure are from the maple dijon chicken and Heather specified that she added those for her own tastes and noted they would not be on the shopping list. I hope you still were able to get through all of the recipes and that your family enjoys them!!

  113. Whitney says:

    Is the grocery list with the recipes already doubled?

  114. Did you use quart size or gallon size bags? Thanks!

  115. 22 meals in 6 hours even with a school pickup. You must be MEGA organized and quick to have done it in 4! I watch my DVR while I am working though so i think it slows me down :) Thanks for all the hard work!

  116. Do you have to defrost these before you pop them in the crockpot? how do you suggest doing this? I am seriously considering this.. My husband and daughter are picky.. no maple anything.. no pesto! ack! Such complainers! Looks great though!

    • Yes, defrost first. I pull a bag at the night before and defrost it in the fridge. They are usually mostly defrosted by morning :).

    • Nicola A says:

      I did not defrost, and put everything in frozen. Everything turned out great!

  117. WOWEEEE!! I will do the crock pot recipes, I was just too timid in the past for such an undertaking. Now I can stop being a weenie and bag up my dinners, throw them in the pot and not have to hear my husband ask, whats for dinner and I say I don’t know, what do you want, and he says I don’t know and we stare at each other for 30 mins, then I am too tired to cook, then we order out! EXPENSIVE!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for saving my marriage and my money, not in that order! :)

  118. I make freezer meals about 5-6 times a year. I am excited to try some of your recipes. One helpful tip I have is that I created 2″x4″ labels with the name of the meal and any directions needed for my favorite meals. When I make the meals, I update the label with the date and print them out. These adhere surprisingly well to the bags.
    The big advantage to this is that my son or husband can prepare the meal. Another plus is that I have been able to share meals with new moms etc. they have a meal ready to go when they need it, and all the directions are easy to see and follow.
    Thanks for sharing!

  119. I am going to be reviewing your recipes on my blog, The GOOD Pins. I love the concept and the recipes look simple yet delicious so I cant wait to try them out, photograph them and share them with my readers. Will definitely send them here!

  120. Heather says:

    I am totally going to try this! Katie, I have tried to compile everything into a Word document, so if you are interested in having a copy email me and I will send it to you and maybe you can somehow make it available for everyone? :)

  121. I’m not sure if this question has been asked thus far..so humor me, please. ;) We have a family of eight and all six kids eat fairly well. Would I need to double these recipes or just some ? And if so, would I need to use two crockpots or just one? I believe my largest is a 6qt. Your thoughts?? Thanks a ton!! I look forward to trying these asap.

  122. that is a lot of chicken! Lol

  123. Help! I used the grocery list and bought the flank steak but I can’t figure out what recipe to use it with, looks like most of the beef recipes call fro stew meat. Thanks!

  124. Is the master list of ingredients for just the 19 recipes or the 19 recipes doubled?

  125. Melissa P. says:

    Now this is funny, but NOT! Don’t forget, like I did, to put freezer bags on your shopping list too!!! Had to make second trip to store!

  126. Just a quick thanks…. we had a “crockpot freezer prep party” with 3 of my girlfriends at my house. Here’s hoping that the recpies work out since we “might” have had a few glasses of wine while prepping ! Thanks again for all your hard work.
    ~Suze

    • You are so welcome! I love the party idea and the wine even more :):):). I hope you all enjoy them!!

  127. I just wanted to say thank you so, so much for posting this! I’m due in November with our 4th child, and the others think that they need to be fed…every day, for some utterly unknown reason. ;) I fully plan to take an afternoon in late October and get all of these made up so I can relax a little about meal planning when the baby gets here.

  128. How do you not go broke buying all the gallon sized bags to put the food in?

  129. Ben Karlin says:

    I am a raw meat skeever as well and it is a source of endless humiliation. So many people think it is hilarious that something so ordinary freaks me out so completely. In 1980 we were expecting a baby so good man, I carried groceries up from the car. On the bottom of the bag, meat-side down was hamburger and as I walked it was all I could feel. Got all the way to the back porch before it got to me and I heaved into the bags. Wife was not thrilled. But it felt horrible!

  130. Do you think I can bake these recipes in the oven? I hate the texture of meat from slow cookers.

  131. samantha says:

    I want to start off by saying I followed the shopping list to a T and all of the recipes. This sounds good in theory but in reality not so much. I also have a family of five with two eating as toddlers and three adults. The shopping list was totally off with meat especially the chicken by 35 pieces. The beef recipes needs to triple also. I was very excited when I started and very quickly became disappointed as the days added up. There was not enough for my family to eat on a bunch of occasions. She says it only took 4 hours it took me almost 9 straight hours to put all the dinners together. Also They were very bland in taste except for the Pesto Chicken. TWO THUMBS DOWN would never do this again. :(

    • Suzanne says:

      I also found the list to be off a bit. I needed a LOT more soy sauce. In the end, I blame myself for not making my own list.

    • Yeah, I don’t blame you for being mad, esp. after what you paid for it. :P I am always amazed at people complaining about FREE STUFF on the Internet. No vegetarian options! This took me a long time! Blah blah blah.. Make your own list….Or gasp, make the meals with what you have and then buy the rest to supplement later. Jeez Louise people….whine, whine whine. I FOR ONE THANK the author of this for giving me the idea and giving me the groundwork to build on.

      • Here Here, Karen !! I couldn’t have rebuked her better myself !

        I used these recipes to get my family through a recent hand surgery that I had done. I didn’t make all of them, made adjustments when I needed to for taste, serviings etc. They were a life saver ! The family (hubby, sons of 23, 20 and 16) were thrilled to have dinner on the table and we picked several new family favorites from this adventure. DEFINITELY going to do this again!! I’ve shared this website with many folks and they are excited to.

  132. Patty White says:

    Thanks for the great Idea!!! I have to be honest, I did not follow your recipes, but took the idea and followed recipes from a crock pot recipe book, life is easier and I think my family is happy you posted this, because we were getting tired of fast food meals!!!! I am usually gone most of the day and the last thing I want to do is come home and cook, side dishes are always welcome when there is enough time for it, but don’t have to worry for the whole meal, you are a genius!!!!

  133. Shirley says:

    I use my crockpot alot in the winter. I love to put a lean pork roast in with a can of cream of mushroom soup and frozen carrots. This wonderful served with rice and a salad.

  134. Kristine says:

    Thank you for sharing all your hard work with all of us. I’m excited to do this. I love not having to worry about ‘what’s for dinner’ when the family asks. Thank you!!!!

  135. I LOVED this post! I read it a while back and it was my inspiration for freezer meals! We used to spend about $120.00 per week on groceries, I now spend $168.00 for an ENTIRE MONTH worth of food. AMAZING!!

    I featured this on my blog and gave my own spin on it! Hope you don’t mind, I made sure to give you credit.

  136. The master list is doubled already? Or do I need to double that?

  137. Suzanne says:

    I didn’t read through all the comments, so I may be asking a duplicate question. If so, I apologize in advance.

    I had a few bags LEAK. (I used Ziploc brand gallon freezer bags). This was a HUGE MESS. Has anyone else found a way around this problem.

    • Heather says:

      Maybe you got a bad box of ziplocs? Sorry that they leaked If you are worried you could always double bag I guess?

  138. Still trying to figure out if grocery list is doubled already or only for 19 recipes. Baby is due soon. Help anyone!!

  139. Heather in Oregon says:

    I wanted to let you know that some of the meals can be frozen for longer than 2a month or two. I use a seal a meal and I can freeze them up to 4 months. I haven’t tried to keep it any longer than that. I think I’m going to make one and keep it in there and see how long I can keep it just so I can let you know. And I absolutely love your postings. Thank you so much. 2 people like me you are like a godsend. I have absolutely loved Pinterest.
    Thank you again, Heather in Oregon

  140. Brittany says:

    I just found this on Pinterest! And am in aw! You are amazing and after reading this and printing out the master list I’m waiting for my husband to get home so I can go to the commissary and get started! Just had a question on the ones that call for canned soup do u put that in the bag too and freeze with the other spices?

  141. Katy E. says:

    Might want to cross reference the recipes with the shopping list. The wings recipe calls for hot sauce, but it wasn’t on the shopping list (was wing sauce) Just a suggestion. Loved making these tho, very rewarding

  142. Jenifer says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! I used to be in a freezer meals group, and haven’t had the guts to do it by myself without help. I will be doing this right before school starts and the chaos begins again. Love it!

  143. Tip for you and others (like me) who do NOT like touching raw meat. Latex medical exam gloves. Worth every penny I spend on them!

  144. I love the idea! However, my family has a special diet. I wonder if we could create an option for other types of diet.

    Maybe readers already know some recipes for special diets. Thanks!

    My family eats:
    gluten-free,
    dairy-free,
    NO red meat or pork or seafood (other than fish),
    we mostly eat lots of fish!

    • Great suggestions Maria – we’ll keep it in mind ;)

      A lot of our current freezer meals are gluten-free or can be easily made gluten free :) and there are also a lot of chicken dishes (didn’t see that on your no list). I think if you look through you will find some that you can definitely make!

  145. I’m so excited to try these! I have the pickiest husband on the planet when it comes to food. Not a fan of most veggies, so these recipes are perfect!! Thank you for making life soooo much easier!!!!!

  146. Is the master list of ingredients for just the 19 recipes or the 19 recipes doubled? thanks!

  147. I don’t know you…but I love you so much right now. Thank you for posting such a thorough and efficient list. You’ve just saved the world (from my perspective)!

  148. LOVE THIS!! We raise meat rabbits and I use it in chicken recipes, this will be great at expanding my menu’s!!!! Thanks.

  149. There are only 19 recipes listed here.Is there a link to the rest?

  150. Where can I get all 40 recipes? I see above there are 19 recipes, are those all of them or are there more? Thank you.

  151. Another crock pot idea…..in the winter we have soup once a week. I make a plum full 7qt crockpot full and eat about 1/2. The rest goes in an empty ice cream bucket in the freezer. Once frozen, you can pop it out of the container and keep in a ziploc freezer bag, although sometimes I have needed a 2 gal bag for this instead of a 1 gal bag. I do a different soup once a week for 6-8 weeks and do this each time. Your leftover soup is now frozen in the shape of your crockpot for the next time you want to have it. This takes care of 12-16 weeks of soup once a week, the bulk of cold winter for us. You can also make a raw lasagna in an ice cream bucket, freeze and cook later in your crock. Other things will work this way too. Our favorites soups are pizza, chili, potato, veg beef barley, ham and bean, chicken tortilla etc. Happy crock pot cooking!

  152. I stumbled upon this a few days ago. I can’t begin to tell you how you did this step by step with RAW stuff. I’m nearly ready to pop (35 weeks) and the ONE thing I’ve been paranoid about is food. Making sure I have enough, that we don’t have fast food or pizza each night, that it’s healthy…

    But cooking for hours on end to have foods ready to “reheat” this close to the end of my pregnancy freaked me out. Even my hubby was stoked about your post! So…a year later: THANK YOU! :D

  153. Hello!
    What a great idea for busy people! I am having a problem getting the “Cilantro Lime Chicken” to load the recipe. Any suggestions?

  154. I just used the one on the page I had the address for above. It worked out fine for me!

  155. how many servings do each of the recipes make?

  156. i know there are a lot of comments about the 6-8 hours, and adding broth before leaving in case you’ll be gone too long… what if i have a crock pot with a time that automatically switches to “keep warm” after the time is up. is that ok or will it still need extra broth? i am usually gone 7:30am-7:30pm…

    • I would put a little extra in – the keep warm on a lot of crock pots is still pretty hot ;) so try adding a bit extra and see how it goes! Good Luck Lauren

  157. I can’t wait to try this. Sounds hard to do all at once though. It will take me lots of planning. Thanks for this post.

  158. Hi can you tell me if you put everything including the spices into the bag before it goes into the freezer? I am confused on that part. Everything on the recipe card goes into the bag and gets frozen then it all comes out and into the crockpot. Thanks for any help

  159. Another meal suggestion: BBQ Pork / Beef Ribs or Pork Chops

    1 bottle of your favorite bbq sauce
    2-3 lbs of your favorite ribs
    1/2 tsp of garlic and onion powder

    I put frozen ribs in crock pot, rub with garlic and onion powder, pour sauce over both sides of ribs or pork chops and cook on low for 6-8 hours…. they will fall off the bone when you eat them!

    Yummy!…Even my twin toddlers love this!

  160. I am getting ready to prepare these meals. I have a ton of homemade broth in my freezer. Do you think it would be ok to thaw it, use it in the recipes, and refreeze? Open to anyone’s feedback, thank you!

    • I would not thaw and refreeze – that can cause freezer burn and a not great taste. :( you could prepare the meals without the broth and then thaw it with the meals and use it then?

  161. I love this idea. I love duplicating meals since it just as easy to make six pans of lasagne as it is to only make one. I have a bunch of frozen meat in the freezer (venison, chicken, beef). I think I will freeze the other ingredients separately and label them so all I have to do is mix and match for the meals I want to make! I am glad somebody shared this on FB!

  162. I noticed you mentioned you double the recipes if i DO NOT double them do i still cook on low 6 to 8 hours? and use a 5QRT crockpot? Thanks!!

  163. wondering do if i DO NOT double the meals like you did how long would you cook and do I still use a 5qrt crockpot size?

    • the meals were doubled in terms of she made 2 of them separately and froze them – they were not doubled in terms of a single meal – so cooking time is the same :)

  164. In addition to the slow cooker liners, I use the oven turkey bag. It eliminates the need for too much liquid.

  165. Thank you for sharing! I cannot wait to get a small freezer and do this. Thank you again!

  166. Question: I noticed people remarking that the chicken measurements were off in the shopping list… I noticed in one of the first recipes it says “chicken breasts halves”… I’m wondering, are we supposed to be using the half breast (it’s not really half, but I think you know what i mean) as opposed to the whole ginormous piece? Is that maybe why people find the chicken measurements off? BFF and I are planning to do this ASAP and add some more from your pinterest page :-)

    • I think chicken breast halves is the technical name of what I would say is a chicken breast – meaning the breast has 2 sides to it – but no one I know cooks the entire breast. So I think it’s just a misinterpretation thing.

      Let us know how you do ;)

  167. We live in Brasil as missionaries and we follow the custom here of having our main meal at lunch time. I home school our kids until 12:30 and many times we’re not sitting down to eat until 1:30 or 1:45. Do you think these recipes would work for a shorter cooking time? Also, the Mongolian beef….do you know what cut of meat the “stew meat” comes from?
    Thanks!

    • Stew meat can be any beef that is a tougher slice cut into bite size pieces :)

      And yes if you use your slow cooker on high instead of low it could be done in a shorter amount of time

  168. Where are the other 21 recipes? I can’t find them. I have the shopping list for the 40, but need the rest of the recipes to do it.

  169. This is amazing. Can’t wait to try it. You need to write a book. I’d buy it.

  170. Help! I cant get the link to these recipes to load:(

  171. This is absolutely amazing! 40 meals in 4 hour time sounds impossible but did it! Incredibly great and I would love to try this. Thanks for posting the recipes and tips :-)

  172. Freezing some of your recipes out before my total knee replacement. Hubby doesn’t know squat about the kitchen. He doesn’t understand why I am doing this. I told him that I would not be able to cook meals right after surgery. Go figure!

  173. Well I do like the idea of this but personally it took me much longer than what was said. J started at around 11 am and worked till 6 pm. Also the cost came to just under $400. Over all it was good but maybe a bit inaccurate. I worked fast and straight through and I was really organized so its not like I was in chaos the whole time. Anyways, thanks for putting this together!

    • Robyn – it probably would have taken me longer too! I think time is really subjective. Not everyone works at the same speed!

      and as for cost – it really depends on where you live. NJ (where I am) would be higher cost than TX (where Katie is). and I know that Katie got her chicken on a HUGE sale – so that helped :)

      Glad you made them and glad you have your freezer stuffed with food no matter how long it took you!

  174. Thanks for sharing!! I love freezer cooking and my hardest part is finding enough recipes for my family of picky eaters (including my wonderful husband!) These will all be a hit!! Great post:-)

  175. This is great!!! I have m.s. and there are plenty of days I cant get the strength or energy up to cook. This will make it so even my 11 year can put dinner ‘on’
    I will let you know how it goes and I will spread the word amongst my other M.S. friends!!! THANK YOU!!!!

  176. What a perfect time to find this!!!! I found you earlier this week, shopped yesterday and now have 23 meals in the freezer. Monday I am having carpel tunnel surgery. Thanks so much !

  177. I’m sitting in the UK trying to find British substitutes for the ingredients you use…that’s taken some time but I’m winning! Now, I am a full time student and work part-time and I’m going to try and do this for my son and I as I have so little time to actually cook decent meals these days. I am having to halve the recipes as there is only 2 of us but also freezer space is limited. Has anyone had to do this and if so do you have any advice on cooking time etc? I’m so excited to be doing this, I absolutely hate having to think about dinner on the way home from work!!

    • Kirstin Hi! Good luck with being a student, working and a mom! :)

      Even if the recipes are in half – the cooking time in the slow cooker should be relatively the same. The meat still cooks at the same speed ;)

      Good luck!

  178. I did this just a week ago !!! I spent less than $250 on everything and it’s been great!!!!
    I put one of each dinner in the freezer in the kitchen and then the other one went down into the chest freezer in the garage!!!
    This has been great! I have MS so I am not always able to do things… I can have anybody put it in the slow cooker for me!!

  179. Regina Wood says:

    I have made several of these now. It took a little longer than 4 hours for my friend and me but a large bottle of red wine was involved! We split the 38 so we each only had one of each meal. Things both families considered great: Mongolian Beef (my husband’s fav), Chicken Cacciatore (I normally detest cacciatore and really enjoyed this), and Beef Tips & Gravy (over egg noodles). Things I have tried (she hasn’t) Buffalo Chicken (my 12 yo daughter’s fav), Fajitas (I added the sliced red pepper and hour before it was ready so it would be a little crunchy). I liked the Cilantro Lime Chicken but my family weren’t impressed. My friend said the Chicken Tacos were their favorite so far. MISSES: Pulled pork at low on 8 hours was not enough time to cook. It could have gone ALL night long – I had to substitute a bone-in pork shoulder for pork butt so that might have been why…but just good not great in the end; friend said Island Chicken had WAY too much oregano and would cut dried to 1/4 of measurement or use fresh instead (unless this was due to red wine??), Balsamic drumsticks had a nice flavor but drumsticks are just not the adults’ thing, way too much pineapple in Terriyaki chicken but the flavor was very nice (and I learned my daughter doesn’t like pineapple)….TONIGHT: I pulled out the Garlic Pesto Chicken. You have to make a sauce so its a little bit more intensive than dump and serve. We didn’t do anything in any particular order other than I prepped the bags for us one night while I was watching a TV show. I think we will chop veggies first next time. The meat part was really easy as was measuring. The most surprising part is that our grocery bills for this were not extraordinarily expensive maybe $8 a meal. Each fed 2 adults and 2 children. We are going to gather more recipes and delete what we didn’t like and try this again after Thanksgiving. As a CPA, tax season is going to be much easier with my freezer stocked up. This is a game changer!

  180. Holy cow! Great post. I have found that it is much easier to find my freezer meals in an upright deep freezer. Of course with this amount of food a chest freezer may be better.

  181. Thank Youuuuu, I run a children’s home with my husband, we have two small children plus 8 other children (7-17 year olds) in our care. With every appointment under the sun and all our other things this has made life one bit easier!!!!! Amazing and I am sharing this with our other group homes!

  182. Hey there, would all of these recipes work simply cooking them on a stove? My hours are never consistent and I would like to be able to cook a meal in 20min or less. Thanks.

  183. This has been up for a while, so not sure too many will read this. Great idea. A word of caution, if you put all these meals in the freezer at one time, it will take a long time for all the meal packages to reach 0F. Read your freezer book to see how much unfrozen food can be added at one time and maintain the temperature integrity of your freezer. Also, spread them out throughout the freezer, and provide air circulation. It really is important to allow for rapid freezing so any bacterial growth is limited. Quick freezing is much better than slow freezing for safety and to provide for best quality of food. I would personally rather do this in a chest freezer, where you do don’t lose all the cold air each time you open the door. But if upright is what you have, it is what you use. And I agree about the meat. Do each meat separately and then super clean. Don’t take a chance on cross contamination of beef and poultry (chicken). Great job of organizing.

  184. This makes me want to buy a slow cooker! Great post.

  185. Tracie Black says:

    My kids favorite is when I take beef stew meat and add a big can of cream of mushroom soup. Cook for 6 -8 hours on low then add a can of drained mushrooms and some sour cream. Pop a bag of instant rice in the microwave and you’re done.

  186. Cami Wiersma says:

    IM SOO EAGER TO TRY THIS SATURDAY!! Just reading it made I felt a weight lifted off of me. Family of 6, 2 adults 2 teen boys & a 6 year old boy to feed (baby boys only 5 months). I am praying to be able to save some money and time with this. Very inspiring!!! PLUS SO ORGANIZED, AND I THRIVE ON THAT♥ Thank u for sharing:-)

  187. Just wondering which recipes you tripled to get the full 40 recipes?

  188. Regina Wood says:

    I have finally gotten to the last of my half of the 40 meals (OK…38 if you don’t do the Chicken Ranch Tacos by adding ranch dressing to the Chicken Taco recipe). Some need to be drained with a slotted spoon but we enjoyed the majority of them. I am doing the ones we really enjoyed again this weekend and filling in with some others that I found that looked good. I found a great program http://www.plantoeat.com that will let you capture the recipes from this website, put them on a meal planner AND make your grocery list. If you use it, just be sure to duplicate the meals so that the grocery list has enough for 2 freezer bags each. It will also let you put which store you are shopping…i.e. Sam’s/Costco for Meats/Bulk items and Wal-Mart for other food stuff. It has a 30 day free trial which I am using now. So far, so good!

  189. I can’t open up anything on this page? It’s saying
    “Forbidden
    You don’t have permission to access /crockpot-freezer-cooking-master-shopping-list/ on this server.
    Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.”

    Anyone know why I can’t access the recipes or shopping list or anything for that matter on this page?

    • Leah, we are experiencing a very high volume of traffic to our site. Which is nice, but straining our capacities. Please keep trying :)

  190. I loooove this and will be trying it out along with adding some of my own. Did you put all of your meat into a separate bag and then the extra ingredients into another separate bag, putting all of those into one big bag? Maybe that is my OCD coming out because I dont like my food touching, raw or cooked, lol. I guess it wouldnt matter if its frozen and then cooked………Ive seen some chefs freak out if you handle raw meat and then something else but putting it all in the same bag would be the same thing so im not sure what the freak out is about??? I think ill just stock up on baggies when I see a sale, hahaha. Again, love this!!

  191. I don’t have the recipes handy, but some of our crock-pot favorites that work well for this are: beef pot roast w/onions, potatoes & carrots, chili, and goulash.

  192. I’m wondering if anyone who commented here has ever slow-cooked venison? I am EXTREMELY gluten intolerant, and can’t even buy meat from the store, so I only eat what my husband and I either hunt or raise. So venison tends to be our red meat. However, I have never slow-cooked it, and was wondering if anyone thinks it might be a decent substitution in some of the meals listed.

    • Hi Pammy, yes, I have slow cooked venison with no issue. I find slow cooking helps it tenderize more and I use it as a substitution for been on a regular basis. If you aren’t sure just try one recipe and see what you think. I did the Mongolian beef recipe with venison and it went over well.

  193. is there somewhere I can print out all recipes…did I miss it somehow? Do i have to print them one at a time

  194. I used the 40 dinner shopping list you provide, but don’t see where you use the flank steak or all the cans of tomatoes??

  195. I will definitely be trying some of these recipes. I have kids in college that can put these recipes to good use to save on spending and learn how to be frugal.

  196. As much as I hate it, there are often days where we’re away for 9 full hours. Would it work to not thaw the recipe or not thaw it completely? My beef with crock pot recipes (ha!) is that so often they are for less time than we need to leave the food cooking without someone watching it. Does anyone have any different suggestions for this situation?

    • Nevermind, I actually just finished reading EVERY SINGLE COMMENT and found the answers to the obviously formerly asked question. Thanks for a great post!

  197. I plan to buy a Ninja crock pot that allows you to brown the meat first and then set it to cook all in one step. I’m excited to try these recipes. My only problem is that I commute also so I am away from home for 11 hours a day. Hope the new crock pot has a good timer that will shut it off and just keep the food warm.

  198. This looks so awesome, really hoping to try! We are a family of 9 so we would definitely want to double, but still; $500-ish for 40 meals? Not bad! It would be great to be able to throw some in for lunch or dinner, as we are all home during the day and I sometimes crave “real food”. Thanks for the info!

  199. 40 meals in 4 hours, after reading it all, I’d love to try it.. but.. with 4 hours of meat sitting on the counter while preparing (I know somewhat less with labeling first, and clean up after) is there a risk of food poisoning?

    • If you feel that would be a problem for you then you can always refrigerate and concentrate on a couple of meals at a time to limit the time the meat is sitting on the counter. We have not ran into any problems with food poisoning.

  200. Hi, so you put everything together without cooking the meat and then put in freezer? Then on the day you want to eat the meal you take out of freezer and put in crock pot? If this is the case this be the case, fantastic!

  201. Brandi Lynn says:

    I put together 20 meals in about 2.5 hours. It was kind of chaotic this first time around! I suspect that the second time will be more organized for me. ;) We’ve been going on for about a week now and we LOVE how this is working out for us! The meals are great. It takes no time at all to add a couple of side dishes. There’s a lot less grumbling (both physically and mentally) around my house around dinner time. Thanks again!

    • Hurray!

      • Slow Chef says:

        Yes, Thanks for this idea. I haven’t quite done 20 meals, but have 8 in the freezer ready to go. What was great was that I just did two of each recipe, so I was prepping two bags at a time. So far I have 2 x mongolian beef, 2 x bolognese, 2 x chicken, chickpea & chorizo, and 2 x chicken & butternut squash. I really enjoyed the afternoon in the kitchen, and will do another session soon! (btw I am an expectant Dad, and my wife’s friends are very impressed….)

  202. When I buy large family packs of hamburger meat, I will separate into 1lb and wrap in freezer paper, I will also mix up some packages of meatloaf and freeze. Less time consuming mixing your meatloaf recipe up,

  203. Question, I am not home for the 4-8 hours that items are to be cooked. How do you accommodate that?

    • Don’t cook from frozen and/or make them in the oven/stove top. If cooking in the oven or stovetop, less liquid may be required depending on the recipe.

  204. I have always been skeptical about doing this because it’s just my husband and I. Cooking for two is never easy, and my situation is compounded with a husband who is a picky eater. However, when I found these recipes, I realized that I could do it! My grocery bill was $211.32 and I made 18 of the meals above. My bill was a little higher becauseI just moved into a new house and didn’t have the well stocked pantry I normally have. I spent 2.5 hours of prep and Voila! We both work very crazy schedules and it has been so nice to come home and not have to think about what we are going to do for dinner or who is going to stop and grab something on the way home. It’s allowed us to be able to sit down togeher and enjoy eachother’s company. We’ve tried 5 recipes so far and we’ve liked all of them. The leftover buffalo chicken went into my buffalo chicken dip for a work function the next day! Thank you!!!!!

  205. Awesome post. Im sooo doing this I’ve been using my crockpot a lot, but need to plan ahead. No time in the am to get dinner ready and no time in the evening. This is a life saver. My question, although it may be silly or already answered. Are the ziplock bags quart or gallon size?

  206. How about a central grocery list that we can take to the store then come home and make these wonderful recipes?

  207. Thanks for sharing! What a brilliant idea! I’m going to give this a try. I’m making the Mongolian beef tonight. I think it would save money as well as time. For one thing, it would cut out excess groceries and I’ve found that the more trips I make to the grocery store, the more I spend, largely from impulse buying and poor planning. I will have to double these recipes though as my husband and sons are big eaters. Thanks again!

  208. Thanks for this!! It is great to have all these ideas together with a shopping list! I am feeding a family of 3 teenagers, two adults and a three year old. I was wondering if you typically have leftovers or if I should plan on doubling/increasing each recipe by a little bit?
    Thanks again!!

  209. Is it just me?….I am trying to find the grocery list for the 40 meal plan and the links just keep bring me in circles back to the main page. (http://whoneedsacape.com/2012/11/crockpot-freezer-cooking/)

    I could find the list for the 20 meals but not the 40

    Thanks!

  210. Mary Young says:

    What recipes are the flank steak and the buffalo wing sauce for?

  211. Debbie Pabetz says:

    Just wondering if it tastes different if I leave out the soy sauce, or can I substitute something else? After my breast cancer, I was advised not to eat or drink anything with soy anymore as soy increases estrogen production, and estrogen can increase my risk for recurrence in the remaining breast. (My post-chemotherapy maintenance drug actually prevents estrogen from being produced at all.) Several of your recipes included soy sauce, but I love this idea so much and want to try many of the recipes. So can I just leave it out, or is there something I can substitute? Thanks.

  212. this may be silly question but i can i just use chicken breast for all the chicken meals? i dont much care to each legs and thighs lol

  213. Would anyone have a shopping list for these, if you wanted to do all of them.?

  214. Hi,

    For the recipes that call for Chicken Thighs can I use Chicken Breasts instead?

    Thank You,
    Joan

    • Of course you can. It’s your food. You can do anything you like!

      I do tend to use thighs in the crock. Two reasons: I’m a tightwad and thighs are often very cheap, and I find breasts really dry out in a crock pot after a long day.

  215. Such a great idea…but wow, the plastic waste…

    • You can always use reusable freezer containers, if you are fortunate enough to have that many and to have that much room.

    • I was considering washing and reusing the plastic bags, though I’m not sure that’s legit. The thing I do love about the plastic bags is that I laid everything flat to freeze, then was able to stand up all the bags like a file folder system in the freezer to take up about half the room. If they were in actual containers, I would have had to wait until all my freezer items were gone!!

  216. My question and concern is about raw meat touching other foods like veggies in the freezer bags…..would that not be a health concern with contamination and all that?

    • Amber – I’m not scientist but they would touch raw in the crock pot anyways. They all cook together on these dishes. I know what you’re saying and I get it but I have never had a problem cooking in the crock pot (or with my freezer meals).

  217. I followed the master list and was not able to make all of the meals! I ran out of meat. I am not sure where the issue is. On the master list it says 48 chicken breast halves. Does that mean 48 chicken breasts or 24 cut in half? Also, not every ingredient is listed on the master list such as mushrooms. I am disappointed.

    • Annie – the mushrooms on the maple chicken thighs were said not to be on the list on the original recipe.

    • Oh and also – the chicken breast halves are what most people would call a chicken breast. They are technically half of a breast.

      And as always we advice you to check the list before shopping by looking at the recipes. There are a couple of recipes we adapted after the list was made and noted that on the recipes.

  218. Thanks so much for sharing all of these! I will be doing this after I finish eating through my current freezer’s worth of food! :D

  219. Catherine says:

    I made this with some friends and we shared the meals. We had fun making the recipes and had a ton of food for the future. The meals we’ve eaten are great! My question is what amount of meat you use. I used the grocery list you posted and I bought the suggested 48 chicken breasts but it was a TON of meat, I’m assuming your chicken breasts aren’t as huge as these. Do you by chance know a weight to suggest per meal? It would simplify the shopping. Same for the cans and sauces (pesto, apple sauce, bbq sauce, etc.), knowing how many oz are needed would be helpful to determine which size bottle/can to buy. Obviously I didn’t read each recipe before I went shopping, that would have eliminated confusion! I printed the shopping list and headed to the grocery without doing my homework!

    • Catherine – we will have to take a good look at our 40 meals list – there has been a lot of confusion :) sorry for any inconvenience

  220. Lisa Sapichino says:

    A friend of mine posted the link to your page last week and on Sunday I prepared all the meals. Tonight we had the 1st one, Green Chili Pork Stew, it was absolutely delicious. We can’t wait until tomorrow to try another. Thank you so much for posting all these recipes

  221. I saw on some of you recipes you noted that you can either cook them frozen or not frozen. My question is, do you thaw out the bags (ex: the night before) before putting them in the crock-pot, or can you take it out of the freezer the same morning you are putting it in the crock-pot?

    Thanks and can’t wait to try these! They all look delicious!

    • You really need to take it out the night before and thaw a bit in your fridge – otherwise it won’t come out of the bag ;)

  222. Tiffany Worley says:

    I’d like to sign up to receive slow cooker etc recipes. How do I do that ?

  223. This is amazing!!! I was hesitant to use this as a guide because I’m a single woman. But because I go through less food than a full family of 5, I was able to pick just the recipes I know I’d like. I picked and printed my recipes, printed the shopping list, modified it based on the recipes I chose. Then, When I got home from shopping, I split most of the recipes in half to freeze. So far, it’s been amazing! Just enough food for 3-5 portions per bag so far for the ones I’ve split. The only recipe that seems troublesome, the beef stew. I’ll take any ideas, but I think the problem was I froze everything, even th epotatoes and the whole thing tasted funny. I’m thinking for the 2nd bag I’ll just completely defrost, pick out the potatoes, then add them to the crock pot later…any suggestions?

    This whole idea has been a huge blessing to my life and New Year! Thanks so much to all who have made this so easy to do!

  224. This sounds like a great idea but the meal selection isn’t much to my familys taste and tge ones that sound good are either way more work than addvertized or are only meat…. my 1 and 3 year old kids need grain and veg and fruit to survive.. just not practical as you were saying

    • Maggie – Yes these recipes are very meat based – Katie said at the top that she steamed veggies for her family in addition to these meals (in fact she uses the steam in bag frozen veg – makes life pretty easy).

      Sorry that these wouldn’t appeal to your family, but it has been practical for a lot of our readers.

  225. I made 7 of these meals so far, I have no room in my freezer for 40 unfortunately. My family LOVED them all. Thank you so much. Onto the next batch today..
    Can you tell me, if I want to cook them faster than 6 to 8 hours, can I just put crockpot to high for 3 to 4 hours? I’m assuming I can, but will it dry out chicken or make beef tough?

    • high for half the time should work :) not sure if it will dry anything out (I don’t think so but I don’t use the high very often). Let us know!!!

  226. I have a question on the “pantry staples”, do you need these to actually make the freezer bag meals or just for when you decide to cook them? I’m putting together a day for a bunch of people to come over and make these meals and need to know if I need to purchase all the “pantry staples” too. Thanks!

  227. if I cook these on high, rather than low…how many hours do I cook the meals?

    • I don’t every use high – but the conversion that I have seen most frequently is half of the time for high

      • There are times that I may or may not forget to turn the slow cooker on and when that happens I do cook on high and I agree it’s about half the normal time 3 to 4 hours

  228. I have a silly question for you. I want to try the freezer meals that I can just throw in my crockpot. I work nights as a nurse so this would be very convenient. When preparing say a chicken dish, do you put raw chicken in your ziploc and add the spices etc or do I hold off on spices etc until I am truly going to guest it up? I’m very new to cooking…

    Thanks!

  229. I just did the shopping. What is the buffalo wing sauce (buffalo recipe doesn’t call for it) and garlic and herb marinade for? HELP I looked at the receipes and don’t see it listed on them. Also the shopping list says 1 lb beef flank steak or 1 lb boneless sirloin. The fajita receipe calls for 2 lbs. Other than that I look forward to freezing the meals tonight.

    • The wing sauce is on the list for the buffalo chicken (the person who did the shopping list used it instead of hot sauce). The Marinade is called for on one of the chicken recipes.

  230. The only thing I wish you had was a shopping list already made up of theses dishes so I could print and shop.

  231. Sarah Hales says:

    The list calls for 48 chicken breasts, I am bagging everything and ran out very fast! Then I added them all up from the recipes (which I did read first and noted the asterisks of items not on the list) Did I miss a bunch of asterisks?!?! I added up 76 breasts!!! What am I doing wrong =\ That was counting 3 for the recipes that said 3-4.. ughhhh :(

    • One of the recipes was already doubled. I didn’t get 76 – the new list (updated I should say) calls for 53 I believe? and I know that one of the tripled was thighs :/ sorry :(

  232. This is a great idea, but I just have one issue. I’m Catholic, so we don’t eat meat on Fridays. Fish and seafood is ok, though. Are there meatless alternatives one could substitute for Fridays?

    • Boy we have had a lot of vegetarian option questions lately ;) we are going to have to get on that.

      Unfortunately at this point in our freezer meals we do not have any meat free options (I am Catholic and do not do meat on Fridays during lent as well ;) I get mighty tired of pizza though!). If you search our recipes you will find some veg options. Bevin has made a lovely veg lasagna. Although not freezer meal I’m betting it could be prepared before and heated up for dinner. We also have a few fish recipes on our site (not crock pot but still a change and delish fish :)).

      to be honest – we make Fridays our take out night during lent. We do pizza, or I go to a local fish market and get some prepared fish/shrimp – yum. But keep checking back – we’ve had a lot of requests so we might get some veggie crock pot meals soon ;)

    • Beans and rice are quite good in the crock pot.

      I would think a clam chowder would work pretty well, as well.

  233. I have a large family with 3 teenage boys and a girl who eats like the boys. LOL. If I make the recipes, do you think I should double up on the bag (so 2 bags of the same recipe, for a dinner) ????
    Thanks,
    Beth

    • oh bless you (I have 3 sons but they are still little I’m scared of feeding them in the teen years). Yes I would double up lol that would be my advice ;) or keep everything the same but have it be 20 meals :) good luck

    • I would double. I too have a family of six. 3 girls and a boy all teens. When I made these, some of the meals were not big enough for our whole family. At minimum throw in some extra chicken breasts.

  234. Marlene Lloyd says:

    I truly appreciate the shopping list. Doing this one time a month is a wonderful time saver. I used to do this on Sunday’s. Cook ahead. My husband was working 2nd and I was on 1st. So, I prepared things he could heat in the microwave. The hardest part is the shopping list.

    I’m planning to get the list and mark off what I have on hand, go shopping and do all of them.

    I do a lot of pot luck events. This would be great to take along. Many times I stop and pick something up because I didn’t have time to prepare something.

    Thank you so much!

  235. Only problem with this seems to be that there is meat in every. single. meal. I can’t imagine eating meat every day for 40 days. Definitely need to add some veggie soup or bean recipes to the rotation!

    • You can certainly choose not to prepare one of the freezer meals every night for 40 nights. I’m sure most people rotate through their standard recipes and incorporate a freezer meal from time to time, to each their own.

    • So add a veggie soup into your freezer meals! I am sure that would be a great freezer meal. And the person who made this list of meals followed a paleo type of diet so yes they all have meat. She also said she uses steam in bag veggies with every meal;) not too shabby in my book!

  236. I’ve been doing this for years. I use a Food Saver vacuum sealer to keep the food fresh. I used to clean the house all day Saturday, and do the laundry, and then Sunday I had clean counters and the right pans out. Some of it came out of the slow cooker that night. Some of it went into the freezer to set before you use the vacuum sealer so it doesn’t pull out all the liquid and turn everything into a hockey puck. Most of it I could run through the food saver on Monday and into the freezer. I did gallons of chili and calico beans in the winter and lighter stuff in the summer. This is a great way to fill three freezers; just ask me.

    • Jade, crazy question. I am going to use my new foodsaver doing the recipes this week! Question, can you put the foodsaver bags in the slow cookers therefore saving a liner??

      • RaeAn, I just checked my Food Saver manual and it doesn’t even address slow cookers. So I’m going to suggest my normal method of cooking. Try it, but keep your eyes peeled for disasters. Like the year I grabbed the powdered sugar bottle instead of the flour bottle for my everyone-loves-my-zucchini-bread, and filled the house with smoke when they all overflowed and burned to the stove and Air Bake cookie sheet, which cannot be submerged. Or, you can call Jarden Customer Service and ask them. But I’m not sure why you would take that step. From frozen meals to the crock pot? So you can slowly reheat it?

  237. Julie Stegemann says:

    I don’t do Pinterest, so can u email me the master list? I just started my own salon, and I am so out of time to cook. This sounds fantastic to me!
    – Thanks! -

  238. Hi! I was inspired to try some of these fabulous recipes by a friend. I wrote about it on my cooking page on Facebook and friends are asking me for the recipes. Do I have your permission to post on my blog, with all credit and a link back to you?

    Thanks!
    Stephanie

    • We love that you want to share it! Just please make sure to not post the recipes themselves and just list them and link back to us! We appreciate your consideration in contacting us as well.

  239. Sue Simmons says:

    Great ideas

  240. Too many animals in these recipes .
    Too expensive and not necessary. Iove the concept though. Quick n easy for a rushed family.

    • I am currently working on some vegetarian ones. You should also take note that not everyone eats these all in a row. My family tries to eat vegetarian meals 2-3 times a week.

  241. I LOVE this idea! I’m a dispatcher and I work crazy long hours. I’m also pregnant. I love the idea of being able to run home for lunch and put something in the crock pot and it being done when I get off! Can’t wait to start cooking!

  242. I saw a link for this posted on Facebook and took a look. I am always trying to find new recipes and want to try these but I was wondering. How long do these stay good for in the freezer? In case we don’t eat a crock pot meal everyday. Also it looked like there was potatoes in your picture, do these freeze well or do they turn to water/mush when defrosted?

  243. Tami Hickey says:

    This is amazing!
    May the Lord bless you for sharing this with us all.
    Thank you.

  244. I am bookmarking this site love to use my crockpot and when I have 2 days off I cook all weekend

  245. The website for the shopping list won’t load.

  246. LeeAnna Fitzgerel says:

    This is a nice, new twist on the old Tupperware contest meal plan, which resulted in the cookbooks Make A Mix Cookery. Those were frozen mostly cooked in Tupperware. I had two different ones of these plans, that I used so many times I thought my family probably hated them, until my married daughter asked me to come cook the meals in advance at her house.

  247. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thanks so much for sharing.

  248. Can these recipes be canned? Would come in handy during electrical outages.

  249. Is the nutritional information for these recipes available?

  250. Is there a shopping list for the 40 meals in 4 hours?

  251. All of these recipes are suppose to be for the 40 FROZEN MEALS in 4 hours, but what I dont understand is why the majority of the recipes give instructions for preparing the same day and not freezing! Its confusing on what all needs to be added to the bag to freeze and what should be left out!?!?!

    • Some readers are making these recipes individually vs. prepping them for the freezer, therefore we’ve provided directions for both.

  252. Ashley Gerald says:

    Hi, this is a great idea and I am excited to try it this weekend. My question is, how much bulk rice and pasta would I want to buy along with this master list?

    • Hi Ashley! I’ll be honest – I have no idea how much you would want to buy. It would depend on how many people you are feeding and how much you would want (or what you would want) with each meal. Katie – the person who froze all 40 meals – ate paleo style so she never used rice or pasta (some of us did with the dishes we made though).

      Good luck!

  253. Candace says:

    Just want to throw this out there. I love the idea, but reusable containers would be better for the landfills as well as cheaper in the long run. Also, plastic in the microwave with food is not a very healthy option if that’s how your steaming your veggies. But I LOVE everything else about this idea.

  254. I think this is a fanstastic idea and I do something similar. I make a works week of food and then have it in the fridge because I get home on a good day at 6:30 pm, but definately like the freezer idea. My question is can you make any of these meals gluten free. My husband and youngest daughter both have Celiac Disease so we don’t gluten because of that.

    • Katie ate gluten free – so yes (although not all of us do) these meals can easily be done gluten free!

  255. Michelle says:

    Great idea and yummy recipes….im the same with raw meat I use rubber gloves like the ones at the dr office and swich them out when ever I touch different meats so its not contaminated or just wash them like I would my reg hands :-)

  256. This is great! Do the meals have to be cooked in a crock pot or can they be thawed and put in the oven?

  257. I cant find all 40 recipies theres only just about half on this page

  258. R. Burton says:

    Hi, I am going to try this out! Thank you for all the work you’ve done here. My 1 question so far is what does the “T” stand for, teaspoon or tablespoon? I’m guessing table?
    Thanks

  259. Linda Moran says:

    Great , thank you

  260. The only thing I would do different is steam the veggies on the stove top, microwaving food in plastic causes cancer according to my sister’s friend’s oncologist.

  261. Rachel K says:

    I think I am thinking about this too hard. I get “put the meat in the bags, then add the rest!” But for a meal with pasta, like your Garlic Pesto Chicken with Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce, do you cook the pasta ahead and add it to the bag? Or is that something you make “as a side” just before serving? I’ve never done anything like this before and I am very detail oriented, so I’m trying to see how it actually come together. Thanks! I love the idea of stress free evenings!

    • Heather says:

      Hi Rachel! Don’t over think :) I don’t freeze pasta cause I don’t like the taste of it – we do not recommend freezing that portion. We do recommend cooking the pasta portion of the dish the night of – but you don’t have to. You could just have the chicken. I think that on that recipe it says that? :) Happy Freezing!

  262. Eleonore says:

    I see from the photo above that your freezer looks pretty full. How much space would you say this takes up in a normal size freezer? I don’t have a large freezer so I don’t know if I’d be able to pack a full 40 meals into there and still have room for the other things I need.

  263. I found an amazing veggie chopper that saves me huge amounts of time cutting and chopping veggies at Williams Sonoma called a Chef’n VeggiChop Vegetable Chopper. I love it! It’s only 20 bucks but saves me so much time chopping that I wanted to share this with you!

  264. Susan Moore says:

    This is an incredible idea! The master list of ingredients is so helpful! Thank you for all of the time and effort that you put into this post.

  265. What time do you start them? We are off so early in the morning. They’d end up sitting in the crockpot on warm for about 2-3 hours. Anyone else have to do this?

  266. A lot of the recipes don’t have freezing instructions. Do you just follow instructions and instead of putting in a crockpot out it in a ziplock ?

  267. I just fell upon your site and OMG THANK YOU!!! I am a full time student, work full time, have three kids and a hubby…Sleep has become optional at this point and like you there are times i’m not getting home until bedtime….Your blog is great and I will be definitely following you from now!!!

  268. Thank you so much for this. Quick question – would it work to use bouillon cubes + water rather than the broths? I assume so, since it’ll be slow cooked in the end…? Thanks!

  269. Please email me this link with shopping list and recipes-need step by step pls.

  270. We did this last night! 28 different meals, with added hidden vegies (processed onion, zucchini, carrot and cabbage) in most of them (food processors are great) took us four hours working together to prep and bag it all. but with a lot of doubled recipes, and quite a few that were large to start with, we’ve got enough for a month of different meals every day, and will have enough leftovers to do a second month, even with the hubby stealing them for lunches and having 2 hungry hungry children, and a baby who’s getting just as bad :D. it’s a pain to do all the bagging, but the idea of not having to do a half hour-hour prep every night made it worth it :D

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-BR2q1-95LUE/Uyj5o2q7nkI/AAAAAAAAGh0/EZejgwoEdo4/w1152-h653-no/Frood+processing.jpg

    this was our process last night. we now have a very full freezer. (and yes, it only took us 4 hours! I was trying for less, but that may have been a bit ambitious) I have a few oven bakers and pan fryers in there as well as the slow cookers. most of the recipes I used are on my pinterest (^^ my page^^). some I borrowed from here, some I got elsewhere… This should make my life easier for the next month or so. Thank you for the great post that gave me to idea to do this :D

  271. I am due in September and want to get a stockpile of frozen dinners since i’m having a cesarean and have 5 kids already. How long do you think these dinners will be good for in the freezer? If i made them now, do you think they would still be good 8 months from now when we are eating them?

    • oh my – you BRAVE WOMAN :) (I have 3 and feel well – overworked ;) )

      I had my meals (I did the 20 meals) for at least 2 months. They were fine.

      However – no please don’t make them yet! Well – make them and eat them…and then do it again ;) Maybe with the 20 meals. I don’t recommend keeping them for 8 months

      Good luck with the baby!

  272. I put the honey garlic chicken in a bag to freeze, and after 1 week the chicken is frozen solid but the sauce is not frozen at all! Can anyone explain? Does the honey or another ingredient have a lower freezing point?

    Thanks!!

    • Yes – I’ve had that with honey stuff in my freezer. I also ate it :) It was totally fine. As long as the meat is frozen you are good!

  273. Stephanie says:

    OMG!!! We have been doing this for just about a month now. WE LOVE THESE RECIPES!!!! I also did the Mongolian with chicken thighs and steamed Asian vegetables – AWESOME!!! This one is our favorite!!! THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY LIFE A MILLION TIMES EASIER!!!!

  274. Okay, has anyone really been able to do that in 4 hours???? It just took me 2 days. 1 day of shopping and nearly 10 hours of creating. And this was with 2 people working on it. The recipes look great and I can’t wait to eat them. But what is the trick, because honestly… I am exhausted and never want to do this again. I labeled the bags, chopped all the veggies first and set them aside, packed the meats in right bags, and then added the ingredients, but it is so tricky trying to figure out what ingredients go with what recipe. Any tips would help…

    • The shopping was definitely NOT included in the 4 hours. :)

      What I did when I made the 20 meals in 2 hours is chopped my veggies first had them in bowls ready to go. Then I made the meals 1 at a time (well doubled so 2 at a time.) If it was important to be exact with the sauce I used a measuring cup to put the sauce into the bags. Added Veg and then meat :) Sorry it took you so long but NO COOKING NOW :) WOOHOO

      Oh and ps – I had print outs of all recipes – had all ingredients out (yes my kitchen table and counters were a disaster). So I just went to each ingredient put it in a bowl and kept going!

      • Heather I did it exactly like you did also when I did my first time a few months ago!!
        It was under four hours!!!
        I only went to one store for my shopping so I was in and out of there in under an hour also so all totaled it was probably four and half hours including shopping!!

        • oh you’re good – you should see me in the store…OOHHH LOOK AT THAT IT’S ON SALE I’m bad bad bad.

          I can also get pokey in the kitchen – but when I set my mind to it and ignore everything (including the phone and hopefully the kids aren’t there) I can get it done ;) Glad you had success doing it!!!!

  275. These all have instructions to cook 6-8 hours but I work 10 hour days, any recommendations for that? I love the idea but this might not be possible for me due to my work schedule

    • Couple suggestions – you could add more chicken broth to dishes so they don’t dry out while you’re gone. Or you could invest in a timeable slow cooker. It will automatically switch the food to “warm” after a set time. I would probably lean that way ;) good luck!

    • I bought a slow cooker that allows you to set a timer. When the timer is up it switches to warm. I set mine at 6:30 am and don’t get home until 5:45-6pm from work. Never overdone. I also buy the slow cooker liners so clean up is a breeze. Who wants to scrub a ceramic pot after work? I’ve been doing these slow cooker meals for over a month now and they are wonderful. I just did 30 meals yesterday so dinners and lunches are taken care of for the next 6 weeks! I cook on the weekends so I don’t get out of practice ;)

  276. So my husband and I both work full time and are out of the house for a minimum of 9 hours during the day, so cooking for 6-8 hours in a crock pot wont work. However, if we thaw the food the day before and cook on high rather than low, how long should it take to cook? I am hoping we might be able to start cooking when he gets home around five….
    (I am new to crock pot cooking)

    • I think it would depend on the meal and how tender the protein is supposed to be and the other components of the meal. 3-4 hours should work thawed for many of them I would think.

    • My husband and I work full-time as well. I used to throw the meal in frozen in the morning and cook it on low all day. I’ve gotten to a point now where I put everything (slow cooker liner and food) in the crockpot the night before and switch it on in the morning. The ceramic pot is a great insulator, so it slowly thaws a little over night. With my old crockpot, the food was overdone because it would be in there for at least 11 hours (even starting out frozen!). I bought a new one with a timer. It cooks on low for a set time and then kicks over to warm for the remainder of the time. It runs about $100, but so worth it. I usually set it to cook on low for 7 hours. So far nothing has been over or under done. You can always give it a stir when you walk through the door and switch it to high for an hour while you do a couple things around the house and make the side dishes. Hope this helps!

      • Jess I agree when I was out of the house all day and using the slow cooker – the timer one was DEFINITELY worth it!

  277. I think this may have just saved my life. Plus……what an awesome way to spend the day teaching my 8 year old how to prepare meals!!

  278. I just wanted to say thank you for this. You are an inspiration! We just finished filling up our freezer with meals for the month and I feel totally accomplished. We are having mingolian beef tonight with rice and steamed veggies. The house smells so good. Once again thank you for helping families like mine figure out how to juggle life easier.

  279. Elizabeth says:

    Great concept but it was wicked expensive and I didn’t even get 40 meals out of the ingredients I got. I followed the master shopping list and followed all of the directions and I think I had enough for barely 30 meals. And it was like $700 for everything!! I love the concept, but this was a little much for me.

    • We strive to keep improving our master shopping list. It has been revised several times. Please do let us know where you found it ran short and we will compare/double check. We did not make the original list, but have been improving on making it as accurate as possible. I wouldn’t advise going out and purchasing everything all at once. In the past when I have made some of these meals, I would wait until I found a good deal on chicken or whatever other products were needed for the recipes and saved up. The fresh produce is where I found I wasn’t getting the best deals, but when you need something fresh that’s how it is.

  280. I just wanted to update with my experience. First of all, thank you so much for the shopping list, recipes, advice, etc! Overall, I had a great experience and will continue to do freezer meals. However, I plan on doing fewer meals at a time as my supply runs lower. 40 meals at a time was overwhelming but, in my opinion, necessary for our family to start out with. I really don’t think the cost is prohibitive. Especially as I believe a lot of these meals will work both for supper and lunch the next day for us. We eat a lot of salads and the kids especially want grains/bread/etc. with supper so we can stretch the meals out.

    First, the price. I did not shop sales. Mainly because I felt Aldi and Sam’s have the best prices usually. Also, we don’t have stores close by so I don’t want to drive all over. Finally, I’m just lazy that way.

    I went to Aldi first to get everything I could there – I spent $73 there and got a lot: all the condiments, fresh veggies/fruit, marinades, oils, etc.

    I then went to Sam’s Club primarily for all the meat. And, I got a big thing of coconut oil and honey since we were running low(I didn’t end up using it as I had enough at home for these recipes). It was just around $260 at Sam’s.

    I then went to Hyvee for fresh herbs, pico do gallo, a few seasonings, beef broth, applesauce, etc. And the meat I couldn’t find at Sam’s. I spend $112 there. So, around $445 for everything. I had a lot leftover as well (meat, cans of things I didn’t use fully or didn’t even open, etc.)

    Overall I thought the grocery list was very good. I bought more chicken breasts than was on there and I used every single one. Depending on how we like the recipes, we might sub chicken breasts for some of the other chicken recipes. Just personal preference.

    I had a lot of the staple stuff at home. I did overbuy and have quite a few things leftover. So, I estimate that I spent about $375 on everything I needed just for these recipes. I made 38 but I have leftover boneless/skinless chicken thighs that are still in the fridge for me to make into some meals. And, I had a (small) package of chicken I didn’t open but put directly into the freezer for later.

    Also, I don’t believe pico de gallo is necessary. Nice, but not necessary and I’ll be using canned rotel from now on. It was just too expensive for us on a regular basis. I don’t know how it is everywhere but here it was $5 per container. Each container was about 1.5 cups.

    I left my house at 5pm to go shopping and got home and started my prep work at 7:30pm. That’s pretty good considering it’s at least a 15-20 min drive to the nearest store. Note – I did NOT take my kids or have to stop for anything kid related as my husband was in charge. I think my kids ate dry cereal for supper. Go over the grocery list several times and have your plan of attack before you leave.

    My oldest son and husband labeled all the bags for me. They read through the recipes and thought they would enjoy them so that’s encouraging. Note – I buy ziploc bags at Sam’s so we already had the bags. We used gallon size for everything.

    I started prep work on the veggies at 7:30pm and then started assembling the meals. My family was complaining about the vast amount of onions burning their eyes, LOL.

    I left all my meat in the deep freeze and brought out what I needed a little at a time because I was worried about the meat getting too warm. It did NOT freeze in this amount of time but just kept it cold enough. I hate working with raw meat so was very glad to have lots of meals all done so I don’t have to deal with this again for awhile.

    I was officially done at midnight. My husband then helped me clean and sanitize the meat cutting board and counter area. I waited until the morning to finish cleaning up.

    We have not tried any of the recipes yet but I think they will be a success. I will update as we try them. My deep freezer is almost full now. I have plans to bake 8 loaves of bread before I start work. We should be in great shape regarding food now.

  281. jennifer says:

    here you have the meat raw then you freeze it with al the ingredients; how long dies t take for a bag to thaw or do you put the frozen meal directly in the crackpot?

    • Thaw overnight in the fridge – it will still be frozen to a point, then put in the crock pot and cook like normal ;)

  282. Forrest says:

    Great ideas, thanks for posting these.

    Your little helper is adorable, I would let her stay home from school too! LOL

    Thanks!

  283. Hi there! this is an amazing idea for busy families! I am curious to know if you factored in the cost of all the veggies (well at least the dirty dozen list) and meats if there were to be organic. Our family tends to stay away from gmo products and dirty dozen veggies unless they are organic. Just trying to see what that budget would be. Thank you for taking the time to do all of this!

    • Heather says:

      Sorry – we have really steered clear of assuming costs – we know that the costs vary so much between us as bloggers (my groceries in NJ might win highest). It saves you money if you plan right – meaning hit the meats on sales and veg too if you can. It saved me money with NO TAKE OUT panics ;)

  284. I made these 40 meals minus the pork recipes since we don’t eat it. There is one or two others I did not make as well. This is the best freezer meal plan I have ever found and we have liked every meal so far. It did take me 8 – 9 hours but I also made my own homemade recipes for the mushroom soup and the teriyaki sauce, etc. I would do this again. My husband said he would like to help next time. Yay!!!

    I don’t cook them every day. Maybe every second day. I like to make a meatless or a ground beef dish inbetween or soup.
    Thank you so much!

  285. A million thanks for a mommy to be next month. I spent $500 at walmart using only few generics. Husband and I are the only eaters so I had ingredients to split each 4 ways.

  286. Valerie says:

    The problem I find with crock pot meals is that I leave the house at 7 and don’t return until 5-6. The meals end up on the warm setting and dry out/ get mushy. Do you have a solution to this? I really would love to try this.

    • Heather says:

      Some of our readers have suggested getting a cheap “light” timer and using that to control your crock pot – so it wouldn’t cook as long! Try that and see how it goes (the timers are cheap)

      • Definitely a timer! I have mine set to turn on at 12 every day and off at 6. All I ever have to do is put the liner in each morning and plop the food in. At night I serve it and throw liner away and I am ready for next day!!!

  287. Camille Johnson says:

    Recipes for 40 crck pot meals

  288. Love all your recipe’s

  289. I tried my first one today. It thawed in the night, but a lot of the chicken was still frozen. Is that OK?

    Do you chop up your chicken first, or leave it as full breasts?

    Thanks1!

    • Yes – the slow cooker is amazing and you can put frozen or partially frozen meat in there and it will cook beautifully! (I actually prefer that so my meat doesn’t get overdone)

      and as to chopping – if the recipe wants it chopped then yes chop first.

  290. Could we compile a full grocery list of the items needed to do all 40?

  291. The Mongolian Beef is currently cooking away in my crock, and a second batch is in the freezer! I’ve been meaning to get into freezer/crock cooking for ages, but it’s one of those things that my OCD side derails because I never have a four hour block to do forty meals at once, let alone the other half of the day to go buy all the non-meat ingredients. SO, this week I just said “You know what? Pick one, make it, and make up a second batch for the freezer. Repeat that 2-3x a week, and by the end of the month you’ll be halfway through the list.” I LOVED being able to ask my husband “What do you want for dinner, chicken, pork, or beef?” and then rattling off half a dozen beef recipes for him to pick from. I threw two batches of Mongolian Beef together in half an hour (that’s hand-mincing the garlic & ginger) while my kids were napping, so I kinda feel like Super-Mom right now! It’s also a huge save on the heat in the house during summer… our AC is old & crotchety and doesn’t do very well against the heat of oven cooking, but has no trouble keeping up with the crock & rice cooker!

  292. Kristin says:

    I apologize if you have answered my question several times. Honestly, I did not read through all of your wonderful comments. Can you tell me how many people your meals feeds? Thanks so much! I have always wanted to try this and I am feeling inspired!

    • I would say on average 4 meals…there maybe some that you would have more leftovers with but 4 is a good number ;)

Trackbacks

  1. […] Who Needs A Cape – Crockpot Freezer Cooking […]

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  4. […] slow cooker freezer meal.  It isn’t too far off from my slow cooker chicken tacos from the 40 meals in 4 hours slow cooker post.  This recipe is great because if you are looking for a healthier option you can skip the […]

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  7. […] Johnson and I did this crockpot freezer meal preparation which required a LOT of work. But, has already paid off! 20 meals including shopping […]

  8. […] couple of weeks ago, my sweet friend, Melissa, texted me the link to a blogpost (this one to be exact) asking if I’d want to do it. It sounded like a great idea, and I suggested the following […]

  9. […] payoff for the time spent cooking and cleaning…or maybe I am a little lazy.  I saw this post and had to share it.  Four hours for 40 meals!  The meals sound good and it includes a shopping […]

  10. […] So, today, I undertook the task of assembling 40 freezer meals. […]

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  12. […] had another one of our frozen crockpot meals last week and this one was our favorite so far. I think I need to add more liquid because it was a […]

  13. […] used and adapted most of these recipes from this blog. There are so many to choose from! I’m not an avid recipe follower, so I basically put my own […]

  14. […] part: Making Forty Freezer meals in one afternoon was PURE. […]

  15. […] THEY ARE!!! All of the meals in our popular 40 Meals/4 Hours Recipe Collection!  Fantastic recipes from the post that is making so many dinnertimes, so much […]

  16. […] since Katie did the original 40 Meals in 4 hours I have been determined to try this for my family.  I have to be honest – it took some […]

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  19. […] 40 Meals in 4 Hours.  The page has links to a ton of recipes you assemble ahead of time and pop in the freezer.  The […]

  20. […] are our favorites!  We usually get at least two meals out of this recipe.  This is part of our 40 Freezer Meals in 4 Hours slow cooker collection.  To make the ranch tacos just add a packet of ranch […]

  21. […] So proud of myself… made my first two freeze-ahead crock pot meals!! Both came from this site: whoneedsacape.com […]

  22. […] I eat all these I want to try the 40 meals in 4 hours.  The recipes look a tad […]

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  24. […] also needed to make these because yes, I need some of Katie’s Freezer meals in my freezer!  This was my first one that I made and I loved it.  And I loved how easy […]

  25. […] if you want a more plain kind of pulled pork. I changed up the recipe just a bit from the original 40 meals in 4 hours post but not much. I thought it was going to be blah with just a dry rub, but it really had a kick […]

  26. […] Meals!  Yup, we’re at it again!  You might be familiar with our previous 2 posts: “40 Meals in 4 Hours” and “20 Meals in 2 Hours“, both of these have been tried around the world and […]

  27. […] our larger scale versions of slow cooker/freezer cooking be sure to visit the posts below: “40 Meals in 4 Hours” and “20 Meals in 2 […]

  28. […] good friend shared a link with me relating to40 frozen meals in 4 hours. I’m not great at math (numbers and time are never a win), and I only prepare meals. That means […]

  29. […] is a link to some sites with some of these recipes (and more ideas).  here and here and […]

  30. […] – I am going to try some of the make ahead crock pot meals listed here.  I’m pretty sure this is sheer genius.  I just hope they taste good. I got five and a […]

  31. […] I don’t remember what I typed into Google. But somehow I came across this website: http://whoneedsacape.com/ and more specifically, this page: http://whoneedsacape.com/2012/11/crockpot-freezer-cooking/ […]

  32. […] like I was saying, I’m starting to use my slow cooker more, and I came across this site that talks about freezer meals – so you prepare the meal ahead of time and then you just pop the frozen meal into your slow […]

  33. […] 40 Meals in 4 hours is very ambitiuos. […]

  34. […] Crockpot Freezer Meals — one day, I will either do this, or do a freezer meal workshop with Wildtree products by my friend, Stacy. […]

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  40. […] 40 meals in 4 hours – Who Needs A Cape? […]

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  44. […] we all love Buffalo Chicken on here.  I mean we have a dip, and a crockpot meal, but I decided to try to take my dip and make it more dinner like.  I decided to take the chicken […]

  45. […] a little out of season, but holy moly! This may be the new way I feed myself! […]

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