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 but 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)
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!
We are having a giveaway for a Crockpot freezer cooking start up kit! Go enter here!
Applesauce bbq 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
Ranch chicken tacos (I just added ranch dressing to this recipe)
Hearty beef stew
Balsamic glazed drumsticks
Honey garlic 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. If you guys have any recipe suggestions for me to try next time, leave me a comment- I am always looking for new ideas.
**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! Many thanks to Anna for compiling this list for me!