YES, I REALLY MADE THESE IN UNDER 3 HOURS!!!!!!
Summer is a crazy time — who has time to cook dinner? Or I should say who would like to be in the kitchen all day cooking? Heating up the house? NOT ME!
Usually I think of slow cooker foods as “winter” foods but that is so far from the truth. There are all kinds of great recipes that can be slow cooked all day with minimal prep and are perfect for even the hottest summer day. I picked 15 different recipes but I’m sure you could find more.
Are you new to freezer/slow cooker meals? I have to say I was skeptical at first — really would it save me that much time? The answer is yes. Absolutely. The freedom of not wondering what to do about dinner, the not scrambling around at 3 pm, the saving money by not ordering take out because I “forgot” to cook. These meals are life savers.
We here at Who Needs a Cape have put together quite a collection of freezer meals. Like I said previously, I’m using 15 different recipes and doubling them to make 30 meals. However, if one of these meals isn’t exactly you and your family’s taste, browse through our 40 meals, 20 meals and 7 meals.
If you don’t have a lot of freezer space, consider making the 15 meals and NOT doubling. Or definitely check out the 7 meals. Perfect for the people who don’t have a ton of room. You could even cut my 15 meal list in half and pick the dinners that really appeal to you.
A few tips that we have discovered here while doing these meals to make your life easier:
- Use pre-minced garlic. Yup fresh garlic is probably more tasty — but honestly you are freezing the garlic anyways. And garlic is in a lot of recipes so save some time!
- Make the sauce in one bowl when doubling. Then use a measuring cup to put the same amount in each freezer bag
- If the recipe calls for a can of this or that — just put that directly into the freezer bag — no need to mix until you’re cooking it.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff! Seriously! Make sure you have a Sharpie and make any notes on the bag — i.e., label the bag with what it is. Run out of celery? Write it on the bag — needs celery. Want to serve it with rice? Write it on the bag so you know when you pull it out
- Pull the bag you want to use the night before and let it semi-thaw in the refrigerator overnight. It will be thawed enough to get into the slow cooker and it will be great.
- Going to be gone all day? Don’t want to buy an expensive slow cooker with a timer? Use a light timer that the slow cooker plugs into. It’s a great, cheaper alternative.
I know a lot of you (myself included) use these meals to watch your budget. I admit that this time I have a few recipes with pricier meats. You have a couple of choices — one, wait for a great sale or two, use a cheaper/similar meat. You don’t want the expense of boneless pork ribs? Cheaper bone-in OR bone-in pork chops would work. It will be a slightly different meal, however the sauce will be great on it anyways. I allowed myself the splurge on meats because I really do notice a money saver (I’m guilty of saying “let’s just get a pizza”).
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!
The shopping list for the 30 meals is located HERE!!
The meals — all of these were doubled to make 2 meals
- Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Pineapple Salsa Chicken
- Sweet and Sour Pork
- Beef and Broccoli
- Sweet and Spicy Drumsticks
- Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches
- Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce
- Raspberry Chipotle Chicken (This is a grilled meal. I put all the ingredients in the slow cooker for 8 hours on low)
- Maple Dijon Pulled Chicken
- 2 Salsa Pork Chops
- Ribs with Zesty BBQ Sauce
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- Orange Beer Chicken
- BBQ Chicken Roll Ups
I print out the recipes for all of these first. Then I print the Shopping List. Look over both and cross off what I already have in my house.
Prepping day: I cut all the veggies according to the shopping list (it tells you the onion needs to be diced/sliced/quartered/etc.). I put the veggies in bowls and have them ready to go.
Next I gather all the ingredients I need and get them close — I pile everything on my dining room table, but do what works for you! (I do keep the meats in the fridge/freezer until I’m ready to use them.)
Get your first recipe and start assembling. Label your bag and then freeze it immediately. Repeat until you’re done!
A money saving tip: If you can’t find a chicken sale — I buy the 10-pound bags of frozen chicken breasts. It’s about $2 a pound that way (which is about my sale price in NJ). I’m going to freeze them anyways so I don’t mind buying them pre-frozen. Just make sure to only have them out long enough to place them in the correct bag and then right back into the freezer!