30 Summer Freezer Meals in 3 Hours

30 Summer Slow Cooker Freezer Meals | Who Needs A Cape?


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 30 Summer Freezer Meals in 3 Hoursof 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:

  1. 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!
  2. Make the sauce in one bowl when doubling. Then use a measuring cup to put the same amount in each freezer bag
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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 🙂

  1. Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  2. Pineapple Salsa Chicken
  3. Sweet and Sour Pork
  4. Beef and Broccoli
  5. Sweet and Spicy Drumsticks
  6. Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches
  7. Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce
  8. Raspberry Chipotle Chicken (This is a grilled meal. I put all the ingredients in the slow cooker for 8 hours on low)
  9. Maple Dijon Pulled Chicken
  10. 2 Salsa Pork Chops
  11. Ribs with Zesty BBQ Sauce
  12. Jambalaya
  13. Buffalo Chicken Pasta
  14. Orange Beer Chicken
  15. 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.

30 Summer Freezer Meals in 3 HoursI’d love to tell you I shop and cook on the same day, but I don’t. I shop and then prepare the meals the second day. No need to do it all at once although you can if you like!

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!

30 Freezer Meals in 3 Hours

Coconut Melon Cooler
30 Freezer Meals ~ Shopping List


  1. How many servings would you say that each of your 30 summer freezer meals in 3 hours makes?? I have a family of 6. My husband and I have 4 kids ages 10,6,4,1 so I was hoping I wouldn’t have to quadruple it to get the 30 meals!

    • Hi Kim! You’re brave having that 4th 😉 I have 3. Some meals they would eat and some it was just my husband and I. I don’t think you’ll have to quadruple anything – but you may need to add more meat to some depending on everyone’s appetite’s. On the nights that it was just my husband and I we always had left overs 🙂

  2. Bummer! I’ve been trying to look at the recipes, but they won’t open. I get a messege that says to contact the server administrator. is that you or me? Just wondering!

    • Please keep trying to click the individual recipes Karla. We’ve had a tremendous response to this post today, and our site is struggling to keep up. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Barbie D says:

    When I make freezer meals I print the bag making directions on one side of an index card and the cooking directions on the other. I always double bag meals and I place the index card in a Ziploc sandwich bag between the inter and outer bags. If my family likes it it gets filed if they don’t it is trashed. When the freezer starts getting low my family each pull from the box what they want and I try to add couple New ones.

  4. Karla – I get the same error message

    • Nevermind – I just saw Lori’s response to keep trying. Thanks for the ideas on freezer meals! 🙂

  5. I can’t get any of your links to work! They looks so good too 🙂

  6. I agree. I can’t get the links to the recipe’s to load so i can’t see them either.

  7. Jessica says:

    Hi! Is the shopping list for 30 meals, or does it need to be doubled. Thanks! Looks great.

  8. Victoria says:

    What is your suggestion for side dishes for the meals that aren’t served over rice? Seems like cooking at least to some degree is still required for them.

  9. This month was my first month of doing this type of cooking. A friend and I made 17 meals (x2) for the month of June. Loving it so far.

  10. Linda Smith says:

    I have been using your 20 meals in 2 hours recipes now for almost 3 months! I figure I am saving 10 hours a week in time that I normally spent cooking! I need those 10 hours, as am taking classes over internet for a new career at age 65 LOL! Your recipes have been a life-saver, time-saver and so far we have loved every one of them. I do substitute boneless pork for many of the recipes as that is what is on sale sometimes and everything has been delicious! Thank you for these recipes!

  11. Wow…you have just saved my Summer. This was exactly what I needed. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!

  12. This is such an amazing idea for a post! ABSOLUTELY LOVEEEE it! Wonderful job!

  13. Can’t wait to try the chicken lettuce wraps! I love lettuce wraps but usually use a sauce pouch from the store. Yum!

  14. ETERNITY says:


    • Heather says:

      The only one that is specifically clean is the Pineapple Salsa Chicken. That can be made with clean ingredients 🙂 Some of the others you should take a look at as they could be made into clean eating (the jambalaya comes to mind). So take a look around and with some minor adjustments you could have uber healthy meals 😉

  15. Looks amazing, I am inspired!! Nettie

  16. Aurianne says:

    I just have a question that may seem silly on the measures used…
    Such as ” 3 T lime juice” was does the capital T stand for? I have seen some not capitalized want to make sure I nail these before having my baby on the way :).


  17. katie carson says:

    what size freezer bags to you use?

  18. What a terrific list I am going to try it out on the weekend!

  19. Kristi Needles says:

    I can’t wait to try the 30 summer freezer meals! I’m getting ready to print off the shopping list, but I am wondering if I need to double the list? I have a family of 7 (kids are 16,14,12,10,8). Thanks!

    • Heather says:

      oh yeah…I’m just assuming that by feeding teens you might want to double the meals to feed your family. Take a look – some you might even need to triple? eek – feeding teens not looking forward to it! good luck

  20. Lindsay says:

    Hi! I love all your recipes! I’m working on making some of my own freezer meals from crockpot recipes we love, but the majority ask us to brown our meat or chicken before putting in the crockpot. Is that really necessary? What are your suggestions? Thank you!

    • Heather says:

      I’m LAZY when it comes to crock pot meals – I do not brown things before putting them in…however – I am hesitant to tell you to change the recipe because it may not give you the desired results! You could brown meat on your day of prep and still get them in the freezer. 🙂 Good luck!

  21. What size crockpot was used for these? Mine is kind of small and Im not sure if these will fit in it.

    • Heather says:

      I use a 7 quart but I would think most would fit into a 5-6 quart. You could always cut the meals in have – and then have 60! 🙂

  22. I did a freezer cooking day a few months ago, and my stock is almost gone. Therefore I will be doing another one this month. But I had one problem, when my meals defrosted some of them had holes or rips in the bag. Then they leaked all over my fridge as they defrosted. I used Ziploc brand freezer bags, and laid them all flat. Any ideas on how to prevent this the next go around? Should I double bag them, or do you think it might have been from the bags knocking against each other in the freezer as I looked through them? Any tips would be great, as I don’t want to have to clean up anymore of that mess. Thanks!

    • Ack, hate messes! My little suggestion is that when I thaw the freezer bags in the fridge, I place them in bowl. That way if there was a leak of any sort it is contained.

    • Heather says:

      ditto Lori – I have had some meals definitely spring leaks so I let them thaw a bit in a bowl or pan (like a cake pan) – if anything leaks out I can just add it back into the slow cooker!

  23. Nancy Smart says:

    We are not big fans of dark meat chicken or bone in chicken, is it possible to substitute boneless breast for the drumsticks in the sweet & spicy drumsticks?

  24. Hi Heather,

    Thank you for sharing this link on our Thrifty Thursday linky party! It has been a super popular hit! We loved your ideas and so we featured this post this week. Come on by and link up more great ideas again this week and see your feature. Thanks!

  25. Can’t get any of the links to shopping lists or prep lists to open. Has this been resolved? Thanks!

  26. i wondered, on the recipes and the shopping list, is all the ingredients doubled for freezing two meals? or are all of them written out for one meal?

    • Heather says:

      Shopping list is already doubled so you will have 30 meals – the recipes that are linked are for single meals 🙂

  27. Jennifer says:

    One suggestion…I use a large measuring cup (I have a 4 c and 6 c) to make the sauces. It makes it really easy to split them into 2 bags!

  28. Jennifer says:

    Question: I have already frozen my meat, mostly ground turkey and chicken breasts. Can I use the frozen meat to make the freezer meals or should I go buy fresh to make these? I know I can’t refreeze the meat.

    • Heather says:

      Honestly – I buy frozen chicken breasts 🙂 CHEAP! I take them out of the freezer only long enough for them to get thrown into the bag and then right back into the freezer they go. You should be fine as long as it’s the last thing you throw in the bag 🙂

  29. When you mention 4-6 chicken breasts is that 4-6 half breast (1side) or whole breast (both sides)…..thank you in advance!

    • sorry – I always say breast when I mean 1/2 of the breast or one side. 🙂 normal breasts without bones I mean. they are usually “halved” already 😉

  30. Hi, I’m still a Crock Pot novice~just bought mine. All these recipes seem to give a two hour window to finishing time~ 6-8 hours. How do you know whether to do it 6, 7 or 8? I bought a 6.5 qt pot.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Most recipes *if semi frozen when putting in* are fine for 8 hours. The instructions are really for thawed ingredients 😉 You figure it out by trial and error though based on your crock pot 😉 If it’s new – you should be good on low for 8 hours *again frozen (or semi frozen) ingredients 😉

  31. Hi. I’m looking at using your freezer meal recipes to start myself on this adventure. Just had a question about the chicken. It says 52 breasts. Does that matter if they’re frozen or from the meat section (these are usually bigger)? I’m just curious if it’s actually that number or a specific weight. That’s A LOT of chicken 🙂

    • yes it is a lot of chicken…if you want to use less because yu are using pre-frozen big ones – go ahead 😉 you know how much will feed your family 🙂

  32. This is such a fantastic idea! I’m not an expert on the slow cooker and definitely not when it comes to freezing either – can you do this for any slow cooker recipe? I’ve never thought of freezing the raw chicken with all the ingredients before so thought I’d check! Thank you 🙂

  33. I’ve got a question…I’ve made a handful of freezer meals, some I love and others, well, frankly are just disgusting. I’ve made a beef stew, sweet and sour chicken, and teriyaki chicken. They all had carrots in them and it was just nasty. The recipes that I used did not require blanching or anything. Has anyone else encountered this problem? My favorites are tater tot casserole, beef enchilada casserole, stuffed green pepper soup, Zuppa Toscana(copy cat Olive Garden recipe)

    • lol – some people don’t like freezer meals. I guess if I were you I’d quit doing them. I on the other hand love carrots made in the slow cooker. to each their own

    • ps…I’m assuming as well that you’re not talking about Meals made from Who Needs a Cape. We don’t have sweet and sour chicken. So it also might be your recipe isn’t as good as ours

  34. Hey Heather – I did my grocery shopping today and plan to do my assembly tomorrow. I do have to go to another store for a few things. Can you explain the chili sauce to me? Is that like the chili sauce sometimes used for hot dogs or is this something I can find in the Mexican food section?

    • Sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday – Chili sauce is labeled just that – and it’s in the ketchup section of my store (usually there is a heinz’s brand and a store brand :))

      • Thanks so much – headed back to a different store this morning. I’ve had issues finding the hoisin sauce. Finally found one bottle so have to go get another and the chili sauce and then I am ready to roll. Got my bags ready and staged everything for easy reach. Thanks for the help and for the recipes and shopping list … it makes it so much easier!

  35. Is there a place on the website where all the recipes are listed all together or just individually where you have to open and print each on? I only saw them listed individually but I could have overlooked something. Thank you for your work assembling all these recipes and shopping lists.

    • You have to print the recipes out individually. I like to print out all 15 – get the ingredients out based on shopping list and do 1 recipe at a time times 2…:)

  36. Was really curious on how much money you spent on all of tthese?

    • Heather says:

      Ana – I really don’t know! I would guess $200-300? But I can’t tell you that for sure – and I had some of the ingredients already at home 😉

  37. Would be interested in getting crockpot recipies via email please thank you

    • To get new recipes you’ll need to subscribe to our page. You can find our already published recipes by searching on our blog.

  38. Karen Ostrom says:

    I have a questions. I wonder if it would be possible to bag all of your ingredients for each meal, before freezing, into a slow cooker bag. Then I will be using a food saver vacuum system to seal up everything. Then on any particular day pull out that frozen packet, then open it up and just put the slow cooker bag in the slow cooker. I was thinking that would be an easy to way to just put frozen stuff directly into the slow cooker.

    • Heather says:

      Hi Karen! I have to admit I’ve never once used a slow cooker bag! So I don’t know if it would work once it’s been in the freezer? Maybe try out one meal (before doing the 30) and then see how it cooks in there? Let me know!

  39. I love these! I used to pay a service to prepare things like this for me, but I can’t afford to do that now that I’m disabled. I really struggle with trying to figure things out these days so I really appreciate your organization of everything.

  40. Caitie M says:

    I am so excited to try this. My family spends WAY too much on groceries considering there are only 3 of us. We are trying to cut back on spending and since I’m at home all day anyway, this would be great. I can load up at Costco and git’ her done!

  41. Jessica says:

    Ok, first I have to say how addicted to this method I am, it’s just genius! Second this particular post was most helpful to get me started on lots of different recipe I don’t normally do. I did this with a friend in about 4 hours (well first I spend a good 1 h just cutting the meat since I purchased mostly whole piece of meat at Costco) and we did have a baby to take care of in between recipe) here is my comment on each recipe I tried so far :
    Chicken Lettuce Wraps : good, no complain
    Pineapple Salsa Chicken : husband loved it, I didn’t
    Sweet and Sour Pork: really good, will do it again
    Beef and Broccoli: good
    Sweet and Spicy Drumsticks:change the recipe too much to comment on this one
    Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches:excellent, had lots of leftover, did a kind of beef stroganoff with leftover
    Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce:haven’t tried yet
    Raspberry Chipotle Chicken :really good
    Maple Dijon Pulled Chicken: well, different for sure but not exactly to our taste
    2 Salsa Pork Chops:haven’t tried yet
    Ribs with Zesty BBQ Sauce:really good
    Jambalaya:disliked it very much
    Buffalo Chicken Pasta:good, but way too expensive for the taste
    Orange Beer Chicken:ok, not to my husband taste at all but not bad
    BBQ Chicken Roll Ups:way too sweet, but got potential

    Every recipe I tried we had leftover (family of 4) for lunch the day after.
    So thanks it was fun, I’ll do something similar with friends anytime.

    Almost forgot to say that we cut time by half for almost all recipe, with 6h every thing was so dry and overcooked… (on low)

  42. Tsuyoi Kuma says:

    Wow, that light timer idea is super spectacular (I think I have a couple handy from Christmas time)!! Thank you so much!

  43. I love the sound of the Raspberry Chipotely Chicken, but, I don’t understand the directions. Do I grill the meat and then add the rest of ingredients in the crockpot? Thanks It looks and sounds amazing!

    • No – if you want to grill the meat – then follow the recipe instructions for that – if you want to put it in the slow cooker then all the ingredients go into the slow cooker raw

  44. Leah Moore says:

    I don’t completely understand. Are these partially premade meals? Are you freezing what can be frozen and then completing the prep the morning if gets tossed in the crock pot?

    • Meals are being frozen raw. THen being put into the slow cooker. On the recipes themselves they state if there are any items that should not be frozen. Enjoy Leah!

  45. Hi I am a complete newbie in the kitchen but am going to try making some of these as it seems so convenient! My question is, on average, how long will these pre-made meals stay good for in the freezer? Do I have to use them in a specific amount of time before they will be dangerous to heat and eat? Thank you!!

    • some people will yell at me but I’ve had mine in the freezer for at least 60 days before 🙂 I wouldn’t leave them in for a year but as long as it’s not freezer burned we’ve never had a problem

  46. vicki butler says:

    Another hint if your going to be gone all day like my family I put it on first thing in the morning and place it on warm when we eat 6-8pm its ready and not dryed out

  47. Love your site & have enjoyed all the recipes I have tried. 🙂 Question about the chicken lettuce wrap recipe. It says one bottle/jar of hoisin sauce. How many ounces of hoisin sauce do you recommend?

    • I will have to look but I think it’s in the 10-12 ounce range. Not sure I’ve ever seen a different size 🙂

      • Cool – thank you for checking for me! My grocery store had big & small sizes. I’m the kind of high maintenance cook that likes precise measurements. ?

  48. A Lawhorn says:

    Started doing freezer meals about 3 weeks ago but started using them tonight. Got home after a hectic day, walked to the freezer pulled out spaghetti sauce, boiled noodles and baked bread in less than 15 minutes, dinner was done. I’m sold! Will definitely keep doing freezer meals from now on. Saves so much time during the week. Thanks

    • HOORAY – I love hearing happy stories 😉

      • Hi Heather,
        Some recipes don’t have ‘freezing’ instructions. For instance, your Fajitas. Do I add all the dry ingredients along with meat, veggies and wet ingredients to the freezer bag? Didn’t know if dry seasonings freeze also.

  49. Hi- Just wondering…Ever do these in a pressure cooker instead of a slow cooker? Just curious. Issues with my slow cooker and pressure cooker is cheaper to purchase…

  50. Sue Caldwell says:

    Love your site, but your server has way too many issues almost every day. You need to get off GoDaddy and move your site to a more reliable host. Most hosting companies will help you transfer everything seamlessly.

  51. Lyn Wanlass says:

    Bless you, my child!! Your hot roast beef sandwiches were a major hit with our family last night. After a head-count of possible attendees, I decided to use two meals-worth. Darned good thing I did. There were 15 of us and, aside from extra au jus, it was all consumed. Decided the au jus will make an excellent soup base when the weather cools down. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Heather says:

      oh my gosh – I’m ALWAYS so so so happy when someone loves one of my meals (let alone 15 of you) 😉 Glad you liked it – try out one of our other meal sets to keep the kitchen interesting!

      • Lyn Wanlass says:

        I have the rest. 3 or 4 more of your meals in our freezer. Excited to try the rest! Again, thanks for sharing!

  52. I see the complete shopping list for all of the meals, but I can’t find a link for all of the 30 recipes. Is there one, or do I need to print all 30 recipes individually? Thanks!


  1. […] Needs a Cape shows you how to make 30 Summer Freezer Meals in 3 hours. How […]

  2. […] Who Needs a Cape to find a list of 30 Summer Freezer meals that they made up in just three […]

  3. […] Check out our Newest Set of Freezer meals – 30 meals in 3 hours! […]

  4. […] 30 Summer Freezer Meals in 3 Hours from Who Needs a Cape | How to Paint Hardware the Right Way from BD Design […]

  5. […] 30 Summer Freezer Meals in 3 Hours from Who Needs a Cape | How to Paint Hardware the Right Way from BD Design Congrats to all this week’s features. If you were featured, grab a button here. […]

  6. […] “30 Summer Freezer Meals” that I found on Who Needs a Cape seemed to be the most useful, and interesting. She lists […]

  7. […] meals for the first time follow someone else’s recipes and shopping list. I decided on this post from Who Needs a Cape because the meals looked really good and the ingredients were frozen raw. […]

  8. […] along with along with a prepared menu plan and shopping list, like the ones from the gals at the Who Needs A Cape? […]

  9. […] for a fresh idea for freezer slow cooker cooking. Just throw the chicken, sauces, and ginger in a freezer bag. I hope your family enjoys these as much as we […]

  10. […] a way to save time, money, and energy used on our electric bill this summer. I found a blog called, “Who Needs a Cape” with a summer menu plan to make 30 freezer meals to thaw and use in the slow cooker each day. There […]

  11. […] twenty-three meal bags with help from my family. I used the Summer Freezer Plan from the blog Who Needs a Cape. I will note in the recipes where I made alterations in the ingredients. The biggest part of the […]

  12. […] here on Who Needs a Cape for the recipes and shopping […]

  13. […] Needs a Cape?  We have OVER 66 dinners ready to simmer in your slow cooker!  Many of these are freezer meals, some are not (or I should say not yet!), but they are ALL tasty and delicious.  They are […]

  14. […] Now if you are ready to tackle our larger scale versions of slow cooker/freezer cooking be sure to visit the posts below: “40 Meals in 4 Hours” “20 Meals in 2 Hours” “30 Meals in 3 Hours“ […]

  15. […] a Cape?  Her Slow Cooker Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce is AMAZING!  I made it for my collection of 30 meals in 3 hours (Lori made it in her 7 meals in 1 hour).  If you like slow cooker meals (and freezer meals) you […]

  16. […] heavy loaded pot roasts or anything like that. Believe me they taste good ALL year long! CLICK HERE FOR 30 MEAL SET I LOVED having 30 meals. And I LOVED the taste of all of them. Part of what I loved is that the […]

Speak Your Mind