Before our second baby was born, I fully intended to fill my freezer with crock pot-ready meals. To our great surprise, he arrived 2.5 weeks early, so it didn’t happen.
As the weather changes and our schedule starts to get busier, I wanted to get ahead of meal planning for the next month. I love my Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker and I wanted to go beyond my standby recipes – chili, meatballs, scalloped potatoes, etc. There’s a ton of great websites out there with recipes for bulk crock pot freezer meals. I came across a blog called Saving You Dinero and I LOVE these recipes! I decided to try these ones:
- Garlic Honey Chicken
- Southwest Chicken
- Spicy Chicken
- BBQ Ranch Chicken
- Creamy Chicken & Broccoli
- Simple Beef Stew
You can find all the recipes and shopping lists here. I had a lot of ingredients already on hand so I didn’t have to buy much. Since I was already planning a big mess, I also decided to make batches of chili and spaghetti sauce. I went to CostCo and bought a large package of chicken breasts, a package of stewing beef, and a large package of ground beef. I also stumbled upon a cheap pre-seasoned pork roast for pulled pork so I picked that up too!
Now came the assembly! I bagged all the meat first (I browned, drained and cooled the ground beef before bagging), then cut up vegetables and then added the other required ingredients. I then wrote the name of the recipe on the bag, any ingredients that aren’t frozen that need to be added (like cream cheese) and the cooking times. I won’t share everything here because it would be way too much in one post, I will share the details in separate posts as we cook the meals.
So after about 3 hours (because I had to do this in phases, I have two kids after all!) and about $100 in ingredients (CostCo meat was about $70 and I bought about $25 in canned goods and then used pantry ingredients for the rest) I have 13 meals ready to go (one of each chicken recipe above, two batches each of stew, spaghetti sauce, pulled pork and chili) into the slow cooker! I will still need to make sides (rice, noodles, vegetables), but I always have lots of those on hand and can easily whip them up. I can’t wait to try them all!
A few things that worked well:
– labelling each bag before I began
– bagging the meat first and keeping a large garbage bag ready to dump all the packaging
– cutting up the vegetables and then dropping into their respective bags
– sorting all the dry/canned ingredients on the counter by recipe so everything was at my fingertips
– cleaning out the freezer first!