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I love having extra meals in the freezer for a sick day, moving day or for a friend who’s just popped out a baby, had surgery, been attacked by wild apes etc. So when a friend shared the idea of making meals that you just pop from the freezer into the slow cooker I was pretty excited! Over the past year I’ve done this a few times and since people are so curious I am finally writing a post about it! The recipes I’ve chosen are my favorite, tried-and-tested, Man-friendly (it seems like a lot of guys are skeptical of crock pots- perhaps their mothers made too many slop-based meals that all tasted the same), easy, healthy, and delicious crockpot recipes!
In the past I have attempted so many cooking-ahead methods- Once a week cooking, once a month cooking, and all kinds of freezer meals. This method is sooo much easier and quicker because it involves very little cooking! Only 2 of these recipes involve any pre-cooking of the meat- and it is a really quick step!
I would definitely suggest doing this with a friend- it made it so much more fun and quick! We each bought the ingredients to make 2 meals each of 3 different recipes. Then we came together, prepped everything and we each left with 6 different meals that were ready to pop in the freezer, then go to the crockpot when she has her baby, or when I move into my new place in a week!
Check out this beautiful bounty! Here we have- Terryaki Chicken, Cheesy Chili Chicken, Beef and Broccoli, Chili, Sausage and White Bean Soup, and Pulled Pork! For the recipes for the first 3 meals check out the highlighted links- (Note- I replaced ‘Rotel’ in the cheesy chili chicken with salsa- and I have also left out the cheese before and it’s still good!) Now for the next three recipes, allow me to elaborate 😉 I’ll post finished photos as I enjoy the results after I move in October!
These meals are pretty big- they feed my fam of 6 (with some leftovers usually), so you should be using at least a 4 quart crock pot, although I’m sure a 3 quart one would work for most of these recipes. Also, apart from the Cheesy Chili Chicken, these meals happen to be dairy-free and can easily be gluten-free if you chose gluten-free soy and teriyaki sauces.
For my cooking party we doubled each of these recipes to make 2 of each 🙂 Here are the single recipes.
Crock Pot Chili: (stolen from my big bro and semi- adapted)
1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons chili powder (more if you like it spicy)
1 large can (798 mL) diced tomatoes, drained
1 large can of plain tomato sauce
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste (I like my salt!)
Brown the beef in a large pot.
Add onions, peppers, garlic and chili powder.
Cook until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes and 34 seconds.
Cool a bit and transfer to a large freezer ziplock bag.
To the bag add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and beans.
Remove as much air as you can and freeze!
Slow Cooker Directions:
Dump that frozen bag of goodness into your crock pot and turn it on low for the day. (Every slow cooker is different, so you might have to adjust cooking times- I usually aim for 8 hrs on low for a frozen meal)
Crock Pot Pulled Pork:
(I’ve tried a million different pulled-pork recipes- from making the bbq sauce from scratch all the way to the root beer method and this is seriously my fave one- and it happens to be easy!)
A 3lb pork roast (pork shoulder is best but you can really use anything- I use whatever is cheapest at the time and always get fine results!)
Half a bottle of Bullseye Chicken and Rib BBQ sauce
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
Stick it all in a freezer bag, remove air, and freeze. Yup.
Dump it in the crock pot, add 1/2 cup water, set it-and forget it! (I grew up looking forward to watching Sunday infomercials- anyone else do that too? LOL!)
Note: with this big chunk of roast I usually let it go for a couple of hours on high, then let it finish off on low.
Serve on buns, or over rice with coleslaw!
Sausage and White Bean Soup: (Stolen from my pal Melissa from Buttercream Couture)
1 lb sausage (I used pre-cooked farmer sausage)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
3 cans white beans, rinsed and drained (I could only find white kidney beans, but you can use any white bean!)
1 large can (798 mLs) of Italian style diced tomatoes (or regular diced tomatoes with half a tablespoon of italian seasoning)
1 box chicken broth (I use chicken bouillon base then add 4-6 cups of water at cooking time)
3/4 tsp rosemary
Sauté chopped sausage until browned
Add onions, garlic and celery and cook until tender, about 6 minutes and 4 seconds.
Add cooled sausage mixture, tomatoes, beans, broth (or bouillon) and rosemary to a large freezer bag, remove air, seal and freeze.
Dump into slow cooker, add 4-6 cups water if you used bouillon instead of broth) and cook all day!
THAT WAS A LOT OF FOOD!
We each went home with 27 lbs of food to be exact!
Wouldn’t this be great to do with a friend once a month? OR a bunch of gals could get together and do this as a baby shower present for a new mom- Imagine stocking her freezer with 12 meals?!!? This is so much more practical than typical gifts, especially if this is a second (or 5th- hint, hint) baby.
A year and a half ago. Mrs. Buttercream Couture actually came to my house when I was in the hospital with baby#4 and loaded my freezer up with a pile of these meals! It was such a blessing-especially the cookie dough she snuck in there 😉
I am a mama of 5 kiddos, 2 of whom have autism, and one baby who has wonky kidneys! Needless to say, it’s wild around here, but I keep semi- sane by getting creative in the kitchen, and the craft room.
If you want to follow me all over the place, I would love you forever if you:
Like me on Facebook for endless entertainment LOL
Like the crafting collective Facebook Page I am in, too 🙂
Follow me on Instagram (If you like seeing crazy kids, what I eat , and the funny things I wear to doctors appointments 😉
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And on Twitter!
OH and I almost forgot Google+ 😀
Well I hope you enjoyed that awfully long post today!!!
Happy slow-cooking 😉
*UPDATE* I have started to use my delicious freezer meals and I want to share some pictures of the finished products, as well as some more tips!
Mmmm… Chili. I serve this with a scoop of fresh salsa on top and a piece of crusty bread:
The recipe I make by far the most is the pulled pork:
Tonight I had the beef and broccoli. It was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. I added a tsp of grated fresh ginger to the slow cooker, and steamed the broccoli on the stovetop (right before I served it) to keep it green and not over-cooked, though I then forgot about it and proceeded to over-cook it. Oh well, It was delish:
And I just finished up the cheesy chili chicken, which I normally put inside flour tortillas! Drool! The only thing I need to say about those is that because there is cream cheese in the recipe (usually if you are using dairy in the slow cooker you should add it at the end to prevent curdling) it kinda looks funky halfway thru cooking, but in the end, once you shred the chicken and stuff it in a burrito (I added some fresh spinach and tomatoes) It is just fine. And delicious. Here is how we had it this time:
Anyways, I’ll keep updating as I use my freezer meals! Now, back to your regular programming!
Dot, your are amazing. You inspire. Totally gonna make a bunch of these crock pot meals, what a great idea! And I love your jewelry. So creative! The paintings you made are hanging proudly in the boys room…I just love them! Hope your move goes well. Looking forward to seeing some pics of the new place.
aw thanks heather!!!!!! good luck with the meals!!!!! ❤
Thanks for the slowcooker ideas, I don’t know what I’d do without mine, so new ideas, especially ones that you freeze beforehand are a life saver! Also, love your jewellery, I hope it takes off. They look great 🙂
Oh my Goodness, these recipes look amazing! I’m Gonna be making them all with a friend on Saturday. She’s due with her second baby in a few weeks so this is good timing! Meals like this are def gonna be my new go to gift for new mamas!
awesome lauren!!! wish i could do it with ya!!!!!!!
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I made up quite a few freezer meals yesterday from here and there around the web. I just wanted to tell you how amazing the Sausage and White Bean Soup is! After making up all of the freezer meals, we wanted something to eat right away so I put half of this soup on the stove for an hour and half in a freezer bag for later. My hubby is a picky eater and he scarfed down a bowl and asked for more. I can’t wait to heat and eat the rest from your site! Thank you so much and keep them coming!
Thank you so much for the feedback Amy!! Im so glad you guys liked the soup- it is definitely a hubby friendly one 😉 Some people have said that the chili could use more seasoning, so thats just a little head’s up- depending on how you like your chili – it’s easy enough to adjust at the end tho 🙂 So cool that you did a big freezer meal day!
Along the same lines,, I just found some freezer meals for the slow cooker. (pork roast, chicken stew, beef goulash) I just cut the veggies and freeze them, mix all the liquids and seasoning and freeze them and freeze the meat I get from the store. When I want to cook it, I just add everything to the slow cooker and at dinner time, wa la, a home cooked healthy meal that took literally 2 minutes to throw in the slow cooker.
Ok, so I made my pork roast yesterday. I put everything in the slow cooker frozen and cooked it according to instructions for frozen roast. It turned out really tasty. However, the potatoes were discolored from oxidization. Is it possible to prevent this? How?
I already have 4 more frozen “meal packs” ready. If I cant avoid it with those I would like to for the next batch from frozen meal packs I prepare.
All suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thank you!
Howdy!!! Sounds like you made an amazing feast! I haven’t frozen potatoes because I heard they get nasty looking (tho I think the only thing that is compromised is their color at least.) BUT I have an idea! I think if the potatoes were covered in sauce or whatever liquid you would be using in the recipe, that they could avoid being oxidized? So maybe try layering the potatoes at the bottom of your freezer bag, and ensure that they are totally covered in liquid. I should do an experiment to make sure this works but I think it should help!
Ok, so I am expecting my second in 4 weeks, and am wanting to try these recipes out but am struggling with the cheesy chili chicken and the beef and brocoli, how do we do them as freezer meals?
Howdy Jessica! Congrats on yer baby!! For the chicken one you literally chuck all your ingredients into a freezer bag, I even use previously frozen chicken boobs and shove those in with everything.
for the beef- use one freezer bag for the meat and sauce, and use another bag for the broccoli- you could also just buy a bag of frozen broccoli from the freezer section for that part! for that beef and broccoli- i usually just cook the broccoli in a pot right before i serve it- It is super easy and keeps it fresh! Hope that helps 🙂
Hi Busted Button!
I have recently purchased a slow cooker and came across your blog via pinterest. I’m looking forward to trying out these recipes, they all look so scrummy! I just have a couple of questions thatmI’m hoping you could answer for me as I am a slow cooking novice! (Have only cooked two meals in it!) …firstly, do you literally just pull the bag out of the freezer and empty it into the slow cooker? Or does it require defrosting first? Secondly, can all slow cooker meals be frozen or are there any types of food you wouldnt recommend freezing? Such as the potatoes in a previous post?
I look forward to hearing from you,
Howdie Lizzie!! Yes you just dump it in frozen- handy hey?? Most recipes can be turned into slow cooker friendly ones- you will have to do a bit of trial and error Im sure, but for the most part, as long as you brown any meat first (unless it’s something like the pulled pork, where it doesn’t need extra color or a nicer texture) and avoid putting most dairy products in til the end, you should be good to go! annnd i just re read your comment and you wanted to know about the freezer, but I am too lazy to delete the first part. ANYWAYS I think certain dairy products go weird in the freezer so you might have to be careful about that! Good luck 😀
How much bouillon base do you add for the sausage & bean soup?
It depends on the brand of bouillon, so check out the instructions, and just add enough to make the right amount of liquid stock 🙂
What is the total time you cook the pork with BBQ sauce? 2h hi and how many is “until it’s finished” on low? I need all the details I can get. I’m not very successful with my crock pot so far 😦
Hi Julie! It depends on the size of your roast, and the temp of your slowcooker, but if you went for 2 hrs high, then 5-6 hrs low you will be okay- you just want to make sure you can shred it with two forks 🙂 you will figure out your crock pot soon enough and become a master !
How long do you recommend cooking the above 2 minute meal (chicken, corn, beans, salsa)? Thanks so much!
Well, it all depends on your slow cooker, but between 5-6 hrs on high or 6-8 hrs on low does the trick for me 😀
How long do you cook the pulled pork in crock pot?
Hi Danielle! Depending on the size of the roast and hour crockpot temp, between 6 hrs on high or 10 hrs on low… Somewhere in there! Really until you can shred it with two forks is perfect so, you might want to start it early and if it’s done before dinner you can shred it and let it sit in the warm setting til dinner 🙂
I LOVE that these DON’T say “thaw first”. If I had THAT much forethought, I wouldn’t need this method!! Lol!
i made all these meals last night to freeze. They all seem so wonderful! However I looked in the freezer today and noticed some of them where having trouble freezing. While at the same time other bags are hard as a rock. I am noticing the ones that are having trouble freezing are the chicken teriyaki and pulled pork. Could this have anything to do with the marinades? I am very confused by this because I made a couple of other recipies such as tangy meatballs and it is not freezing either and it has bbq sauce in it. Any ideas? The meats inside is freezing just not the sauces. I wasn’t sure if will last in the freezer long if the entire meal is not completely frozen.
Hi Cara! Great question! You are right about the marinades! Because of the sugar content, they wont freeze solid- and that is okay 🙂
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This may be a stupid question, but do you thaw the meals before putting in the crockpot?
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for your pulled pork recipe do you cook the pork from frozen and I am wanting to put it in the crock pot in the morning when I leav for work and have it that night for supper. How long should I cook it for, and on low or high? I won’t be home to change it from high to low after a couple hours
Hi Becky! It depends on the size of the roast and on the temperature of your slow cooker, but I do 8-10 hrs on low from frozen and haven’t had a problem with that before 🙂
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Can I ask how large of can of tomato sauce for the chilli?
I believe I used a can that was about 800 Mls 😀
how large of a can of tomato sauce for the chilli?
I believe I used a can that was about 800 Mls 😀
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