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Frozen Crock Pot Meals! Save Money and Save Time!

Update: Since our family has started using our Frozen Meals, I have a few tips for you:

  • You can definitely take your meals directly from the freezer and put into your Crockpot- if you wish.  Just add an extra hour or so to your cooking time.  All of my meals have turned out fantastic and I haven’t had to thaw any of them out beforehand.
  • You can opt to use the Reynolds Slow Cooker Bags inside your ziploc bags or not.  However, I found that the ziploc bags don’t fall off the frozen food as easily.  So, we put our food inside the Slow Cooker Bags and then inside a ziploc bag.  That way, you can opt to cook the food inside the Slow Cooker Bag, or empty the food easily right into your Crockpot.
  • I will DEFINITELY be doing a Second Round of Frozen Crock Pot Meals!  If you have any awesome recipes, please email them to me at melea@freebies2deals.com.  If I choose your recipe, I would love to give you credit!!

I feel so lucky to live in an area where neighbors, friends and even people from my church go out of their way to make meals for families who have had a new baby.  It is such a blessing to have people do that for you!!  But, since I know I still won’t be up for cooking after that, I thought it would be a good idea to try out Frozen Crock Pot Meals and have them on hand!

I’ve heard of people doing this and thought it would definitely be worth a try.  Basically, you take all of your ingredients and put them into a Ziploc Gallon Bag and freeze them.  Then, when it is time, you can take all of the contents, throw it into the crock pot and cook.  No effort on your part.  And, if you are doing it during the first few weeks after a new baby, it’s easy enough that any member of your family can do it- so you don’t have to.

So, I decided to take the challenge.  I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who have had more experience with this than me.  So feel free to share your ideas in the comment section below.  :)

Here is what I did:

I scoured the Internet looking for a bunch of Crock Pot Recipes that actually looked decent that my family would eat. (Some are just a little too out there for us)  However, I did stick mostly to chicken dishes for this trial run.  During round two, I will try to be a little more adventurous!  Yep!  I’ve already decided that there will definitely be a round two!

Step 1:

Write out the ingredients, steps, name of the dish and even date made on the outside of your Ziploc Freezer Bag.  At the top, I actually wrote how long to cook it both on High or Low temperatures- depending on how fast I needed to have my meal cooked the day I used it.  I also put a ** at the top if there were ingredients that need to be added afterwards that wouldn’t go in the freezer bag. (ie, water or last second stir-ins).  Once you have written all of your meals on the Freezer Bags, it’s time for step two.

Step 2: (Interchangable with Step 1- it’s up to you)

Prepare all meats and chop all vegetables on your menu.  You can opt to do this all at one time.  Or, what I actually ended up doing what trimming the fat off my chicken all at one time. Then, cutting up vegetables as I filled each bag.  That way, I could edit the recipe as I saw fit and after I saw how the bag was filling up.

Step 3: 

Fill up your bags.  You will definitely want to use Ziploc or Hefty Gallon Freezer Bags.  However, some people like to put a Reynolds Slow Cooker Bag inside the Freezer Bag.  Instead of trying to get the frozen food out of the Ziplog bag, you can just take out and place the Slow Cooker Bag right inside the Crock Pot and start cooking.  (I wasn’t sure which way I would like better, so I decided to do a little of both. I’ll let you know what ended up working the best in a couple weeks.)

Step 4:

Place bags in your Freezer and Clean Up!

TIME

All in all, this took me an hour and a half.  I just popped in Tinkerbell for my little girl and by the time it was over, I was just cleaning up the mess I had made.  It kept her out of my way so I could hurry and get it done.  So it really worked out perfectly!

COST

I was really surprised at the cost.  Since most of the items that were in the recipes were fresh items, there were barely any coupons to use.  So, instead, I would encourage everyone to price match! If you didn’t know, Walmart will price match anything that is in a competitor’s ad.  So, just keep them all as they come in the mail and then you can see whether or not Walmart’s price is lower.  Just tell the cashier who has it for cheaper that week.  (And of course, if you have a coupon, you can use it on top of the Price Matched Price too!) Print out the Walmart Price Matching policy, if you have any questions and take it with you if you haven’t done it before.

Since I was purchasing a bunch of chicken- 26 Chicken Breasts in all.  I decided to head to Costco to grab all of that!  So if you have that option, you might find that purchasing in bulk instead of at a grocery store will save you money as well!

For my 8 Freezer Bags full of meals, including all of the meat, I ended up spending $80.  That doesn’t include items that I already had in my home, or in my food storage.  So your price will obviously vary depending on what ingredients you already have, if you decide to price match or use coupons.  But considering a lot of the bags that I made could easily be used for leftovers as well- I was pretty shocked at how much food I have for our family to eat.  Instead of 8 meals, we have closer to 14!  Obviously, whether or not you have leftovers will depend on how big your family is.  With a family of 3, we can easily use our Crock Pot Freezer Bags for more than one meal.  And for our particular situation, we ended up paying under $6.00 for each meal!!

RECIPES:

Like I said earlier, I searched Pinterest and the Internet, trying to find a few recipes I would be willing to try out.  So here is what I did for our 8 Freezer Crock Pot Meals:

Teriyaki Chicken (I did two bags of this one)

  • Bag of Baby Carrots
  • 1/2 Red Onion in Large Chunks
  • (1) 20oz can pineapple (undrained)
  • 1/2 or 1 Garlic Cloves Chopped
  • 2- 3 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 cup Teriyaki Sauce

*Add 1/4 cup Teriyaki Sauce to Mixture right before cooking. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours. Serve over Rice.  (Thanks to Melissa Fallis Test Kitchen for this recipe)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1-2 Lbs Cooked Chicken Tenders (I used chicken breasts and did not cook them.  I am opting to shred the chicken when it is almost done cooking inside the crock pot instead.)
  • 2-3 Large Potatoes
  • 2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 Can Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Onion Chopped
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Small Can Green Chilies

Cook on HIGH Heat for 4-6 Hours.

Chicken and Dumplings

  • 4 Chicken Breasts Halved
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 Onion Diced Finely
  • 2 Packages of Refrigerated Biscuit Dough torn into pieces (this is added after cooking- place in a separate baggie.)

Place everything in slow cooker (except the biscuit dough) and fill with enough water to cover. Cook HIGH 5-6 Hours.  30 Minutes before serving, place torn biscuit dough in slow cooker.  Cook until dough is no longer raw in center.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken

  • 5-7 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 Cup Frank’s Wing Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Yellow Mustard
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Add all to crock pot.  Cook on HIGH for 5 hours.  With 20 minutes left, shred chicken inside the crock pot.  Then, finish cooking cycle.  Eat on Whole Wheat Buns, with lettuce, tomato and even cheese.

Salsa Chicken

  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Cup Salsa
  • 1 Package Taco Seasoning
  • 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 Cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream

Add everything to Crock Pot (except Sour Cream).  Cook on LOW for 6-8 Hours.  Stir in Sour Cream at the end and serve over rice.

Zesty BBQ Chicken

  • 5-6 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 12 oz Bottle BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Italian Salad Dressing
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

Put chicken in bag.  Stir all other ingredients together in a bowl then pour into the bag.  Cook HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 6-8 hours.

Pot Roast

  • 1 Eye of Round Roast
  • 1 Packet Pot Roast Seasoning
  • 1 Bag Mini Carrots or Sliced Carrots
  • 6-7 Chopped Potatoes
  • 1 Onion in Big Chunks for Flavor

Add water just before cooking- 1/4 to 1/2 way full. Cook on HIGH 4-6 Hours.

Ok, there you have it!  Hopefully it can spark a little interest and get you guys trying some easy and healthy meals for your family too.  I’ve also pinned this on the Freebies2Deals Pinterest Page.  So feel free to “Pin” it so you can find it in the future!

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73 Comments

  1. Melea– you are awesome. Thanks for putting this together for us.

    Reply
  2. Great idea. Have you tried a ‘Food Saver’? We love ours.

    Reply
  3. I am due in October, and I am definitely going to try this! Thanks for doing all the hard work for me! :)

    Reply
  4. Thank you so much for sharing this!! What a great idea!! Now I just have to find a free weekend morning or afternoon to prepare! I’m excited about trying some stews and soups for winter. This will be great for nights when I work late!! Thanks again!

    Reply
  5. This really is awesome! My little guy is almost 6 months old and this will STILL come in handy! Thank you!

    Reply
  6. I would suggest if its going to be longer than a week or 2, to food saver a filled crockpot liner in a vacuum seal bag. That way you dont run the risk of freezer burn:)

    Reply
    • That is a great idea! Thanks!

      Reply
  7. Since all the ingredients are frozen, does the cook time need to be adjusted at all? Or is that already factoring in the frozeness?

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Melea Johnson

      You know Brittany, I cook frozen chicken in my Crock Pot all of the time. Hopefully it is ok to do. And, from what I read from other people who have done these before, it should be. And, you shouldn’t have to adjust the time. If for some reason I do, I will definitely update the post! :)

      Reply
      • I took a class on crockpot cooking and they said to cook the meat thawed rather than frozen because it ensures a more evenly cooked meat, temperature-wise. But I’ve done it both ways and have never had a problem.

        Reply
  8. I’m due in October & totally am doing this! Thanks for all the help & inspiration! =)

    Reply
  9. Thanks for the great recipes! Did you know you can buy bags of Costco’s rotisserie chicken by the pound? It’s already cooked and shredded. I love to buy it for casseroles or enchiladas to skip the cooking the chicken step. I may try that with your recipes! :)

    Reply
    • That’s amazing! I had no idea. I hate shredding it after we eat one meal’s-worth. Thanks!

      Reply
    • Where is it at in Costco?

      Reply
      • Just go to the meat dept. and ask them for the rotisserie chicken already cut up! They will give it to you.

        Reply
        • I didn’t know that. That is awesome. The trick I learned was just boiling any boneless chicken you have and then throw the warm drained kitchen (reserve the liquid for broths) into a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. It shreds the chicken with no effort. I even made chicken tacos by adding a little warm broth and the seasoning and mixing it in the mixer.

          Reply
  10. Melea, this is incredible that you did this so close to your due date! Thanks so much for doing this. I’m definitely going to attempt some of these recipes. I have a Crock-Pot and have only ever used it once.

    Reply
  11. I’ve been doing dinner group for over a year. We make bunches of the same meal and then get together and trade so we come home with 6 different freezer meals. I just did a large meal in disposable aluminum pans that just needed to be thawed and baked that came out to $5 a meal including price of pans because I bought everything on sale. (That’s for a 4-serving meals). I love it! A lot of people found it to be too difficult or time consuming. I think the key is to not do recipes that are too difficult and just to plan ahead. Like when the chicken is on sale, I buy a lot and then make a meal that uses chicken. I’m going to try a few of the recipes you posted here. Thanks for the post!

    Reply
  12. Great idea and I think I’ll do something like this as well! How long are they good for in the freezer? I’m due in November.

    Reply
  13. Melea – do you just mix the raw chicken in with everything else when you put it in the freezer? Just making sure that it’s not cooked beforehand.

    Thanks for all the info…I am DEFINITELY going to try this!

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Melea Johnson

      I didn’t cook any chicken beforehand. Maybe it’s just me… but it seems silly to cook it now and spend the time cooking it again in a crock pot. So I was opting for recipes where I had to do the least amount of work. Ill let you know if I have issues this next week and update the post. But, I was following recipes others have done. So I figure that raw chicken with everything else should be fine. Once it is cooked through in the Crock Pot, there shouldn’t be any contamination issues and it should cook well too. :)

      Reply
  14. These are great. So many freezer meals that I find seem almost as much work the day of cooking as just doing it from scratch, or require so many odd ingrediants they are way too expensive. I’m going to try these to prepare for my baby in February.

    Kat, if you can’t find a full morning to do freezer meals, you can make one of these a week and make a second freezer batch while you are making your dinner for that day. I plan to make one freezer meal a week between now and baby because with full time work, a full day of freezer cooking just doesn’t work out.

    Reply
  15. So I assume you didnt buy/freeze the biscuit dough right?

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Melea Johnson

      Actually, I debated about that. I figured that it would probably be ok and cook fine.. but Ill do some tests for everyone and let you know what I find out!

      Reply
  16. How do you keep the potatoes from turning black when you freeze them? I do this so my family can have home cooked meals while I am busy with school . This way I won’t have to take much time away from studying to cook. But I haven’t figured out how to freeze potatoes without them going black and gross :(

    Reply
    • Try covering them with water and adding 2 tablespoons 0f vinegar.

      Reply
    • I learned that you can’t freeze potatoes, but you can use hashbrowns or any other pre-frozen potato instead if that will work for your recipe.

      Reply
  17. I do a lot of crock pot meals, especially in the spring when we have track and swim team going on for our three oldest kids. I have found that boneless, skinless chicken thighs do really well in the crock pot, much better than breasts. They stay juicier, are better portion size and are cheaper to buy.

    Reply
  18. Looooove this ideas!!!!!!!!Thanks for sharing!!!Congrats.for the new baby!

    Reply
  19. This sounds awesome! I totally hate to cook, but I am going to try this!

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  20. Oh thank you so very much for the help. I have a friend who is worried about meals after her delivery in a couple of weeks.

    Reply
  21. Thank you for this post!
    I will try them!!!

    Reply
  22. I love the idea but wanted to know if it is safe to mix the chicken with the veggies? I thought I read somewhere that you should NOT do that.

    Just wondering. I am due in Nov. and would love to do this too….but unsure about how it works with chicken…

    Reply
  23. Although I have never tried it, I have heard complaints about freezing the food in the slow cooker liner. People have said the seams seem to split and basically wastes the use of the liner. Just thought I would pass this note along!

    Reply
    • For me, they split weather its been frozen or right from the box.

      Reply
  24. I also make a chicken n dumplings similar to your recipe, but instead of water I use chicken stock (or half water, half stock). It gives it a better, rounder flavor and you can really taste the chicken better.

    Reply
  25. Thank you for this post! I’ll be having a baby within the next few weeks and I was stressing about this because I didn’t know where to start! This will help me to calm down and get some meals ready :)

    Reply
  26. Try brushing the potatoes with a little bit of lemon juice to prevent color change, it works on apples as well.

    Reply
  27. Some people asked about combining raw meat and vegetables. I’ve done it, and it always turns out great. If you don’t defrost the meal in the refrigerator the night before putting it in the crockpot, you’re supposed to cook meat on high instead of low so bacteria can’t grow. If it is already defrosted before putting it in the crockpot, then you can do either low or high. To me, freezing the veggies and meat together is the same as throwing it all in the pot the day of, and it definitely cooks all the way through after 4-8 hours anyway.

    Something else I did before my baby came was to cook 10+ lbs. of ground beef all at once and then freeze it all in 1-pound quantities (w/ s&p, garlic, and onion) in quart-sized ziplocks. I flattened each bag and stacked them in the freezer. When I needed to cook after a long day at work, the hamburger went straight from the freezer to the pan where I’d let it heat up under the lid for a minute and then add the rest of the ingredients for tacos, stroganoff, etc. I hate dealing with a pound of frozen, raw hamburger, so cooking a bunch at once right after I bought it worked great for me. It tastes exactly the same, too.

    Reply
    • I have a friend that does the same with her ground beef, but opts to cook it in the crock pot because she doesn’t hav ethe time to cook 10 lbs. of meat at a time.

      Reply
  28. THANK YOU so much for taking the time to post all the details on this! We are having a baby boy in November and I have been thinking of trying out the freezer meals. This will be a great help having someone that is testing it out and that will share all the tips and results. Thanks again and congrats!

    Reply
  29. Love this idea! I’m due in September and definitely going to do this especially since I’ve only had one person mention bringing me a meal. I think I’ll try doing a few at a time though instead of all at once.

    Reply
  30. LOVE this idea! I am way past having babies, but I am too tired most nights to fix a meal after working all day. I am excited to give these a try. My family can be picky eaters but these look great!
    Do you have anymore? lol. Heading to the store tonight! Thanks!

    Reply
  31. Few more ideas I did when my kiddos where little:
    I mixed the well-known Hash brown Casserole recipe x’s 2 or 3. Do not cook it, just spoon into qt size freezer bags & write the cook time & temp on the bag. Usually makes about meals for 2.

    I made my meatloaf recipe (any recipe will work) and baked them almost all the way in muffin tins. Then freeze them, and get out how many you need at a time & finish baking.

    Make sausage biscuits completely..like you are ready to eat them! I use Kroger brand biscuits. Freeze. Microwave for 1 min….Good as fresh!! I was very sceptical about this but it really worked!!

    Reply
    • sorry…that hashbrown casserole, usually makes about 10-12 meals for 2!

      Reply
    • For the meatloaf….what is considered baking them “almost all the way”? Thanks for the great idea!

      Reply
  32. I love this! I have seen similar posts in the past but there’s always some weird ingredient or something that makes me not want to do it. But these are all recipes we would eat and ingredients we usually buy anyway. I’m not pregnant but my husband is deployed and meal planning has been rough while he’s away. I think we’ll try this–it’s always great to have crockpot meals on hand in the summer instead of turning on the oven! Thanks.

    Reply
  33. This is wonderful. I have health issues and this will make things much easier for me on those days that are hard to for me to get around.

    Reply
  34. What a really awesome idea! Thank you for sharing

    Reply
  35. I was wondering how many servings one of the recipes make ?
    Thank you

    Reply
  36. I did something similar when I had my daughter and LOVED it. You have inspired me to do it again, just for the heck of it–okay actually football season means lots of running and little time for cooking. I have always been one to make two lasagnas at once and freeze one, but hadn’t really thought about doing that with crockpot meals. Now, I will make a habit of making two at a time and freezing one! Thanks again for the inspiration.

    Reply
  37. Do you thaw the frozen bag of food out before you put it in the crock pot or do you put the whole frozen thing in the crock pot ?

    Reply
  38. This is awesome :) Hopefully their aren’t too many adjustments, since I’m going to the store this morning while my mom is in town to help me! Due end of Sept and can’t wait!

    Reply
  39. Hi, I just bought a crock pot and tried to make a roast, carrots and potatoes and onions. I browned the meat and put the veggies in first. (2 potatoes, 1 onion, small bag of baby carrots.) I then put the roast (3lb.) on top with 1 cup of water. I cooked it on low for 10 hours. When I got home, it was NOT done! Potatoes were still kind of hard. I don’t understand what I did wrong!!!!!!!!!!! Can you please help me?

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Melea Johnson

      Debbie- Im not sure. I usually do my roast with about 1/2 the crockpot filled with water for 5-6 hours on high. I’ve never done it on low. Anyone else have suggestions?

      Reply
      • I always do mine on low for 8-10 hours. I put the roast in first, then carrots, then potatoes (the things which take the longest to cook should be on the bottom). Sometimes I even wait and put my veggies in halfway through. It has always turned out ok.
        Debbie, have you had this issue with other things you’ve cooked lately? Are you sure it’s not your crockpot? That seems strange it wouldn’t cook after all that time. Good luck!

        Reply
        • I gave my son my OLD crock and bought a new one. I should have bought him the new one and kept the OLD! The old one did wonderful, knob broke and all. The new one….SUX! ANYTHING I cook even on high for 8-10 hours, when I get off from work is still not done.

          Hate to say it Debbie, you may want to get another one.

          Reply
  40. It might be a bit expensive, but, worth the less mess~ but put everything into a slow-cooker bag, and just staple the information to the top, rubber band shut.

    Reply
  41. I’m doing this for when my little guy gets here (any day now) but I did some pork and beef meals too. Plus clam chowder. I’ll have to let you know which ones turn out

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  42. How did the potatoes turn out in your recipes?

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  43. Thank you SO much for this! Just made all the recipes you found today…just like you did! Sorry for being a copy-cat! I blogged about it too because so many friends were asking about it after I posted on FB what I had done. Baby #4 is due in October so I’ll be making more once we get closer but these will help me in the time leading up to her birth!

    http://jamespurejoy.blogspot.com/2012/08/freezer-crock-pot-meals.html

    Reply
    • I love it when others share their recipes too, so thanks! I am looking for a bunch so it is nice to have a few people’s perspectives. My kids are really picky, so I sometimes wonder if it is worth my time, but I am still probably going to do these :)

      Another tip– if a recipe calls for you to brown ground beef then add everything else, if you don’t want to just stick it all in, you can throw ground beef in crock for like an hour on high, let it cook (go back in and chop it with a spoon or whatevs so it is not a big clump) and then dump the rest on top. I love this way cause you don’t have to stand there and monitor it and you and do what you need. AND you do not smell like you just cooked something lol!

      Reply
  44. Melea,
    These are all amazing!! Thank you! I also made a family favorite last night in the crock pot.
    Frozen chicken breasts (5) 1 8 oz package cream cheese, I envelope italian dressing mix, and 2 cans cream of chicken soup. Serve over rice or noodles! Delicious!

    Reply
  45. So I made these about a month before having my little boy and have been using them. They are SO good!! Thanks so much for putting this together! Really appreciate it :)

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  46. My husband and I are not being potato people, so can I just axe the potatoes in the recipes? or should I still add them for flavor?

    Reply
  47. Do you put the veggies in with the raw chicken before you freeze it? doesn’t that contaminate the veggies? I want to try this but I am just trying to figure out if I need to brown the chicken/meat before adding the veggies to the bag. Thanks so much for your reply.

    Reply
  48. This is going to be perfect for my parents…..I am going to make each of us several crockpot meals for the week. Mom has rheumatoid arthritis and can’t hardly cook or lift things anymore….this is going to be perfect for her and easy for us since we both work. Thank you!!!

    Reply
  49. Hi…I was getting ready to make the chicken and dumpling recipe. When you say to fill with water, are you meaning to follow the directions on the back of the cream of chicken soup can (add a full can of water per can of cream of chicken soup)? Thank you …

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Melea Johnson

      Just fill the Crock Pot with enough water to fill everything you put it. About half way full, should do it. :)

      Reply
  50. Malea! I totally love doing this too! It really saves me on busy/lazy/stressful days. You can just go to my blog (www.mimisfitfoods.com) and click on the “Slow Cooker” category to see all the recipes there. However, I’ll list some of my favorite ones here (that work well for freezer-to-slow-cooker). Another tip I suggest is that when you’re making a slow cooker meal on any particular day, make one or two extras while you’re at it and then you can freeze your extras for later. I do this A LOT! I’ll make one for the slow cooker that day, and since I already have all the ingredients out, it takes hardly any extra time to make two more for the freezer. Thus, over time I end up with a freezer full of meals without feeling the stress of making 10-20 at once (or spending lots of extra hours at one given time to make them all).
    Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup: http://mimisfitfoods.com/slow-cooker-thai-soup/
    Fit & Easy Chicken Pot Pie:http://mimisfitfoods.com/fit-easy-chicken-pot-pie/
    Green Enchilada Soup: http://mimisfitfoods.com/green-enchilada-soup/
    Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken and Tomatillo Stew: http://mimisfitfoods.com/slow-cooker-mexican-chicken-tomatillo-stew/

    Reply

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