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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. ๐
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!
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.
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.)
Place bags in your Freezer and Clean Up!
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!
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!!
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.
- 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.
- 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!