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August 22

Freezer-Crock Pot Meals

I thought today’s post would be an excellent piggy-back to my visual-overload-issue with Pinterest.

I dislike grocery shopping, as a result I make lists ahead of time and stick to the list.  I like to pre-plan all of my meals for the week so I’m not wasting time or risk spoilt food.  But as you could probably guess, I generally feel like I have better things to do than cook a meal all night, every night.  I used to trade off with Felix in order to maximize each of our time in the evening, he’d cook a meal then I’d cook a meal, and so on.  But it’s still a lot of cooking.  We want to eat healthy, easily, which is kinda hard to do.

As I was sitting down on Monday night to write out my grocery list, I remember seeing an image on Pinterest for a crock-pot meal.  I decided to click through and found a whole host of recipes on Ring around the Rosies’s blog for quick freezer meals, aka crock-pot meals.  And they didn’t look too shabby!

So what did I do with this information?!  I wrote up the recipes on a few recipe cards and that became my grocery list for the week. 

Lucky for me, Felix went to do the grocery shopping Tuesday night while I was at the gym.  I came home and showered, and when I got out Felix was just getting home, so for timing wise that worked out perfectly.  I helped put the groceries away and decided that I wanted to prep a few meals for the crock pot.  (This is about 7:45 or 8pm.) 

After Felix heard I was going to do some “cooking” he felt guilty and stayed to help.  We finished up at 9:30pm which was also my cut-off time to stop working.  In 1 1/2 hours, we put together 4 full meals, which should feed us for a minimum of 8 days, not including “leftover” days.

I haven’t tasted any of these meals yet so I can’t attest to that aspect yet.  But for the ease of NOT cooking for the next week and a half, I’m really looking forward to!  The best part besides having to not cook, these meals are healthy!  So much better than eating take-out.  :)   

I’m really looking forward to eating the Cilantro-Lime Chicken on the left the most.

Links to the recipes I used:

Have any of you tried some of these crock-pot meals?  Curious how they turn out.

  1. Naomi~ / Aug 22 2012

    I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time to try and save time in the afternoon/evening. Always having to race to cook dinner for my daughter by a certain time is exhausting and kind of frustrating if I’m in the middle of something – but we all have to eat!

    I think I’ll definitely do this for our next round of grocery shopping. I might even look and see if I can do a few meals with what we currently have.

    • Liz / Aug 23 2012

      It was hard to give up an evening to prep all of these meals, but it was worth it and totally saves time in the long run! I wish I could attest to how tasty the meals are but having not cooked one yet, I have no idea.

      The woman’s website I linked to above is a mom too. She preps several meals at once during nap time so she didn’t have to constantly worry about dinner.

      I think it’s hard to cook healthy AND fast/easy so I’m really hoping that they’re as tasty as they sound since this would be the best dinner system ever! :)

    • Tammy Love / Sep 13 2012

      I thought the same thing at first but it has been so easy and convenient. Tonight we had the teriyaki chicken and it was not a big hit at my house. The beef fajitas are to die for, the cilantro lime chicken out of this world! These all came from the same site that your recipes came from. It is worth the couple of hours it takes to get it all together. Between basketball, karate, band and everything else we were eating way too much junk. Since stopping the fast food, I can tell a difference in how clothes are fitting (I do not own a scale lol). My 12 year olds pimples are much better. I just “found” 12 new recipes we will try soon.

  2. Lauren / Aug 22 2012

    I love freezing stuff for the crockpot! Going to have to try these out – I need to go grocery shopping tonight anyway :)

    • Liz / Aug 23 2012

      Yes!

      I meant to ask are you a runner? The weekend you’re in Chicago there’s an event called Journey to the End of the Night I’m debating doing again.

  3. Janice / Aug 22 2012

    Sounds pretty smart. I’m too cheap (or too poor lol) to buy lunch at work everyday, so I end up cooking all my meals once a week and just living off of leftovers. However I don’t have a crockpot… Salads are also a good (and cheap) way to eat healthy, no cooking involved.

    • Liz / Aug 23 2012

      Thanks Janice! How do you cook all your meals at one time?!

      I too love salads but I think my husband would stage an uprising on that one. :)

  4. Stephanie / Aug 22 2012

    I’m going to have to try some of these out! I used to have a good meal planning groove, but then both my husband and I switched to low carb diets so many of our regular dinners are off limits now. I have a crock pot but it doesn’t get used nearly enough. And there are tons of fast foody type places (Chipotle, Panera, Subway, etc) with in walking distance of our apartment so that really doesn’t help….

    • Liz / Aug 23 2012

      Hey Stephanie, I feel your pain! Living in the city gives us too many easy options, most of which aren’t as healthy as home-cooked food.

      I too try to eat low-carbs, and when I do eat them I only eat “brown” grains, never white.

      The worst thing I added was carrots and corn which are higher on the Glycemic Index as far as vegetables are concerned. But I was thinking that I’d rather eat that than more takeout which has so much hidden sodium and stuff.

      But I do have to add the Teriyaki chicken is probably the “splurge” meal that includes canned pineapple. But it’s still probably healthier than the Chinese takeout that would have eaten in its place. :)

  5. Rachel / Aug 22 2012

    These look great, make sure you share with us how it turns out!

    • Liz / Aug 23 2012

      Yes! I totally will!

      I assumed that I could turn the crock pot on in the morning when I leave for work, but Felix being all realistic, said that by the time we come home the food will have finished a long time ago. :(

      So poor me… I just ordered a new crockpot via amazon for $50 that will automatically turn itself to “warm” setting once the timer has run out. So there’s no worry about overcooking my meals now. :)

  6. Rachel / Aug 22 2012

    Oh I pinned a bunch of those crockpot meals too :)
    And I also borrowed the ‘Don’t Worry, Dinner’s in the freezer’ books from the library! Cilantro lime chicken is now on my to-do list ;) I love cilantro and lime!

    • Liz / Aug 23 2012

      When I was combining all of the ingredients my husband asks me “Did you put margarita mix in there?”. heh It was smelling pretty good. :)

      • Tammy Love / Sep 13 2012

        thats funny. I had a couple of the neighbor kids come in when I was working on the cilantro lime chicken and commented on how good it smelled – even asked if they could stay for dinner. I explained that we were not eating this particular meal on that day and they asked if I would write it down for their mom. This was really surprising since the kids were 8 and 11!

  7. Roobeedoo / Aug 23 2012

    I use a slow cooker every week but have never tried this freezer prep method – it is a revelation! Ooh! Extra sewing time! ;)
    Thank you for sharing! That cilantro lime recipe sounds amazing!

    • Liz / Aug 23 2012

      Me neither! I’ve done crock pot meals before too, but it always requires browning the meat and whatnot that it’s too difficult for me to do before leaving for work in the morning.

      With this freezer method you thaw the bag in the fridge overnight and put it in the crock pot in the morning, no extra prep needed. *hip hip*

  8. Ginger / Aug 23 2012

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing these! I love using the crockpot, but I only have a few crockpot recipes and I get bored with them pretty fast. Plus, I work late and I’m really tired when I get home, so I love the idea of being able to knock out several meals in a few hours one night a week!

    • Liz / Aug 23 2012

      I’ve only ever done beef myself in the crock pot actually, never chicken. I worry that the chicken would overcook and become dry…. but I’m keeping my fingers crossed on these recipes. :)

      With Felix’s help I was astounded that I was able to make 4 recipes in under 2 hours! I’m thinking this would be a great Sunday night project so you don’t have to think about dinners for the upcoming week.

  9. Meg / Aug 23 2012

    I have a crockpot but I have not tried freezing any meals. This is positively brilliant and I really should get my act together on the weekends and put the week-night meals together! Pinterest is so good for inspiration, but I am wretched on following my inspired impulses :) Let us know how your meals taste!

  10. Qui Pardue / Aug 23 2012

    Liz, this is awesome. I hope the meals taste great! And I can’t wait to hear what you think :) brilliant!! Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Becky / Aug 25 2012

    You may want to consider cooking a crock pot meal that requires real-time prepping on Sundays since you can’t do that before work. I find that cooking a beef or pork roast in the crock pot gives me plenty of leftovers for at least one or two meals. If you brown the meat, then make a light gravy out of skimmed juices when it is finished, it’s very good. After years of trying to find ways to cook quick, healthy meals, I find having to just add side dishes to cooked meats is the quickest way to pre-prepare meals. I just heat up the meat and add a veggie or two, and it’s dinner. You can also use the leftover meat to do a quick stir fry. Or, you can actually brown the meat and get the crockpot ready the night before. Think outside the box, literally! From reading your blog, I know you’re good at that! I am looking forward to your recipe reviews.

  12. StephC / Aug 26 2012

    Great idea! I tend to double whatever I’m cooking most nights so I can freeze half of it/make lunches… I keep telling myself I’ll “freeze ahead” for a week or a month but it doesn’t seem to work out that way for me. Do let us know how they recipes turn out!

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