Sunday, September 25, 2011

Freezer Cooking- Slow Cooker Meals!

**Update 9.2.2012-  Many of the recipes below turned out a bit more "bland" than my husband and I like so at the end of this post I have offered some "additions" to the recipes that you can try if you wish!  Also-- I did a Freezer Cooking #2 post that you should check out that came out better in my opinion and I did a Freezer Cooking #3 "Sauce-A-Palooza"  and a Freezer Cooking #4 "Soups" post also that you may enjoy!     ~ Melissa **

Fall is SUPER BUSY for me at work... and I typically get home late and don't have time to cook (Okay I'll admit it.. I don't FEEL like cooking! ) I LOVE using my crock pot and never thought about pre-assembling meals (until I found PINTEREST) that I could freeze & dump in the crock pot before I head to work in the A.M. There is nothing like coming home to a house that smells like you've been slaving away all day making a gourmet dinner, when in fact the crock pot has done all the work!

Andrew was out of town this weekend so I thought it would be the perfect time to experiment with this whole "Once A Month Freezer Cooking" thing I have read about on After some research, and some inspiration from 's Freezer Cooking poste...I narrowed it down to (5) meals that sounded good (or that I already make in the crock pot on a regular basis) and use them for my 1st experience with Freezer Cooking...

I chose the following:

Savory Vegetable Beef Soup (I make this 3-4 times a winter)
Teriyaki Chicken
Balsamic & Onion Pot Roast
Healthy BBQ Chicken *
from *LinkStephanie's Goulash *adapted from *

I printed all of the recipes and made my grocery list. Most of the main staples I had: basil, thyme, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, brown sugar, white sugar, olive oil, garlic cloves, balsamic vinegar, mustard and teriyaki sauce. If you don't have any of these you will need to add to the list below =)

*Please note that all "bags" are 2-4 servings* Adjust ingredients to increase or decrease serving sizes. I figured each of my freezer bags would be dinner plus lunch the next day.

My Grocery List:

Fresh Produce:
(3) Green Peppers
(1) Red Pepper
(1) Zucchini
(1) Red Onion
(1) Bag of Onions (you need approx 8-10 onions)
(1) Bag Potatoes (I bought Red) (You will need approx 14-16)
(1) Large Bag of Whole Carrots (Baby Carrots would work also if you don't feel like chopping- 2 bags of baby carrots would work) I got a bag of whole & a bag of baby.
(1) Bunch of Celery

4.5-5Ibs of Chicken Breast (I bought the HT Value Pack)
3-4Ibs of Beef Stew Meat (It was B1G1 at HT today!)
3Ib Chuck Roast (B1G1 at HT today!)
1-1.5Ibs of Ground Beef

Other Groceries:
(2) 20oz cans of Chunked Pineapple
(2) 15 Oz Cans Tomato Sauce
(2) 6oz Cans Tomato Paste
(1) 28oz Can Diced Tomatoes
(1) pack of v8 juice (I buy the 6 pack of cans)
(1) small box Tapioca (I had no clue where to find this in the store-- It's right above the pudding/jello at HT) =)
(2) Boxes Beef Broth (I buy low sodium)
Steak Rub (I bought grill mates in the spice aisle)
(1) bag egg noodles
(1) Bag Frozen Cut Green Beans (you will need 2 cups)

AND DON'T FORGET TO BUY A BOX OF GALLON FREEZER BAGS! I used 8 for this go around...

Okay... Once you get everything home leave it all out on the counter and admire what you are about to do!

First I labeled all of my Freezer Bags with a permanent marker. I wrote on the bag todays date, the meal name and the instructions for the day I will make it. (some of the meals will need beef broth added, water added, sour cream added etc.. so I made note on the actual bag what I needed to do so I don't forget!) I also notated on my bags if the dish was supposed to be served over rice or egg noodles etc..

Teriyaki Chicken (2 Bags)
Savory Vegetable Beef Soup (2 Bags)
Healthy BBQ Chicken (2 Bags)
Stephanie's Goulash/Beef Stew (2 Bags)
--I made the Balsamic & Onion Pot Roast immediately so I won't include this in the instructions, I will post the recipe at the bottom. =)

Next... I started CHOPPING VEGETABLES! (It's not as bad as it sounds!)
As I chopped I placed the correct amount in each bag. (I started with ALL the onions, then did peppers, then potatoes... (see below for instructions).
I lined up all of my freezer bags across the counter and just dumped the correct amount of veggies for each recipe in the respective bags (see below). I never measure anything so I just guesstimate!

After I had the veggies chopped and distributed I tackled the meat... for this round of freezer cooking I only had to cook the ground beef for the vegetable soup... the chicken & beef stew meat stay raw.

For the ground beef.. take (1) chopped onion and (2) chopped garlic cloves and brown them together. If you are feeling super savy you can let the beef brown while you are chopping the veggies! Let cool, instructions below on how to finish.

For the chicken, I washed & trimmed it and left (4) of the breasts whole (for the teriyaki chicken) and the other (4) I cut in half just because I felt like it (for the healthy bbq chicken).

I trimmed the beef stew meat of any fat and also cut it down into smaller cubes.

After placing the meat in the correct bags I added the spices and remaining ingredients.

Here is how it broke down per bag..

Teriyaki Chicken (2 Bags)
  • Split a large bag of Baby Carrots between the 2 bags
  • Cut Red Onion into Large Chunks and split between the 2 bags
  • (1) 20oz can pineapple in each bag (undrained)
  • (2) Garlic Cloves chopped per bag
  • (2) Chicken Breasts in each bag
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce in each bag
*Add 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce to mixture. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours. Serve over Rice.

Savory Vegetable Beef Soup (2 Bags)
  • Chop (1) Onion and Chop (2) Cloves of Garlic- Brown in Pan with the Ground Beef- once cool divide mixture between bags
  • (2) whole carrots chopped per bag
  • (2) celery stalks chopped per bag
  • (3) Red Potatoes chopped per bag
  • (1) can v8 split between bags
  • (1) 28oz can diced tomatoes SPLIT between bags
  • (1) cup frozen green beans in each bag
  • (1/2)TBSP Worcestershire per bag
  • (1/2) cup Beef Broth per bag
  • (1) TBSP Parsley per bag
  • (1) tsp Basil per bag
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme per bag
  • (1/2) tsp salt per bag
  • (1/2) tsp pepper per bag
  • (1) TBSP Sugar per bag
*Place in Crockpot with 1.5 cups of water and 15 oz Beef Broth. Cook on LOW 8 Hours.

Healthy BBQ Chicken (2 Bags) * from *
  • (2) Green Peppers Cut into Slices split between 2 bags
  • (1) Red Pepper Cut into Slices-split between bags
  • (1) Zucchini Chopped and split between bags
  • (3) Onions Chopped and split between bags
  • (6) Red Potatoes Chopped and split between bags (you can also use Sweet Potatoes)
  • (4) Garlic Cloves Chopped & Split Between bags
  • (4) Chicken Breasts Split between bags (I cut each breast in half again)
  • (1/2) TBSP Quick Cooking Tapioca per bag
  • (1) 15 oz can of Tomato Sauce Split Between bags
  • (1) TBSP of Brown Sugar per bag
  • (1) TBSP Worcestershire per bag
  • (1) TBSP Mustard per Bag
  • (1/4) tsp Salt per bag
Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours. Serve over Rice or Egg Noodles.

Stephanie's Goulash/Beef Stew (2 Bags) *adapted from *
  • (1) Green Pepper Chopped split between bags
  • (1) Chopped Onion per bag
  • (2) Carrots Chopped per bag
  • (2) Chopped Garlic Cloves per bag
  • (3) Ibs Beef Stew Meat Split Between Bags
  • (1) 6oz can Tomato Paste per bag
  • (2) tsp Paprika per bag
  • (1/4) tsp Black Pepper per bag
*Cook for 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW in a slow cooker. Add (1/2) Cup of Sour Cream about 10 minutes prior to serving. Serve over Egg Noodles.

Once ALL INGREDIENTS are in freezer bags push all of the air out of them and seal. Lay bags flat so they freeze flat. Stack in Freezer... once they are frozen you can re-arrange to best suit your freezer space. Take meal out of freezer the night before you want to put it in slow cooker so it thaws a bit.

Here is the Balsamic & Onion Pot Roast Recipe... I went ahead and made it for dinner instead of freezing it:

There is a TON of shredded beef leftover... I will probably make the leftovers into Sandwiches or Beef Enchiladas later in the week!

Since all of the meals are in the freezer... freezing... as I cook them this month I will let you know what I think of the taste (I guess I should say that I will let you know what the husband thinks of them!!)

If anyone else happens to try them let me know what you think!

If you have any questions about this post let me know.. Being my first time doing this it might be a bit hard to follow... I tried to translate it best I could from what I actually did today in the kitchen!

Thanks for reading and Good Luck!

*** UPDATE: 9.2.2012:  The Healthy BBQ Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken and Goulash were the ones that were a bit bland for my husband and I's tastes! I would just recommend adding some spices into each one! For the teriyaki chicken you can add in brown sugar, garlic salt and soy sauce to add a little more flavor. To the BBQ Chicken- I just added some actual bbq sauce out of the bottle to the recipe and to the Goulash I added some basil, oregano, worcestershire and beef broth. This helped a little with the flavor! =)