Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Crock Pot Freezer Meals

One of my Facebook friends recently had a new baby and as the end of her maternity leave loomed, she wanted to pre-assemble some meals that could be thrown into the Crock Pot, removing one obstacle from her first week back at work.

Around the same time, a friend of ours was having a pretty major surgery, and I wanted to do something to help take some burden off her husband while she recovered. I figured one less thing to do in a day when you have a sick spouse and a precocious toddler is a pretty good deal, so Dave and I chose a few of the recipes my friend posted, and got to work!

I chose recipes that had some of the same ingredients to decrease the amount of prep work (is that efficient, or just lazy?) and wrote out the grocery list as simply as possible, grouping like items together. I never do that when we do our normal shopping, and have no idea why. It made the shopping trip go very quickly and there was no zig-zagging across the store for something we forget in aisle 2 when we're already in the frozen section. I hate that part, so I always make Dave do the zagging.

Here's what we got:
note: the rice and egg noodles weren't part of the recipes, but we got them to be used as sides; same with bananas and clementines

When we got home, we decided Dave was in charge of setting up the freezer bags and portioning out the meat, while I was in charge of chopping. Once those were both done we finished off the wet ingredients one recipe at a time to avoid creating a Rachel trifle:

Here they are, all assembled:

The chicken soup didn't make it through the night in the freezer. I double bagged that sucker because I knew it had too much liquid in it, and that liquid expands when frozen. We also put it in a plastic grocery bag just in case the seal broke on both freezer bags, so we wouldn't have a mess in the freezer. All that was for nothing, because it still exploded. Poor soup.

Silver lining - we now have a really clean freezer and got rid of a bunch of expired Lean Cuisines! :)

Here are the recipes:
  • Orange pork chops- this is NOT a crock pot meal but can be frozen in the bag, thawed and baked when ready like all the others
    • 4 pork chops
    • 1 cup orange marmalade
    • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 minced onion
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Chicken noodle soup
    • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
    • 5 carrots sliced
    • 1 onion chopped
    • 1-2 cups of diced celery
    • 3 cloves of minced garlic
    • 2 tbsp of olive oil
    • 6 cups chicken broth
    • 1 cup water
    • parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme (These weren't the original spices, but I used what I had. Plus I like Simon & Garfunkel)
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • salt & pepper 
    • Cook on low 6-7hrs; remove chicken and shred with fork. In the process, turn heat to high and add in bag of egg noodles. Return chicken to Crock Pot and cook until noodles are tender.
  • Pepper steak
    • 1 lb of beef fajita strips
    • 1 bottle of pepper steak sauce/stir fry sauce
    • 3 sliced green bell peppers
    • 1 sliced onion
    • 3 cloves minced garlic
    • Cook on high 3-4 hrs or low 6-8
    • Remove 1/2 cup of sauce from crock pot about 1/2 hour before serving; whisk it with 1 tbsp of cornstarch - return to Crock Pot for 30 more min
  • Red pepper chicken
    • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
    • 2 red peppers sliced
    • 1 onion sliced
    • 2 minced garlic cloves
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • red pepper flakes & Italian seasoning
    • Cook on low 3-6 hours depending on how much chicken you used or how thick the pieces are
  • Garlic honey chicken
    • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 2/3 cup ketchup
    • 1/4 cup honey 
    • 3 minced garlic cloves
    • Cook 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low

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