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Freezer Cooking is not my Thing – but Here’s my Best Shot Anyway {VIDEO + 3 Slow Cooker Recipes}

3 Slow Cooker Freezer Meals Pinterest

I’m not a bandwagon kind of girl.

Just because everyone loves freezer cooking doesn’t mean it’s for me – the one time I did the “once a month cooking” thing with a friend, we spent about 3 days planning and shopping, 8+ hours cooking, and had 12 meals out of it.

I remember being very, very tired at the end of that day, a little cranky, and not at all as fulfilled as I felt I should have been after 8 hours of quality time with a dear friend. We were just too busy!

But I had great hope – I hoped that at least dinner would be so smooth for the next two weeks that I would rejoice in my hard work.

What really happened is that I found myself disgruntled each night, because I still had to prep side veggies, salads, and stuff, and I still had dishes, and it didn’t feel at all like the vacation I had built it up to be!

This may have been my fault for having high expectations…but I haven’t done a freezer cooking session since then, and I bet that was 8 years ago.

I love having food in the freezer, don’t get me wrong – but I lean toward the “make a double batch for dinner and freeze half” routine rather than a special freezer cooking day.

However.

I’m always open to trying something again, and yesterday I thought I could assemble a few slow cooker freezer meals and hope for the best!

3 slow cooker freezer meals

Maybe if I keep my expectations a little lower than perfect nirvana it will feel better on the other side. 🙂

Inspiration Out of Overwhelm

I flipped through Erin Chase’s Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Plans – 20 Meals from Costco for $150 and Kelly McNelis’s No-Cook Freezer Meals and I couldn’t help it – you know how I love Costco – I just had to do a small-scale freezer cooking session.

I set out to create a super short video to share on Facebook of my “little” freezer cooking session. I figured it should be NO more than 4 minutes because seriously – it’s Facebook!

So of course mine was 12 minutes long, and I even skipped one of the three recipes I was going to make.

This, people.

This is why I can never get through my anticipated to-do lists.

I’m so time-challenged!

So I figured I’d write a short post and share the full video with you all since I just shared half of it yesterday on Facebook.

Anyone laying odds on how long my post will be?

I know you don’t believe me…

VIDEO: Five Freezer Dinners in Twenty Minutes


If you can’t see the video above, click 3 quick freezer cooking dinners to view it right on YouTube.

Some Tweaking and Squeaking

I made quite a few tweaks to the original recipes for the first two meals, not because there was anything wrong with them but just based on what I had on hand and our preferences, such as:

  • My beef is all frozen anyway (and I didn’t really want to do anything that needed cooking ahead of time). I used all chicken meals even though Erin’s called for beef. Yummy.
  • I omitted all the sweeteners. Hopefully we don’t miss them!
  • I swapped out corn, simply because I try not to use too much of that starchy, questionable “vegetable.” We are just coming off a Whole30 for my husband and he hasn’t yet reintroduced corn, and there have been times when we have skipped corn for one reason or another for a season, and I wanted these meals to be available to be used at any time, no matter what weird diet we’re up to. 🙂 I could have replaced the black beans with parsnips in the taco soup (that’s the Whole30/Paleo modification in the $5 Dinners meal plan) but I didn’t have parsnips and did have beans. Similarly, we give the kids a lot of peas when they don’t like whatever other side veg we’re having, so I changed peas out for other veggies in the curry. I’m guessing I wouldn’t love slow cooked peas anyway; I like them very lightly steamed or even frozen, personally.
  • I changed a lot of the garlic and onions to dried instead of fresh, just because that’s my method with slow cooker meals. I want them done as fast as possible! There was already a decent deal of prep for these meals, with the collecting ingredients and cutting the veggies (far less than most dinners for us, but enough for one morning – maybe 45-60 minutes total). Plus I had to (ahem) clear my peninsula for filming, put makeup on, and be really organized, so that took FAR longer than I expected! 🙂

And the squeaks?

You can’t hear it in the video because it was all in my head, but I was DYING as I was putting all those ingredients in the second bag. If I could have, I would have been squeaking and squealing, but you can’t redo a cooking video because you’ve already used all the ingredients!

RELATED: How to Prep Weekly Meals

3 Slow Cooker freezer meals facebook

Here’s what happened:

I totally had decided before filming that I would leave the cans of coconut milk and tomato paste OUT of the freezer meal and only put them in the slow cooker for that night’s dinner.

See all the cans at the front of the counter waiting for me to gesture to them?

Right.

I had other cans prepped to go into the slow cooker but got talking and started dumping them into the bag, even though I knew I would need two bags if I used all the ingredients.

Yikes!

I’m so lucky that zipped up (I did omit one can of tomato sauce that I had ready to go, good thing)!

So follow the recipe below, NOT what I actually do in the video. Ha!

Even though I didn’t show the last meal, the slow cooker chicken fajitas, I thought I’d share the recipe anyway (with permission since I didn’t change that one all that much).

I’m so very much looking forward to having easy meals for this busy spring season! There are at least a few days every week when we really need a slow cooker meal to make the 5-o-clock hour survivable, and now…sigh of relief…I’m ready!

Slow Cooker Taco Soup Recipe from $5 Dinners

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Slow Cooker Taco Soup Recipe

  • Author: Erin Chase
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Soup

Description

Adapted from Costco Slow Cooker Freezer Meals from Erin Chase of $5 Dinners


Ingredients

Scale


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Instructions

  1. If slow cooking immediately, put all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
  2. To freeze:
  3. Label a gallon-sized zippered bag with the name of the recipe plus “add 2 cans diced tomatoes (in glass jars, no BPA!) – slow cook on low 8 hours, high 4-6 hours, partially frozen 10 hours.”
  4. Place the open bag in a large bowl (to hold it open and in case of tipping).
  5. Put in all the ingredients except the tomatoes. If you add the chicken last, it will be first to go in the slow cooker, which is good.
  6. Zip the bag up tight and lay flat in the freezer.
  7. When you’re ready to use the meal, thaw in a large bowl in the fridge overnight so you can at least break apart to get into your slow cooker, OR do a quick thaw in a large bowl of warm water for about an hour. Your bag will be huge, so you might need to flip it around and replace the water once or twice in order to make headway. Do not thaw on the counter – raw meat!
  8. Pour all the contents plus the two cans tomatoes into a slow cooker (it will be FULL too – mine is a 6-quart).
  9. Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4-6 hours. If partially or mostly frozen, cook on LOW for 10 hours.
  10. To serve, shred the chicken with two forks or possibly a potato masher (be careful not to scratch your slow cooker if you use a metal utensil).
  11. Serve hot with optional toppings.

Where to Find High Quality Meat

Having trouble finding good quality meat locally? Would you like to fill your freezer with local and pastured options?

If you’re in Canada, check out TruLocal.ca

If you’re in the US Midwest, Chicago to Milwaukee to Detroit to New York, and select cities across the country, check out TruLocalUsa.

If you’re west of the Mississippi, check out Wild Pastures

If you live in any of the 48 contiguous states, I recommend US Wellness Meats and Butcher Box! 

I’m grateful that there’s an online source of incredibly high quality meat that I can always count on. A subscription from Butcher Box includes grass fed, organic, pastured, and free range = all the labels important to your family’s health! And I’ve got a special deal for you!

They almost always have great deals for new customers. Claim your free gifts, and see what bonus they have going on right now. Don’t miss out!

(free shipping too!)

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Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

  • Author: Kelly McNelis
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main Course

Description

Adapted from No Cook Freezer Meals by Kelly McNelis


Ingredients

Scale


ship kroger


Instructions

  1. If you’re going to cook right away, put everything in a slow cooker (mine is 6 quarts and it was FULL) and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
  2. To freeze:
  3. All these ingredients will not fit in one gallon-sized freezer bag (if you use 4 c. veggies, but not 8). BUT if you leave out some of the canned stuff it will work just fine. I recommend leaving out the coconut milk and either omitting the tomato sauce and paste OR using 4 cans tomato paste and adding “+2c. water” on the outside of the bag.
  4. Start by labeling a gallon-sized freezer bag with the title of the recipe plus “Add 2 cans coconut milk” and also note whatever tomato products and/or water you need to add.
  5. Stand up the open bag in a large bowl.
  6. Put all the ingredients (except canned products) into the bag. If the chicken is last, it will be the first in your slow cooker which is good. Seal tightly and freeze flat.
  7. When you’re ready to use the meal, thaw in a large bowl in the fridge overnight so you can at least break apart to get into your slow cooker, OR do a quick thaw in a large bowl of warm water for about an hour. Your bag will be huge, so you might need to flip it around and replace the water once or twice in order to make headway. Do not thaw on the counter – raw meat!
  8. Pour all the contents plus the two cans coconut milk and appropriate tomato products/water into a slow cooker (it will be FULL too – mine is a 6-quart).
  9. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. If partially or mostly frozen, cook on LOW for 10 hours.
  10. Using two large forks or an appropriate plastic cooking utensil to shred the chicken into small pieces. If the juices seem too runny, add some arrowroot starch while the slow cooker is still hot and stir it in well.
  11. Serve hot over cooked rice.

Notes

Conversion to use tomato paste in place of sauce: 2 c. tomato sauce = 3/4 c. tomato paste + 1 c. water

The sauce ended up fairly thin, so I would either (a) cut out the extra water and just use tomato paste or (b) add 1/4 c. arrowroot starch to thicken during the last 10 minutes before serving. SO yummy!

I found myself wanting more veggies in the sauce – use up to 8 cups if your slow cooker can handle it (6-quart necessary) OR plan to stir fry or steam some extras to serve with the meal.

My curry powder is HOT and I know my kids couldn’t handle 4 Tbs., but be my guest and go big if you love curry!

If you want to have the entire meal in the freezer, simply put into two different gallon bags and label them for use together, OR cut the recipe in half for one freezer bag at a time.

UPDATE: This meal works in the Instant Pot too, just as easy! (Although it’s such a large recipe that I leave the veggies out of the IP and steam them separately.) Details here.

I’m all about finding ingredients at a great price – even better if I don’t have to leave the house with up to four kids in tow! Coconut milk can sometimes be elusive at your local store, especially organic. I’ve found great prices at both Thrive Market and Amazon. It’s worth checking Vitacost too – if you are new there, you can also get $10 off your first order through my link.
Slow Cooker Freezer Cooking Assembling Chicken Fajitas

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas Recipe

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clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

  • Author: Kelly McNelis
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Course

Description

Adapted from No Cook Freezer Meals by Kelly McNelis


Ingredients

Scale


ship kroger


Instructions

  1. If cooking right away, put the meat and seasonings in the slow cooker and hold out the peppers and onions to stir fry separately if you like (or just slow cook everything).
  2. Set the slow cooker to LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
  3. Shred the chicken with two forks or an appropriate plastic cooking utensil.
  4. Stir fry the onions and peppers in a few tablespoons fat until cooked however you like them, al dente or caramelized.
  5. Serve hot on tortillas, over rice, or as a salad. This dressing is delicious with any Mexican style salad!
  6. To freeze:
  7. Label a gallon-sized freezer bag with the name of the recipe.
  8. Add everything to the bag.
  9. If the chicken goes in last it will be first in the slow cooker, which is good. I actually put my peppers and onions on top in case I decide I want to slow cooker the meat only and stir fry the veggies for a more “al dente” feel to them.
  10. Seal tightly and freeze.
  11. When you’re ready to use the meal, thaw in a large bowl in the fridge overnight so you can at least break apart to get into your slow cooker, OR do a quick thaw in a large bowl of warm water for about an hour. Your bag will be huge, so you might need to flip it around and replace the water once or twice in order to make headway. Do not thaw on the counter – raw meat!
  12. Dump everything into the slow cooker (or withhold peppers and onions that weren’t touching your raw meat, to stir fry them).
  13. Set the slow cooker to LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. If partially frozen, cook on LOW for 10 hours.
  14. Shred the chicken with two forks or an appropriate plastic cooking utensil.
  15. If applicable, stir fry the onions and peppers in a few tablespoons fat until cooked however you like them, al dente or caramelized.
  16. Serve hot on tortillas, over rice, or as a salad. This dressing is delicious with any Mexican style salad!

Do you freezer cook? Share how it’s helped you become more efficient!

Disclosure: There are affiliate links to Mountain Rose Herbs, Tropical Traditions, Thrive Market, Vitacost, Amazon and $5 Dinners from which I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

5 thoughts on “Freezer Cooking is not my Thing – but Here’s my Best Shot Anyway {VIDEO + 3 Slow Cooker Recipes}”

  1. Great timing! Did you eat them yet, and how did they turn out? And was it enough food to feed your family? We eat a lot and I’m always worried about new recipes making enough to satisfy everyone. (We LOVE leftovers too.)

    I’m venturing into the new world of Freezer Crockpot meals in preparation for baby #6. My plan is to divide it up by meat (chicken, beef, sausage, and meatless) and then do one freezer meal assembly day a week for a month’s worth of meals. And I’m hoping to enlist my kids’ chopping skills to help get it done quickly. 🙂 Probably the overly-ambitious nesting hormones getting to me, but I think it will save my sanity once baby arrives!

    1. I think that’s a fantastic idea Brittany, and you’ll thank yourself later!! This was last year’s post and YES all the recipes were very good. I particularly like the chicken curry (but have to be careful to not make it too spicy for the kids). The others are normal meals, good but almost not needing a slow cooker if that makes sense. The chicken curry is a HUGE batch. Add rice and steam frozen veggies and it’ll feed your family for 2 meals I bet. Enjoy! 🙂 Katie

      PS – I don’t know if you saw that a bundle is going on until midnight tonight, but there are a few freezer cookbooks in it. Also you can check out $5 dinners mom for her freezer meal plans, like one for Costco (http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/CostcoMealPlans ) and another that includes lunches (http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/5-dollar-meal-plan-with-lunch )

      1. Thanks for answering my questions! Apparently I’m still stuck in 2015. 🙂 I totally thought the UHB was a reference to the current one!

    1. Perfect timing! I just chopped and froze 18 colored peppers today for 3 batches of frozen fajitas because the peppers were on sale recently!
      I have to share a tip that is HUGE for me. When putting anything into a freezer bag… roll the top of the bag over onto itself….almost like you roll the top of a garbage bag over the can. The bag stands up, and OPEN, and the zipper stays clean, so it seals completely! I haven’t needed to put the bag in a bowl using this method, unless I am pouring something with a lot of liquid and I’m filling the entire bag. Then it has a tendency to tip, but I never fill a zipper bag anymore without folding the top edge over!

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