Category Archives: freezer/crock pot cooking

Freezer / Crock Meal Round-Up

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Freezer / Crock Meal Round-Up

I’ve been going through the CrockPot meals that are in my freezer, and I wanted to give you an update of what we’ve tried so far!

Tonight, I made Cowboy Beans from The Two Bite Club. We enjoyed it like chili, scooping a little with tortilla chips. It was pretty ok. It tasted (and smelled) very much like BBQ pork. I intended to make it with Sour Cream Rice, but that didn’t happen. I WILL make that though…

Everything in the Crock Pot. Be sure to use the Reynolds Crock Pot Liners… they are a major time saver.

8 hours later… Ever notice how a lot of crock pot meals look ugly?

I served mine with some sour cream and colby jack cheese. I wanted to add some sliced olives, but apparently one of the 5 olive snatchers in this house had other plans for them!

After we ate, I went online to see what other recipes there are for this, and many of them include beer or whiskey. Maybe that would give this a little bit of a kick that it needs.

Much, MUCH prettier!

Here is what my freezer inventory is now… Not Much!! I’ve been pretty committed to this whole freezer cooking thing, and I’ve made something in my crock pot at least 3 times each week. I have gone through quite a few of these meals, and some were MAJOR hits. Others had the opposite response.

We loved:

Beef Tortellini Bake – from Kid Friendly Meals at New Leaf Wellness

Chicken Pot Pie from Kid Friendly Meals at New Leaf Wellness. I meant to add the potatoes in the AM, but totally forgot. I diced them up and microwaved them in water until they were tender-ish. I poured the contents into a baking dish and topped with crescent dough. I baked it for the time on the crescent packaging, and it was perfect. YUM!

Turkey Chili from New Leaf Wellness

Chicken Tacos from Stacy Makes Cents

Beef Stew from Six Sisters Stuff (with the request that there be “NO Peas!!”)

We Liked:

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo (with mods) from Six Sisters Stuff. I won’t add the broccoli until an hour or so before my meal is done. It was way too mushy for the fam to like it. The flavor was great, though!

Chicken Tater Tot Casserole from Kid Friendly Meals at New Leaf Wellness. I didn’t add the milk, mainly because I didn’t have enough! I’ll add that on cook day. Next time, I will not add the tater tots to the bag, and just keep them in the freezer in their own bag until cook day. They were a bit unwieldy to zip up!

Beef Strogonoff – Inspired by Baked in the South. Normally I add the meat at the same time as all the other ingredients. In this case, I will brown the beef and drain it before it goes in with the rest. It was quite oily from the beef. Maybe this is why they used meatballs instead?

Cowboy Beans from the Two Bite Club

We failed at:

Ranch Chicken and Potatoes from Stacy Makes Cents. I am pretty sure that it could have been saved if we hadn’t had an emergency that made me a couple hours late to get it out of the cooker.
All in all, I think that the whole freezer/crock pot thing is definitely saving me time and money. It is also saving me some sanity and last minute Chicken Nugget/Mac N Cheese. Of course, it’s also my menu planning that is doing that part!

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Menu Planning for Winter Break

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Menu Planning for Winter Break

In our house, we have a couple different schedules to keep up with. Child time-sharing between 3 households, school vacation time, and the added joy of 2 holidays to sort through makes meal planning “challenging”. Yeah, “challenging” is a good word!

With anywhere between 2 – 9 mouths to feed for every meal, it’s a little “challenging” to put it all together so that it makes sense. That’s where my meal planners come into play.

First, I completed the “My 21 Meals”. This is a list that I came up with, using the hubby and kids input, to figure out our favorite meals that everyone likes. Or, at least, most everyone likes. I use this list as a base for my meals, and add in some from a list of “want to try” recipes. Once I try a new one, if we like it, I add it to the big list. Right now, I’ve started on my second set of 21 Meals, but that’s cool! I like how it has a spot for me to show where I got the recipe, and what are some sides we like with it.

21 meals

From the list of 21 Meals, I was able to create a Sample Month (this is the first one, I will make a few so that we have some variety). It’s not complete – it’s much harder to plan for just Dave and I than it is for all the kids. He’d eat steak and baked potatoes every day if I let him!

Monthly Meal Plan #1

I’m working on a collection of “Monthly Meal Plans” that can be turned into any month I choose. This way, all the work will be done when I want to plan a month of meals.

Normally, I create a weekly meal plan jotted in my binder, but because of the 2 week school holiday, I decided to knock both weeks out in one shot. Especially since I had to include breakfast and lunch to the kids as well.

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2 week menu planner

This menu planner, and a ton of other printables, came from www.listplanit.com and It. Is. Awesome. I joined List Plan It through a Homemaking bundle that I purchased a couple months ago, and I am thoroughly addicted. I’ve printed out menu planners, cleaning schedules, chore lists by child age, conversation starters, date night planners, and so much more! One of my favorite goodies on this site is the Homemaking E-planner. It has so much crammed into it that It’s an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to get a handle on this whole home-making thing.

$5 a month for new content every week, as well as access to some great e-books. I’m currently stumbling through the 100 Days til Christmas e-book. I’m kinda behind! They take PayPal, and that’s just a little piece of my ebay and crochet & knit pattern sales for a month. Not too shabby. Also, I am total a list girl!

Now, I’m off to take a peek at the new Blog Planning lists!

 

 

Another “Cook” Day

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I went to the meat market again, and spent about $124, and another $75 at the regular grocery. I made 8 meals for the freezer, and still had a ton of groceries left over. I probably used about $100 on these meals. Not too shabby!

Here is the list of what I made:

Beef & Lime Chili From New Leaf Wellness. I used 2 little limes.

Honey Garlic Chicken from Who Needs a Cape

Easy Chicken Pot Pie from Kid Friendly Meals at New Leaf Wellness. I add the potatoes on the cook day so that they don’t turn black.

Cheese Tortellini with beef from Kid Friendly Meals at New Leaf Wellness

Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole from Kid Friendly Meals at New Leaf Wellness. I didn’t add the milk, mainly because I didn’t have enough! I’ll add that on cook day. Next time, I will not add the tater tots to the bag, and just keep them in the freezer in their own bag until cook day. They were a bit unwieldy to zip up!

Turkey & Black Bean Chili from New Leaf Wellness

Chicken Curry from New Leaf Wellness Kid Friendly Meals at New Leaf Wellness.

Maple Dijon Chicken from Six Sisters Stuff

It was a little slower going than I expected, however I think it was worth it. My husband says he doesn’t want to eat from the crock pot every night, and has limited me to 2-3 nights a week. I can work with that. He even helped me a little with today’s “cooking”.

As with last time, all of these meals require no pre-cooking, and minimal prep time. 2 carrots grated, 4 onions diced, 13 cloves of garlic minced, a few chicken breasts cut up. Easy Peasy! If you make any, please let me know how they turn out!

 

Good things.

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I was telling my mother-in-law last night that I was looking for a new desk for my room. The one I have is tiny. As in I can’t type with my hands on the desk or write anything down while I’m on the computer tiny. Teeny Tiny.

Anywho, I asked her to be on the lookout for one that would suit my needs. On our way home, I checked craigslist for curb alerts and found a listing for a whole bunch of stuff from 3 hours prior exactly 4 blocks from our house. I didn’t actually think anything would be left after 3 hours, but we drove by, and it had a desk! Perfect for my needs – shelving up top, nice wide and deep desk, and a drawer! It does have a keyboard shelf that needs a little fixing, but I’m stoked! Ask and ye shall receive, I suppose!

In other news, I made the beef stew from my freezer last night. It. Was Awesome! The only thing I didn’t like was that the potatoes started turning black in the freezer. Next time, I will make up the bag with everything but the potatoes, and just put in the potatoes day of, that will solve that problem!

It was this beef stew from Six Sisters Stuff.

I’ve also tried these from my “cook” day:

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo from Six Sisters, and it was tasty, but needed some salt. It wasn’t pretty, but it was good. I did have the request to add more veg to it next time, like green beans.

I also ate the Beef Strogonoff based off this version of Meatball Strogonoff from Baked in the South. I made it on “cook” day, so it never went into the freezer, however I did put one in there for later. It tasted amazing, but it was so terribly ugly! I’m sure that the meatball version would be better than just the ground beef, but my hubby doesn’t like frozen meatballs; or rather, they don’t like him! I think the problem was that it was too much grease left from the ground beef, so I will try to spoon some off as it’s cooking. That should help a lot.

I’m looking forward to eating the other meals in my freezer, and to my next “cook” day! I found this from Pinterest at New Leaf Wellness. It’s a list of 31 different meal prep sessions with multiple recipes on each, along with shopping lists.

I can’t tell you how great it has been to just dump something in the crock pot and not deal with dinner! On the meal days, I have made 2 pots of pasts, and a tray of crescents. That’s it! Each meal has a little something fresh, but it’s amazing that they have been so good, and SOOOO easy! I’m grateful that Pinterest has so many awesome contributors that have taught me this new way to “cook”!

 

Freezer “Cook” Day

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I wasn’t really planning to do my “cook” day until after Thanksgiving, but we went to the meat market today, so instead of just putting away the meat I decided to do up the bags for the freezer. I call this a “cook” day because there isn’t actually any cooking involved. I chopped 2 onions, 4 carrots, 4 potatoes, and a pepper. Yup, that’s all the “work” involved. We have a total of 7 in our family – 2 adults, a teen, and 4 under 10. Every other weekend, we add another teen and 9 year old that eats like a teen!

The Plan: 6 meals for $35

The logic: My meat market has amazing deals on awesome meats. $1.99 per pound for boneless skinless chicken breasts (one breast, not split, will feed our family of 7) and $1.99 per pound of ground beef if you buy 10 pounds or more. I only used 2 pounds for my “cook” day, so

Mexican Chicken Taco Stuffing and Ranch Chicken and Potatoes from http://www.StacyMakesCents.com (I added 2 pouches of potatoes because, well, 7 people)

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo and Beef Stew from http://www.SixSistersStuff.com

Beef Strogonoff modified from Meatball Beef Strogonoff from http://www.BakedInTheSouth.com

I was also going to make a batch of Man Pleasing Chicken, but the store didn’t have any real Maple Syrup or red wine vinegar.

The results:

$23.24 Meat Market: 2 pounds of ground beef, 1 pound stew beef, 6.5 pounds chicken (that’s 3 breasts… told you they were big!)

$17.84 Save A Lot: everything else

Total: $41.08 for 6 meals. If the stew beef wasn’t quite so much, I would have done better, but not too shabby! I made one each of the above for the freezer, and have a beef strogonoff in the crockpot now. 6 meals, $6.85 each – I’m pretty proud of myself! It’ll get better once I get back into couponing, but for now, I’m happy.