Friday, October 16, 2015

Crockpot Freezer Cooking

I set a goal to prep 20 freezer meals that cook well in the crockpot.
When I found this blog post I looked through the list of meals. I thought they sounded different enough and interesting enough that we wouldn't feel like we were eating the same thing every time I popped one in the crockpot.  We eat a lot of chicken already, so this plan works well for us.  Mixing in different meats and vegetarian dishes would make a decent amount of meals for our family.  So many of these types of meal planning posts seem very repetitive.  They take 5 meals and double them and you have 10, which should great...until you realize they all use the same ingredients!

I took an hour and a half to grocery shop and spent $167. $147 of which was at Aldi, our local, least expensive store and $20 at Pick 'n Save, our local average priced store.  Aldi doesn't carry every single item you would ever need or want, which is why I had to make a second trip for a handful of items.

I bought everything on this list (click or see below) that I didn't already have. I had some of the spices, the cider and balsamic vinegar, all of the "pantry supplies" (although I was low on EVOO, salt and pepper so I stocked up on those while I was at it).

As you can see in the blog post the author linked up all of the meals separately, so I went to each one, copied the recipe and pasted it into a word doc. I also printed the shopping list and was ready to start.

How did I do?  Well.....after three hours of cooking I finished 13 meals.  I would say that's pretty good for having a toddler who loves to help (and who eats all my green peppers)!

Why didn't I make all 20? I ran out of chicken!!!  I didn't buy all 12 pounds of chicken breasts because Aldi didn't have enough of their "all natural" chicken.  I figured I would start and see how far I got with what I bought. Part of the reason I ran out is probably because I didn't use the whole chickens.  I put one in the oven and by the time it was done, I was done.  I was tired and I didn't feel like cutting it all up. It didn't go to waste, we had it for dinner tonight. I also didn't read far enough in to see that three meals required foil pans. I didn't buy any, so I couldn't make those.

What DID I accomplish?  Glad you asked, here's a list:
Crock Meatloaf
    disclaimer: if you know me, you know I do not like meatloaf, but this was easy and I'm going to give it a         try.  I also think my kids are going to like it.  I may plan to have salad on hand for myself if I decide that I       still dislike meatloaf!
Crockpot Cranberry Orange Chicken
Crockpot Honey Rosemary Chicken
Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken
Cheesy Rigatoni
Mexican Chicken
Crockpot Chicken Fajitas
Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken
Crockpot Chicken with Apple and Sweet Potato
    disclaimer: I usually don't LOVE meals with apples, but this is just apple flavor from applesauce, I think         it will be good
Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches
Crockpot Veggies in a Bag
Taco Soup
Butternut Squash

What are my overall thoughts?  Looking back, this whole "project" didn't take that long.  Grocery shopping takes long no matter what you need to buy.  Cooking, prepping and cleaning takes time.  This cut back on a lot of time in the future for me so it was well worth it!  I can't tell you how the meals taste, but I will update as we go. I will also finish up those other meals this weekend so I will post an update on those.  I actually haven't made any pan type dishes to freeze so that will be a new thing for me.

If you make any of these, please post below and let me know what you think! Happy crocking!