My food philosophy is simple – it must be easy (not many ingredients, not too time consuming) and delicious. After having 2 kids, we can no longer just wing it at dinner time. If we do, we end up eating fast food or scrambled eggs almost every time. The problem for our family, and probably MOST families with young kids, is that dinner time = crunch time. We are racing to make food, feed the kids (and ourselves) all before beginning the bedtime routine which we try to begin around 6 for our youngest. It’s a stressful time of night, particularly when we haven’t planned our meal ahead of time.
Enter crockpot meals. I LOVE a good crockpot meal. You can do the work at a more convenient time, and then dinnertime is MUCH less chaotic. After having my second baby last summer, I discovered something even better than a crockpot meal…a crockpot FREEZER meal!
Here’s the deal: you make a crockpot recipe that can be frozen for a later date. You put all the ingredients into a plastic ziplock bag, label the bag with the name of the dish and any special instructions, and pop it into the freezer for later. When you want to use it, take it out the night before and let it thaw in the fridge, and then plop it in the crockpot the next morning.
I usually double each recipe so I can easily make 2 meals at once, and I can pretty easily crank our 10 freezer meals on a Saturday morning. This makes mealtime so easy and we save money by planning ahead.
I have tried a TON of recipes I’ve found online, with a special emphaisis on recipes with simple ingredients. I’ve listed a few of my family’s favorites below. If you know of any other recipes you’d like to share, please let me know in the comments!
1-2 lb pork tenderloin
1 cup chunky applesauce
1 cup BBQ sauce
2 tbsp minced dried onion
Place pork in a gallon sized freezer bag. Mix applesauce, BBQ sauce and onion together in a bowl and pour over the pork. Zip and freeze. When you are ready to use, thaw overnight in the refridgerator. Empty into crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
1 (16 oz) package of frozen, fully cooked meatballs
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 (16-18 oz) bottle of sweet & sour sauce
1 cup of pineapple tidbits, drained
Place all ingredients except pineapple into a gallon sized freezer bag. Zip and freeze. When ready to use, thaw in fridge overnight. Empty into crockpot and cook on low 4 hours. During the last hour, add in the pineapple.
3 lb Beef Chuck Roast (remove thick cartilage and cut into small chunks)
2 cans Campbells beef consommé (found in the soup section)
½ yellow onion, chopped
Place ingredients, except buns, into gallon sized freezer bag. Thaw the night before in the refridgerator. Empty into crockpot and cook on low 8-10 hours or high 5-7 hours. Remove the roast and onions and shred in a separate bowl. Pour drippings into a strainer to remove chunks, and use to dip the sandwich.
2.5 lbs of pork ribs (cut to fit in the crockpot)
1.5 cups ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white vinegar
½ tsp liquid smoke
1.5 tbl seasoned salt
Place ribs in gallon sized freezer bag. Mix the rest of ingredients in a bowl and pour over ribs. Zip and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then empty into crockpot. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Use with bbq sauce.