Saturday, March 18, 2017

Crock Pot Freezer Meals

So I've got about 5 minutes to post these recipes and I hope that you can read them! And I hope it all makes sense!
  This past week I decided to cook beans and thaw an entire box of chicken and about 8 lbs of beef.   What I'd forgotten is that I had plans to be in the city by 5 pm, Malia had piano at 1pm, and Morgun had Driver's Ed at 3:15! And I had a full day of school with the kids!   I about freaked out!
I could have cancelled school for the day, but we'd already missed school on Monday, and Friday was going to be another non school day.  So I decided to tackle it all!  I've no idea what I was thinking!  Perhaps I wasn't!  :) Anyhow, I had a good start and was watching the time so I wouldn't forget to take Malia to piano...and then my knight in shining armor arrived home!  He was a life saver!! 
Marty's back pain has been flaring up again.  That's not a good thing when you're self employed and rely on your ability to get the work done.  But it did work out to my advantage, as he ended up taking Malia and Morgun to their events!  Could you please pray that his back heals?  It's hard to not be able to work, or only be able to put in short days. 
I managed to make 4 different recipes and ended up with 16 meals in the freezer in about 5 hours.  That includes helping kids with school, correcting school work, doing laundry and folding it, preparing and cleaning up lunch, and cleaning up the mess from all the freezer meals.  All in all, I'd say that's making pretty good progress! 
I started the process the night before by cooking the beans for a few minutes.  The next morning I drained, rinsed, and cooked the beans as per instructions.  By the time I was ready to assemble the meals the beans were cooled.  That is a must in making freezer meals.  I don't cook anything other than the beans.  Everything gets chopped up and mixed, and then put into labelled freezer bags.

I LOVE this massive baking bowl!  It's like the one my mom used to punch down her bun dough, and it's perfect for mixing these meals!

I thaw and then cook each of these meals for 3-4 hours.  I find it really depends on your crock pot.  I got a fantastic 8.5 litre crock pot about a year ago and it cooks hotter than my old one.  So when it comes to the cooking time, adjust according to your crock pot.  Also, I generally add a bit of cornstarch mixture at the very end as most recipes end up being very runny.

Keep in mind that I rarely follow a recipe to the letter.  I tend to modify and/or add ingredients.  I added shredded zucchini to the following 2 recipes.  I also added some pumpkin to the Cilantro Lime Chicken just because I'd thawed too much for the Black Bean Chili recipe.
We love this Cilantro Lime Chicken recipe in wraps.  You can also eat it with tortilla chips or rice.

 This is another favourite!  And best of all it's super cheap!  And nutritious!  We love having this served over rice! I don't add the stock as I find the recipe gets runny enough in the crock pot. 

I also made Sweet and Sour Chicken and Beef Stroganoff.  I use my regular recipe for both of these recipes.  Again, I don't cook or sauté any ingredients.  The Stroganoff is mostly a recipe of a little of this and a little of that.  I don't use canned soup, but rather a mixture of cream, milk, dill, beef bouillon, garlic, salt, and pepper. 
The entire cost for all 16 meals was approximately $125!  That works out to about $8 a meal. The Stroganoff significantly increases the cost of these meals. Without the cost of  ingredients for the Stroganoff, each meal worked out to about $5.50!  Keep in mind that feeds all 8 of us, and there are always left overs!  Also, I didn't buy the corn, pumpkin, onion, or tomatoes.  I was pleased with these numbers.  Now to find more recipes that are inexpensive, nutritious, and easy to make!

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