Freezer Meals – Crock Pot style

My schedule is changing next week and in preparation I decided to try a series of freezer meals.

I devoted the evening before to finding recipes that my family and I would be interested in eating over the next few weeks and then compiled my shopping list.  I spent 30 (!!!!!) minutes in Costco getting the items that I needed -spending less than $200.  I only walked away with a few things in my cart that weren’t on the original list.  My recipes came from two different locations – http://www.5dollardinners.com/ and The New Creative Crock Pot Cookbook by Robin Taylor Swatt.  As I was choosing recipes – I picked those based on what I could alter to use similar ingredients and also to adjust based on my families taste.

This is as close a list as I can get – I made 2 each of the recipes.  So my list below is set up to support making 2 freezers bags of each recipe.

  • 25 to 30 chicken breast
  • 10 –  15 oz cans of diced tomatoes or 5 of the 28 oz cans and split each one in 2
  • 6 cans – 15 oz can of corn
  • roughly 20 lbs of potatoes
  • 1 bag onions
  • 12 red, yellow or orange peppers
  • 12 apples
  • sausage – I purchased a chicken apple sausage, based on recipe on http://www.5dollardinners.com/
  • 1 large bottle of BBQ sauce
  • 8 pork chops
  • 1 package stew meat
  • 2 boxes chicken broth
  • 4 cans of beans – your choice.  I used black beans
  • 2 cans coconut milk

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From the Crock Pot Cookbook

Chicken Provencal – adjusted for us……..Add into a Freezer bag

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 pepper – diced
  • 1 onion – sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • salt pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning = 1 tsp each

Curried Apple Chickens – adjusted for us…….Add into a freezer bags

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 3 apples – peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion – diced
  • curry, salt, pepper = 1 tsp each
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Sunday Dinner Roast Beef – adjusted for us…….Add into a freezer bags

  • 1lb of the stew meat
  • 3 potatoes – chopped or sliced
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt, pepper = 1 tsp each

Italian Stew/Roast – adjusted for us…….Add into a freezer bags

  • 1lb of the stew meat
  • 3 potatoes – chopped or sliced
  • 1 pepper – diced
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 1 small can of diced tomatoes or half the large can
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt, pepper = 1 tsp each

From www.5dollardinners.com\   (you should check this site out – if you haven’t already – when I was searching for freezer meals, this was the first one that kept popping up)

Freezer meals

To make each one – dump in your crock pot and cook as listed below:

  • Thawed:  low for 6/8 hours
  • Frozen – kinda thawed:  low for 8 to 10 hours

I am excited to try the new ones and see how the 2 hours in the kitchen and the 1/2 hour of shopping pays off in the long run.  Do any of you guys do freezer meals?  This is new to me, so I want to know how it goes over the course of time.

Cherry Tomatoes with Angel Hair Pasta and Fried Green Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes with Angel Hair pasta and fried green tomatoes…….cause I can.  In case you haven’t guessed yet….I love tomatoes.  So that means that summer is my food heaven.

Cherry Tomatoes with Angel Hair pasta

  • Angel Hair pasta – made according to the package instructions and drained
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

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Melt the butter in your skillet, add in your minced garlic – being careful not to burn it.

 

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Add in your tomatoes and the lemon juice.

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Then your pasta!

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I plated with basil and mozzarella.

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Fried Green Tomatoes

  • green tomato
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs

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Cut your tomato into roughly 1/4 inch slices.  3 bowls – 1 with the flour and paprika, 1 with the egg and milk, 1 with the breadcrumbs.  Put your slices in the flour bowl, then the egg bowl and finish in the bread crumb bowl.  In a small skillet with some canola oil – fry on each side till nice and brown.

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Oh My Goodness- fab.  Fab and Fast!  I did all this in less than a Drunk History episode on Hulu…..Specifically the Nashville one from Season 1.

 

Chicken with Orzo and veggies

New recipe experiment.  I bought a bunch of wheat Orzo that has been sitting in my cupboard…while I have been using the same old, same old recipe for it.  NOT TODAY.  Here is what I did:

  • 2 chicken breasts – cooked and sliced up
  • 2 cups cooked Orzo
  • 1 cup sauteed broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sauteed pepper slices (red, yellow or green)
  • corn (from a can or boiled/grilled on the cob and then sliced off)
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

I started with cooking the Orzo – 1 cup uncooked Orzo into boiling, salted water.  I cooked for roughly 9 minutes – stirring every once in awhile.  I then drained and set aside.  In my skillets, I made the chicken and broccoli/peppers (roughly 10 minutes).  I then added all (including the corn) to the same pot –

IMG_2057I added lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  I also had 1/2 a loaf of sourdough bread that I toasted.

IMG_2059This made WAY more than my family of 4 needed…..but I saved 1/2 as a freezer meal.  It will be a nice dinner on another night when I am running short on ideas/time.

 

 

Candied Pecans – 3 ways

I love candied nuts….love, love, love them.  BUT I do not have them very often, and random factoid about me….I can’t eat cashews or spanish peanuts…they make me seriously sick.  Anywho, back to candied nuts……..So in a moment of perfect kismet….I realized that I had an abundance of pecans and nothing planned for them  What?!!!  It’s fate.  Time for me to try a few candied pecan recipes and pick my fav.  Yes!

First recipe:

Honey Maple Pecans

  • 3 Cups Pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I did not use the whole 1/2 cup….so I think that 1/4 would be better)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 honey
  • 1/4 maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degress.  Grab a cookie sheet or a bar pan.  Mix the nuts with the honey and maple syrup.  Lay out on the cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Mix the remaining ingredients.  Remove the nuts after 10 minutes and when slightly cool add to the dry ingredients and coat with the sugar mixture.

IMG_2045Second Recipe:

Honey Butter Pecans

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saucepan, heat the butter and honey together…mixing thoroughly.  When butter is thoroughly melted and incorporated into the honey, add in the pecans.  Spread the sticky pecans onto a cookie sheet/bar pan.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes.  Remove after 10 minutes and allow to slightly cool.  Sprinkle with salt.  Allow to cool some more….then coat with the sugar (pic is before the sugar).

IMG_2050Third recipe:

Honeyed Pecans

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanillla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a saucepan – melt together all the ingredients, leaving out the pecans.  Allow the mixture the bubble for a few minutes, then add in the pecans.  Once the pecans are coated, lay them out on the cookie sheet and bake for slightly less than 10 minutes.

IMG_2049Anyone want to guess my fav???

Number 2!  With Number 1 a SUPER close second.  So close that I almost can’t tell.

IMG_2051This was a fabulous experiment.

 

06/30/2014 UPDATE – Dave decided to weigh in.  His winner is #3.