Freezer Crock Pot Meals- Prep Day

I posted my second try HERE.
and my most recent batch HERE!

One of my New Year Resolutions...
was to figure out a better system for cooking/cleaning.
Now that I have a crowd...
(a husband, a 4 yr old, 2 yr old and 7 week old)
I knew that I needed a plan to tackle feeding this crew that made it easier and saved us money.
There were far too many nights it would be 5 and
I would have no clue what I was going to make for dinner.
This new system of Freezer Crock Pot Meals has helped TREMENDOUSLY!!!
It saves you time..because the meals are prepped and ready to go....
And it saves you money! Each of my 17 meals only cost us $4.00!

Each recipe gives our family 2 meals...one even 3 meals!
So one day of cooking and I have 17 meals taken care of!
Below I've listed the recipes (sourcing the original recipe)
You can download the RECIPES and FREEZER BAG DIRECTIONS here to print...
along with the GROCERY LIST sorted by sections for easy shopping.
Be sure to check over the list because you most likely already have many of the items!
*I added crock pot liners to the list...because they are AMAZING.*


Now I think that some people might do the Prep Work at night..when hubby is home.
But lately my 7 week old is super fussy at that time..and If I'm not holding/nursing him..
I just want to relax by the end of the day! So my plan is to do most of the prep
(even if it's divided up) during one day. I'm realistic in that it will take me a while...
and probably will be interrupted by melt downs..nap time.. and tea parties..
but It is do able and will be worth it. (Be sure not to leave meat out.
I saved that part to when I knew I could cut/bag/refrigerate without interruptions.)

Here's how your first attempt at
Freezer Crock Pot Meals should go:
First...start the morning off with a dance party to t swift.
mom hair..wet hair on top of head..is not required. but c'mon... I look good.

Then.. let the kids destroy the house while you chop everything up!
(You can clean the family room up later while they make a mess in their room.)
Hopefully at least one of the bambinos will co-operate and sleep..
occasionally push the battery dead swing with your foot to keep baby asleep...

Take a break to make "lunch" for kids..... be hilarious.
"Girl Faces" will probably be requested. Now that your kids know you are funny you
will never be able to serve a boring lunch again without a revolt.
you have no one to blame but yourself for that.

Label your Gallon sized ziplock bags with each Recipe...
Including the cook time/heat level..and any directions for when you are cooking.
(My husband "made" dinner..and was able to read the bag and make it happen
while I nursed baby. perfecto. mission accomplished.)


These are the recipes that I chose to make for my
first try at Freezer Crock Pot Meals.
I did 3 tried and true favorites..and 4 new ones.
If you are wanting to pick just a few of these recipes...
go with the Chicken and Dumplings..Pulled Pork..and Lasagna. they are our favorites!
Our Picky eater, Sienna, LOVES the cheesy chicken and rice.. and we all LOVE the chicken and dumplings. I just pulled that out to make up tomorrow night. :)
I suggest purchasing most of your items at a store like Aldi's or Bottom Dollar.
However, When I decided to try this out..it was new years day...
so Aldi's was closed and I did my shopping at Giant Eagle.
I think I could have spent a lot less shopping at Aldi's or with coupons.
This time though.....I spent $68.00 for 17 meals...
equaling out to $4.00 per meal for my family.
(The lasagna bag gives 2 meals of lasagna with extra meat sauce for a pasta meal!)
My new routine is to pull out a frozen bag and put in fridge the
night before (at bed or when I'm finishing up dinner) so that it is thawed and ready to go the next day. You could put plenty of these in frozen...it would just take longer to cook obviously.
As far as leftovers with these meals... I love that you can use the pulled pork another day for tacos.. and change up the extra lasagna meat sauce with a different type of pasta. You could divide up even more the soup or the cheesy chicken potatoes if you add more potatoes.

Here are the original recipes I used this time around.
Be sure to download the grocery
and recipe list above for how I made them up!
This was my first try and I'm
happy to share what we did!
If I can do it, a mama with babies at her feet and in her arms, so can you!
I'm excited to put this new system into work at our house.
Sophie kept asking me what I was doing...
I told her I was cooking all day so that later in
the week I could play instead of cook!
She was all about that idea. I think she cheered. ;)


ADDED FEBRUARY 18TH:


MY NOTES ON MY FIRST TRY AT FREEZER CROCK POT MEALS.
** LOVE the Chicken and Dumplings..always have.
that's why I'm doubling it this next time.
**not a fan of the chicken and rice. too..thick.
**red potatoes turned brown only in ONE of the recipes.. wierd.
So this next time I put the potatoes in a seperate freezer bag to do a little trial..
and see if they turn brown or not. if they do..I'll just throw in some fresh when it's time.
**Pulled Pork last time was yummy to use for tacos.. but we really like it with barbecue the most. So I went ahead and poured in the Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue sauce right away this time. :) LOVEEE eating the barbecue pulled pork on tacos with cheese.
it's delicious. trust me.


53 comments:

  1. I love how you write your posts, so witty ;) you are doing a great job while being honest about fussy babies (they all are!) love your blog

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  2. This is a great idea. can you split the meals into 2 bags? My husband isn't a fan of leftovers so I have to have different meals each night.

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  3. Love this idea and your recipes sound great! I was wondering if anyone is having trouble dowloading the recipes and shopping list, I can't seem to get them!

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  4. Love. We don't do leftovers here too, so id like to know if you can split? Orr is it that size for an avg sized crock pot? Do the kids eat the same meals?

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  5. I too am having issues dowloading the recipes and shopping list. Anyone able to offer help as to how I might get it to work?

    Thank you.

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  6. I love this! Thank you so much for sharing! I also find that too many nights during the week I'm struggling for meal ideas at the last minute. I definitely plan to try these out!

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  7. Hey! I saw some of you are having trouble downloading the documents..so I changed them from a pdf to word documents. hope that works! I'll check the stats to see if downloads are going out. thanks for stopping by!! :)

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  8. As far as leftovers... most of these you can remake it a different type of meal.. the meat sauce...put on different type of pasta.... the pulled pork.. use for tacos... hope that helps. :) I think you could split up some of these more if you wanted.

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  9. Hey Natalie!
    I am so doing this!! I can only get the grocery list to come up with both links? Any thoughts?

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  10. Can't wait to try this!!! I love your little family and your blog! Thanks!!!

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  11. Thank you! I was able to download both the recipes and the grocery list. Can't wait to do this since I have baby #3 on the way, I'll be joining your world soon. :o)

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  12. Wow, thanks for the great ideas and recipes! I hope this will be a regular feature. Love your blog :)

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  13. question on the curry chicken

    It says 2C tbsp for the curry powder?

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  14. Hi Natalie!
    How great is this?! THANK YOU for taking the time to share this with your readers. I have a two year old son and another one due in March and I was planning on prepping some meals before baby #2 arrives. You've done the work for me. Thanks again. Love your blog!

    Lori

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  16. It may just be me, but after the pictures and "(Original Recipes linked below)" I see a bunch of error codes that look like this: They start with: !--[if supportLists]

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  17. I've seen this done on a lot of blogs and it looks awesome but it always seems to be the same/similar recipes. And they all look ok but I would love to see it done with heathier recipes! (No processed ingredients like velveeta..) And less carbs! I've been trying to do research to find a good mix of healthy crock pot recipes that would freeze well. I'd love to see a post like that someday! :)

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  18. I made 16 freezer meals before my baby arrived (14 weeks ago), and we still have 3 left! They are so great for days we know we'll be busy. I'm going back to work in a month and am testing out new recipes for my second batch of freezer meals. I'm trying your chicken & dumplings tomorrow - yum! What size crock pot do you have? And would cooking on low for 6-8 hours work as well as high for 4? I have a rather large crockpot and it always cooks faster than the directions indicate.

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  19. Thanks for sharing your freezer meal recipes Natalie. I am really excited to try the chicken and dumplings one! I have been doing freezer meals for the past few years but am looking for more recipes to test out besides soups and stews.

    I laughed at the "let the kids destroy the house" line. Because that is exactly what they will do! I have a 4 and 1 year old and the house is a disaster.



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  21. I found your website while looking for crock pot ideas and I fell in love with the site. I have been checking everything out this whole weekend.. from tutu's and headbands to makeup and home ideas. You're awesome! I relate to everything you post. Keep it up!

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  22. Made the chicken and dumplings the other night. SO GOOD!! Thank you for this quick, easy and crowd (we are a family of 5 too) pleasing recipe :)

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  23. I'm planning to try your list of recipes as well!
    I have one little girl now and another on the way in a few weeks!

    The instructions and list requires newer versions of internet to download, hoping we can by pass that.

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  24. I am unable to get the recipe links to load? I am on my Android phone though, so that could be why?;)

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  25. I just discovered your blog and I'm lovin' it. What a cute family! I'm excited to try these crock pot meals :).

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  26. Thank you for all the recipes! Quick question for the chicken & dumplings. Can I cook it for 7 hrs on low??
    Thanks!!

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  27. My family is working their way through these this month. I am getting low and would love more. I found a bunch of other freezer crock recipes, but I trust you (I dont even know you but I feel like I do!) The pork was a little plain for us but a little bbq sauce took it right to my hubbys favorite meal (for the time being) spot! Cheesy chicken and rice is in the crock as we speak. But I am getting low so some new recipes would be awesome! (I know you're busy - so when you get a chance)

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  28. When you made the pulled pork, should it completely fall part itself? For some reason mines isnt!

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  29. Thank you so much for sharing this! I also thought I would try it out! I made the pulled pork, chicken and dumplings, cheesy chicken, broccoli, and potatoes, and also a teriyaki recipe i found on pinterest as well! Can't wait to make a meal with them without having to prepare anything since i already did it all in one night! I had extra chicken left over from a pack and also bbq sauce i have at the house to make another meal all in all it is 9 meals for $7.09!!!! :)

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  30. I have heard your potatoes will turn colour if they are not cooked or at least blanched before hand (the sugars freeze and then brown when thawed)

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  31. I prepared the freezer meals. Once I am ready to cook them, do I need to thaw them from frozen? Or put them directly into the crock pot? Thanks!!

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    1. hey! Sometimes I thaw them in a bowl in the fridge..but plenty of times I throw them right in!

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  32. Yay!!!! Just what I was looking for!!! I am so thankful for amazing mommys who share their ideas. I have such a crazy busy life right now and I had hoped someone amazing had done just what you have done. THANK YOU!!!!

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  33. LOVE this! Can't wait to try it this weekend! Silly question...I have been looking for a coffee table just like the one you have pictures (white legs). Where did you get it?

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    Replies
    1. thanks! and THE TRASH! we found it and refinished the top and spray painted the legs. sorry I can't give you a store for it!

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  34. Wow, i'm so glad i found this really well put together website! Thank you!

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  35. I know this is an older entry, I hope you don't mind another question. I saw the link and the picture for cheesy chicken, potatoes and broccoli but the recipe in the link omits the broccoli. I'd like to add it anyway but how does broccoli fare in the slow cooker? Would I add it at the end with the cheese, do you suppose? I'm not one to vary from a recipe and I am doubling it and freezing one for a friend so I want to make sure it is enjoyable.

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    1. Hey! I actually had a HUGE separate bag of broccoli from costco..and would just portion some out and throw it into the crock pot and it was great!

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  36. Natalie thank you so much for sharing your freezer crock pot recipes. I love how you shared how you do things with your precious little ones. I am a busy mama of 5 littles (7, 5, 3, 1, & 7 weeks) so I totally relate to exactly what you wrote. THANK YOU!
    Renee

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  37. Hi, and thanks for all the work you're putting into helping us get dinner out better. I'm just getting started, and decided to make a double batch of whatever recipe I'm having that night. So each morning I put one recipe in the crock and one of the same recipe in the freezer bag. I do have a comment and a question. First the comment. You may want to put the date you put the freezer bag together on the bag so you don't lose track of what is oldest in the freezer. And the question, I've seen some sites with a nutritional value breakdown. Do you know of a site where you can enter a recipe and it will give you the nutritional stats? Thanks so much!

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  38. I love you! This is the only single page ive seen of yours and I and such an instant fan! Every detail. Dead battery foot swing? Was there any other way?! Lol I'm going to try some of your recipes and check out basically anything else that you've ever typed Online. Horray for me finding you! Love- a flailing stay at home mom of 2

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  39. Do you really add the Dr. Pepper to the freezer bag to freeze? Or do you put that in the crock pot when ready to cook? Also...any more organic choice for preparing ths recipe?

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  40. Do you use no-boil lasagna noodles or regular ones uncooked in the crock pot?

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  41. I can't thank you enough for all of your work in putting this post together! I have wanted to look into freezer to crock pot meals but have been dreading it. You laid it all out in an honest and fun way! I loved it! Thank you for having the recipes and shopping lists ready to go. We have a 20 month old son and baby sister is due in 4 weeks so I will be making these up for our family! Like you said, if you can do it, so can we :-)
    Thank you again!

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  42. Quick question about the cheesy chicken and rice. Was this a recipe you had tried before? We have made it before (just not freezer to crockpot) and enjoyed it. Just wondering if it was a new recipe for you or not. Thanks!

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  43. Love this post! I just tried it out and wrote about it on my blog. Hopefully mine turn out as well as yours :)

    http://creativelymediated.blogspot.ca/2014/02/prepackaged-freezer-bag-meals.html

    Thank you for inspiring!

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  44. I am going to give a few of your recipes a try this week, I am not a huge rice fan so may not do that one, but I am currently trying to be more about frozen crock pot meals because they just make life easier. I have also been making frozen breakfast burritos and shared the way I did it on happilyblended.com (my blog) so that others can also enjoy a quicker breakfast idea! Thanks for the shopping list and recipes here!

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  45. I am so happy I found your blog today! I am looking forward to making these recipes this week! I am definitely pinning this page! :)

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  46. What a smart mom you are (with cute babies, too). I found your blog having just had a similar epiphany about dinner- and you just did all the real work for me :). I'm sure I'm twice your age with ONE child running me ragged. Thanks for the help.

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  47. I had the potatoes in the Cheesy Chicken Broccoli & Potatoes turn brown. But some of them didn't and it seemed like it was the ones that were covered in the cream soup. So I'm thinking for next time: slice the potatoes, mix them with the cream soup, and then put into the bag.

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  48. I'm in NZ - we don't have Velveeta nor "can of biscuits" - can you give me some options for these please?

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  49. I love your blog. Very helpful and somewhat entertaining lol. I'm going grocery shopping today. Got a family of 5

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  50. Thanks so much for these great recipes! I thought you might like to know how a group of 5 friends and I are using them. On the first weekend of each month, each one of us picks one (unique) crock-pot recipe and prepares 6, gallon-sized, freezer bags worth. Then, on the following Monday, we get together for an exchange and each one of us goes home to stock our freezer with 6 different meals to enjoy during the month. It’s a great system – making 6 bags of one meal is so much easier than preparing 6 different meals. And, as working women, we love the convenience of having one or two of these meals ready-to-go each week! Please feel free to pass along this idea, if you think it would appeal to your readers. And, thanks again for the wonderful recipes!
    All the best,
    Gwen

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment! I love to read each one and check out your blogs! Have a great day!