Trust me; I'm no Julia Child. When I say I love to cook, I mean I love to come up with easy ways to make good food. Typically if I'm reading a recipe and decide it has too many ingredients, I don't make it. I don't necessarily buy into the thought that from scratch is the best and only way. I do like simple unprocessed food, but realistically I'm not going to sit and roll out my pasta on the dining room table.
My new love is my slow cooker. I really got into it when we first got married because I had never cooked with one before, but it was quickly banished to the basement with my other extra cooking items that didn't fit in the kitchen. The basement is where things go to be forgotten.
I've been on Pinterest long enough to have an entire board dedicated to freezer cooking. It was always intriguing, but I always had all the time in the world. I enjoyed cooking, so spending time in the kitchen after work wasn't a big deal.
And then the baby was born.
A week or so before Isaiah was born, the crock pot was resurrected from the basement, and returned to its rightful place on the counter top. I spent two and a half hours making five crock pot freezer meals. Just those five meals lasted us through the first threeish weeks of Isaiah's life. I make a lot of food because we don't have a problem eating leftovers. I'm not saying doing this will last you that long, but it helped that we had kind people bringing us dinners. Anyway, I didn't need to grocery shop for three weeks. It was phenomenal.
I got away from using the crock pot after that. It didn't go back to the basement, but I took a short break. The weather was getting warmer and we weren't really in the mood for winter food. I decided this week that I wanted to go big grocery shopping and make meals for the freezer. The first time I got away with using someone's plan and we ended up with only one meal we weren't huge fans of. We're picky. Picky in that we don't like beef and noodles, pot roast, or any of the other typical crock pot meals. Do you know how popular those recipes are?? Josh also doesn't consider it a meal unless it is based around meat (because I'm married to Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation), so the fun pasta recipes are out.
I quickly decided I needed to just come up with my own plan.
This batch of meals are based on these recipes:
Hawaiian Chicken 5 drumsticks 1/2 c white sugar 1/2 c vinegar 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 T Soy Sauce 1 can pineapple tidbits with juice Mix all in a freezer bag. Cook on high 4-5 hours or 6-7 on low. I thaw them a little with running water in the sink. It's hard to close the lid with a solid square of food.
Beef Curry 3 pounds meat (I used beef. You can use any meat you want.) 1 tablespoon curry 1 head garlic, peeled and smashed (approx 10 cloves) 1 large onion, peeled and sliced 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (full fat is best) 1 teaspoon of cornstarch Add all ingredients to freezer bag. Cook on high 4-6 hours or 8 on low.
Fiesta Chicken Casserole 1 1/2 cups raw brown rice, rinsed 1/2 cup broth or water (I used water). 1 cup prepared salsa 1 (15.25-ounce) can corn, with juice 1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed 3 to 4 chicken breast halves, fresh or frozen 8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese Put everything except rice and mozzarella in the freezer bag. When you're ready to cook, spray your stone with nonstick spray, just in case. Put the rice on the bottom of the crock pot and then the bag ingredients on top. Put the mozzarella on top of everything. Cook on high 4 hours or 7 on low. I garnished with Doritos. That's how I roll.
Sausage & Lentil Stew
1 cup lentils
2 cups beef broth
1 package smoked sausage (precooked)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
9 ounces fresh spinach
Add all ingredients except the spinach to the bag. Cook on low 5 hours. Add the spinach at the very end and cook for 15 more minutes. It will look like a ton of spinach, but it's mostly water, so it will cook down.