Five Favorites (I should say “Favourites,” right?) is guest hosted by Fountains of Home this week. Check out Christy’s 5 ways to beat endless winter.
And while you’re thinking about endless winter, you will blow away the winter blahs when you try out some of these awesome crock-pot recipes. Some of them were not written as a freezer-to-crockpot meal (just as a crock-pot meal), so I made necessary adjustments, which I will note so you can do it too!
Quick background: After JB was born, we were the blessed recipients of lots of meals from friends, family, and our church family. And the food lasted us almost his whole first month!!! As that month was drawing to a close, I wanted to keep the good times (not spending hours in the kitchen) rolling. So I looked up a pin from my pinterest boards about freezer cooking. And 4 hours later, I had made 12 meals for my freezer! The only prep required was thawing the meal prior to putting it in the crock-pot, and sometimes cooking up some veggies, pasta, or rice as a side. I. am. SOLD.
So, since September, we have been living off meals in the freezer! Other than those meals, we’ve been making our own pizzas (which I may post about later), and I may have once or twice cooked up some other meal like tacos or Michael’s favorite Italian Chicken. I’m saving time, saving money, saving my sanity…I’m never going back!
So, over the past several months of freezer meals, here are a few of our favorites that we will keep coming back to:
Red Thai Chicken Curry
One of the things I miss most about being married and having a very low eating out budget, is eating Thai food. But because of this awesome recipe, I will never feel deprived again! It tastes just like restaurant curry. Since you prepped it a while ago and only had to pull it out of the freezer and pop it in the crock-pot, it really doesn’t feel like you had to make it yourself (which is the best part about eating out anyway, am I right?). Topped with fresh basil & served over brown rice (or quinoa – which we have been doing lately), it is perfection. And it’s not too spicy (we used 2 Tbsp. of the Curry Paste), so even my kids love it. I’m a little bit sad about that because I’d gladly give them PB&J so there’s more curry for us, but I’m glad when they like their dinner too. I recommend at least doubling the peppers, and we like to add carrots. I might even try it with broccoli or sweet potatoes next time too.
Freezer Tips: I skipped her directions, and just put all of the ingredients (except the coconut milk) into a freezer bag & smooshed it around a bit before freezing. Then once you’re ready to cook it, just add the contents of the bag, plus the coconut milk to your crock-pot & cook!
Taco Chicken Bowls
My friend Allie found this one here.
We just tried this one two nights ago, and it is already at the top of our list! It’s a lot like the salsa chicken recipes out there. It’s a little more work with adding the seasonings, but SO worth it. Also, we used chicken thighs (bone-in, skin on) instead of chicken breast (because it’s cheaper and way more flavorful). Since you have to take the chicken out at the end and shred it anyway, it really doesn’t make a difference. You can serve it over rice, quinoa, or for the kids one of the nights, we served in inside cheese quesadillas. You could top nachos with it, serve over baked potatoes, eat over salad for “taco salad”, in taco shells, etc.
Freezer Tips: skip all the instructions – just toss everything (except the rice, cheese & cilantro) into a freezer bag and smoosh it. Cook it according to her cook times.
Sausage & Bean Supper
This one’s recipe can be found here at Loving My Nest. Scroll down, it’s the third recipe. (This is the first site I used when trying out this freezer cooking thing. Great place to start!)
The kids eat this one sometimes. Sometimes not. It’s all in their mood. But this recipe really helped me realize that cooking in the crock-pot does not necessarily strip all food of all it’s flavor! For the sausage, I have just used basic ground pork sausage every time. I have been wondering if it would also be good with smoked sausage. I imagine Italian Sausage would also be good. My mouth just waters thinking about this one. Lots of beans! (We love beans here.) And with the honey and the dry mustard it’s got a nice slightly sweet, slightly spicy flavor.
Freezer Tip: You don’t need any tips from me! This one is supposed to just go in the freezer, so throw all those ingredients into a freezer bag and you’re ready to go!
Sausage & Lentil Soup
I found this recipe here at Fabulesslyfrugal.com.
This soup is so hearty and it makes so much. It lasted us for three nights! This was a harder sell for the kids, but there are plenty of things they like. It’s just a matter of picking them out from the things they don’t like. This is great for a night when you have company & you can serve with a big salad and fresh bread!
Freezer Tips: I put everything except the broth into the freezer bags. And just add the broth when you put the contents into the crock-pot. Enjoy!
Chicken Taco Soup
This one was also found at Loving My Nest. Just look further down the page, right after the Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Wow! This one’s flavor is great, and I think it has everything to do with the beer! Ha! Seriously, though, the batch we made with a darker/stronger beer was really yummy! But if you’re not a fan of that slightly bitter beer flavor, then go with something lighter, or just use broth. Whatev. We liked this one with chips, cheese, sour cream. It would also be extra grand with diced avocados, cilantro, or fresh green onions.
Woo hoo! This has got me all excited. I’m down to only four meals left in the ol’ deep freeze, so I’ve got about a week to plan my next set of meals.
Do you have any favorite freezer meals you’d like to share?