Hello, hello, friends! My mom and I have been hearing a TON of amazing things about Crock Pot Freezer Meals, and we've been telling each other that we were going to do this for months now!
We finally did it!
I went on Pinterest and looked up a bunch of pins on this subject and then narrowed it down to pins that had shopping lists attached. After that, I looked through recipes to find a good match for my family to narrow it down even farther. I found two pins that seemed to fit the bill so I printed off grocery lists and decided, TODAY WAS THE DAY!
My mom and I met at Walmart, and looked over the lists. We eventually decided to do only one of the two for our first attempt. I chose the recipes and shopping lists provided by Femiology and did everything that she did. To avoid plagiarism ;), and to save myself a bunch of work, I'll link the lists here.
First mom and I crossed off anything we might have at home. Then we looked over the recipes and decided that we since we would be doing this together, she would buy the teriyaki sauce and I would purchase the soy sauce, and then we would share ingredients. That was able to be done for a few different things, saving some money. We loaded up our carts, and headed for the checkout!
In her blog, Femiology buys everything she needs for $55 for 12 meals. Mom and I both bought enough for 12-15 meals each and we both spent more like $85. I'm not sure if it was because of location, or sale prices, or if Femiology just had more things in her kitchen cupboards then us, but it still worked out to about $7.00 for each meal. (That's each meal, not individual portions.) We also adjusted the meals to our family sizes. My mom was able to create a few extra meals because she has a smaller family to feed. So she split some of her meals into two meals and ended up with 15 meals instead of 12. I added a little more meat to my meals to ensure that there would be enough for my family.
First we wrote on the bags. We included the name of the meal, what setting to put the crock pot on, how long to cook the meal on each setting, and any additional directions (i.e. serve over rice.)
Then we chose a bag and started assembling! Initially we were putting ingredients in bowls to later dump into the bag, but very quickly realized that was a waste of time. We took high mixing bowls, and an ice cream pail, and opened up our bags into them. Then, reading the list of ingredients from the website, we prepped for that meal and filled the bags! It sounds simple, because it WAS simple!
A few of the recipes required potatoes. We've read that raw, peeled potatoes can turn black after being frozen. To avoid this we stole the tip on boiling them for 15 minutes. The peeling and boiling was probably the most involved of the work, possibly aside from browning the ground turkey. An advantage to this is that it is incredibly easy to cut a slightly boiled potato, and getting the scalloped potatoes ready were a breeze!
At the last recipe mom and I realized that we needed MORE potatoes! We both groaned and got back to work and then my mom had a brilliant time saving idea. Microwave! We put all the potatoes in a ziplock bag, left a corner of the bag unsealed to prevent explosions, set the timer for 2 1/2 minutes and perfection! I highly recommend this route.
Each time we made a meal we cleaned up the dishes we used and reused the same dishes for the next meal prep. (Bowls, spatulas, knives, cutting boards, silverware, etc.) We also threw unsaveable containers, wrappers, and scraps away as we cooked to prevent cluttering and an overwhelming work space. When we were done, final clean up was probably only 10 minutes and felt almost like we were forgetting something!
So here we are, 3 1/2 half hours later, 27 meals ready to go in the crock pot! My mom and I both have large chest freezers in our basements, so storage was a non-issue. If you don't have extra storage, I suggest cleaning out your freezer, taking advantage of the door space for items that will fit, and then lay the bags as flat as possible, and stack them.
I'm so excited that this was as easy as we had hoped it would be, this will save so much money by not having to come up with a dinner plan on the fly, or giving into tired-ness and ordering take out!
Let me know what you think in the comments below, happy crocking!