Make 5 Slow Cooker Meals in 1 Hour!

make ahead crockpot dinnersAs many of you know, I am in New York City this week attending BlogHer12. It has been such a great experience so far! Yesterday we got to hear from Martha Stewart, and today the keynote speaker is Katie Couric!  How cool is that? :-)  I didn’t get the chance to actually meet Martha (although I did try!)…but I did have the distinct pleasure of spending some time with Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman! I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time and I’m happy to report she was as delightful in person as she is on her blog and her Food Network cooking show.

OK…now that you have a little of the background behind why I did this post! Since I was leaving for 5 days and it just so happens the hubster was going to be out of town on business this week as well, this meant my No. 2 and No. 3 sons (Kell and Sten) were going to be on their own!  yikes!  This is a first at our house. (Fortunately, No. 1 son Erik and his wife Kaitlyn are playing “chaperones”, or I would be a total wreck!) So in an attempt to make sure they didn’t “starve” in my absence, I decided to make some meals in advance that they could easily “cook” in the crockpot.

Awhile back I had been completely inspired by this blog post by Janell at Saving You Dinero. She gives step-by-step instructions on how to assemble 5 different crock pot meals at one time to freeze for later consumption. Perfect! Just what I needed.

Originally I thought I would use a couple of her ideas and supplement with a couple of my own favorite crock pot meals, but as my trip drew closer I decided to make it easier on myself and make all five of her recipes. How can you go wrong with Garlic Honey Chicken, Beef Burritos, Chicken Fajitas, Hawaiian Chicken, and Teriyaki Pork Chops? They all sounded delicious to me! (And gluten-free! BONUS!) She even gives you a complete list of ingredients you need to have on hand before you begin assembling!  So simple!

 

make ahead crockpot dinners

The only thing I did differently was instead of putting the meals in ziploc baggies…I decided to put them directly into slow cooker liner bags. I knew that if my boys were going to actually EAT these meals….they would have to be virtually FOOLPROOF. :-)  They literally only have to take them out of the freezer, take off the twist tie, place them in the crockpot and turn it on! I don’t know that I could have made it any easier. Whether they actually end up DOING it….remains to be seen. (I’ll let you know when I get home.) But I figure even if they don’t eat a single one of them while I’m gone….they will still be there ready and waiting to save ME from cooking for 5 nights of my choosing. That’s what I call a WIN-WIN. :-)

I also decided to print out labels with instructions to put on the bags instead of writing on the them with a Sharpie. Once again, trying to make this as foolproof as possible. :-)

Instead of listing them here, I’m going to link you to Janell’s website for the recipes. I literally followed them step-by-step.

Here are some photos of my crockpot dinners assembly session! :-)

make ahead crockpot dinners

 

make ahead crockpot dinners

 

make ahead crockpot dinners

 

 

make ahead crockpot dinners

 

make ahead crockpot dinners

 

make ahead crockpot dinners

 

Even UNCOOKED they look pretty darn good…don’t you think? I’m secretly hoping they DON’T eat all of them while I’m gone. :-)  shhhh.

What are YOUR favorite crockpot meals?

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UPDATE: AUGUST 7, 2012

Now that I am back from my trip and I actually have a few minutes to do so….I had to update this post and let you all know the CROCKPOT DINNERS were a HUGE success!  My fear was that they wouldn’t eat ANY of them while I was gone and in fact they ate 4 OUT OF THE 5!

The day I got home, I put the last one in the crockpot and it was absolutely DELICIOUS!  So while I have to take my boys word for it that the others were tasty (remember, one of them IS the World’s Pickiest Eater!), I can personally vouch for the Chicken Fajitas! I easily could have eaten the whole meal myself. :-)

I’m really looking forward to doing this again with some of the yummy crockpot recipe ideas that have been left in the comments below!  Thanks for sharing everyone!

FYI….this is from the Crock-Pot website:

Frozen Meats:
You can cook frozen meat in a Crock-Pot® slow cooker but suggested cook time may need to be increased. To ensure meat is cooked through, use a meat thermometer. Meat should be well above 165°F to be tender.
 For those concerned about the labels on the bags. They did not melt or even come off the bags.



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Comments

  1. Penny Hannah says

    Wowee! How organised are you? If your menfolk are anything like my manfolk, all those delicious looking dinners WILL be waiting for you when you get back.

  2. Charity B. says

    Thanks Jillee! As a mom of three, and in a month four, this blog couldn’t have come at a better time! These are all things that we like-bonus!! I might even make double batches and instead if putting them in the crock pot bags, which I love, seal them in my Food Saver bags so they’ll keep in the freezer longer. That way when baby comes, there’s no guess work in dinner!

  3. Juliet says

    I made this last Saturday and it only took about 35 minutes to put together. So far we’ve had all but the hawaiian chicken and everyone has enjoyed them all. Will definitely be doing this again!!

  4. Denise Holtz says

    Love it! I did some all at once cooking to see how it would work for me and made up two week’s worth of meals. Not bad, I may have to try again when my house isn’t 100 degrees, lol. My question is this – did you put the crock pot bags into a freezer bag and then label the freezer bag? I would be concerned about the crock pot bag allowing freezer burn, and if you put the label on the crock pot bag, what happens during cooking – does it come off, stay on the bag, get on the crock?

  5. says

    How did they like (or not like) them? I made the Teriyaki Chicken last week and my family did not care for it at all. Worst part is, I made and extra bag to freeze.

  6. Kristin F. says

    Perfect timing!! I have VBS this whole week and will not get home until after 8. Didn’t know what to do for dinner. Now dinner will be at home waiting for us!!

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