Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take a lot of time. One of my favorite shortcuts is prepping simple freezer meals for my crockpot. Here are the recipes, grocery list, and info you need to make six meals in 30 minutes or less.
You know what’s amazing about freezer crockpot meals? Making them never gets old. I’ve been freezing meals for years, but when I assembled these six meals in 30 minutes (including clean-up!), I still thought, “Holy crap. I just made six dinners in half an hour!”
Here’s what I made…
- Two bags of balsamic chicken with pears and mushrooms (adapted from Once a Month Meals)
- Two bags of Hawaiian pork chops (I subbed boneless pork chops in my Hawaiian chicken recipe)
- Two bags of Mexican chicken chicken chili with cornbread topping
CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PRINTABLE RECIPES AND FULL GROCERY LIST
Added 2/4/16: Once A Month Meals updated their balsamic chicken with pears and mushrooms recipe to include less vinegar. For the best result, use the recipe on their site instead of the one in the printable recipes.
When I’m deciding which freezer crockpot meals to make, I look for recipes that can be frozen without any cooking ahead of time. Since all of these meals were frozen raw, they were super quick to prep and won’t taste like leftovers at all. A win-win!
I also like to prepare meals that include at least one vegetable. This saves me time the day of cooking because I won’t need to prepare a vegetable as a side dish. Plus, it helps my family to eat healthy.
After I shared that I prepped seven slow cooker meals in an hour, someone asked why I make two of each meal at a time. Here are the benefits of doubling the recipes…
- You’ll save money because you can buy the ingredients in bulk. (For example, buying more pounds of meat or a huge jar of tomato sauce.)
- You’ll save money when you can split the same ingredient across two meals. (For example, buying one lime and squeezing the juice into two separate freezer bags.)
- You’ll have less leftover ingredients. (For example, buying one container of mushrooms and splitting it between the two bags of Balsamic Chicken above!)
- You’ll save prep time because the same ingredients are used at least twice with the same measurements.
Freezer crockpot meals stay fresh in a standard freezer for at least three months and we always look forward to eating the same meal again after trying it the first time.
Here are my tips for prepping freezer crockpot meals quickly and efficiently…
- If the price is similar, buy ingredients that are already prepped to save time. (For example, I bought sliced mushrooms and sliced pineapple.)
- Print the recipes so they’re right in front of you and you don’t have to look them up on your phone/computer/tablet.
- Set a timer in your kitchen for 30 minutes so you’re aware of the time and work quickly.
- Label all bags with what’s inside and “use by” date. (For meals stored in a standard freezer attached to a refrigerator, it will be 3 months from your prep day.)
- Make an assembly line: Peel, chop, and slice all veggies and fruit, and add to bags. Add sauces, spices, and everything else to bags in any order, except the meat. Add meat to all the bags last. (You want it to be on the top so it’s poured into your crockpot first.)
- Remove as much air as possible from all of the bags and freeze!
Then, when you’re ready to cook, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Add to your slow cooker and follow the recipe’s instructions. Enjoy!
Questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as I can!
I’m new to freezer meals — can you reuse your ziplock bags? I would think that you could, but there could be a reason not to . . .
Yes, you can wash and reuse them! I also freeze food that doesn’t have sauce in neat-os reusable food storage bags.
Hi, I am trying to print off the printable PDF and it prints but skips much of the info. It isn’t my printer, I double checked that. I even tried to cut and paste and that comes out goofy.
Do you have any suggestions? I am new to this and am really excited to try these.
Happy Day !!! 🙂
Did you try saving the pdf to your computer first?
I don’t reuse plastic bags, but that is a personal phobia. Plastic has pores, like skin and I just never feel I can get them completely clean. And if the bag held pork or chicken…eww. But that is me. Health sites also recommend you don’t reuse because of the risk of salmonella and other cross contamination
If you are going to reuse the bag and want to do all you can to keep it safe, it may be a further reassurance to wash the bag right after emptying it–then immediately put it back in the freezer. Then any tiny thing that might remain embedded in the plastic is less likely to become an issue. It would be pre-labeled too for the same dish again. On the other hand, ziploc bags aren’t terribly costly…if you consider any risk of food poisoning, any expenditure to avoid that seems worthwhile. (It doesn’t seem like a big risk to me… Read more »
Thanks for sharing! I think it would be ok to wash and reuse bags, but I haven’t looked into it yet.
I have been reusing my bags for Years and years….never had an issue 🙂
I wouldnt worry about geting sick from freezer meal bags being reused.. they are kept in freezer until dumped out.. as logn as u rinse and refill right away and return to freezer it would be ok.. but if u leave on counter for a few days even after being washed out then yes id toss them too! if any raw meat had been inside
One thing I do when I wash them is turn them inside out. That way you can get the corners good and clean.
What a delicious recipe roundup! Thanks for including our Balsamic Chicken w/ Pears!
Love it! So different than the other recipes I’ve tried. Your recipes are the best!!
[…] Kelly from New Leaf Wellness shows you how to make 6 Crockpot Freezer Meals in 30 Minutes. […]
The recipe for the chicken looks great! Is it okay to use fresh mushrooms and pears? Some things get a little wonky in the freezer; I didn’t know if you’ve tried it with fresh stuff. Thanks!
Yes, I used fresh! The pdf with grocery list and recipes explains what I did differently than Once a Month Meals.
Where do u get the labels?
I designed them myself! 🙂
I sell them on my website here for .99 cents: https://thefamilyfreezer.com/product/printable-freezer-meal-labels/
what type of paper do you use to print the labels? And how do you place them on the bag? I’m asking because it looks like the ink would smudge and the paper tear or ripe if I used regular paper .
I like to use cardstock and attach with clear shipping tape. Regular paper works just fine too, I just think the cardstock looks prettier.
I forgot to mention that the labels are also included for free in my No Cook Freezer Meals eBook:
If you own it already, or are planning to buy it, no need to purchase the labels separately!!
CAn you buy a big bag of frozen chicken breasts. Or would that mess it up ?
Yes, you can absolutely use frozen. I’m not a big fan of store-bought frozen meat, but if you’re used to eating it go for it! Add it right to the bag frozen (don’t thaw it ahead of time). Won’t mess up anything at all!
Hi – are there any meatless freezer crockpot recipes that can be shared? Thanks so much!
Hi Mary! I don’t have a lot because we eat meat with dinner almost every night. There is a recipe for garden vegetable soup in my Easy & Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook. I’m planning to share it for free in my freezer cooking session next week, so your timing is perfect. I also have a vegetable barley soup in my 15-Minute Freezer Recipes Cookbook, but that recipe isn’t online anywhere else.
I will absolutely keep vegetarian meals in mind for future recipes. Thank you for your input!
My daughter is vegetarian and I have a small crockpot just for her. I made two half batches of each recipe and substituted her vegetarian substitutes. When it calls for chicken or pork I used the Quorn Naked Breasts, used the Morningstar Ground for hambuger, and Smart Life Beefless Tips for steak. I’ve used these products in her crockpot before and they’ve been fine. I really like when she’s eating the same meals as everyone else.
Great idea, Stephanie!