If you haven’t mastered the “art” of crockpot cooking, you really need to bring this delightful appliance into your home and give it a whirl. Crockpots can take a mishmash of ingredients, let them bask in each other’s glory for hours, and at the end of your day, you have a delicious meal!
Once you have a few ‘staples’ under your belt, I think you will find that you can easily look in your fridge or at the grocery store and come up with your own ideas or recipes that could work!
Crockpot freezer meals take this to the next step. Now, you are not only making easy, amazing dinners, but you are making like 20 meals in 3 hours and you are set for weeks and weeks of meal prep. For me, I like to use maybe 1 or 2 crockpot freezer meals a week. Depending on the recipe, you may have leftovers or not, but at the very least, you are guaranteed to have your “big meal” for the day prepared. We all know that at least one meal in a week is a “whatever you can find in the fridge” meal, and other times, it’s just something simple like soup & sandwiches, pasta, pizza or breakfast for supper.
My first experience with this ‘batch cooking’ idea was right before we had our daughter (2nd child). I was having a c-section, already had an almost three-year-old and I just knew I would need some help. I compiled some recipes that looked like they would work, had a MASSIVE Costco shopping trip with my son, mom and grandma, and then they came over the next day to help me get about 18 meals prepared.
We LOVED having meals in the freezer ready to take out, throw in the crockpot and eat! Most recipes don’t need anything extra, and the ones that do, it’s often just pasta or rice that you can make up really quick before dinner.
A year later (oops, life passes by so quickly!), I decided to make up 20 more freezer meals, and plan to do this more regularly in the coming months. I kept some of the old recipes, added a few new ones, and then gave a Steeped Tea twist to all the meals.
My inspiration for the freezer meals this time around is my hubby’s new shift….3 a.m. until 11 a.m. OUCH. The change in his hours meant a change in our whole schedule, including eating! We now aim to have our “big family meal” at lunch, because often he will be in bed before the kids, so supper has become our smaller meal (which I hear is better for you anyway).
We also had one day where I had made homemade bread and then used it to make grilled cheese to go along with our soup. YEAH, that was awesome.
And then…I sort of fell back into the old routine. It’s hard to wake up, get enthused about all the many things that your 3-year-old wants to show you, chase your (so close to) 1-year-old around, clean up the always happening house tornado, work from home, AND get a big meal on the table for noon. It’s hard enough some days to do all that and be ready for a 5 p.m. meal.
So, I welcomed back the crockpot freezer meals!
I will give you the recipes for a few of them now, and save the rest for another day. (This blog is long enough already!) I should also say – the inspiration for these recipes have come from all over. Some are adapted meals that we have always used, others are recipes I have found online and then tweaked over time, etc. For this batch cooking, though, I went through every recipe and replaced some of the spices/ingredients with Steeped Tea products to give it that extra twist.
Also, I ALWAYS make two of each recipe – you are already doing all the work for one, it only takes a couple extra minutes to do the second one. Most of these recipes are really quite standard, so it’s not likely you won’t like them (or you will be able to tell right away from the ingredients that you won’t).
Recipe #1 –
Lemon Garlic Chicken
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp Green Tea rub
2 tbsp. lemon juice
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Throw everything in a ziplock freezer bag and label it.
When you want to eat it, just empty it into your crockpot for 6-8 hours on low.
Serve with rice or quinoa.
(Note: This one is an adapted recipe and my first time using it. I am not 100% sure that it has enough liquid in it, so I will be monitoring it when it comes time to cook it.)
Recipe #2 –
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
5oz teriyaki sauce
½ tbsp. Smoky Tea-aki rub (okay, I didn’t actually measure it, but that’s about how much I used)
16 oz bag of frozen stir fry vegetables
Seriously, how easy is that?!
Throw everything into a freezer ziplock bag and label it. Always be sure to squish the air out (carefully!) before you seal and freeze.
When you are ready to eat it, put it in the crockpot for 6-8 hours on low.
Serve with rice.
Recipe #3 –
Honey Sesame Chicken
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup honey
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
SalTea Topper – add as much as you like!
Throw everything into a freezer ziplock bag and label it. With recipes like this one with a ‘sauce,’ I always squish the bag around to make sure the chicken is coated and everything is mixed well.
When you are ready to eat it, put it in the crockpot for 4-6hours on low.
Serve with rice.
**This recipe introduces you to one of my very favourite seasonings – the SalTea topper! I use this exclusively to replace salt in my meals. It is a combination of salt, black tea and onion flakes and has a nice smoky taste to it. If a recipe calls for salt and pepper, again, I often just use this in its place. It’s a grinder, so it really helps you limit the salt content for yourself and the kids, and it lasts for a long time, which is even better!
These were my first 6 meals – I did these in about 45 minutes after coming home from Costco and another grocery store feeling VERY tired but determined to get some done before a team outing at Social Art KW!.
7 more recipes to come, stay tuned!