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From Freezer to Crock Pot!

With the business of back to school, thinking about dinner is sometimes the last thing on your mind!  These freezer to crock pot meals from Liz, with our iFamily Mom Squad, will help make dinners easy and delicious!

Crock Pot Meals

FROM FREEZER TO CROCK POT!

This whole straight from the freezer to crockpot situation is A-MAZING.
Moms- this is a game-changer. As a mom of a small family of 4 who doesn’t care much for cooking, freezer meals make me feel like a super hero. Why spend more time in the kitchen when you can throw food in the crock pot and it smells like you have been slaving in the kitchen all day?

1- All you do is prep your food.
2- Throw contents in a 1 gallon-sized plastic freezer bag. Label your bag with the name of meal, cooking instructions and “use by date”. Standard is 3 months from prep date. Remove as much air from bag as possible, seal, and lay flat in your freezer.
3- Freeze.
4-The night before cooking, move it to the refrigerator to thaw.
5- Dump it into your crock pot and wait.

These meals taste amazing and work great for leftovers! I finally gave into trying this when I was 38 weeks pregnant earlier this year and now freezer meals are my life. And so far they have all been toddler approved.

Here are some of my favorites! Enjoy!

Cheesy Tortellini with Ground Beef (serve with steamed broccoli)

Yields: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small yellow onion, diced (one cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (19-ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini *not needed until day of cooking
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded (one cup) *not needed until day of cooking
2 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup) *not needed until day of cooking

PREP:
1. Add all ingredients to freezer bag except tortellini and cheeses.

COOK:
1.On “low” setting for 8 hours or until beef is cooked through.
2. Break apart beef and stir.
3. Add tortellini and top with cheeses. Cover and cook on low heat for an additional 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.

Serve with steamed broccoli.

Note: You can also freeze shredded cheese in a separate freezer bag. Thaw it overnight and store in the refrigerator until it’s time to add it to the crockpot.

Honey Dijon Pork Chops with Green Beans (serve with brown rice)

Yields: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS
1 pound boneless pork chops
1 pound frozen green beans
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 cup water* not needed until day of cooking

PREP
1. Add all ingredients to your freezer bag (except water).

COOK
1. Add contents and water.
2. Cook on “low” setting for 4-6 hours or until pork is cooked through.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken (serve with brown rice and green beans)

Yields: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS
1 small onion, diced
14oz can whole cranberry sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

PREP:
1. Add chicken to the freezer bag last so it’s the first ingredient poured into your crockpot.

COOK:
1. Cook on “low” setting for 4-6 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Yields: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and diced (4 large)
1 cup celery, diced (2 large ribs or 4 small ribs)
1 small yellow onion, diced (one cup)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 oz. wide egg noodles *not needed until day of cooking
8 cups fat-free low sodium chicken broth *not needed until day of cooking

PREP:
1. Add all ingredients except noodles and broth.

COOK:
1. Add contents to crockpot with 8 cups of chicken broth.
2. Cook for 6-8 hours on “low” setting or until carrots are soft.
3. Add pasta and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
4. Remove bay leaf.

Enjoy!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Back To School Crockpot Meals

Ready, set, here we go!  Back to school means back to alarm clocks, homework and after school practices!  Some nights it’s hard to find time to fit in a home cooked meal for your hard working family.  Crockpot meals can be a real lifesaver!  Bridgette, from our iFamily Mom Squad, is here to share some of her favorites.  Take a look…

Back To School Crockpot Meals

Back to School Crockpot Meals

Yes, you read that correctly, everyone is getting ready to head back to school already!  I don’t know about you, but when we were in traditional school, that first week was so chaotic! Between getting up on time, making last minute triple checks and remembering what time the bus comes…. Dinner would be the absolute last thing on my mind. I couldn’t think about spending hours cooking subpar food that we had already had two days ago. Which is why I fell in love with crockpot meals, slow cooker meals, dump meals or whatever you want to call them. They truly make dinner time much easier and less of a hassle.

For those first two weeks back to school, consider dinner made! These 10 crockpot meals are delicious, easy and can feed a crowd or be packed for lunch!  Get out your notepad and start making your list!

Cheesesteak sandwiches

This easy recipe from Lauren Greutman is one of my favorites! I also substitute the beef for chicken at times. All the gooey cheese and veggies are seasoned to perfection and definitely make. Simply toss everything in before you head out to grab the kids and it will be ready right in time for dinner!

Ingredients:
2 green peppers, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 – 2 1/2 lbs. thinly sliced steak (I used top round)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 envelope dry Italian dressing mix
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
6 slices of provolone cheese
6 hoagie rolls

Classic Pot Roast

The pot roast can be used in so many ways with so many different sides. You can make it into tacos, burrito bowls, roast sandwiches and more! This recipe from Don’t Waste The Crumbs is one of the best! I personally brown my roast before placing it into the crock pot. Place your roast in the pot in the morning… cook it on low for a meal that is sure to please everyone!

Ingredients:
1 chuck roast (3-4 lbs)
1 lb baby carrots (or carrots, cut to about 1″ pieces)
1½ lbs potatoes (any variety, cut into about 1″ pieces if necessary)
4 Tbsp homemade dry onion soup mix
1 batch homemade cream of mushroom soup

Chicken Fajitas

Tacos, fajitas and any TexMex really, are pretty much staples in my house lol. Chicken fajitas are one of the quickest to make in my opinion. These fajitas from Cooking Classy are great! ( I don’t use the honey in her receipe)

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 red , orange and green bell pepper, julienned
1 large yellow onion , halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic , minced
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp honey

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala

Over the past few years, my family and I have fallen in love with more dishes from India, the Middle East and Mediterranean. One our favorites is chicken tikka masala! It is cheap, can feed our whole family for practically two days lol! This recipe from Table For Two definitely takes the cake!

Ingredients:

8 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, or about 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.) – cut into 1.5″ cubes
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1: 29- oz can of tomato puree
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Garam masala
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt, or to taste
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-3 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on your heat preference
2 leaves bay
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp cornstarch
Lemon juice from half a small lemon
Chopped parsley or cilantro, for topping

BBQ Chicken

Chicken is a go to meat in our house. It is can be used in just about anything! BBQ chicken is perfect for nights that you just want to chill out and not worry about who is getting messy when heading out to do family things. This recipe from Family Fresh Meals was one of the first BBQ chicken recipes I tried. Even my husband approved of it!

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless  chicken breasts
1 cup  BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

Cheesy Chicken Penne

Two words, cheese and noodles! Do I need to say more? This recipe from The Slow Magical Cooker is the perfect dish for kiddos and cheese lovers!

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 (10.5-oz) cans cream of chicken soup (don’t add water)
½ cup chicken broth
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. dried leaf tarragon (can substitute oregano or thyme here)
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
Add at the end
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 lb. penne pasta (cooked according to package directions on the stove-top)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Nothing is better than getting a bowl of hot soup during the cold months! Chicken tortilla soup has been my favorite soup for years and I don’t see anything changing that lol. This recipe from Cooking Classy is definitely what you will see me eating once that frost kicks in! Don’t forget the sour cream and extra cilantro!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth (4 1/2 cups)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Chicken Teriyaki

This is definitely my oldest favorite! Anytime I ask the kids what we should have for dinner, Phoenix is pretty much guaranteed to say Teriyaki chicken! This recipe from Rachel Cooks is probably the reason she loves it so much! I make this about once every 10 days… she can’t get enough! I love that it doesn’t require a ton of ingredients!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds, or about 3 large, boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch + 1/4 cup water
rice or quinoa, for serving
sesame seeds, for garnish
sliced green onions, for garnish

Beef and Potatoes Au Gratin

This is definitely a man’s meal lol. Meat and potatoes are a classic combo.  Add in cheese… well I mean it’s cheese! This recipe from The Magical Slow Cooker is actually on our menu for tomorrow!

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef (plus a touch of salt and pepper to season)
3 lbs. peeled russet potatoes, sliced a ¼ inch thick (about 7 cups total after being sliced)
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups shredded sharp cheese
½ cup chicken broth (or beef broth

Chicken Cacciatore

Coming across this recipe, I was hesitant at first.  I’m not a huge pasta fan and my husband doesn’t always trust my Pinterest recipes ( I have failed a lot of them).  I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed this one!  Once again, it’s noodles so the kids will love it. For mine, I make sure the veggies are chopped really small so my picky eaters won’t object. This recipe from Heather at Passion For Savings has my husband’s favorite pasta dish! Plus it doesn’t require a lot.

The best thing about these meals is that not only can you dump it and go, you can even make them in advance and freeze them! Whenever I am on my P’s & Q’s, I have a freezer stocked full of meals that I can dump in the crock pot and go on with my day.

As you get ready to head back to school, take a load off with these easy meals that will help you get into the swing of things!

 

From iFamily to Yours,