Jan 4, 2013

Prepared Crock Pot Dinners

At the end of the day, dinner is the last thing you want to think about. Unfortunately, dinner is a necessary meal for growing children and hungry adults. A friend of mine gave this idea to our group of friends. She gathered her best crock pot recipes and tested them out. Each recipe makes 12 servings. She splits each recipe into two bags, squeezes out as much air as possible, and stores them sitting up (not flat). When ready to cook, add a half to a whole cup of hot water to help thaw, empty the Ziploc bag into crock pot and come home from work or at the end of the day to a dinner ready to eat! I find we always have leftovers so someone can take it with them to work the following day or there may be enough for another meal the next day.

Buy canned goods at case lot sales which are going on now in some locations. Price match meat at Walmart. Once you buy your meat, keep it in the refrigerator for up to two days. It's best to put the meals together in a Ziploc bag within 24 hours. My friend buys her food (including meat) on a Friday evening then sets aside four hours on Saturday morning. She makes 24 meals in that time and puts them in a freezer. She's finished for the month with room for spaghetti or tacos or pizza a few times a month. I've been doing it for a month and it cuts down on a lot of headache. She lost ten pounds in a month by eating in.

Here are some tips:
  1. Do not use previously frozen meat. Buy it all at the same time or buy one type of meat and make the dinners using that meat within 24 hours, keeping the meat in the refrigerator until you put the dinners together.
  2. Gather all of the needed ingredients and set them out on the counter with a can opener and Ziploc bags. It's only a matter of putting the ingredients in the bags and closing them up at that point.
  3. Double bag the meals. Especially soups. They do leak sometimes once they thaw.
  4. Squeeze the air out in an upright position for the bag. Don't lay it flat to squeeze it out. You want to open the bag, maybe add a half to a whole cup of warm water and dump it into the crock pot without spilling.
  5. Buy crock pot liners. I started out buying them but I find crock pots are easy to clean. On the other hand, crock pot liners to cut down on the mess which cuts down on time spent in the kitchen.
  6. Play music when you are putting the meals together. Enjoy!
I'm going to share a few of these recipes so you can get started. I can't begin to tell you how this has been helping our family out the past month. Also, I was very tired of our standard dinners. These are new for us and we're enjoying them immensely. I'll post more in the upcoming week.

Broccoli Beef
Better than Panda Express!
3 lbs
Boneless beef sirloin or stew meat
2 c.
Beef consomme
1 c.
Soy sauce
2/3 c
Brown sugar
Cloves garlic
1/4 t
Red pepper flakes
1 T
Sesame oil (or olive)


Split the ingredients between two gallon Ziploc bags, remove as much air as possible and seal. In two separate bags, place 2 cups (each) broccoli florets and seal. Place both bags in another gallon Ziploc and freeze.

When ready to place in crockpot, take out the bag with meat mixture and add 1/2 c. water directly to the chicken bag. Pour into crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 5-6 hours. Reserve broccoli in freezer until last 30 min. of cooking time. Take out three to four T. liquid and mix with 2 to 3 T. cornstartch to thicken sauce. Pour back into crockpot for last 30 minutes with broccoli. Serve over rice.
Shredded French Dip
2 boneless beef chuck pot roasts (about 3 lbs. each)
2 cans condensed french onion soup, undiluted (Campbell's)
2 cans beef consomme (Campbell's)
2 cans beef broth, undiluted
2 beef bouillon cubes.

Split the above between two gallon Ziploc bags, remove as much air as possible and seal, freeze. When ready to place in crock pot, take out the bag and add 1 cup water directly to the  bag. Pour into crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 5-6 hours. Remove roast and shred with two forks. Place on rolls with optional cheese. Skim fat from cooking juices and serve as a dipping sauce. Also delicious served over mashed potatoes.

More to come... 


Kim said...

So will each recipe serve 6, or 12?

The beef broccoli says 3 lb. meat - the French Dip says 6 lb. meat.

Math is not my best subject.

Keep Your Sunny Side Up said...

Yum, Nancy, keep them coming! We always eat in but it is b o r i n g. Your recipes sound delicious!