One of Nicholas's New Year's resolutions was to try freezer meals. He'd prepped meals for the week on and off through 2015 and wanted to see how it would work to prepare an entire month's worth. Then, we could just pull a meal from the deep freeze, throw it in the crockpot, and on a busy day dinner would be waiting for us.
So, he went searching through the plethora of 30 Meals in 4 Hours posts but - true to his core - he wasn't happy with his choices. He didn't feel like many of the meals were healthy enough or kid-friendly enough or basically anything he'd want to eat.
Instead, he made his own! He dug around his cookbooks and Pinterest until he had a collection of recipes he liked. He spent about six hours at the beginning of January putting all these meals together - not including the time it took him to cook the pork shoulder. Every meal includes a serving for two adults and 2-3 children depending on how big your eaters are.
I shared in a previous post how awesome this has been. We've kept a chart on the fridge we cross off as we eat the meals so we know how much we have left. It has saved us time and money and we have consumed MUCH less pizza. Plus, Nicholas still cooked several meals, we ate out occasionally by ourselves and with my parents, and we had leftovers, which means we still have almost HALF the meals still in the freezer!
Now, he did say that he might do it in smaller batches next time as certain things go on sale to save money, but I think you'd probably have to do it at least once to know what you're keeping an eye out for as far as sales.
I wanted to post all these recipes in January but Nicholas insisted we actually eat them first so - without further ado - Nicholas's Freezer to Crockpot Collection!
Crockpot Balsamic Glazed Drumsticks (4 meals)
Easy Crockpot Mongolian Beef (2 meals)
Barley Soup (2 meals)
Chickpea Curry (2 meals)
Chili (2 meals)
Stuffed Shells (2 meals)
Vegetable Pot Pie - Prepare except for eggwash - freeze - defrost before cooking. (2 meals)
Slow Cooker Enchilada Orzo (2 meals)
Sesame Chicken (2 meals) at the end of this list.
Pulled pork (4 meals) - Get a big old pork shoulder (the largest one that will fit in your crockpot); put a spice rub all over it (I use cumin, ancho chile powder, brown sugar, and black pepper, plus a little salt) and let it marinate overnight in a two gallon bag; in the morning, remove shoulder from bag, put it in your crockpot and cook on low for about twelve hours. About halfway through, use a spoon or ladle to remove as much liquid from the crockpot as you safely can. when done, remove from crockpot to cutting board or sheet pan and pull with hands, forks or chop with knife. Eat on white bread or as filling for tacos or as a topping for baked sweet potatoes or a bunch of other ways.