Sunday, January 6, 2013

How it all began

We brought our beautiful baby boy home from the hospital and were blessed to receive many meals and visitors. When the meals stopped and my husband returned to work, we started eating lots of take-out and fast food.
 Photo taken by Kristen Mackey

Our baby had silent reflux, was intolerant/allergic to every formula but one (which was a lengthy process), and he was labeled as colicky. I was getting 45 min. of sleep at a time - at most. We were in "survival mode." Pinterest helped keep me awake during late night feedings. This is where I first heard of Slow Cooker Freezer Meals. Life changing! I read through several blogs and thought, I can do this! So I did.

I followed this blog to the letter. I made the Vegetable Beef Soup, Healthy BBQ Chicken, and the Goulash. I copy and pasted the recipes to an excel spreadsheet and then started to group the ingredients into categories: produce, meat, canned foods, spices, frozen foods, etc. I took inventory of what I already had in my pantry, adjusted the list and then hit the grocery store feeling very organized.

When I returned home, I cleared everything from the kitchen table and got ready to assemble the meals. I had a big cutting board, knife, giant spatula to scoop/distribute chopped veggies into the bags, big bowl for garbage/scraps, gallon freezer bags, a sharpie, and a printout of my recipes. I wrote out the cooking instructions, the date it was prepared (most OK for 3 months) and what to serve the meal with on the bag with a sharpie. Then I proceeded to chop, measure and assemble the meals. I remember being skeptical of putting raw chicken in the bag, which seems funny to me now that I've done it at least 100 times since then - it's fine. Just do it. Lay the bags flat in your freezer so they take up less space.

On the day of cooking, break the bag up into pieces to get it to fit in your slow cooker. Speaking of slow cookers, I use a smaller one now since I divide the recipes in half. This is the one I have. It's 3.5 quarts, it automatically switches to warm and I love it! If the contents of your bag are frozen solid and you can't break it up easily, you can put it into the microwave at 30% for a few minutes. Of course, if you plan ahead (which I almost never do) you could lay it out for a bit to defrost before putting it into your slow cooker.

Slow cooker freezer meals have helped us break our take-out and fast food habit. We are eating healthier meals each night and saving money too.

I plan to share my my slow cooker freezer meal recipes, tips and strategies with you all through this blog. I've been making them for almost a year now and I've learned a lot - like you must use frozen potatoes and you can freeze tortillas, for example. I hope it can be a helpful tool for you and your family. 


  1. Loving it! Can't wait to read through the rest and get me some more freezer meals prepared! I do agree that the ones I've made have been pretty bland so I have to spice them up.