My slow cooker is my BFF. I use it several times a week, every week. Whoever came up with the idea of make-ahead slow cooker freezer meals is a genius! It’s a total time saver. In just a few hours (including shopping time) you can put together enough meals for a few weeks. That’s a healthy, delicious dinner every night with enough for leftovers too!
Choose recipes your family already enjoys and that adapt well to being frozen first. For example, we don’t like to freeze slow cooker meals made with potatoes because they end up losing their appeal after being frozen. Other veggies and fruit (I’ve got two below!) work great.
I plan out the meals/bags I want to make and head to the store with my list. Buying some items that are already frozen and/or chopped is a great time saver. For example, frozen chicken works well because it’s easy to pull out the number I need and not have to worry about them freezing in a big lump.
Then when I get home, I chop all the onions (and cook them if my recipe calls for that), carrots, celery, etc. I measure out any dry seasonings I need. Then I work in a semi-assembly line until all the bags are filled.
Labeling is so, so important. It’s nice to include cooking time as well as if there are any special instructions like adding water to the slow cooker or if I need to add an ingredient, like sour cream, at the end of cooking time.
One bag frozen meatballs (homemade are great too!), one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
Cook time: 3-4 hours on HIGH
Serve with: cooked pasta, green salad, garlic bread
Serves 4, can easily be doubled
2. Ginger Peach Chicken
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 12-ounce bag of frozen peach slices, 1 sliced red onion, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, 2 teaspoons ground coriander
Cook time: 4-5 hours on HIGH
Serve with: cooked white or brown rice, steamed veggies
3. Vegetable Beef Stew
2 pounds stew meat, 1 diced onion, 2 sliced carrots, 1 sliced parsnip, 1 large rutabaga (peeled and cut into cubes), 1/2 cup red wine, 2 tablespoons beef stock base or 3 bouillon cubes
Extra instructions: add 1 1/2 cups water to slow cooker
Cook time: 8-10 hours on LOW
Serve with: mashed potatoes or rice
4. Teriyaki Chicken
2 pounds chicken thighs, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 can pineapple chunks
Cook time: 8 hours on LOW
Serve with: cooked white or brown rice, green veggies
5. Pork Country Ribs + BBQ Sauce
2 pounds boneless country ribs, one bottle BBQ sauce (your favorite kind)
Cook time: 8-10 hours on LOW
Serve with: mashed potatoes, veggies, and salad
6. Salsa Chicken
2 1/2 to 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (breast or thighs), 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa
Cook time: 6-7 hours on LOW
Serving suggestions: rice bowls, tacos, enchilada filling, nachos, burritos
Serves 4-8, maybe more depending on how it’s used after cooking