Monday, May 26, 2014

Make Ahead Monday: Freezer Meals

We're going on vacation next week--without children. Yikes! I can't wait but of course leaving my children for a week means much pre-planning and worrying on my part. Grandmas are coming to the rescue to watch over the babes but to keep things easy on them I prepared a bunch of freezer meals in advance so it would be one less thing for them to worry about. 

This is the second time I've done the crazy bulk assembly of freezer-friendly slow cooker meals and I'm thrilled with the result. One big list preparation, one shopping trip, a couple hundred bucks and one afternoon of assembly means a few months worth of meals that I don't have to plan and prepare for (mostly anyway). 

4 hours + $300 = 34 meals!
This is me looking like a crazy carnivore at the grocery store. 
Good thing there was a rockin' sale on meat for Memorial Day!

To make things even easier for you, I'm sharing my preparation so all you need to do is print and go! On my first round, I came across this wonderful little blog "Saving You Dinero" where she had posted several rounds of freezer meals. I repeated my favorites for this second time around. For my round II, I had to go to one of my favorite blogs Six Sister's Stuff. Both provide recipes, additional pictures and shopping lists but since I compiled them for my own use, I'll share them here too. I doubled everything so that I could make two of each meal.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Salsa Verde Pork 
a little spicy but so good!
Southwest Chicken
Hawaiian Chicken
 Beef Burritos
Garlic Honey Chicken 
serve as a protein or as a sandwich
Chicken Fajitas
Parmesan Honey Pork 
one of my hands down favorites!

Creamy Ranch Pork Chops
Creamy Salsa Chicken
Italian Beef Sandwiches
Sweet Teriyaki Chicken
Sweet Tangy Meatballs
Pineapple Glazed Ham
Beef and Mushrooms
Black Bean and Corn Salsa Chicken
BBQ Cranberry Chicken

all of my grocery items stacked and organized. I pre-cut my onions and 
bought some squeeze garlic instead of doing the extra mincing.

Parmesan Honey Pork... of my favorites!
I tossed all of the ingredients in a freezer bag and made these labels so they would be easy to read and I'd remember additional instructions and what to serve with the meal.

 Here's round II of my freezer meals.

To find more recipes you need do little more than google "slow cooker freezer meals" or do a quick search on pinterest to find dozens of great website and full blogs committed to this effort (...heck maybe that's how you ended up here.)

After the first time I did my freezer meals, I found that writing on the bag worked well at first but by the end, much of the writing started to rub off. I decided to take it up a notch and buy some some shipping labels that I could type instructions on and put in a side dish suggestion or other instructions (some recipes have you add cheese, shred meat, serve on buns, etc.) so if my dear husband or grandma is preparing the meal they don't have to reference back to the recipe. 

Enjoy my handy work and give it a try! If you're a busy mom like me, you'll relish every time you pop open the freezer wondering "What's for dinner?".


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