Simple Meals – From the Freezer to the Crockpot

In a hurry to eat?

It is 6 p.m., you just got home from work, you have 1 hour to feed your family and get back out the door to a practice/game/recital/meeting and you have no idea what’s for dinner. More about the author!

This sounds like something you have experienced many times in your life. It happens all the time in my own life. It makes a huge difference to have a meal planned out. Even better, it is already cooked and ready for you to eat.

This week I received a mail advertisement for a meal preparation business. This is a fantastic service that allows you to go into their kitchen and make freezer meals or buy ready-made freezer meals that you can heat up and then serve. I went through the ingredients and menu and realized that I could make it better. After doing some planning, I was able to prepare 10 meals in less than two hours. One of them included a meal for my family for the holiday weekend.

I’ve written about the beauty and utility of the slow cooker (“crockpot”) before, so I won’t go into details on how to use it. Instead, focus on prepping meals for your slow cooker to make it even more convenient. You can make dinner ready in 15 minutes if you only take 15 minutes to prepare the meal.

Let’s go one more step.

1. Spend at least an hour on the weekend and prepare several meals. Then, put them in the freezer.

2. Take tomorrow’s dinner out of the freezer one day in advance and place it in the fridge to thaw.

3. When you get up in the morning, empty your freezer into the slow cooker. You will find a warm, inviting home and a ready-to-eat meal when you turn on the low heat.

Tips for freezing meals

1. So that the meat is on the bottom of the slow cooker, place it in a freezer container.

2. To preserve freshness, remove all air from your freezer container.

3. You can freeze up to three months of each recipe by making two portions.

4. While you can cook more tender foods like legumes and fish in the slow cooker I recommend that you stick to meats like pork, chicken, and beef for freezer-ahead slow cooker meals.

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