This time of year is always a little crazy for our family. The kids eventually go back to school (in shifts mind you), football starts, preschool is back in session and life as I know it is officially over. The most stressful part of all this fun is dinner time. It is a very rare evening that the kids are all home to sit down together for dinner, and often the boys don’t want to eat a heavy meal before practice. Add in all the driving I am doing and it gets pretty hairy.
What’s a Mom to do?
I have always used my crockpot a lot during the fall, but I have never been brave enough to try freezer meals. You know, do all the crazy prep one day and then have food for a couple of weeks. But I did it. And it has been wonderful.
1. Put all liquid ingredients in the ziploc bag first and squish together. Yes. I said squish.
2. Make sure you label your bags FIRST!
3. Freeze them flat. My son put a few in the freezer and they are frozen in some pretty strange shapes.
4. Use crockpot liners.
5. Hire help, or just make your kids pitch in. It goes much faster with a helper.
made 18 meals. I chose 9 meals and just doubled everything.
My kids are somewhat picky, so I scoured the internet and came up with the 9 meals I thought would work best.
Hearty Beef Stew
Chicken and dumplings minus the dumplings *I left out the dumplings because I forgot, but it was still yummy!*
Colorado Beef Burritos *You do have to have some prep time to finish this one, so I always do it on a night we have fewer activities.*
Creamy Italian chicken *scroll down the page for this one*
Crockpot Fajitas *The fajita recipe is second from the bottom*
BBQ chicken sandwiches *I can NOT figure out where I got this recipe. I know it was online…somewhere. It is one of our absolute favorites.*
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce
1/2 Cup Italian dressing
1/4 Cup brown sugar
2 T. Worchestershire sauce
Mix all ingredients in ziploc. If frozen, crockpot on low all day. If thawed, you can do 4-6 hours on high. I usually end up forgetting, pulling it out around lunch time, defrosting in the microwave a bit and then crockpot on high for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken, then serve on buns. It’s so yummy. I’m not even kidding.
My Mama’s Chili
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 medium onion diced
1 can kidney beans
1 8 oz. can tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2-4 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
*I double this recipe to feed my large family.* Brown and drain meat. Rinse and drain kidney beans. I always puree the tomatoes because my kids are picky like that. Then just combine all ingredients in a ziploc. Defrost a little, then 6 hours on low in the crockpot will do the trick!
Make sure you have a kid who will photo bomb your blogging efforts.
Freezer meals have been a life saver during our busy fall season! It was definitely worth the effort!