Thursday, February 13, 2014

Menu Planning Simplicity



This week’s recipes are crockpot freezer meals. All of them were very good. My family enjoyed them and gave them 2 thumbs up! They are very easy to put together. The idea behind crockpot freezer meals is that you put all ingredients into a gallon size zip lock bag, label, and freeze. On the day you want to serve the meals put them in the crockpot. I often pull them out the night before and put them in the fridge. By morning they are not completely defrosted, but defrosted enough to be able to get into the crockpot. Then cook all day. I’ve also put them in frozen. To do this I’ve run warm water over the bag long enough to loosen the frozen bag so I can easily remove it. If I start the meal from frozen I most often start it on ‘high’ and then turn down to ‘low’ in an hour or two. However you do it, they make for easy simple meals and prep time goes very quickly.

I started with 8lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. These are not the frozen ones. I cut up all my ingredients and then assembled the meals. The following 3 chicken recipes used all 8 lbs. My meals are on the larger size to feed my crew of 6 adult size appetites. If you are feeding less people per meal you could easily cut the recipes in half and end up with 6 meals.

Before I started working on my freezer meals I put a meal in the crockpot for that night’s dinner. I made crockpot chicken philly sandwiches. This meal could also easily be a freezer meal. Instead of putting all ingredients into the crockpot as I did, put them in a freezer bag instead.

I layered the ingredients in the crockpot…



Let it cook all day and then made the sandwiches in the evening. These were really good. You do need to use a slotted spoon to scoop out the chicken and veggies. I put sandwich rolls under the broiler briefly and then topped with the chicken/veggie mix and then a little cheese. Put them back under the broiler to melt the cheese. I served these sandwiches with some split pea soup and a veggie platter. The recipe also calls for provolone cheese slices. I used mozzarella cheese because that is what I had on hand.



After the chicken philly sandwiches were going I turned my attention to the other 2 chicken meals which were crockpot creamy chicken veggie bake and crockpot pot Asian chicken. There were similar ingredients to both recipes so it did not take long to get all everything ready..



Here is how to assemble (this is the Asian chicken)

 
Put the chicken in the zip lock bag:



Then add the veggies and sauce (I mixed the sauce ingredients in a large measuring cup so I could add it all at once):


Label and freeze..


I repeated the same process for the creamy chicken veggie bake:






The chicken recipes:


Crockpot Chicken Philly Sandwiches
 
2T butter, sliced into 3 or 4 pieces
1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced
1 pepper, green or red or yellow, your choice, sliced
2 - 3# boneless, skinless chicken, defrosted (breasts or thighs)
1t salt
1T Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken broth
Hoagie rolls, 10 to 12
10 to 12 slices provolone cheese

Put butter slices on the bottom of the crockpot, layer onions and peppers on top. Lay chicken pieces on top of veggies and sprinkle salt over the top. Add Worcestershire sauce and chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done cooking use a fork to break up chicken and stir everything together. Scoop onto hoagie rolls, top with slices of cheese and put under the broiler for a few minutes to melt.


Crockpot Creamy Chicken Veggie Bake (Freezer Meal)
 
3 to 4lbs boneless, skinless chicken
16oz favorite frozen veggies
1 cup chicken broth
8oz cream cheese
1 cup or so grated cheddar cheese

Put all ingredients in a large gallon size zip lock bag. Seal bag, label and put in freezer.

On cooking day put all in crockpot and cook for 8 hours on low. Serve with French bread, biscuits, rice or as I did, mashed potatoes…. and a salad or veggie platter on the side.


Crockpot Asian Chicken over rice (Freezer Meal)
 
2 to 3lbs boneless, skinless chicken (not previously frozen)
½ cup white sugar
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
1 small to medium onion, chopped
½ t chopped ginger
1 ½ t lemon juice
2t hot chile paste (more or less depending on your desired heat level)
1 green or red pepper, sliced
2 cups broccoli pieces

Put all ingredients into gallon size zip lock bag. Seal, label, freeze. On cooking day put contents of bag in crockpot and cook 6 to 7 hours. Serve over rice.


That is all for this week!!

 

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for explaining the concept of crockpot freezing. I was never sure as to how this was done. You have inspired me.

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    1. Crockpot freezer cooking is such a huge time saver! Glad you are inspired.. it makes menu planning and cooking so much easier!

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  2. All of these Meal Simplicity posts are great but since you do not title them, they're difficult to get to through RSS. Instead of just clicking on the title, I instead have to click on your blog title and then click either the time stamp or the comments in order to get to a page where I can save just the desired post. I usually don't have a lot of time to go through my RSS feed and while it might not seem like a lot, any extra work just to save a recipe can make it so that I don't even bother because goodness knows when the baby will wake up and need me or the timer will go off for the oven, etc.

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    1. Hi Anon.. if you look at the bottom of the post right below the time stamp you will see a PDF Print button so you can easily print the recipes.. :)

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  3. I printed them all and can't wait to try them! What great ideas, thank you for taking the time to share.

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  4. This is great! Thanks for sharing, Crystal. Can you tell me how much flour you use in the creamy chicken bake recipe? These all look like super yummy and easy recipes. Love slow cooker freezer meals!

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    1. I fixed the recipe... there is no flour.. I made some changes as I was preparing it.. so the recipe is as I made it now.. :)

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  5. These look wonderful! This is a great way for people to avoid eating fast food, especially on days when you're rushed. A time saver and much healthier. :) Thanks so much for sharing! Jamie :)

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  6. I was wondering how the consistency of the cream cheese was, I have tried putting cream cheese in a freezer meal(casserole) before and it did not turn out well. Any tips?
    The asian chicken and philly chicken are for sure on the list to make:)

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  7. Hi Bernice, we ate this a few days after I froze it and we did not notice anything.. it was creamy and good.. maybe it has to do with how long the cream cheese is frozen? Crystal

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  8. Thank you, Crystal! These look delicious!

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  9. Wow, Crystal !! These crockpot recipes look awesome. Thank you so much for all you do and all the help you give and in such an understandable way too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Amy

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All messages are moderated. After approval your message will be posted. Thank you for your comments!! Crystal :)