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5 Easy Freezer Meals for the Crock-Pot

Claudia has been writing recipes online for many years. She enjoys coming up with unique and tasty dishes, especially sweet treats.

Slow cooker freezer meals ready for the freezer.

Slow cooker freezer meals ready for the freezer.

Save Time and Money

Crock-Pots, otherwise known as slow cookers, cook food slowly over the course of a day. They are an easy labor-saving appliance that should be in every kitchen. If you are like me, and you don't always plan your meals ahead of time, then a Crock-Pot is for you. The only problem with this is you may not always have the ingredients on hand the morning you want to use it. My solution to this problem is to freeze some meals ahead of time. Freezing meals for slow cookers is the perfect way to ensure you always have a home-cooked meal ready when you come home.

Frozen Crock-Pot meals are budget-friendly and easy to assemble. More inexpensive cuts of meat work well in these recipes because of the long cooking time. You can also take advantage of grocery store sales for some of the items.

With just a little organization and preparation, you'll have delicious home-cooked meals—no matter how busy you are!

What You'll Need

You'll need a few things before you start assembling your freezer meals:

  • Heavy-duty freezer bags (gallon size)
  • Permanent marker
  • Large slow cooker (at least 5 quarts, but I recommend 6 quarts)
  • Ingredients
  • Time: It takes a while to assemble the meals, so you'll need to allot a couple of hours. It took me 1 1/2 hours to assemble these meals (not including shopping time).

I usually prepare five different meals to freeze at one time. For my small family of three, we can get 10 dinners and a couple of lunches out of them.

The following five recipes are my favorites, but there are many other Crock-Pot recipes that would work well, too. Try freezing your favorites!

Not Everything Freezes Well

Through trial and error, I've learned that there are few vegetables that don't do so well in the freezer. They seem to absorb the sauce, and it ruins their taste and texture.

  • Carrots: tough and chewy
  • Potatoes: grainy and soft
  • Pineapple: chewy
Slow cooker freezer meal of sausage and peppers, simmering away.

Slow cooker freezer meal of sausage and peppers, simmering away.

Grocery List for All 5 Recipes

This is a grocery list for all five of the freezer recipes, below.

  • 6 pounds chicken thighs/legs
  • 5 to 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork roast
  • 6 to 8 Italian sausages
  • 1 bottle barbecue sauce
  • 1 can cranberry sauce
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3 peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic or 1 jar minced garlic
  • 1 jar red salsa or picante sauce
  • 1 jar green salsa or picante sauce
  • Dry onion soup mix
  • Italian seasoning
  • Chicken broth
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Pepper
  • Honey
  • Yellow mustard

How to Assemble and Defrost Freezer Meals

Assembling these freezer meals is simple. Just follow these easy steps.

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  1. Make sure you have a large clean work surface.
  2. Lay out all of the ingredients.
  3. Label the freezer bags and lay them out.
  4. Chop all of the vegetables. Measure out and place in the appropriate bags.
  5. Open all cans (drain if necessary) and place in the appropriate bags.
  6. Prepare the meat as directed and place in appropriate bags. Make sure to keep hands clean after handling all food.
  7. If the recipe has liquids, follow recipe directions and then add to the appropriate bags.
  8. Add the spices into each bag as directed.
  9. Seal the bags and gently roll them around to mix the ingredients.
  10. Lay the bags flat on a baking sheet and freeze. Once they are completely frozen they can be removed from the baking sheet and tucked away in your freezer. Freezing them flat allows for easier storage and quicker defrosting.
  11. When you are ready to use one of your meals, take it out 1 to 2 days ahead of time and defrost in the refrigerator. Make sure to defrost on a tray in case the bag leaks. To avoid spoilage, never defrost on the kitchen counter.

The following five Crock-Pot recipes are easy to assemble, easy to freeze, and delicious. If you need smaller portions, all of these recipes can be divided into two bags.

1. Barbecued Chicken

This recipe is perfect for more inexpensive cuts of chicken, like the legs or thighs; however any part of the chicken can be used. For a healthier version, remove the chicken skin.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except for the chicken.
  2. Put the chicken in a freezer bag. Pour the mixture into the bag and seal it.
  3. When ready to cook, place the thawed ingredients in the slow cooker and cook for 4 to 5 hours on low.

Serving suggestions: Delicious with mashed potatoes and a vegetable or a side salad.

Salsa chicken assembled and ready for the freezer

Salsa chicken assembled and ready for the freezer

2. Salsa Chicken

When you are in the mood for Mexican, this recipe is perfect.

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 (15 1/4 oz) can corn, drained
  • 1 (15 1/4 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar salsa, any type

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except for the chicken.
  2. Put the chicken in a freezer bag. Pour the mixture into the bag and seal it.
  3. When ready to cook, put the thawed contents of the freezer bag in the slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done, take 2 forks and shred the chicken and mix all together.

Serving suggestions: Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with rice or tortilla chips. Also good with sour cream and taco sauce.

3. Salsa Verde Pork

Another south-of-the-border favorite in our house, this recipe is great on cold winter nights.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork, cubed
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (16 oz) jar salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix.
  2. Pour into a freezer bag and freeze.
  3. When ready to cook, pour thawed contents into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

Serving suggestions: Serve with rice.

4. Sausage and Peppers

Great for a party or the big football game, this recipe is fantastic!

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 Italian sausages
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 (15 1/4 oz) cans diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 2 tbs Italian seasoning
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a freezer bag and freeze.
  2. When ready to cook, place the thawed ingredients in a slow cooker on low heat for 6 hours.

Serving suggestions: Serve over rice or noodles and add some cheese. Crusty bread or a side salad also goes nicely with this.

5. Cranberry Chicken

Another easy chicken recipe, you'll love the sweet and sour tang of this dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs chicken thighs or legs, skinned (chicken breasts can also be used)
  • 1 can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix together the cranberry sauce and the onion soup mix.
  2. Place chicken in the freezer bag and pour cranberry mixture on top.
  3. When ready to use, thaw and place contents of freezer bag into Crock-Pot and cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours.

Serving Suggestions: Serve over a bed of rice. Green beans are perfect with this dish.

Freezer Crock-Pot Meals Take the Pressure Off!

When schedules are hectic and family members are running here and there, just pull one of these frozen meals out of your freezer, thaw it for a couple of days, and put it in the slow cooker before you go off to your busy day. You and your family will come home to a delicious home-cooked meal every time.

© 2012 Claudia Mitchell

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