For the Freezer

I've been making freezer crock pot meals for a while now.  A lifesaver on those days when I'm working and won't be home till dinner time, but a sporting event, band concert, school function, etc mean dinner needs to be RIGHT when I get home from work (either that or I end up cranky and hungry trying to manage cranky, hungry, tired babies!  Not fun!!).  
A few months ago I thought, wouldn't it be fun to do this WITH other people?  I love my house full of boys, but some times I just need some girl time.  Thus, my freezer meal party prep days started.  About once a month, a group of ladies (who ever happens to be interested and free that day) bring ingredients and we chat and prep meals.  
It's GREAT!  


Girl time plus our freezers are a little more stocked.  
Win Win!  


We make 5 or 6 recipes each time and since there are a wide variety of family sizes represented at the parties, I usually try to make sure that each meal will feed one entire large family.  Those that have smaller families either cook the entire meal and then refreeze portions for later use or separate the meal into multiple bags when they get home.  For the the larger families, I think it averages out to be around $10-12 per meal and less per meal for the families that can get two or three meals out of each recipe. 



Here are some recipes that I've posted before.
Part 1  - Teriyaki Chicken (you can do this with pork too); BBQ Ribs; and Salsa Chicken
Part 2 - Cheesy Chicken; Sausage Lentil Soup (this is a HUGE favorite); Sausage and Bean Supper
Part 3 - Quinoa Chili (this is a big hit too!); Black Bean and Chicken Tacos; Korean Beef Tacos

Here are a few more that we've been making.
Tortilla Soup (this one is SUPER yummy!)

Note for the crock pot meals: I recently saw an article that stated that the FDA recommends not cooking meat from frozen in your crock pot - not because the meat doesn't get thoroughly cooked, but because it stays at what they consider an unsafe temperature for too long.  I'm a thaw meat on the counter, dump frozen meat in my crock pot and go girl...use your own judgement and do what you're comfortable with.  The crock pot meals can all be pulled out of the freezer the night before and thawed in the fridge for easy dump and go the next morning.  

Here are two that don't go in the crock pot.

Here are some for the grill.
Grilled Korean Pork Chops (this is SOOO Yummy!!)

And this is on my "got to try this soon" list!

I need to try and remember to take pictures of these when I cook them!

Tortilla Soup


Tortilla Soup

Dump into each bag:
·         1-2lbs cooked chicken, diced
·         1 can refried beans
·         2 cans black beans
·         16 oz frozen corn
·         16 oz salsa

Instructions for Ziplock:
Dump into crock pot and add 2 cups water and 2 cups chicken broth.  
Cook on low 8 hours or until hot and bubbly.  
Stir in 16 oz shredded cheddar and serve with tortilla chips and sour cream. 

Sloppy Joes


Sloppy Joes


For each bag:
·         Brown and drain:
o   1lb ground beef
o   1lb ground turkey
·         ½ cup ketchup
·         ½ cup mustard
·         2 cans pork and beans (only drain 1 can)

Instructions for Ziplock:
Dump into crock pot and cook on low 4-6 hours or until heated through. 


Sausage, Spinach, and White Bean Soup


Sausage, Spinach, & White Bean Soup


Dump into each bag:
·         1 package Kielbasa sausage (thinly sliced and browned)
·         3 cloves garlic, minced
·         1 onion, diced
·         6 carrots, peeled and diced
·         2 cans great northern beans (drained and rinsed)
·         1 teaspoon dried oregano
·         2 bay leaves

Instructions for Ziplock:
Dump into crock pot along with 6 cups chicken broth.  Cook on low 8 hours.  
Stir in 3 cups baby spinach and serve.

Pulled Pork with White BBQ Sauce


Pulled Pork with White BBQ Sauce


Dump into each bag:
·         1 Onion, thinly sliced
·         4 cloves garlic, minced
·         1 T brown sugar
·         1 T chili powder (or less depending on your preference)
·         1 T salt
·         ½ t cumin
·         ½ t paprika
·         5lb pork shoulder or butt roast

Instructions for Ziplock:
Cook low 8 to 10 hours (recommended to shred meat after 8 hours and cook a little bit longer).  

Serve with white BBQ sauce: 2 cups mayo, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 T brown sugar, ½ t salt, 1 t pepper, 1 t cayenne pepper (or less depending on your preference), juice from 1 lemon (can be made ahead and stored in fridge for up to 2 weeks).

Pork Verde


Pork Verde


Dump into bag:
·         1 boneless pork roast (3-4lbs)  ADD PORK LAST SO IT IS FIRST THING IN CROCKPOT
·         1 onion
·         16 oz salsa verde
·         2 4-oz cans chopped green chili’s
·         2t cumin
·         1t oregano
·         1t salt
·         1t pepper
·         1/8t cinnamon


Instructions for Ziplock:
Dump into crock pot.  Cook on low 5-6 hours if thawed, 8 hours if frozen.  
Shred pork.  Serve over grits, rice, or corn bread. 
Add 1/4c cilantro if desired.  

Hurry Chicken


Hurry Chicken


Dump into bag:
·         ½ cup brown sugar
·         ½ cup ketchup
·         1 packet onion soup mix
·         1/4 t salt
·         1/8t pepper
·         3lbs boneless chicken

Instructions for Ziplock:
Dump into crock pot and add 1 cup chicken broth.  Cook on low 8 hours.  
Add red pepper flakes as desired.  
Shred chicken.  Serve with mashed potatoes, noodles, or rice.

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken


Grilled Teriyaki Chicken


Dump into bag:
·         8 boneless chicken breasts or 12 boneless thighs
·         4 cloves garlic, crushed
·         1 ½ T minced ginger
·         2/3 cup soy sauce
·         3 T brown sugar
·         3 T apple cider vinegar
·         3 T rice wine vinegar

Instructions for Ziplock:
Thaw in fridge and then Grill! 

Grilled Korean Pork Chops


Grilled Korean Pork Chops


Dump into each bag:
·         8 pork chops
·         2 T olive oil
·         ½ cup soy sauce
·         4 T agave  (you can do honey if you prefer)
·         8 cloves of garlic, minced
·         2 t sesame oil
·         2 t minced ginger
·         2 t sriacha

Instructions for Ziplock:
Thaw in fridge and then Grill! 
(About 4 minutes for first side and 3 to 4 minutes for the second side...unless your chops are very thin or very thick)

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken


Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

Dump into each bag:
·         8 boneless chicken breasts
·         ½ cup olive oil
·         1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
·         Zest of two limes  (just the zest...the juice makes the chicken tough since it will marinate for so long.  We used the leftover limes to flavor water)

Instructions for Ziplock:
Thaw in fridge and then Grill! 

Grilled Chili Maple Chicken


Grilled Chili Maple Chicken

Dump into each bag:
·         8 boneless chicken breasts or 12 boneless thighs
·         4 T water
·         2 t salt
·         3 T maple syrup
·         1 T chili powder

Instructions for Ziplock:
Thaw in fridge and then Grill! 

Chicken Divan


Chicken Divan


Instructions:
·         Simmer chicken until cooked through
·         For each 9x13 pan:
o   Cut up 1.5lbs of cooked chicken, place in pan  (Note: it takes more than 1.5lbs raw chicken to make 1.5lbs cooked!  We learned this the hard way!!)
o   Add frozen broccoli
o   Mix together 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and one cup mayo – pour over chicken and broccoli
o   Mix together 1.5 cups shredded cheese and ½ cup bread crumbs – sprinkle on top of pan.
·         Wrap pan securely with plastic wrap and top with foil.

Instructions for Cooking:
Thaw casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. 

Brown Sugar Meatloaf


Brown Sugar Meatloaf

Instructions:
·         Coat bottom of pans with cooking spray and place two slices of bread at the bottom of each pan (the bread will absorb the grease from the cooked meatloaf and should be discarded not eaten…unless you want to eat it!)
·         In a large mixing bowl, combine:
o   3lbs ground beef
o   1 cup milk
o   4 eggs
o   2 pks of onion soup mix
o   1.5 cups breadcrumbs
o   2 teaspoons salt
o   ½ teaspoon pepper
o   ½ teaspoon ground ginger
·         Split mixture evenly between two loaf pans
·         Cover each pan with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. 
·         Label each pan:
o   Thaw
o   Preheat oven to 350
o   Remove foil and plastic wrap
o   Mix ½ cup brown sugar, 1 cups ketchup, and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and pour over meat loaf
o   Bake ~1hr until juices run clear or meat thermometer reads 160
o   Let rest ten minutes before slicing and serving

Beef Stroganoff


Beef Stroganoff

Dump into bag:
·         2lbs stew beef (cheap, whatever kind you want)
·         1lb mushrooms, washed and sliced
·         1 onion, diced
·         ½ cup red wine (cheap)
·         2 beef bouillon cubes

Instructions for Ziplock:
Dump into crock pot along with 1 cup water.  Cook on low 8 hours.  
Stir in ½ cup sour cream right before serving.  Serve over rice or noodles.

BBQ Beer Chicken


BBQ Beer Chicken

Dump into bag:
·         3lbs boneless, skinless chicken
·         2 cloves garlic, minced
·         1 tablespoon onion powder
·         ½ tablespoon paprika
·         ½ teaspoon salt
·         3 cups BBQ sauce

Instructions for Ziplock:
Dump into crock pot along with 1 can of beer (whatever kind you want).  
Cook on low 8 hours.  
Shred chicken and serve on buns of your choice.

Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken


Balsamic Chicken

Dump into bag:
·         1/2c balsamic vinegar
·         ¼ c brown sugar
·         3 cloves garlic, minced
·         1t basil
·         1/2t oregano
·         1/4t thyme
·         1/4t rosemary
·         1/4t pepper
·         1/2t salt
·         3lbs boneless chicken

Instructions for Ziplock:
Dump into crock pot and add 1 cup chicken broth.  Cook on low 8 hours.  
Add red pepper flakes as desired.  
Shred chicken.  Serve with mashed potatoes, noodles, or rice.

Sweet Potato French Toast

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My husband wanted to have a Good Friday bunch after church.  He wanted bacon, eggs and french toast.  Often, when we have something like that, I'd just eat what I can and not worry about the rest but this time I decided I wanted to try and make some french toast that I can eat.  It was a nice surprise!  I want to play around a bit and see if I can get the egg mixture to stick to the sweet potato a bit better but for now, this was good.

If you are eating AIP, you need to know that this isn't compliant as it has eggs and almond milk.  But once you successfully re-introduce those things, this is something you can try! 

All I did was slice the sweet potato and toast it in the toaster.  I found that the thinner slice was better than the thicker slice.  I toasted it two or three times ... til it was browned.  

Then I made the 'batter" just like normal french toast.  I used an egg, some almond milk, homemade vanilla extract, and a bit of cinnamon.  Dip the toasted sweet potato slices into the batter and then cook in an already heated fry pan.

I topped the toast with a bit of pure maple syrup and fresh raspberries.

And we had scrambled eggs (I just do eggs with nothing added) and some AIP compliant bacon.

A delicious Good Friday brunch! 

Maple Breakfast Sausage in the Thermomix (AIP)

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I had some pork mince to use up and I wanted something simple and tasty to do with it.  
over on Savory Lotus that sounded good.

As much as possible, I try to use my Thermomix and so I decided to do the beginning steps in that ...

Also, I didn't bother peeling the apple, I used more onion, more herbs and I used smoked garlic ...


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Here's my list of ingredients:


500g pork mince


1 small red onion
2 cloves smoked garlic (or regular would be fine too)
1 apple, cored and quartered
a handful of fresh herbs (I used parsley, oregano, chives, thyme)
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground sage
(oil for cooking but I did ours on the BBQ so didn't need any oil) 


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Here's how I did it (in the Thermomix):

Put the onion, and garlic in the Thermomix.
Chop on speed 5 for 5-7 seconds. 
Scrape ingredients to bottom of bowl.
Add apple.
Chop on speed 5 for 3-5 seconds.
Add 5-10g of olive oil.
Sautee on Varoma temperature, 5 minutes, speed .

Let this mixture cool for a few minutes.
In a bowl, add pork, maple syrup, herbs and ground sage.  Mix well.  Once the Thermomix mixture has cooled to the touch, add to the pork and mix well.

Shape into patties of your desired size.

If cooking on BBQ ... heat it up (we have a gas BBQ and I make sure it is up to at least 200 Celsius).  Once it's heated, put the patties on the hot BBQ and shut the lid.  Set timer for 3 minutes.  Rotate patties (don't flip them yet, just rotate them so that the like 90 degrees) shut the lid. Set timer for 3 minutes.  Now flip the patties. Shut the lid. Set timer for 3 minutes.  Rotate patties again. Shut the lids.  Set timer for 3 minutes. The patties should now be ready.  Just cut one in half and make sure it's cooked through. 

I served with:
fresh spinach
chopped avocado
sautéed onions, zucchini and mushrooms