Ok, I’m only partly kidding there. In all seriousness though, I have come a good long way from my days of Hamburger Helper and instant potatoes (that somehow become mashed potatoes from a mystery white powder).
I know Mom. It WAS bad. I admit it.
Was it because I didn’t know how to cook? At the time, I wasn’t sure if I knew how to or not. But, I finally came to realize later on….WAY later on…that it wasn’t that I didn’t know how to cook, it was that I had no time to cook. A teacher, married to a coach, welcoming their first child. Friends, life was packed! And you know what? It still is. But THERE IS A WAY and I think I’ve found it.
Freezer meals and crock pot meals, my friends.
Easy stuff, y’all. Let me help.
First you need this: A crock pot. And not just any crock pot, but one with a timer. The timer is what revolutionized this whole ‘preparing ahead of time’ thing for me. Guys, we are gone for a total of 9 to 10 hours during the day. I would not be able to do this if it weren’t for the crock pot that I can set from high to low to warm. This one is at a great price and works wonderfully for all that it needs to do.
Here is a master list of recipes with their source that my family enjoys.
I love that this one requires minimal ingredients, but still wonderful!15. Slow Cooker Potato Soup by Once A Month Meals
Easy! And has bacon. Need I say more?16. Honey Soy Pork Tenderloin by Add a Pinch
Straight up slow cooker recipe! Easy – especially easy to throw in at last minute!17. Chicken Tater Tot Casserole by Plain Chicken
Make ahead and FREEZE! Easy. Minimal ingredients!18. Bourbon Chicken by Bargain Briana
No cooking ahead of time, basically just throwing the ingredients in a freezer bag and label. You’re good to go!19. Sloppy Joes by One Hundred Dollars a Month
Freezer Meal…Saute onion and meat, then throw the rest of the ingredients in a freezer bag. When ready, heat in a skillet! That’s easy enough for me!
20. Lemon Pesto Chicken by Frugal Living Mom
Freezer meal! Just put all together and then put in oven when ready. This calls for ‘homemade pesto’. I do NOT use homemade pesto, I repeat. I do NOT do the homemade pesto thing. I buy it. 🙂
21. Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll Ups by Ally’s Sweet and Savory Eats
This one has a tad of prep, but if you are making all these in one day, you’re prepping anyway…so…
Great to throw in the freezer and take out when ready and bake! Love it.
22. Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak by Six Sisters’ Stuff (surprised? Gosh I love them!)
This is SO easy and SO good!
23. Crock Pot Garlic Parmesan Chicken by The Frugal Girls
Easy, easy, easy! Something I love to throw in the crock pot before leaving for work! You can throw this in a freezer bag, thaw, then dump in a crock pot.
24. Crockpot Orange Chicken by The Frugal Girls
Another easy one with minimal ingredients. I was surprised at how good this was! I actually put this in a freezer bag and took out when I was ready, then put in the crockpot.
25. Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs by I Wash You Dry
Oh my word. The easiest. I usually do this on a Sunday or Saturday because this doesn’t have to be in the crock pot for THAT long (compared to the ones I can leave in for 6-8 hours then switched to warm). Easy and KID friendly!
26. Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells by Kristine’s Kitchen Blog
Make Ahead Freezer Meal! Love this one; easy to put together and easy to put in the freezer!
27. Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken by Six Sisters’ Stuff (again)
Yum! Put all ingredients in a freezer bag, then toss in crock pot after thawing for 24 hours.
28. Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana with Sweet Potatoes by New Leaf Wellness
Crock pot OR freezer meal! Provides directions on how to make it a freezer.
29. BBQ Ribs Recipe by Taste of Home
Taste of Home is near and dear to my heart. My grandmother gave me a subscription for me before she passed, and it has always reminded me of her! This is the easiest crock pot OR freezer meal ever. And SO yummy.
30. Crockpot Italian Pork Roast another one by New Leaf Wellness
Easy…crockpot or freezer meal!
And there you have it! Thirty crock pot or freezer meals. And really, all of these can be freezer meals. I usually decide what I want to make a freezer meal based on the amount of meals + the time I have + the ingredients that might go bad.
Now for the shopping. Because I love you, I have provided you a MASTER GROCERY SHOPPING LIST of these 30 meals. I’m thinking a visit to Costco would be a wise thing to do as you load up! See how long these meals last you. It’s such a gift when the month is gone and I STILL have freezer meals/crockpot meals left.
If the master list scares you (it might…), I would suggest taking about 6-8 of these recipes and then trying that out first. See how you like it and how long they last in your household.
It was a pleasure providing this list for you! I hope it helps you during the dinner hours, and more importantly, awards you more time with what is most important: YOUR FAMILY.