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3 Crockpot Freezer Meals for Summer

freezer meals

Guest post from Sarah of Sidetracked Sarah

A couple of years ago, I was browsing Pinterest, when I ran across a genius idea that I now know as Crockpot Freezer Meals. If you’re not familiar with Crockpot Freezer Meals, here’s a quick description.

1. Find several of your favorite slow cooker recipes (I prefer to do 6, which works out to be a week’s worth)

2. Prepare/chop all the ingredients for those recipes at once.

3. Assemble each individual recipe into a gallon size freezer bag.

4. Label that bag with the name of the recipe and any individual instructions and lay it flat to freeze.

5. Get the bag out the night before you plan to cook it (if possible) and then follow the cooking instructions on cooking day.

What I love about this plan is that I get freezer meals, without the processed freezer meal taste.

The recipes that I originally found were not a fit for my family, so I set out to find recipes that would work better for us. I was absolutely amazed at the results!

My family was better fed than they had been in a long time. We were eating dinner on time and not at erratic hours. Dinner preparation time was shortened by a lot!

Typically, I can assemble 6 meals in about 1-2 hours, depending on how complicated the recipes are.

Summer time is a great time to be using your slow cooker because it won’t heat up your house.  Here’s 3 recipes that will help you get your freezer meals started!

 

Crockpot Sausage & Peppers - Works as a Crockpot Freezer Meal

Crockpot Sausage & Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. sweet or hot Italian sausages
  • 2 onions
  • 3 red, yellow or green peppers, cut into 2″ slices
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 T. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 t. pepper

Instructions (to cook immediately):

  • Brown the Italian Sausages in a skillet. (I usually start with them whole, then slice them up while they’re cooking. They stay intact and keep their shape better that way).
  • Layer half of the onions on bottom of slow cooker, then add half of the peppers.
  • Put all of the browned sausage on top of that, followed by the rest of the onions and peppers.
  • Mix together diced tomatoes, tomato paste and beef broth and pour over the top.
  • Cook on low for 6 hours.
  • One hour before mixture is done, add the spices. Stir.
  • Cover and cook an additional hour.

Instructions (to freeze and cook later):

  • Brown Italian Sausages
  • While browning, slice peppers and onions.
  • Place onions, peppers, and sausage in freezer-safe bag.
  • Mix together diced tomatoes, tomato paste and beef broth and place in a 2nd freezer bag.
  • Label & Freeze
  • Follow instructions on cooking day.

**It helps to at least have the sauce thawed out when you’re putting it in the slow cooker, but not required.

Meat Loaf

Crockpot Meat Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ c milk
  • 2/3 c bread crumbs
  • ½ chopped onion
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t sage
  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef
  • ketchup or BBQ Sauce to cover with while cooking

Instructions (to cook immediately):

  • Mix all ingredients into 1 loaf (except Ketchup or BBQ Sauce).
  • Pour sauce over the top.
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

Freezer to Slow Cooker Instructions:

  • Chop 1/2 of onion.
  • Mix all ingredients together, except Ketchup or BBQ Sauce.
  • Form into loaf.
  • Place in gallon size freezer safe bag.
  • Label & Freeze.
  • On cooking day, follow cooking instructions above.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Crockpot Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 4 pound pork roast (shoulder or butt)
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 cup Ginger Ale
  • 1 bottle BBQ Sauce (your favorite flavor)
  • BBQ Sauce for serving (optional)
  • Hamburger Buns

Instructions (to cook immediately):

  • Slice onion and place in bottom of the crock pot.
  • Put in the roast and cover with the other onion.
  • Pour Ginger Ale over the top.
  • Cover and cook on low for about 12 hours (for older crocks) or about 8 hours (for newer crocks).  I like to do mine overnight.
  • Once cooked, remove the meat, straining the onions, but discarding the liquid.
  • Shred the meat with 2 forks.
  • Discard any fat, bones or skin.  Most of the fat should have melted away.
  • After it’s nicely shredded, return the meat and onions to the slow cooker and cover it with the BBQ sauce, stirring it in to cover the meat well.
  • Cook another 4 to 6 hours on low.
  • Serve on hamburger buns.

Instructions (to freeze and cook later):

  • Slice 2 onions
  • Place Onions and Roast into gallon size freezer safe bag.
  • Label & Freeze.
  • On cooking day, follow cooking instructions above.

Please Note:  It is best to have your recipe thawed out, by removing it from the freezer and putting it in the refrigerator the night before.

Each recipe serves approximately 6 adults.  

Sarah loves finding ways to make life easier for herself and others. She blogs about it at Sidetracked Sarah. She has 8 week of Crockpot Freezer Meals on her blog and she’s giving away a free one week printable menu to subscribers.

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26 Comments

  • Myrna says:

    I never thought of making meat loaf in a crock pot. And I love the idea of prepping all the ingredients and freezing them. Now all I have to do is figure out what crock pot to buy!

    • Cheryl says:

      Cut potatoes in half and stick in around the sides of the meatloaf.

    • You don’t know how much this has helped me. WIth 7 children at home, sometimes this is the only way we eat at a decent hour! 🙂 I hope you find the perfect slow cooker!

    • Rebecca says:

      Years and years ago I bought whatever basic slow cooker Walmart sold, and it worked great. Then last year I saw the Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Slow Cooker at Amazon.

      It is a bit more expensive than a basic slow cooker, but I love it and highly recommend it. The Hamilton Beach comes with 3 different crock sizes – 2-, 4-, and 6-quart crocks, which makes it extremely versatile. If you are making something small like a dip or a meal for just 2 people, you use the 2-quart size. Making a monster batch of chili? Use the 6-quart crock. The 4-quart crock is perfect for a family-sized meal.

    • Chelle says:

      I love my Hamilton Beach. It is oblong/oval. I also have found that using the crock pot liners make clean up a breeze. You can find them at the store in the same area as foil.

  • Barbara says:

    I love the three recipes! However, when I hit the print button I only get the recipe for the sausage and peppers. Help!

  • Lori Ewart says:

    These are my to try list… thanks!

  • Kimberly says:

    These are such great ideas–thank you SO much!!

  • I love my crockpot, especially when it’s hot out!
    I recently posted recipes for my 8 easiest and quickest (and most delicious) crock pot meals. http://www.savemoneylivejoyfully.com/2014/04/recipe-collection-slow-cooker-meals.html

  • Amy says:

    I love the concept of Crockpot freezer meals, and I can’t wait to try these recipes!

  • Maya Andrews says:

    When it is really hot out (and hot in the house!) I put my crock pot outside. We have an outlet right outside my door.

  • Kate SDDS says:

    Whoa! I have never made meatloaf in the crock pot – that is awesome!

  • Ellen L says:

    Great idea for time saving cooking. I’m going to give it a try this week!

  • Em says:

    Do I just have the wrong kind of crockpot? I feel like my crockpot heats up the kitchen just as much as my oven, so I don’t use it much in the summer. I use a Rival.

  • D'Aun says:

    I’m making the Crockpot Sausage & Peppers recipe. It looks like the ingredient list is in the order used, but you don’t specify when to put the garlic into the recipe. Do you consider the garlic a spice? Does the garlic go into the tomato/broth mix?

  • Angela says:

    This is really helpful for me! I am on a special diet, and I can make all 3 of these recipes, with tweaks, that I can eat, and add the sugary ingredients after taking out my portion! Thank you!

  • Katie G says:

    What do you serve with the sausage & peppers usually? Potatoes, rice, pasta? I need the inspiration! 🙂
    Crockpot is my BFF.
    Thanks!

  • Chelle says:

    These are all great recipes. I don’t know how many of you use the crock pot liners, but they make clean up a breeze. You can find them in the store near the foil.

  • Melanie Flees says:

    This is awesome. I am going grocery shopping this weekend so the ingredients for these recipes will definitely be on my shopping list. I love how easy they are to prepare and freeze. I needed new ideas to use in my Crockpot, seems like we eat the same thing every month. Time for a change!! 🙂 Thank you!!!

  • Dana says:

    Something similar I do as well is that I buy meat in bulk, separate it and freeze with different marinades. I write on the outside what it is. Then it marinades while thawing. That is one of the best things I’ve done besides the crock pot/freezer meals. (I do this with all types of meat except steak – I never freeze steak.)

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