Our daughter is due in just 8 short days! The home improvements are done, the nursery is complete and the house has been fully deep cleaned. Now I’m switching gear to doing some massive food prep over the next few days. In the end, I will to have 22 crock-pot ready freezer meals, 36 pre-made casseroles, 24 pre-made hamburger patties, 36 pre-made breakfast burritos, 24 pre-prepped fruit smoothies and 24 homemade granola bars!! I will be using 16 lbs of ground beef, 11lbs of beef, a whooping 18 lbs of chicken and over 10lbs of cheeses! My hope is by doing this, it will make our transition to first time parents easier and at least we will be well fed. Stay tuned for all the juicy details and outcomes!
Note: This post will cover the chicken based crock-pot freezer meals. I will also follow up this post with my full shopping list and estimated total cost.
Disclosure: These are not my recipes. I will try to find the original recipes and link to it for crediting purposes. I have previously made each recipes and can confirm that they are delicious! Feel free to modify to your taste.
Before I jump into the recipes here’s some quick tips and insights to help make this process much easier. Each recipe is designed to feed two adults with little to no leftovers and should be considered more of a main courses rather than full meals in a bag. However, each bag will be referred to as a meal for simplicity sake. I have added suggestions of what sides we serve each recipe with.
Each recipe below will create two bag meals. You can double each recipe to create a larger meal and/or double each recipe to create more than two – two person meal bags. Once frozen, meals will last for up to 6 months in a standard freezer.
The Day Before Prep:
Step 1: Clean your kitchen and make sure you have a few sets of measuring cups and spoons available to use. You will also need a roll of paper towels, a cutting board, chopping knife and a few spatulas.
Step 2: Review your shopping list and remove any items you already have. Then go shopping to get what you need. For sanity sake, I never do grocery shopping and meal prep on the same day. It just makes for a terribly long day.
Step 3: Clean and organize your freezer and make space for the intended meals. From experience, I know you will need approximately 1 square foot of freezer space which roughly one shelf on a average sized side by side freezer/refrigerator combo.
Step 4: Using a permanent marker, label your gallon ziplock bags with the recipe name, cooking instructions and recommended side dishes. Writing a side dish recommendation on the bag makes meal planning easy since you can just pick which bag based on what sides you have in stock.
Step 5: Lay out all your room temperature ingredients including spices, seasonings and oils the night before along with your labeled bags.
Day of Meal Prep:
I start as early as possible especially now that it’s summer and the days are warming up. Invite a friend over to help, tune on some tunes or open a bottle of wine. I can’t drink since I’m expecting but by all means do whatever makes you the most comfortable even if that means doing this bra-less and in sweats. 🙂
Add all ingredients (minus the chicken) to each labeled bag one by one. If you are so inclined you can figure out how many recipes have over lapping ingredients and chop multiple veggies at the same time. For first timers, I really recommend going slow and completing each recipe one by one. It makes measuring a lot easier too. Clean as you go! Use paper towels to clean the seal of the freezer bags from any splattered ingredients.
Add all room temperature ingredients (plus frozen corn, peppers, ketchup and other minor refrigerated items) to all the bags first! Once all bags are done, add the fresh or frozen chicken last to all the bags at once. I prefer to use frozen chicken breasts. This process can take some time so it’s important that the chicken is the last thing you add so that it’s not sitting out for a prolonged amount of time!
Freezing Tips: Let out all excess air. Freeze each bag flat and fold the bag in half on itself to save space.
Cooking Tips: For best results, the crock-pot should be at least half full with your meals so choose the appropriate size crock-pot for cooking each meal. Also since it’s so hot, consider putting the crock-pot out on the front porch or out back to keep that extra heat out of the house.
(Makes two bags – divide ingredients evenly between two bags):
2 large chicken breasts
2 green peppers
1 cup chicken broth
2 taco seasoning packets
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
Cooking: Grab from freezer, pour all contents into crock pot and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours. Serve with: Tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream and refried beans or rice.
Slow Cooker Mexican Chili with Cornbread Topping – (makes two bags)
2 chicken breasts
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped (about one cup)
1 pepper (any color), chopped (about one cup)
1 cup frozen corn
1 package of store-bought taco seasoning
10.75 oz can of condensed tomato soup
1/4 pound cheese (we use cheddar or pepper jack), shredded (about one cup)
1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix + the necessary ingredients listed on the box (Jiffy calls for one egg and 1/3 cup milk)
Split all ingredients EXCEPT the cheese and muffin mix into two bags.
Cooking: Add bag to crock-pot, cover with lid and cook on “low” setting for 4-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and tender. Shred chicken with fork. Cover shredded chicken chili with cheese and assembled corn muffin batter. Pour batter over chili. Add lid and cook on “high” setting for 60 minutes or until cornbread topping is cooked through.
Honey Sesame Chicken (Makes 2 bags – divide ingredients evenly):
2 large chicken breasts
6 T olive oil
1 Cup honey
1/2 Cup soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
2 T sesame seeds
2 tsp salt and pepper
Cooking: Pour in crock pot & cook on low 4-5 hrs. Remove chicken, shred & pour sauce from crock pot over it. We serve with rice or steamed vegetables.
Sweet & Sour Chicken (makes two bags – divide all ingredients evenly)
2 chicken breasts
1 white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½ c. ketchup
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
5-6 tsp. Worchestichire sauce
2 c. pineapple juice
1 c. brown sugar
½ c. flour
1 can pineapple chunks
Cooking: Pour bag in the crock-pot & cook on low for 4-5 hrs until chicken is done. Serve over white rice.
Crock-Pot Chicken Philly Cheesesteak (Makes two bags – divide evenly)
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup chicken broth
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 large onion; sliced
3 bell peppers (the more colorful the better), cut into strips
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove of garlic, minced
6 slices of provolone cheese
Divide all ingredients EXCEPT for cheese. Divide evenly.
Cooking: Cook on “low” setting for 6 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and peppers are soft. Lay cheese over mixture. Cook on “low” for additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve on a fresh, hot roll.
You can use as much or as little of the sauce as you would like, depending on how soggy you like your roll. I also like to serve it on the side and use it as a dip. Best served with homemade sweet potato fries!
Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Chicken (Divide Into Two Bags)
4 chicken breasts
BBQ sauce, 10 oz
¼ cup olive oil
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
Cooking: Divide all ingredients into two gallon size storage bag and mix thoroughly. Thaw overnight. Place all contents into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until done.
Serve with: Hawaiian sweet rolls as sliders, or serve with salad, side veggies or rice.
Hawaiian BBQ Chicken (Divide Into Two Bags)
4-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Bottle BBQ sauce
1 20 oz. can Pineapple Chunks, drained
Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray for an easy cleanup!
Dump the bag in the crock pot. Cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken with two forks while still in the crock pot so the chicken will be well coated with sauce.
Serve with: Rice or steamed vegetables.