The Simple Crock Pot Trick That Knocks Out Weeks of Meals in 30 Minutes
If you dream of going home, collapsing on the couch and binge-watching The Real Housewives of Orange County on a weeknight (Hey, no shame in that game!), but instead almost always end up stuck in the kitchen whipping up dinner after work, get ready to praise the ground we walk on because this genius Crock Pot trick is about to turn your lazy weeknight dreams into a reality.
I stumbled across this Crock Pot trick on the blog New Leaf Wellness, and it is seriously brilliant: Basically, instead of preparing your dinners for the week throughout the week, you knock them all out in one fell swoop by prepping and freezing uncooked slow-cooker meals in ziplock baggies ahead of time. Seriously, you just throw all the ingredients for a meal — chopped raw peppers, chicken, olive oil, chili flakes, salt and pepper, for instance — into a large freezer-safe plastic bag. Prep as many bags as your heart desires, then, the day before you plan on eating one of the meals, move the bag from the freezer to the fridge to let it thaw. The next morning, dump the contents of the bag into your Crock Pot, let ’em cook for a few a few hours, and voila! By the time dinner rolls around, you’ve got yourself a healthy, homemade meal and plenty of time to catch up on all The Real Housewives your heart desires. You are welcome.
Another great thing about this dinner-making method is that, depending on what you throw in the bag, the frozen dinners can keep for anywhere from weeks to months. So you can literally prepare your dinners for weeks and on an unexpectedly hectic day, you can just pop one of ’em out of the freezer for a stress-free dinner.
You can check out the seven chicken Crock Pot recipes the gal from New Leaf Wellness whipped up in under and hour (!!) here. And when you scroll down, you’ll find a few more recipes I tracked down that employ this technique. And by the way, in my search for recipes, I discovered that these frozen Crock Pot meals are often called “Dump [insert main ingredient here].” I know: It’s unfortunate. But don’t let that turn you off.
Last but not least, a note to my fellow vegetarians: It’s pretty hard to find vegetarian and vegan Crock Pot recipes that use this freezer trick, but I’m thinking you could easily get creative with chopped veggies, beans and even seitan. Get experimental, and report back!
Now, below, four more freeze-ahead Crock Pot dinner recipes. Happy cooking!
Lentil Butternut Squash Curry
Via Hello Natural
When you click through the link, you’ll find a full 12 make-ahead freezer crock pot meals, but the one that stood out most to me was the coconut-y lentil and butternut squash curry. Mmmmm.
Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Chops
Via The Kitchn
Okay, okay, so this recipe does ask that you sauté the onion and celery before throwing it in the bag, for texture’s sake, but that’s really your call. I see the easiest Thanksgiving meal ever in your future.
Lemon Garlic Dump Chicken
Via One Good Thing by Jillee
As the name suggests, you just dump this pre-marinated chicken in the crock pot. Then, when you get home, dump it on some greens, and BAM: You’ve got a delicious salad.
Black Bean and Corn Salsa Chicken
Via Six Sisters Stuff
This is basically a burrito in a bag. Sooo, it’s pretty much the best dinner ever.
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