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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Food Hussy Recipes: Crockpot Freezer Meals Pt 2 + 5 Crockpot Cooking Tips!

                            


This winter I've laid off the coupons a little but ramped up on my Crockpot and decided to make another round of Crockpot Freezer Meals. This round I grabbed quite a few recipes from Six Sisters - it's always helpful! 



Slow Cooker BBQ Spareribs (from SixSistersStuff.com)
Ingredients:
1-2 lbs of country-style pork ribs
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 Tablespoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
Directions:
Place pork in resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl and pour over pork. Mix together in bag and zip closed.
When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours. 

Cooking Tip #1: it's really key to use a meat with some type of fat in it when using the crock pot. 

You're not adding any in the cooking - so it's okay to use some in the meat. Otherwise it just dries out too much. This was also my first time buying Liquid Smoke - that stuff has a great smell! Loved it!


Chicken Broccoli Alfredo (from SixSistersStuff.com)
Ingredients:
1 ½ pounds chicken breasts
1 (16 oz) bag frozen broccoli florets
2 (16 oz) jars Alfredo sauce (I use light)
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained
Directions:
Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag and mix together.
When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours. 

Cooking Tip #2: Stick with the cooking time in the recipe! 

A lot of times you think - oh it's in the crock pot - it doesn't matter how long it's in there for. Well with this one - it definitely made a difference. After 10 hours (work + commute) the alfredo mixed with the condensation and was just watery and had no cheese creaminess left. It was awful. I'm guessing that at the 4-6 hour mark it would have tasted better.


Cooking Tip #3: Buy produce when it's on sale, prep and freeze! 

My sister had bought a bunch of peppers this summer on sale and then froze them - I've been whittling away at them. It was such a great idea - because I've been using them all fall and winter! They're finally gone but it made it so much easier - I just grabbed a handful and threw them in!


Chicken Cacciatore (from SixSistersStuff.com)
Ingredients:
1 lb chicken breasts
1 (26 oz) jar of chunky vegetable-style spaghetti sauce
1 zucchini, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
Directions:
Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag and mix together.
Garnish: chopped black olives, shredded Parm cheese
When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. 



Cooking Tip #4: Ample liquid = juicy chicken! 

This is the only one I grabbed a final pic of - it was pretty good - I think the best thing about it was how juicy the chicken was. A lot of times it gets really dried out - but this was some of the juiciest chicken I have ever had! 


Black Bean Taco Soup (from SixSistersStuff.com)
Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground beef (or ground turkey works too!)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package mild taco seasoning mix
1 (16 oz) bag frozen corn
1 (16 oz) can black beans drained and rinsed (you could use kidney beans or pinto beans)
2 (14 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilis
Directions:
Brown meat and onion, drain. Let meat cool for a minute, then dump into a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag.
Dump the remaining ingredients into the bag, mix together, and zip bag closed.
When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on HIGH for 1-2 hours or LOW for 2-3 1/2 hours.
Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.


Cooking Tip #5: You can't go wrong with chili-like meals! 

This was by far my favorite - the taco seasoning really added a lot of flavor to the sauce/soup and it was delicious. I make some variation of this every couple of weeks.

Now - for the freezer portion - there are a couple of different ways to go about it:

1. Do all the meals at the same time and then go in stages (prep all veggies, prep all meats, etc...) and then just bag at the end.
2. Do 1-2 recipes at a time - this is the route I tend to go.

If I had a buddy with me - I could probably do the first - but doing it on my own it's a little overwhelming - so I break it up and do a couple at a time. I buy all the supplies at once - but then break it up over a couple of nights.

Overall - after two batches of these - I like the idea but haven't really found a lot of recipes I would say that I'd like to make again. The Whole Chicken in a Crockpot is a mainstay in our house as well as various forms of Chili. As for the rest - I keep searching!
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