As much as I'd like to tell you this was my idea, I can't because I heart my BFF more than that. A few weeks back, she said, "I think we should make a bunch of crockpot meals and freeze them..." I was like, "yeah Ok sure, just tell me where to be and when."
She took the reigns and basically this is what went down:
We included one of our other friends so there were 3 of us total.
We each picked 2 or 3 recipes from Pinterest that we wanted to try.
Denise put all the recipe ingredients together and she did all the shopping. God Bless her soul.
We all gathered Saturday morning and started prepping.
All together, we made 18 meals, which came to 6 meals for each of us. The total grocery bill was around $125 or $40 for each. It only took about 2.5 hours to prep, prepare, finish and clean up. That was with 3 kiddos running around too.
Here's what the process looked like.
Here are the helpful hints I feel like you might want to know:
All the recipes that were picked involved chicken breast. This was helpful because we/Denise were able to just buy several big bags of the frozen chicken breast and we didn't have to worry about cooking ground beef or anything else. Frozen chicken breast seemed like the ideal way to go.
Doing this process with others is completely genius and here's why. First, you get help with the prep of washing and chopping veggies and then that process won't take near as long. Also, you're able to make several different types of recipes. If you're family is like mine, we aren't so much on leftovers for days and days, eating the same exact meal until the end of time. By doing this, you get to try 5 or more different crock pot meals. Also, if cost is an issue, you're splitting a potentially large-ish grocery bill with others so it's less money out of the pocket at once.
Label all your freezer Ziplock bags (with the name of the dish and the cooking instructions) prior to stuffing. And use a sharpie.
Divide all your chicken breast pieces among the bags first. We originally didn't do this and half way through, we panicked a bit, worried we wouldn't have enough chicken. Also take into consideration the size of your family and how much y'all will eat. (I labeled my bags separately because Kaleb and I got less chicken than the rest of the families.)
Because several of our recipes had the same vegetables in them, we were able to buy in bulk.
Canned corn is cheaper than frozen bagged corn.
You'll want to put the meat in the bag first, then dry ingredients, then your liquid.
Before closing the bag, make sure you get all the air out and flatten to freeze.
(we didn't put any rice/pasta/side dishes in with the meals, it was just the meat and veggies.)
All the groceries were bought at HEB which is one of out main stores here in Texas and like I said, for all 18 freezer crock pot meals, the total was $124. We chose HEB because they tend to have fresher produce than our Walmart. Please keep in mind, depending where you shop for your groceries, your final costs might be a tad more.
Here are the links to the recipes we personally went with, but there are many many more options on Pinterest.
Cilantro Lime Chicken
Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chile
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
We'll be doing this again. It was insanely easy and took very little time, considering. Please let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!