Freezer / crock pot cooking

Thanks to my friend Kim, I was inspired to try something I’ve never done before: freezer cooking. The idea is that you prep a bunch of veggies, meats, etc. (uncooked), freeze them in freezer bags, and then when you’re ready to eat them, you defrost and toss them in the crock pot. Given that one of my problems recently has been the dreaded “I have no idea what I want for dinner” demon, I figured I’d give this a try.

I started out last week by going through a bunch of websites looking for recipes. You’d be amazed how many nifty websites there are out there. I put together a short-list of eight recipes, each of which should make two meals’ worth (i.e. dinner for two plus leftovers), making a total of 16 dinners. Given that we don’t eat at home every night, I figured 16 meals should last us a month or so.

Not shown: 9 kg of meat.

Ingredients prepped and ready to go.
Not shown: 9 kg of meat.

I put together a shopping list and went out on Saturday with my mom to do a monster grocery run. Seriously, it was about $170 by the time we were done, but that admittedly includes about 9 kg of meat. Also, it’s supposed to provide 16 dinners plus leftovers, so that’s actually not too bad, all things considered.

Went to my mom’s place and prepped and prepped and prepped.

I feel like it took longer than it should to do all the prep. It was about 5 hours to get 16 freezer bags ready. I know some people prep all the vegetables and all the meats first, and then just assemble, but that seemed wonky to me. I mean, what if one recipe called for chopped peppers and another for sliced? And how can you tell how much 3 peppers is once they’re all chopped in a bowl? It seems like a lot of people get many more meals in the time I took (or, alternately, get the same amount of meals in less time). I wonder if it’s because they’re doing the same meal more times, making prep more streamlined.

Freezer bag meals chillin' out in the freezer.

Freezer bag meals chillin’ out in the freezer.

If I do it again, I’ll probably just dump everything into the freezer bags as I go, one meal at a time (nifty trick: open the bags in a large container, like a big empty ice cream container, to keep them upright while you’re stuffing them). I like the aesthetics of having everything nice and laid out on the counter, but it resulted in a lot of unnecessary dishes that could have been avoided.

Anyway. After five hours, I had all my meals ready. I put them in my mom’s big freezer to freeze flat, because my itty-bitty freezer at home just doesn’t have the space. I’ll probably take home three or four bags a week for the next month or so.

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