Freezer Meals for Your Crockpot and Beyond!

For the longest time I have been trying to find a routine, schedule or plan to help me become better at meal planning, grocery shopping, and budgeting for my family. This past week I was motivated to try something HUGE for our family. 

Freezer Meals for Your Crockpot and Beyond!

I stumbled upon freeze-ahead Crockpot meals. You basically prepare everything you need (chop vegetables, meat, seasonings, etc.) and you place it all in a freezer bag. You freeze the meal and whenever you need something for dinner, all you need to do is slightly defrost the meal, place it in your Crockpot and cook it!

I am located in Ontario, Canada, where the average price per item tends to be higher than in the United States. Couponing is also not as great so I was concerned as to whether or not I would do as well price wise as my American counterparts!

I looked at the current weeks sale advertisements and I tried to base a significant portion of my recipes on the current sale flyer. This means that in the future, I will likely change up the recipes to match whatever is on sale at that time. I worked with six different recipes and each recipe serves anywhere from 4-6 people. I doubled the recipes so based on my calculations, I should have approximately 28 pre-frozen, ready to go meals!

After determining what recipes I was going to use, I created an excel document with the shopping list. I included items I would need to purchase, how much I would need, the cost and where I needed to purchase them.

I had to spend some time converting recipes written in pounds to kilograms (and other various imperial to metric conversions), so that I was able to determine how much I would need.

In total, I went to two stores- WalMart and No Frills. I only forgot one thing (some canned pineapple for one of my recipes), which isn’t really a big deal since I can just add it to the Crockpot the day that I make that meal!

While the preparation before the actual shopping trip was somewhat time consuming, with conversions, price matching flyers and just making silly mistakes because it was my first go-round, I decided to take the actual food preparation slowly.

I sliced and diced over a period of two days. I worked on one recipe at a time, completed it, and put it in my freezer.  This worked best for me as I have an 18 month old who requires my attention, and I require baby snuggles every so often too.

She did entertain herself a bit by cleaning up around the house. I joke, but she does love running around with the Swiffer!

I had snacks already put into cups and I made sure her sippy was filled with water before I started with the food preparation. I turned on some cartoons and gave her a pacifier (things that I normally avoid doing) just to keep her entertained while I worked. As she gets older, she will be more involved with the food preparation and can help out her mama!

The recipes I made are as follows:

It is important to note that most of these meals say to serve over rice or noodles or on bread. I didn’t purchase any of these at the store as they are typical pantry items for my family.

I also purchased some food for non-freezer meals. I have made or will make the following:

I also had to purchase non-food related items like water, diapers, wipes, and bags.

In  total, I spent approximately $175 on food items for the freezer meals alone.

Compared to other bloggers who have done a huge shop like this, I feel I did really well. For example, the lowest price I could find for chicken breasts here was$3.84 per pound (yep- that was on sale!), compared to one woman who found her chicken breasts for $1.59 per pound.

I spent $300 for everything, $70 on non-food items, $170 on freezer meal items, and about $60 on other dinners, lunches and snacks.

I feel that for next time, I have a better grasp of what items are going to cost me and I will be creating a price notebook (to compare prices between different stores) to make sure I am getting the best deal!

Some advice when undertaking this, especially with a little one around:

  • Don’t feel like you have to get everything done in one day. It isn’t a race. If you have to stop because your kid is having a hard time, STOP!
  • If possible, plan something easy for dinner the night you undertake the shopping trip and most of the food preparation. I asked my husband to make dinner (which he didn’t —ugh!) so I made pasta.
  • If you can have someone hang out at your house and play with your kid, you will probably get a lot more done!
  • Have snacks and drinks readily available for your little one.
  • Take a break!
  • Find a method that works for you. For some, it is just chopping, slicing, and dicing everything, and then dividing it into bags. For me it was working on one recipe at a time, then moving onto the next one.
  • While you are taking a big chunk of time to prepare your meals, just think…for the next 30 or so days you will have to spend next to no time at all to get your supper on the table- this means more time to spend with your little monkey!
  • Before you put your bags in the freezer, label them with a marker! You might not remember a few weeks later what recipe was what and how to prepare it.

Overall, I feel like having these make ahead freezer meals is greatly improving my ability to meal plan, to shop better on a tighter budget and to be able to spend more time with my family.

The more that I continue to use the method of planning a shopping trip with my excel spreadsheet, planning out dinners on a calendar and have our freeze ahead meals ready to go, I know that I will become more efficient at feeding my family!

36 Responses to Freezer Meals for Your Crockpot and Beyond!

  1. What a great idea! Before I had my daughter I made some meals for the freezer like lasagne and enchiladas but the pans took up a lot of room in my freezer so I will try these soon!

  2. Love this post! I really need to do this now that I have two.

    Will you do a follow up post to review the recipes? Or have you treid the recipes before? I’m curious which ones taste better than others.

  3. Love this meal ideas easy and fast to have dinner ready everyday and healthy :) thanks for the info

  4. Food processors are our friends. I know they are a pain to clean but I swear I got it out one day to make pizza crust, three months later it hasn’t gone back into the cupboard once. Every month I buy fresh peppers, mushrooms and onions (I always cry) and slice them through the processor and freeze. For the rest of the month if I need some veggies for dinner I just get it out of the freezer. It not only saved me time but money as well because I’m not going back to the store for more veggies.

    • A food processor is on my list of kitchen gadgets I need to buy! I have a mini one that I used to dice up fresh stuff from our garden last year, but it took so long because it is so tiny!

  5. Just what I need! Thank you!

  6. I love this! And with our upcoming schedule for September, I’ll definitely be using this!

  7. I really love this article. With back to school and a crazy fall coming up this is just the inspiration I need to get creative again with dinner!

  8. Deborah A, in Belleville, Ontario Reply

    You did really well to me as it looks like those bags would each serve at least 4 people. x 13 =52 meals. I have done some with ground beef, some beef broth, onions, carrots and potatoes and in the last 30 minuets add in frozen peas and corn and a can of gravy, with assorted spices it makes a really nice meal on a cold night and cost me less than$1. per large serving.
    Love to see new ideas and thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you! They did last a LONG time. I mixed it up every few days and didn’t do a Crockpot meal. It definitely was sooo convenient!

  9. Love this! I need to start doing stuff like this. They all sound good :)

  10. This is a great idea! I work full time and have a 2 year old. I find it very challenging to prepare healthy dinners when I get home at 6pm and her bedtime is no later then 7:30pm. I’m def going to give this a try. Thanks!

  11. I love this idea, would make meal time a lot easier! Thinking I might just have to try this!

  12. Great ideas. Love the meal suggestions and how you were able to store them in such a compact way!

  13. We are getting ready to leave the country for our adoption. This is something so tangible we can do to prepare for our homecoming. Thanks!

  14. I need to do this since I never have time to prepare a healthy meal in the evenings. What a great idea and some really good tips.

  15. I love this idea. Great time saver!

  16. What a clever idea! I must try this when U get some downtime seeing how I love to buy in bulk to save money. Thank you for all the great meal ideas Mama!

  17. what a great idea!! i will definitely have to save this and try it!

  18. I think I am going to try this method. I just got a new crockpot and I think this will save me soooo much time in the long run

  19. LOVE freezer crockpot meals. I’ll definitely look at some of the links.

  20. what awesome ideas! I am LOVING a few of theese recipies, saving and going to give them a go. I made up freezer meals and they were a lifesaver after my son was born.

  21. I just threw different meats and veggies with marinade in freezer bags a few nights ago. All raw. But I’m hearing if you don’t blanch it then it will go bad. Typically I just take it out dump it all in the crockpot. Do I need to blanch all the veggies and then marinate or is what I’m doing fine?

  22. Marlo- I never blanched any of the veggies and everything came out fine.

    One of the recipes with the potatoes did mention that the potatoes can go black a bit in the freezer, a had a few pieces brown a bit when. I had the bag defrost on the counter but nothing too bad.
    :)

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  24. Your recipes sound yummy, and you included good tips. I like the idea of preparing one meal at a time.

  25. This is a great idea. I do this also. I invested in a Foodsaver machine. It’s the best investment I have every made. I chop, prep everything, including browning and seasoning the meats. I freeze each meal, and then vacumn seal them. they will keep for a year or more. I also use my foodsaver with my caning jars to seal extra sugar, flour, dried beans and lots of other stuff that I can bulk purchase. I also cook pasta and rice ahead, and then just heat right in the foodsaver bag in a pot of hot water and wow–Dinner is ready! Love this machine.

  26. These are great ideas! I am going to have to do these soon. Before school starts for the kids. I love predone meals for those moments when you are busy!!

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  28. How did the scalloped potatoes turn out? Generally it is not reccamended to freeze those ingredients because of the consistency when thawed/cooked so I am curious.

  29. Hey Kristine- the scalloped potatoes and ham turned out really well. The sauce, in my opinion, did need to me thickened. So I made a roux on the stove and added some of the crock pot liquid to that, and then added it back to the crockpot once It was done cooking. The flavour was good, and a few (like less than five) of the potatoes had browned from being in the freezer. I seasoned my plate with pepper. Yum!

  30. i to live in Ontario Canada and yes our stuff here is a bit more expensive but want to give this a try with my daughters

  31. How did the ham and pineapple turn out? My children LOVE those toppings on a pizza and I thought it would be good but it just seems so… simple, for lack of a better word. Is it bland or does it have a lot of flavor?

  32. These were great! Although for some reason the link to the sausage and bean supper no longer works? Could you re-post that link?

    • Sorry Mindy, it looks like the blog that originally posted Sausage and Bean Supper and Pork and Veggies has an error with their post about Crock Pot recipes. We’ve emailed the blogger, so hopefully they will get it fixed soon. Thanks!!

  33. Thank you for sharing, I LOVE your awesome ideas/tips. I wish I would have done this when my children were young – would have saved me an incredible amount of time, money, & stress. Now I cook crockpot meals and freeze individual portions for myself. At dinner time it’s easy to heat up a bag.

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