Monday, December 22nd, 2014

8 Slow Cooker Freezer Meals Made From Leftovers

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition
January 7th, 2014
Reader Views: 649

sc-freezer

I am the world’s worst at throwing leftovers into my freezer and forgetting about them. Every few months, while I am re-organizing my freezer (because I’ve thrown so many leftovers in there), I am amazed at how much food has amassed.

Since foods begin to lose their freshness factor after 4 months of freezing, it’s time to get them out of the freezer. That’s when my creative juices start flowing and I start turning them into make-ahead meals for the crock pot. A busy mom can always use a few of these freezer meals ready to go.

All of these recipes use leftovers from my freezer and a couple of pantry items I have stored away. A majority of the meals reflect the leftovers that I had in my freezer from the holidays.

There are pros and cons to this method of food storage, but the greatest aspect of this is the time efficiency of it. Knowing that I have a week’s worth of food ready to go in my freezer, takes a bit of pressure off of me.

Tips for Creating Make-Ahead Meals

  1. Label your zip-loc bags
  2. Frozen meals are good in the freezer for 3-4 months. After that, they begin losing their freshness.
  3. Write down all of your recipes.
  4. Chop vegetables and meat ahead of time. This makes for a seamless process.
  5. For future freezing of leftovers, freeze single ingredients in a zip-loc bag. Popular food ingredients such as chicken, ground beef, broth can always be used for freezer meals. Store these up, add some spices and a few vegetables and voila – instant meal.

8 Easy Make-Ahead Meals

Chicken Tacos

  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3-4 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  1. Add all ingredients to a gallon size zip-loc bag and store in freezer for up to 4 months.
  2. To prepare, allow meal to defrost and add to crock pot. Cook on high setting for 4-6 hours.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup masa harina
  • 1(14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups chopped bell pepper
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2-3 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • tortilla chips
  • cheddar cheese
  • 1 avocado
  1. Add all ingredients to a gallon size zip-loc bag and store in freezer for up to 4 months.
  2. To prepare, allow meal to defrost and add to crock pot. Cook on high setting for 4-6 hours. Ladle soup into a bowl and top with sliced avocado, cheddar cheese and tortilla chips.

Spicy Peanut Chicken

  • 1 package of boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro flakes
  1. Add all ingredients to a gallon size zip-loc bag and store in freezer for up to 4 months.
  2. To prepare, allow meal to defrost and add to crock pot. Cook on high setting for 4-6 hours. Serve with white rice.

Peach Glazed Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup peach preserves (I used spicy jalapeno peach preserves leftover from the holidays)
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • salt and pepper
  1. Add all ingredients to a gallon size zip-loc bag and store in freezer for up to 4 months.
  2. To prepare, allow meal to defrost and add to crock pot. Cook on high setting for 4-6 hours. Serve with white rice.

Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloin

  • 3 potatoes, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 pork tenderloin, fat trimmed off, sliced in 2 inch slices
  • 4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Add first three ingredients to a gallon size zip-loc bag.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients and stir briskly until combined. Pour over contents of zip-loc bag. Store up to 4 months.
  3. To prepare, allow meal to defrost and add to crock pot. Cook on high setting for 4-6 hours. Serve with white rice.

Ham and Beans

  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 1 bag white cannellini beans, cooked
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  1. Add all ingredients to a gallon size zip-loc bag and store in freezer for up to 4 months.
  2. To prepare, allow meal to defrost and add to crock pot. Cook on high setting for 4-6 hours.

Pesto Turkey Soup

  • 1/2 bag cannellini beans, cooked
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cups shredded turkey meat
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all purpose seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pesto sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 handfuls spinach
  1. Add all ingredients to a gallon size zip-loc bag and store in freezer for up to 4 months.
  2. To prepare, allow meal to defrost and add to crock pot. Cook on high setting for 4-6 hours.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon season salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
  1. In a mixing bowl, add ground beef, bread crumbs, spices and egg and mix well. Form meatballs and set in a gallon size zip-loc bag.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, add water, reserved pineapple juice and cornstarch and beat until mixture is thickened.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour mixture into zip-loc bag. Store up to 4 months.
  5. To prepare, allow meal to defrost and add to crock pot. Cook on high 4-6 hours. Serve with white rice.

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Contributed by Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

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