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Meals I can Freeze

I am 39 weeks pregnant and my husband and I are on a very tight budget. I am due to give birth in 8 days and a lot of people suggest to buy frozen dinners for once the baby has arrived so that you don't have to worry about cooking. That's great, but frozen dinners are expensive. My husband and I have started to utilize the crockpot a little bit more now that we finally dug it out of the cupboard so I was wondering if you all had any recipes for the crockpot that I can freeze and heat up easily. I am willing to try anything. Thanks.


( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
Pasta sauce
pulled pork or chicken

Dec. 14th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
I would recommend making stews, soups, chili that can be divided up & frozen.
Dec. 14th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
Meatloaf freezes well and can be defrosted/reheated int the crockpot. You can even pre-portion it out into meatloaf "muffins" by baking it in a cupcake tin.
Dec. 14th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
Really - would you mind giving a few more details?
Dec. 14th, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
I'm interested in details too :)
Dec. 15th, 2009 02:05 pm (UTC)
I LOVE Meatloaf muffins!

when I make meatloaf "logs" I roll spinach and bacon or ham in the middle like a pinwheel, when I do the muffins I just mix it together.

Just a tip with the muffins, I ended up taking a muffin tin and modifying it specifically for meatloafs, I found that they got really greesey because they couldn't drip (I usually cook it on a broiler pan) I took the muffin tray and poked holes in the bottoms so that they could drain properly and I cook it overtop of another pan to catch the drippings.
Dec. 15th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
what a GREAT idea!!!
Dec. 15th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
I don't even EAT meatloaf and i think this sounds fabulous! :) I might have to make a poultry one just to try it! I'd prob get a foil muffin pan so i could make the drip-holes easier.

FUN! Thanks for sharing.

To the OP - congrats on the impending bambino! :)
Dec. 14th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
All the ideas I have are already suggested. Good luck and congratulations!
Dec. 14th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
Split Pea Soup and Potato Soup are excellent to make in the crock and freeze perfectly.
Dec. 14th, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC)
I would suggest chopping up a bunch of veggies and portioning them out into baggies or tupperware that you can then just throw into the crock pot in the morning with one hand (while you hold baby in the other). If you also use meat in these things (say a beef stew) you can chop and brown the meat now and freeze it in it's own bags or tupperware. You can also cook up and freeze rice to go into crockpot meals. You'd just need to put it in for the last 30 - 60 minutes since it only needs to warm not to cook.

Also to go with meals biscuits would be great. These can be made and flash frozen raw. They will thaw really fast and cook up quickly. Yeast rolls can be done the same way but they usually will need more thawing time.

Not crock pot related but I found cassarole dishes great when I was a new mom. If you line your dish with plastic and/or foil it can help you lift it out once it's frozen. Then you'd pull it out, unwrap it an put into the dish to bake when you're ready. The other option is to get a few of those foil pans. Then you can freeze more at once.

Try googling OAMC (Once a Month Cooking) for ideas of meals that freeze well.
Dec. 14th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
Dec. 14th, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
I've got a few more weeks of waiting than you, but I've got chili, beef vegetable soup, and bean/ham soup in the freezer already. I just cook extra every meal, and freeze half of it. You can freeze darned near anything you've got left over from a meal.

The important part is try to get as much air out of the package you store it in as possible, and make sure you mark what it is and when you put it in so you don't have any "surprise" dinners. :D
Dec. 14th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
You could do a big pot of marinara, then make baked ziti and freeze it in casseroles. You wouldn't have to bake it in advance, just cook the pasta al dente, mix with pasta sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese, top with more mozz and maybe some parm, and pop it in the freezer. Cheap, easy and filling.

Congratulations, by the way!
Dec. 14th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
My hubby and I use the crock for about 80% of our meals and we have a 9 month old. We have found that any recipe that doesn't have noodles/crust in the recipe freezes & reheats great. If the recipe does call for either ofthose items we make it without them and will cook some up when it comes time to eat.

Good luck with your new baby.
Dec. 14th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
Let me know which ones you want recipes for:

Chicken Santa Fe (great with tortillas)
Kalua Pork (Hawaiian luau shredded pork)
Lasagna soup
Chicken taco soup
Hoisin Pork roast
Dec. 14th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
I don't know about the OP but *I* would LOVE to have a recipe for lasagna soup! Never heard of it!
Dec. 14th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
Lasagna Soup
Lasagna Soup

2 tsp olive oil (I usually use cooking spray instead to cut the fat)
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (turkey is fine)
1 large onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I omit)
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 - 28 oz can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves - I omit
8 oz fusili pasta (I use whole wheat)
8 oz ricotta (I have started omitting this)
1/2 c grated parm (also started omitting this)
2 c shredded mozzarella

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and sauté, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is no longer pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pot. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and sauté until the paste turns a rusty brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broth, and the bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.

2. Add the pasta, then increase the heat to medium-high and boil the soup until the pasta is tender to the bite, following the time recommendations on the pasta package. Discard the bay leaves, then stir in the basil. If desired, season with salt and black pepper to taste.

3. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, the Parmesan, the 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pinch of pepper. To serve, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture in each bowl, sprinkle with some of the mozzarella, and ladle the soup on top. Makes about 13 cups.

Cook's notes: After step 1, I remove half of what's in the pot to freeze. I then add half of the pasta to the remaining ingredients and continue cooking as directed. I used to do the parm/ricotta mixture, but the kids didn't like it, and the soup tastes fine without it. If you do plan to use the cheeses, though, I would suggest mixing it up as directed, then dividing it and freezing half in a small baggie with the rest of the soup. Also, you can reduce the fat in this dish by using turkey sausage and low fat cheeses.

To freeze, I put the soup in a gallon ziplock bag or Food saver bag and seal. Freeze flat. When you want to use the frozen soup, simply thaw in the fridge, then bring to a simmer on the stove. Add the pasta and cook according to directions above. You can also freeze the soup with the pasta in it, but I don't like the texture of thawed pasta, which is why I do not do that.

Edited at 2009-12-14 06:16 pm (UTC)
Dec. 14th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Lasagna Soup
Dec. 14th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
I would personaly love the Kalua Pork. Ironically I'm searching this site for dishes to freeze for when I have my baby!
Dec. 14th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
Kalua Pork
Put a pork shoulder roast (bone on, boneless, doesn't matter) in the crockpot and drizzle a little liquid smoke on it. Add salt* and cook on low for 12 hours. Remove the roast (you may need a slotted spoon for this, as it will probably fall apart) and shred with 2 forks. We usually have some that night, Hawaiian plate lunch style, with macaroni salad and rice. I put leftovers in a ziplock or food saver bag and freeze flat. When you're ready to eat, just thaw in the fridge and reheat in the microwave.

I also like kalua pork and cabbage. I have not frozen it with the cabbage, but rather just reheat the pork on the stove and add chopped cabbage.

* Add salt to taste but remember that you're seasoning a big chunk of meat. It takes at least 1 TBSP for the average roast.
Dec. 16th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
Can I get the Chicken Santa Fe recipe?

Dec. 16th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
Chicken Santa Fe
2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup salsa, divided
5-6 chicken breast halves (boneless, skinless)
8 oz cream cheese, cubed (low fat OK)


Put corn, beans, and half of the salsa in the bottom of crockpot and stir. Add chicken breast and top with remaining salsa. Cook on low 5 hours or until cooked through. Remove chicken and slice or shred. Return to crock. Add cream cheese, turn heat up to high, and stir. When the cream cheese is melted, turn off the crockpot. Serve chicken mixture with tortillas. Also good in enchiladas.

I have successfully frozen the leftovers by putting them in a ziploc bag and freezing flat. When you're ready to use, thaw in the fridge, then reheat in the micro.
Dec. 14th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
Most stew-ish things work pretty well. Be aware though, if you're planning to nurse the baby that the babe may be sensitive to some foods you eat (in my case, if I have more than a tiny bit of onion or garlic we run into trouble.)

Beyond that- congrats! I don't really do freezer meals in advance with a new baby because I am always so intensely hungry for SOMETHING afterwards, and I can't predict what that will be. We just stick to pretty easy things, but newborns sleep a lot, so there's time to make stuff.
Dec. 14th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
I follow a once a month cooking website at www.onceamonthmom.com
The idea is to cook a bunch of meals on a single day and then freeze them. The site gives you a grocery list, menu, and links to recipes. They aren't all crock pot meals, but some of them are. It's worth checking out.
Dec. 14th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
I just posted a recipe for chile verde; just waiting for mods to approve :) It is a GREAT freezer meal, and all you have to do is heat and garnish.

Congratulations on the baby!!!
Dec. 14th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
There are McCormick spice packets for Slow Cooker meals--I highly recommend the Italian Chicken and the Beef Stew ones. Both freeze well.
The "rotiserrie-style chicken" on the crockpot lady's blog (http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/) is easy to make. I pull it off the bones and freeze in portions to add to just about anything (salads, heat and eat with veggies, etc). I will make chicken pot pies with this chicken, and just barely cook them--so the crust just starts to dry out and then freeze them. I do little "pies" in individual ramekins so I can heat one or two at a time (even in my toaster oven)
Good luck and congrats on the upcoming addition to your family!! :)
Dec. 14th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
I had surgery at the beginning of the year and was on crutches for 6 weeks, so I planned ahead similarly. Chicken pot pie freezes and reheats wonderfully... I cook and cool the filling, then make the crust, fill, put on the top crust, freeze. Cook in the oven (even straight from the freezer) until the inside is hot and the crust is browned.

Also we froze taco meat and sloppy joe meat.

Good luck!
Dec. 14th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
Congrats!! :) Frozen is the way to go, you won't want to do ANYTHING for a few weeks afterwards.

A good post-pregnancy food - home made chicken noodle soup. the recipe I have is for stove top, but I guess crock pot would work too.

1 can chicken stock
1 can garlic chicken stock
a few thawed chicken breasts (cubed)
a bag of frozen noodles (choose what type you'd like, I prefer the really thick kind)
Celery (chopped)
carrots (chopped)
a bit of garlic is nice too, but it's up to your taste buds.

dump all but the celery in and cook to the noodles' specification, add the celery towards the end (other wise it gets really, really mushy). And tada! I'm not a measurer so add however much of whatever you'd like. I tend to add alot of carrots and noodles. Then seperate into baggies and freeze. You can make a 2 person portion, or just enough for you. Really simple and good comfort food.

Enjoy your baby! :)
Dec. 14th, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
patax curry does well in the crockpot (gluten free as well) if you don't want to make curry from scratch. Put in diced or minced meat, add patax jar, cook. cook rice with frozen veg. Get containers, layer the two and freeze.
Dec. 14th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Pot roast is always good to freeze and reheat. Frankly most crockpot recipes are freezer/reheat friendly, I've found.

Also, not crockpotty but you can make all sorts of casseroles, and freeze them, and then defrost and bake as needed (or even prebake and then just microwave to heat up). You can use disposable pans if you are short of casserole dishes - I think it's Hefty that makes microwavable safe ones.
Dec. 14th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
Lots of good suggestions above, but I just wanted to say that it's good you are looking at this rather then just buying frozen meals! MUCH healthier for you and baby, more filling, and WAY cheaper. Oh, and the taste! I can deal with the odd frozen dinner, but thinking about eating those daily??? Ick.
Dec. 14th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
We made a unch of soup and froze it in quart jars.
Dec. 14th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
be careful with spices
Congrats on the upcoming birth of your baby!

There are many great suggestions in the comments, and I would like to caution you on making spicy foods if you are planning on nursing. There is no way to know in advance if your baby will get fussy from certain foods.

For me, this meant eating chicken, a handful of types of veggies, some fruits, and whole wheat matzoh (no yeast bread at all or white flour). I could have no dairy or eggs either. I am not even going to mention chocolate. :)

My sister-in-law only needed to cut out dairy; she was able to eat pretty much anything else she wanted.

My point is that you should probably make some pretty bland things until you know how the baby reacts and introduce each "suspect" food (spicy, fatty, sugary, etc) one at a time.

This does not mean that you can't or shouldn't cook and freeze in advance. You can always add spices to stews and such afterwards.

One thing that was my staple with a newborn was a roasted chicken. You can do it in the oven or the crockpot, and you can even drop a frozen bird into the crockpot, I do it frequently. All you need to do is rub it with some salt and herbs, and either stick it in the oven, or put in crock pot with about a cup of water (8 hours low in crock).

Oh, and one last thing: if you are planning on nursing, *do not use sage*. On the other hand, if you don't want to nurse, or are ready to stop at some point, you can have about 5-7 cups of sage leaf tea (sold in health stores) to stop the milk production. That's what I did when I wanted to stop.

Hope this helps.
Dec. 14th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
I rely on frozen lentil soups and stews, particularly ones involving red lentils. The red lentils turn into mush anyway, so you don't have to worry about unfortunate textural problems on reheat. I second the suggestion to leave out most spices until you know how your body (and the baby's body, if it's nursing) will react, but if you just start with a base of tomatoes, lentils, and onions, you can put most herbs and spices in later.

Congratulations, and I hope everything goes well!
Dec. 14th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
I tend to cook things that are very quick from frozen/pantry ingredients instead. Like - some chicken thighs, carton of chicken stock, couple packs frozen Southwest Vegetable blend veges (or whatever you have). It takes maybe a minute to assemble in the crock pot. The resulting soup/stew/thing isn't the most delicious thing ever, but it is edible and reasonable nutrituous, and lasts us for a couple days.
Dec. 14th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
definitely cook things ahead of time...

idk about crock pot recipes but you can make several casseroles and lasagna and they freeze them! I also freeze chicken fajita.
Dec. 15th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
Not sure now because of the spicy comment above, but I think a mild salsa might work.

Easy 'Salsa chicken'.

Chicken breasts or tenders(I have used fresh or frozen)
1 jar salsa
Chopped up veggies(tomato, peppers, onion, etc)
Can of black beans
Frozen corn(small bag)

Throw it all in and let it slow cook. I add extra spices or veggies depending on what's home but those are the basics. The chicken turns out fork tender and easy to shred. It works well alone, over rice or in fajitas/wraps. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like it depending on other spices/salsa that you use. Freezes well.

Best of luck with the little one on the way :)
Dec. 15th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
It doesn't get any easier than salsa chicken, and it's one of my favorites. I sometimes omit the corn or beans, and it's still just as delicious.
Dec. 15th, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC)
I have one of those foot savers, the vacuum bag things. I take all my crockpot food and seal them up into double portions for myself and my boyfriend. Once they're sealed up nice and tight when we want to reheat one its just as simple as throwing the bag into some boiled water to reheat/thaw for 10-20 minutes. It reheats the food and doesn't overcook anything.

Its extra handy with the crockpot lasagna because it never reheats evenly with the microwave.
Dec. 15th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! What a wonderful Christmas present! We're expecting a little Easter baby in April :)

There are lots of great suggestions on here. I was going to suggest chili, stew, meatloaf, soups etc as well. Also, lasagna freezes really well, although I've never made in the slow cooker. Actually, more or less any casserole or pasta freezes really well. I'm a university student, so I'm a pro at the "make lots and freeze" method of cooking, if I do say so myself!

This is my favourite slow cooker website; I'm surprised no one else has posted it for you! Good luck with your little one :)


Dec. 16th, 2009 06:24 am (UTC)

Seconding the some babies object to some foods comments -- my Mom still mutters about how, even when I was nursing, I didn't like asparagus (or other highly acidic vegetables).

I find a lot of things done in the crock freeze well. I'd especially recommend soups, which are easy to divvy up into single portions (I recommend using jars! They're cheaply sold for canning, and easy to collect anyway, and if they're glass, all you have to do is take the lid off and pop it in the microwave), and lots of very healthy soups can be made cheaply with ease. A good basic soup is 4-6 cups of root vegetable (sweet potatoes are my favourite), a large onion, bit of garlic, and broth. Add spices to get a reasonable flavour (this depends on the vegetable chosen) and leave in until everything's mushy, then put through a blender. It freezes well (which for some reason doesn't always happen with potato-based soups, as they separate) and is quite healthy and versatile.

Also, I know a lot of cooking and women's magazines have websites you can search for make-ahead, freezable, or slow-cooker recipes, if you feel like looking further afield. If you have a big enough freezer, muffins and quickbreads freeze well (bake, cool, and wrap well first). Plain cakes do too -- again, wrap well. It can be really, really nice to be able to pull half a layer cake out of the freezer, mix up icing while it's defrosting, and then have a sweet and special dessert, without having to watch the oven, start early in the day, or worry about having all the ingredients on hand.
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