Tag Archives: Meal Planning

Meal Plan Monday – Crock Pot Freezer Meals – Take 1

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Meal planning is always something I am striving to do better at.  Most of the time, however, I go overboard.  I try to plan a whole month (or more) in advance and drive myself crazy.  Things don’t always go according to plan and we nights where the dinner we had already pulled out and ready to go just has to wait another day.  It is time consuming to plan the meals and very frustrating when the plans change and mess up what I had prepared.  I’m totally flexible with my plans! NOT!

We are also in the process of moving, so things are even more chaotic than normal.  All my recipes binders and books are already packed away, so Pinterest is my BFF.  I came across a post for 20 Slow Cooker Freezer Meals and it was the answer to my problem.  Having someone else think up the freezer meals and preparing them in advance helps me cut down on menu planning time. Having these meals be crock pot ready helps me save time each day that I would normally spend cooking – now I can devote that time to packing.

As always, I wanted to go overboard and plan out the slow cooker freezer meals for the next 6 weeks.  I figured that would carry us through all the packing, moving, and living-out-of-boxes-while-unpacking stages.  Hub-Hub, as usual, was the voice of reason for my over-planned plan and suggested we just start small.  So, we compromised and set out to prepare 10 out of the 20 Slow Cooker Freezer Meals that the blog suggested.  This way we don’t have too much money tied up in our freezer while we are buying a new house. We also aren’t planned too far in advance that we can’t be flexible with our meals.  I figure we will see how long we can stretch these meals out for and then we can make another set (or two) before we move.

Below are are the recipes that we choose.  As we go through them I will let you know what we think of them!  I had the day off on Wednesday, so we got them all prepped and ready to go!  Just seeing the ingredients put together was enough to make us very eager to try them!

  • Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Pork Loin  4.

    Delicious!!! I asked for a small pork loin at the meat counter – and it still made a ton!  I had some friends over for a craft night though, so that helped!  It was a big hit and I loved it!

  • Crockpot Chinese Beef and Broccoli

  • Ginger Peach Chicken

  • Slow Cooker Garlic Lemon Chicken  3.

    My crockpot cooks things so fast!  I put the chicken in way too early and it got pretty dried out.  I like my chicken dry, but Hub-Hub did not.  I also didn’t thaw the chicken out in the fridge overnight.  I just threw it in frozen (which I intend to do with all of the meals since my slowcooker cooks things so fast) and all of the lemon marinade fell to the bottom of the chicken.  The bottom of the chicken was VERY lemon-y, but the top wasn’t.  This meal really didn’t take that much prep.  It probably didn’t need to be a freezer meal – I could have baked it in the oven after work on a night we don’t work late.

  • Slow Cooker Mexican Chili with Cornbread Topping  2.

    I was so nervous to add the cornbread mix to the top!  I read the directions multiple times, but I was still worried that I wasn’t reading it correctly and that I was supposed to bake the cornbread first.  We had invited a friend over for dinner too so I was extra nervous when I poured the wet cornbread mix on top of the chili.  I had nothing to worry about, however, it set up beautifully!  Such a great idea!  I did deviate from the recipe a little.  We added red, yellow, and green peppers and added a can of kidney beans.  (Can it really be called chili if you don’t add kidney beans?) We also made our own chili seasoning instead of using a packet of taco seasoning.  When we make regular chili we always mix our own spices – so we just used the same idea for this.  I let Hub-Hub put the spices in though, so I honestly couldn’t tell you what he used.

  • Pot Roast Freezer Meal 5.

    Pot roast is a pot roast – right?  Yes, and no… we grew our own herbs this summer and dehydrated them ourselves.  When we added rosemary and thyme to this recipe it really made a big difference!  It was very good!

  • Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apples and Sweet Potatoes

  • Slow Cooker Musroom and Barley Stew   1.

    This was the very first recipe we ate because we couldn’t get the freezer bag to seal.  I added the liquid right away and so it kept filling up the drip tray and wouldn’t allow the vacuum sealer to do its job correctly.  We just put it in the slow cooker right away and we excited to try our first meal of the fruits of our labor.  It was not good…. I don’t know if we used the wrong kind of barley or the wrong kind of mushrooms -but it tasted like watered-down spaghetti-o’s.  I don’t really know what could be done to doctor this recipe up and make it edible.  It made a HUGE batch though so I got to eat for leftovers for the next few days….

  • Black Bean Fajitas

  • Hawaiian Pork Chops

Thanks Stock Piling Moms for the awesome recipes!

Do you have any favorite slow cooker freezer meals?  I would love to hear them! Leave me a comment below! 🙂

Thanks for visiting!

 

The Essentialist Movement is my personal journey towards health and happiness that I hope will inspire you too!

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Meal Plan Monday: April 25-May 1

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healthy nachos

Spring always gets me excited about eating healthy.  I had the weekend off and I decided to get serious about meal planning again.  I do love cooking, but I HATE deciding what to cook when I get off work.  I am much more enthusiastic about preparing dinner when I have a plan.  A little planning goes a long way with me!

I scoured my Pinterest page and I am trying a bunch of new recipes this week. I will let you know what the verdict is for each new menu item!

April 2016

Lunches – Salads and Veggie Fried Rice

Over the past few months I have been gradually adding more and more glass bowls (like Pyrex) with lids to add to my kitchen.  Once a week I buy a big container of organic greens, cut up my vegetables, and prepare all of my salads for my lunches in these bowls.  I pile them high with veggies – so they really are satisfying!  Typically I add peppers, carrots, celery, sprouts, almonds or walnuts, and cherry tomatoes.  These salads are very healthy and give me lots of good nutrients, but they are cold.  I am a naturally cold person – so sometimes I like a little warmth from my food at lunch time.  The only problem is, I am incredibly picky when it comes to what I will eat heated up as leftovers.  Rice and or pasta dishes are about all I can do as far as leftovers go and I do NOT cook leftover meat in a microwave.  This veggie fried rice was delicious!  Not only could I use eggs from my backyard chicken flock, but it is also full of veggies and tastes awesome even after cooking in the microwave.

25 – SPINACH STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS

I didn’t look closely enough at this recipe before I chose it.  When I pulled it up to make it my heart sank when I read the words “cook spinach according to package directions.”  There are some vegetables I just can’t stand cooked and spinach is right up there with them.  However, I am trying to give different foods a second try to win my affection.  This was an “ok” attempt.  My husband really liked it – which is good since I doubled the recipe and put three in the freezer for future use.  I did eat the whole thing, but I am definitely not rushing to make this one again.

26 – Asparagus and Parmesan Tart

I really wanted to put the onion in this tart like the recipe called for, but my husband hates them.  So, we made ours sans onion.  The lemon in this tart REALLY shows itself!  I think it blends very well with the cheese and the asparagus.  The only thing I would change was making this recipe when asparagus was actually in season.  I think it is a little early to be getting the really good stuff!  It was pretty woody stuff.

I actually pre-made the crust in the morning from scratch!  I par baked it and then my husband made the filling so it would be all ready when I got home from work.  I LOVE making pie crust from scratch and even added some herbs for fun!

27 – Citrus Chicken Qinoa Salad

I actually made this recipe for lunch, as my husband and I had the day off together but I worked in the evening.  It was awesome!!!!  I will certainly be making this one again!  I even kept the cilantro as an ingredient in the dressing and actually liked it!  The avocados I bought weren’t ripe yet, so next time we will add them as well!

28 – Eggplant Rollatini

How could I have picked two spinach recipes in one week?!?  Luckily for me, I forgot to pull the spinach out to thaw in time so I had to make these cheese only – shucks! They were good!  I should probably also wait until eggplant is a little more readily available.  I was scraping the bottom of the barrel finding the ones I did, so you can imagine the freshness level…. Maybe I can experiment with a different vegetable option to stuff them with instead of spinach.

29 – Mini Pepper Nachos

I actually made these as our entree versus a snack or appetizer like the recipe called for.  I think they made a nice Friday night meal! I love substituting vegetables for bread/grain products.

30 – Leftovers/Scrounge

May 2016

1 Leftovers/Scrounge

Maybe we will get more ambitious with dinner for the weekend, but for now I am working both jobs this weekend so we won’t have much time for dinner.  Based on our menu, I’d say we will have some really tasty leftovers though!

Steaks on the grill and Zucchini Pasta with Avacado Pesto

We actually will get ambitious tonight and try to make some steaks on the grill.  I had done some cleaning in the kitchen and found my veggie spiralizer! My plan is to make the zucchini pasta while my husband is grilling.  I will let you know how it goes!

Thanks for visiting!

 

The Essentialist Movement is my personal journey towards health and happiness that I hope will inspire you too!

Would you like to get more from The Essentialist Movement?

“Like” me on Facebook – The Essentialist Movement

Follow me on Instagram – @theessetialistmovement

Send us an email – theessentialistmovement@gmail.com