Make Ahead Slow Cooker Meals

I’ve mentioned before that I love my slow cooker. I’ve also mentioned that my disability sometimes means the last thing I can do is stand in the kitchen and cook. Although some recipes require a lot of precooking, many slow cooker meals don’t take much to ready for the freezer and they take very little to complete the entire meal. I’ll spend a couple of days creating a whole month’s worth of slow cooker meals that will keep in the freezer for several months. Here’s how I put together the make ahead slow cooker meals.

  • If needed, I rearrange things in the chest freezer to make room for all my make-ahead meals. Some things are moved to my refrigerator’s freezer.
  • I choose recipes that don’t require any pre-cooking. This means the meat, vegetables, sauces, seasonings, and spices all go in the freezer bag without any extra work.
  • I make a list of any ingredients I need for all of the meals. Then I go through my coupons and match any I have for the ingredients I need. Finally, I’ll check the weekly ads for the stores in the area and make a list for each store, putting the coupons for those items with that store’s list.

Make-Ahead-Slow-Cooker-Meal

  • I mark, with permanent marker, each bag I’ll be using. I put the date the meal should be used by, and any special cooking instructions; for instance if broth or a condensed soup needs to be added at the time I cook the meal or if the meal should be thawed before putting it in the slow cooker.. I’ll also note the cooking time required on both low and high settings.
  • I do all the prep work, like chopping onions, celery, and other vegetables, the day before I’m going to actually make the recipes for the bags. I keep them separate as not every meal gets the same combination. I’ll also make the spice blends for each meal the day before. If a recipe requires beans I soak them the day before. On the day I make the meals there’s not too much for me to do.
  • On the big day I gather all the ingredients, the recipes, and the bags. I make a sort of assembly line with meats at one end and moving down the line through spices, herbs, and the precut vegetables.

I usually draft my husband to hold the bags upright and open while I fill them. Eventually I’m going to get a bunch of those bag holders so I won’t need him to stand there just to hold bags.

Here are some of the meals I make ahead for the slow cooker:

  1. Vegetable soup
  2. Meatball soup with vegetables
  3. Lemon and rosemary chicken
  4. Sloppy Joes
  5. Beef stew
  6. Buffalo chicken
  7. Lemon pepper chicken
  8. Chicken soup (Again, I just cook the egg noodles the day I serve)
  9. Pot roast
  10. Minestrone soup (the pasta will be cooked and added the day I make the soup)
  11. Chili (both tomato chili and white chicken chili)
  12. Stew (both chicken and beef)

 

There are so many meals that can be assembled and frozen ready to pop into the slow cooker that I can’t list them all. Do you make meals for the slow cooker in advance? I’d love to hear what you make!

 

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