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July 16, 2013
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Douglas County Moms: Freezer meals hooked her

Like a lot of people out there, Pinterest is my frenemy. I spend inordinate amounts of time sifting through pictures and pinning really good ideas. My list of actual accomplishments does not equal the number of pins I have on my many boards — or the time I’ve spent on my computer.

That being said, I have found a few helpful ideas. One is Freezer Slow Cooker meals. The idea is that you can spend one afternoon preparing slow cooker meals to use for the following few weeks. One blogger in particular had laid out the plan in a straightforward manner, complete with grocery list and step-by-step instructions. I was hooked.

I love my slow cooker! The fact that I can put a meal on in the morning and it will be ready at dinner time is great. I love that the veggies are included, so I don’t necessarily have to add a side. I do use my trusty rice cooker on a time delay along with my slow cooker for many recipes. And now, with these new recipes, all I have to do is pull the prepared ingredients out of the freezer the morning I need them. No prep! During my busiest days, that is a huge blessing.

Since the initial trial, I have begun searching for recipes that will work well this way. Obviously, something that needs to be layered in a certain order will not work. Once my family has tasted a recipe, I can adjust based on the likes and dislikes. Here are a couple of recipes we have used and enjoyed adapted from http://bit.ly/zy7pLW

With the recipes below, each bag will feed my family of five, with a little left over.

I have each recipe on a separate card. I collect the recipes I want for the week and make a shopping list based on the combined recipes. At home, I grab my knives, all my big bowls and hubby to help (he enjoys this kind of thing) and spend a couple of hours chopping, browning (some of the meat requires initial browning) and assembling freezer bags of dinners. The starred portion on the recipe is written on the front of the freezer bag for last minute instructions.

I have done some research and find there is little concern about starting with frozen meats in your slow cooker. We have had no troubles, but if you were really concerned, with a little more planning, you could add thawed meats along with the other prepared ingredients each time you use a bag.

I think I could use my slow cooker all year long. On hot days, it is great to not heat up the kitchen. On cold days, it’s nice to have that hot dinner ready to go.

I think I’ll get on Pinterest and find a few more recipes!

Marla Smart of Green is a wife, mother, part-time children’s pastor and Douglas County Moms blogger on nrtoday.com. You can read her personal blog at marlasmart.wordpress.com.

Teriyaki Chicken

Make two meals in two separate bags:

Split a large bag of baby carrots between two bags

Split a red onion cut into large chunks between two bags

20-ounce can pineapple in each bag, undrained

1 green pepper per bag

2 garlic cloves chopped per bag

4 chicken breasts in each bag

½ cup teriyaki sauce in each bag

*Before placing in crock pot, add ¼ cup teriyaki sauce to mixture. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Serve over rice.

Stephanie’s Goulash/Beef Stew

Make two meals in two separate bags:

1 chopped green pepper split between bags

1 chopped onion per bag

2 chopped carrots per bag

2 chopped garlic cloves per bag

1 cup okra per bag

1 cup corn per bag

3 pounds beef stew meat split between bags

28-ounce can diced tomatoes split between bags

2 teaspoons paprika per bag

¼ teaspoon black pepper per bag

*Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low in a slow cooker. Add cooked pasta 10 minutes before serving.


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The News-Review Updated Jul 16, 2013 01:29PM Published Jul 16, 2013 10:12AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.