I have to admit, I am a little bit overwhelmed right now.
May is normally a busy month for us (mother’s day plus Burke’s birthday, Keadryn’s birthday, Drew’s birthday, my brother’s birthday, & Adam’s mom’s birthday). Add in graduation (and the grad party of the century), Burke’s birthday party (an Angry Birds brunch this weekend), the graduation trip of a lifetime (Dubai, Greece and Turkey here we come!) and planning for a month’s worth of COLORFUL (wink, wink) goodness for the blog while we’re away, and life feels, well, overwhelming.
My sweet friend Alicia posted about getting organized last month and I was inspired to follow suit.
First stop in my “Get Organized” agenda- figure out meals. And, y’all, this little Freezer-Cooking-and-then-Crock-Pot-Dinners plan has been revolutionary. So far. I mean, we’re three meals in. But it feels revolutionary (and organized- SO organized!). Plus, we have a freezer full of eleven dinners still to eat.
The best part is that, in crossing ‘figure out dinner’ off my daily task list, I free up an hour and a half or so each afternoon. That time is going directly towards whittling the “Burke’s Party,” “Grad Party,” “To Make/Sew Before June,” and “Graduation Trip” lists. Lovely.
Enough chatter- want to see exactly what I did?
First I found five crock pot recipes (most of them have overlapping ingredients which made for easy shopping and chopping). Then I doubled/tripled/quadrupled the recipes (to make three coconut curries, four barbeque chickens, two orange chickens, two hot and spicy peanut chickens, and three man-pleasing chickens), made myself a massive shopping list, and then chopped… and chopped… and chopped. Lastly, I separated everything into fourteen freezer bags, wrote the directions on the bag and froze everything. Easy enough, right?
Want the recipes? They’re all modified from recipes I found around the internet- for more details, just click each link.
IN THE BAG- 2 cups onions, 2 cups carrots, 2 cups zucchini, 1 red pepper, 1/2 t grated lime peel, 2 T lime juice, 2 T soy sauce, 2 T flour, 4 garlic cloves, 2 lbs. cubed boneless, skinless chicken breast.
TO COOK- Dump contents of bag in slow cooker. Cover with 3/4 cup chicken broth and 3 T peanut butter (whisked together). Cook on low for 5-6 hours. For the last five minutes, add in 1 can of coconut milk and 1 bag of frozen peas.
TO SERVE- To make it spicy, add 1/2 teaspoon of red curry paste before serving (I kept our unspicy for the kiddos). Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro. Serve over rice.
Coconut Chicken Curry by Martha Stewart
IN THE BAG- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 2 lbs. of chopped butternut squash, 2 medium onions,chopped, 8 minced garlic cloves, 1 oz fresh ginger, 2 T curry powder,1 t ground coriander, 1 t ground cumin, coarse salt
TO COOK- Add the contents of the bag and a can of coconut milk to a slow cooker and cook on low all day. 25 minutes before serving, add another can of coconut milk and a bag of frozen peas.
TO SERVE- Garnish with chopped cashews and cilantro.
BBQ Chicken adapted from this recipe by Mama and Baby Love
IN THE BAG- 2 cups sweet potatoes, 2 cups red and green bell pepper, 1 cup carrots, 2 cups onion, 3 cups zucchini, 2 T flour, 1.5 lbs chicken, 2 cloves garlic, 1 t salt
TO COOK- Dump bag plus one bottle BBQ sauce into crock pot, cook on low for 6-8 hours.
IN THE BAG- 2 cups carrots, 2 cups bell peppers, 1 lb cubed boneless skinless chicken breasts, 3 cloves garlic, 1 t salt, 1/2 t pepper, 8 oz. orange juice concentrate (orange pineapple will work as well)
TO COOK- Cook on low in crock pot, 4 to 6 hours
TO SERVE- Garnish with clementine slices (use 4 clementines) or mandarin oranges (two cans) and green onions (two, chopped). Serve on rice. Stir fried veggies make a great side.
Man-Pleasing Chicken modified from Witty in the City
IN THE BAG- 2 cups red and green bell pepper, 1 cup carrots, 2 cups onion, 3 cups zucchini, 2 T flour, 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 2 cloves garlic, 1 t salt
TO COOK- Add the contents of the bag with 3/4 cup of dijon mustard, and 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 1 T of rice wine vinegar to a foil lined glass pan. Cook at 450 until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Garnish with fresh rosemary and serve.
Like I said- absolutely revolutionary!
1. These bags serve my family of four. Adjust accordingly.
2. Here is the shopping list-
4.5 lbs. cubed boneless, skinless chicken breast
5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 C onions + 2 medium chopped ( about 5)
6 cups carrots (about 12 or 1 bag)
8 Cups Zucchini ( about )
2 lbs of chopped butternut squash (about )
2 C sweet potatoes
1 Red pepper +5 cups
4 C green bell pepper + 1 C
2bag frozen peas
2 Cans mandarin oranges or use 4 clementines
1 bunch cilantro
19 garlic cloves
1 oz fresh ginger
6 TBS flour
2 T curry powder
1 t ground coriander
Rosemary (to garnish)
1 t ground cumin
3 T salt
1/2 t pepper
2 TBS soy sauce
3/4 C chicken broth
3 Can coconut milk
1 bottle BBQ sauce
3/4 Cup maple syrup
1 TBS of rice wine vinegar
3/4 Cup Dijon mustard
8 oz. orange juice concentrate (orange pineapple will work as well)
1 bag rice
1 handful cashews & Peanuts
3 TBS Peanut butter
UPDATE- If you’re just just starting out, I shared a freezer cooking review with some tips and what is working for us here.