Does it Work? 10 Freezer Meals Prepared in an Hour.

I read on Facebook (therefore it MUST be true) that I could prepare these 10 meals in an hour.  Sounded great! I decided to put them to the test and see exactly how long it would take.

Step ONE: Make the shopping list. To create this list I copy all the recipes into this document and then I plan to make a list of all the ingredients needed.  Start Time 1:42, End Time 1:59

Freeze in a bag: one box
6-lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
5-lb boneless beef chuck shoulder roast
1-lb stew meat
1-lb boneless chicken, cubed
12-ounce bag of frozen peach slices
16-ounce package frozen corn
One bag frozen or homemade meatballs
1 red onion, sliced
3 small onion + 1/2 c, sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced
24-ounces red potato, diced
1-lb sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup celery, diced
14 cups chicken stock
1 cup unsweetened Apple Sauce
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Serve with rice (2).
Serve with egg noodles (2) or rice.
Serve with spaghetti noodles.
Serve with taco shells, sour cream, salsa, guacamole and shredded cheese.
(Below are items I did not shop for because I already had them on hand)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon honey, Juice from 1 lime, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/4 cup heavy cream, ½ cup apple juice, 1 tablespoon beef stock base, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp Curry Powder, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1 Italian Dressing Mix, 8 oz Cream Cheese, 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning, 2 tsp chicken bullion, 1.5 tbsp Chili Powder, ½ tbsp Cumin, ½ tsp Garlic Powder, 1/2 lb, carrots, peeled and diced, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Step TWO: Go to the store to make the purchase.  I feel like this step is going to vary greatly from person to person so I will not include it in my total, however for my own reference it took me about 45 min. from leaving my house to returning.
Full disclosure: I purchased pork instead of beef because it is 2/3 cheaper.  Yes, that will change the flavor, but I am okay with that.  For everything I purchased above, it came out to $80.

Step THREE: Prep work.

  • Write the names of each recipe on the gallon size bag prior to starting.  I’m a hands-on cook and know my hands will be messy and not want to stop to write them or have to remember which one is which. (Even though I plan to make them in the order listed.20170217_095830.jpg
  • Get all the spices needed already in one place, so I don’t have to go searching for them AND take their lids off.20170217_095008.jpg
  • I have a separate cutting board and knife for raw meats.  The only meat I precooked (in the crockpot the night before) was the pork shoulder roast because I don’t know how to get that meat off the bone without it being cooked. I have both cutting boards and knives ready.
  • I have laid out multiple bowls on the counter to place the chopped ingredients.  To save time, I plan to prepare one item completely. For example, the first meal has chicken, I plan to chop all my chicken and not just for this meal. Same for onions, etc. When a bowl becomes empty I plan to rinse it and reuse it, unless it had raw foods then I will wash it.20170217_094933.jpg
  • I used my computer for my recipe, in the future I would probably print it out because paper takes up less counter space than a laptop.

Step FOUR: I will begin with the first listed recipe and continue until finished.  Start time: 10am and… GO!

My computer’s battery died at 11:20, and I had prepared 5 meals in that amount of time.  I took a 40 min. break to let my computer recharge and then continued, it taking a total of two hours to finish.

Conclusion: 

  • In order to meet the one hour time period suggested, you would need everything chopped, sliced, peeled, etc. before starting.  But if you do that, then did it really only take an hour?  No.
  • I used a large mixing bowl to put in the ingredients, stirred all together, and then transferred to the gallon size bag.  There were several that I felt like I could have probably put the items directly into the bag and then massage the bag to mix it all together.  That would have saved some time and I will certainly try that out next time.
  • I did not use as many bowls as I had ready to use. I had one for mixing, and one for onions. That was it!
  • I plan to have these be in my freezer for at least two days prior to using them because I want to test if they will work well going from freezer to crock pot as suggested. And if someone is super observant, you might notice they are doubled bagged. I do that with anything going into the freezer.
  • I am very pleased with the level of clean up needed.  My kitchen was not a disaster the way it is most of the time when I prepare multiple meals.  20170217_131445.jpgA large portion of that was due to not needing to precook the meats (with the exception of the pork roast).

Here are the 10 recipes brought together from Kathy Finney which she posted to http://cooktopcove.com/2016/04/27/10-delicious-freezer-meal-recipes-to-dump-into-the-slow-cooker/?src=swp_51533&t=syn

She posted 10, however I did not make the Split Pea Soup, because I did not feel my family would enjoy it.

Ginger-Peach Chicken
Freeze in a bag:
2-lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
12-ounce bag of frozen peach slices
1 red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Cook on high for 4-5 hours.
Serve with rice.20170217_125208.jpg
Beef Fajitas
Freeze in a bag:
2-lb boneless beef chuck shoulder roast
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
Juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred beef with two forks.
Serve with warm tortillas, fresh sour cream and guacamole.20170217_125223.jpg
Potato and Corn Cowder
Freeze in a bag:
24-ounces red potato, diced
16-ounce package frozen corn
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
You also need:
6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pour in chicken stock and mix. Cook on low for 8 hours. Stir in butter and heavy cream.
Serve with warm bread20170217_125240.jpg
Beef Stroganoff
Freeze in a bag:
1-lb stew meat
1-lb sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 onion, diced
½ cup apple juice
1 tablespoon beef stock base
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
Add 1 cup of water to ingredients, and cook on low for 8 hours. Stir in 1 cup of sour cream.
Serve with egg noodles or rice.20170217_125257.jpg
Chicken with Apple and Sweet Potato
Freeze in a bag:
1-lb boneless chicken, cubed
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup unsweetened Apple Sauce
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp Curry Powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
Cook on low for 8 hours.
Serve with rice.20170217_125124.jpg
Chicken Alfredo
Freeze in a bag:
3-lb Chicken Breasts
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Italian Dressing Mix
8 oz Cream Cheese
Add 2 cups water to the ingredients and cook on low 6-8 hours.
Serve with fettucini noodles.20170217_125139.jpg
Meatballs and Tomato Sauce
Freeze in a bag:
One bag frozen or homemade meatballs
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
Cook on high 3-4 hours
Serve with spaghetti noodles.20170217_125319.jpg
Shredded Beef Tacos
Freeze in a bag:
2 1.5-lb chuck roast
2 tsp chicken bullion
1.5 tbsp Chili Powder
½ tbsp Cumin
½ tsp Garlic Powder
salt and pepper to taste
Add 2 cups of water to ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred beef with two forks.
Serve with taco shells, sour cream, salsa, guacamole and shredded cheese.20170217_125100.jpg
Chicken Noodle Soup
Freeze in a bag:
1-lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon pepper
You also need:
8 oz wide egg noodles
8 cups chicken broth
Add 8 cups of chicken broth to ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add 8 oz of wide egg noodles and cook for additional 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving.
20170217_125153.jpg
Split Pea Soup (I did not make this)
Freeze in a bag:
1 lb dry split peas
2 cups of diced bacon
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
You also need:
32-oz of chicken broth
Add 2 cups water  and chicken broth to ingredients and cook on low for 7-8 hours
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