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1 Hour + 1 Mess = 5 Slow Cooker Meals! (Freezer Meals)

Slow Cooker Meals

**Update – In case you missed it check out Part 2Part 3Part 4,  Part 5,  Part 6 and Part 7 of my 1 Hour + 1 Mess = Slow Cooker recipes. So far we have 35 recipes.

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We are all very busy people. We have jobs, kids, baseball practice, etc. Because of our busy lives we don’t get to eat dinner together very often. I took 5 of my favorite slow cooker recipes and put together a plan to spend 1 hour in the kitchen assembling 5 freezer bags with dinners that I can just throw in the slow cooker! Slow Cooker freezer meals will make your life so much easier!

With this list below you will have Garlic Honey Chicken, Beef Burritos, Chicken Fajitas, Hawaiian Chicken, and Teriyaki Pork Chops. These dinners easily feed our family which consists of 2 adults and 3 kids.

Click here for the printable version of this meal plan.

Shopping List

  • 2 Lbs London Broil
  • 5-6 Lbs Chicken
  • 4 Pork Chops (about 1 inch thick)
  • Brown sugar
  • White sugar
  • White vinegar
  • Garlic cloves – 12
  • Soy sauce
  • Large can of pineapple chunks
  • Onions 1 large or 2 small
  • Whole peppercorns
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • 16 oz plain tomato sauce
  • 1 chipotle pepper (you can buy a small can and freeze the leftovers)
  • Chili Power
  • Ketchup
  • Honey
  • Chicken broth
  • Peppers (Your choice for the Chicken Tacos)
  • Taco seasoning
  • Paprika

You will need more ingredients, but you just need the ingredient above to make your bags.

First take 5 large freezer bags. Grab a Sharpie and label each bag. You should also write the instructions on the bag. Cut up the onions – half slices and half diced, cut up the peppers, and peel the garlic (You can dice the garlic as you fill up your bags).

Go through and add all the meats to the bags. Then go back and add the rest of the ingredients. (You can fill them up in any order, this was just my preference.) Freeze the food and make sure the food will fit in your Slow Cooker when it’s frozen. Take them out in the morning and cook according to the instructions.

 

Hawaiian Chicken


Hawaiian Chicken
(4-5 servings)

  • 2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½  cup white sugar
  • ½  cup vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½   cup of pineapple juice (use what’s in the can)
  • ½  can of large pineapple chunks

Add all the ingredients to the bag. Cook 4-5 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low. Serve it over rice and enjoy. While I am cooking the rice I  like to shred the chicken and put it back in the juice before I serve it.

Beef Chipotle Burritos

Beef Burritos
(6+ servings)

  • 1 London Broil or top round roast (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce – Use just 1 pepper!! (It’s in a can.)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder (you can adjust this according to your taste)
  1. Add all the above ingredients into a freezer bag.
  2. When you are ready to cook the meal, dump the contents of the bag into the Slow Cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours.
  3. When the meat is cooked, you will need to strain the juices and add the juice back to the slow cooker. (You want to remove the peppercorns and onions.) Shred the meat and add back to the juice in the slow cooker for about 30 minutes. This is one of our favorite recipes. My kids eat it as long as we have leftovers.

 

* If you like the taste of chipotle but not the spiciness, you can remove the seeds.

You will also need:

  • 16 burrito sized flour tortillas
  • Anything else you like on burritos – cream, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.

We also like to add Cilantro Lime Rice to our burritos. All you need to do is make some white rice and add lime juice, cilantro, and salt.

 

Honey Garlic Chicken

Garlic Honey Chicken
(4-5 servings)

  • 1 ½  to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup  soy sauce
  • ⅔  cup ketchup
  • ¼  cup honey

(Feel free to double the sauce if you like extra sauce)

Add all the ingredients to a freezer bag. Cook 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low.  We like to eat this with mashed potatoes and a veggie.

 

Teriyaki Pork Chops

Teriyaki Pork Chops 
(4 servings)

  • 4 pork chops, about 1-inch thick
  • Salt and pepper to taste (you can sprinkle them before you add them to the bag.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth

Add the pork chops, garlic cloves, brown sugar,  soy sauce, and chicken broth to the freezer bag. Write the following instruction on the bag –  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-7 hours. We ate this with mashed potatoes.

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas
( 5-6 servings)

  • 2 peppers (your favorite)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 1/2 pound chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • taco seasoning packet
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt

You will also need tortillas, cheese, cream, etc.

Directions

  1. Put all the ingredients in a large freezer bag. (Make sure you label the bag with instructions.)
  2. When it’s time to cook it, dump it all in your slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
  3. When it’s cooked, shred the meat and add it back to the pepper mixture and serve on warm tortillas and your favorite toppings.
With the leftover you can make this delicious Chicken Fajita Casserole!

That’s it! I actually did this in about 45 minutes! Since we also like to eat rice with a few of these dinners, I like to make a large batch at the beginning of the week and heated up what we need. Some of these meals make enough food so you can eat them for leftovers. We used the leftover chicken fajita meat to make fajita quesadillas.

I have made all these dinner and I can’t believe how easy it has made my life. I have a seven year old, four year old and 2 year old – so it’s hard to find time to make a good dinner. I put the stuff in my slow cooker when my  2 year old naps and when it’s dinner time I just have to think about side items. This really reduce the mess in the kitchen.

Additional notes:

  • My slow cooker cooks at a high temperature, so please check your food to make sure you have the proper cooking time.
  • According to the official Crock Pot website, you can safely cook frozen meat in your crock pot. If you still don’t like the idea, you can put the bag in the fridge the night before and it should be defrosted by the morning.
  • I use chicken breast from the large bag of frozen chicken. This type of chicken has a layer of ice which melts and can dilute the flavor of your meal. You will not have this problem with fresh chicken.
  • If your slow cooker has a hard to remove layer of gunk on it, try soaking it with a half a sheet of fabric softener. It will wipe right off!
  • Never put the plastic bag in the Slow Cooker. Always dump out the contents to prepare your meal.
  • When you freeze the bag, make sure the frozen lump (for lack of a better work) will easily fit into your Slow Cooker.
  • One reader suggested putting the dinners into Slow Cooker liners and then into the freezer bag.

Click here for the printable version of this meal plan.

So what do you think? Do you like this idea? If so, I can test out a bunch of recipes and get another 5 recipes together to share. I loved this. It really was a huge help in the kitchen!

You can also check out my Batch Cook Day!

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450 Responses to “1 Hour + 1 Mess = 5 Slow Cooker Meals! (Freezer Meals)”

  1. Janell August 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Hi Rhiannon, Thanks for the question. I’m really not sure. My crock pot feels big but I don’t know how big yours is. You might want to try with one of the recipes and just cook it on low. Maybe that will help? Let me know how it turns out.

  2. Rhiannon August 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Janell, I looked and it is a 5.5 qt longer rather than taller crockpot. I am trying the Honey chicken as we speak and I hope it turns out:) Would the sauce from this recipe be good on rice? I doubled the sauce partly because I am hoping it works with rice and partly because I am nervous with how long my crock pot is.

  3. Doris August 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Can all of these be doubled without losing the integrity of the recipe? I am feeding a family of 7 so I would like to try these only with more servings.

  4. Janell August 18, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    Yes I do think you could double these recipes without any problems. You may need to use 2 bags so the frozen food can fit in the crock pot.

  5. Lu August 22, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    do you leave the food in the bag in the crockpot unless other wise stated
    might seem like a dumb statement … lol

  6. Janell August 22, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Unless you are using crock pot liners, you dump everything into the crock pot. You can not put ziploc bags in a crock pot. :)

  7. Laura August 23, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    I played around with these recipes a lot this week (they are great!). Using the honey chicken recipe, I added apple cider vinegar, ponzu, and chicken stock to the other liquids. After cooking, I used part of the liquid to wilt some kale (but any greens are yummy wilted.) the rest of the liquid I combined with three tbs. of corn starch dissolved in a little hot water and stirred over med heat until thickened. I had a package of microwave brown rice which I mixed with the greens and the meat (I shredded it up), and then poured the sauce on top. If you like Chinese takeout, you should try it. We loved it!

  8. Janell August 23, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    That sounds great! I will have to try it. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Angela August 27, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    On the Garlic Honey Chicken – you put the ingredients into a freezer bag and then put in crockpot? That won’t mess up the bag? I don’t cook w/crock pot ofter. Thank you!

  10. Janell August 27, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    No you dump the contents from the bag into the crock pot. (It’s a good question – you are not the first person to ask.) I just put them in the freezer bags so I can prepare them ahead of time. Then in the mornings I can just dump the contents of the bag into the crock pot and dinners done! I hope you enjoy them!

  11. angela August 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    This makes me so happy I cannot even begin to express it!!!!

  12. Janell August 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Thanks for your comment. I am so glad you are happy :)

  13. Shaina August 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Can I use another meat besides pork cops?

  14. Jamie August 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    I have a question about the chipotle pepper in the beef burritos. Am I supposed to just add the pepper to the mix whole? Or does it need to be chopped first? Sorry it that’s a dumb question.. lol. Also could I put these dinners in ziplocs in the fridge instead of the freezer? I am thinking of only making 3 nights worth ahead of time, so I’m wondering if they would keep all the same in refrigerator versus the freezer.
    Thanks!

  15. Jamie August 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Oh and would the time need to be adjusted since the items are not frozen? If so, by how much?

  16. Janell August 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    I have never tried it but I am sure it would work. Let me know how it tastes.

  17. Janell August 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    It’s a good question. I put them in whole but you could mush them with a fork if you want. (It’s a good question.) Just throw it in with everything else. I would do about 30 mins less for high and about 1 hour less for low. Every crock pot is different.

  18. Lulu September 2, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    I’m wondering if anyone has cooked these recipes for 8-9 hrs on low? If I set it before I go to work and turn it off when I get home, it would have cooked for 8.5-9 hrs. I would hate to come home to burned dinner. Lol.

  19. Mariela September 3, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Thank you so much for posting these great recipes! Found them on Pinterest, will be making all soon! So happy to have found this!

  20. Rebecca Graham September 3, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Hi. Such a great idea. Do you simply take the bags straight out of the freezer, dump the contents in the crock pot and start cooking? Or do you thaw a little? Also, how long do these keep in the freezer? I am due at the end of the month. I think this is an excellent idea for me to have in the freezer. Thanks. :)

  21. Janell September 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    The food can go straight from the freezer to the crock pot (just dont put the ziploc bag in there too). I have never thawed them. I would say you could keep them in the freezer for about 4-6 weeks. But I have never had them in there for that long. Congrats on the baby!

  22. Janell September 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    I hope you enjoy them! Im working on batch #3!

  23. Janell September 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    I usually cook them on high because I throw it in the crock pot when my daughter takes her nap. I would try something like the Chipotle Burritos and cook that on low all day. I dont think the meats will burn if you are cooking them on low. I think it will just get more tender.

  24. Jayla September 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    I just put these together today – loved how easy it was. Please please do more sets like this!

  25. Lori September 6, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    I had three where everything, including the meat was, frozen solid, except for a little section of the sauce that was very thick but not quite frozen….is this typical? I know it’s not my freezer because again, the meat is solid. I’m hoping it’s still ok to eat!

  26. Janell September 6, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    Im not sure. I did have one like that but I had just put it in the freezer the day before.

  27. Snoochies September 6, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Maybe it’s just me?

    We have a rather large crock pot (7 qts if I recall correctly). And it’s the long wide kind http://www.amazon.com/Crock-Pot-SCV700SS-7-Quart-Manual-Stainless/dp/B003OAJGJO/ref=sr_1_6?s=kitchen&srs=3270395011&ie=UTF8&qid=1346951640&sr=1-6

    I just wonder if you have any advice for increasing the liquids without losing flavor? The easiest way would be to add water, obviously. But I don’t want to water it down. I was thinking maybe chicken and beef broth added to each recipe? I’m just having a hard time covering the ingredients with liquid (which I’ve always been told is the secret to juicy, tender crockpot cooking). And I’m finding a lot of it overcooks or comes out dry because I can’t seem to get it moist enough. But this being my first week with these recipes, I’m not really familiar enough to know what to add more of (without doubling everything but the meat… kind of wasteful). Any suggestions would be very welcome!

  28. Janell September 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    That’s a good question. Maybe some of my readers can help with that. Maybe instead of doubling the sauce just do an additional half recipe?

  29. Irene Ah September 9, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Hi Janell,
    I was wondering how you browned your whole rotisseri chicken?

  30. Janell September 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    I really didn’t do anything special. I dont know if it has something to do with the potatoes on the bottom and the way the heat circulates. I really wish I had a good answer for you :)

  31. jodieg September 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Here is a tip!
    Most of these recipes make a lot of liqiud in your crock pot. If you are using a slow cooker liner (aka crock pot liner) saver your gallon sized ziploc bag that contains your frozen meal. When you’re ready to take your crock pot liner out and throw it away, put it back in that perviously used ziploc bag. That way you dont have to worry about all that juice/liquid leaking in or smelling up your tash can!

  32. Janell September 11, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    Thanks!

  33. Jen September 11, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    A tip possibly for your next batch because I think this is a great idea. On your shopping list include the total amount needed for all recipes. Also, I’m having some mom friends over to do this all together as a cooking /playdate. Everyone’s really excited about it.

  34. Janell September 11, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Thanks – that sounds like a great idea! Have fun!

  35. Laurey Byrd September 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    These sound like great meals. I’m so tired of cooking the same thing over and over. I don’t use my crock pot often enough but I’m going to try some of these recipes. I quick tip I thought of for making sure the frozen contents fit into the crock pot: find a bowl that will easily fit in the crock pot the put the ziplock bag with the ingredients in the bowl to freeze. It will have the shape of the bowl and be sure to fit in the crock pot.

  36. Janell September 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    Good tip – I hope you enjoy the recipes!

  37. kelly September 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    these sound great, i hate to cook so the slow cooker is my best friend.

  38. Lacy September 17, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    Awesomeness! I’m a busy mom and I love this! Thank you so much!

  39. AC-C September 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Could you list some vegetarian ones? That’d be awesome!

  40. Janell September 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    I will look for some recipes. :)

  41. Kristen September 24, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    I just want to verify: once you have all the baggies assembled, do you put them in the freezer until you need them and then dump them in the crockpot frozen? Or do you thaw the night before?

  42. Janell September 24, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Thanks for the comment. I always dump the ingredients into the crock pot frozen. You can do it either way. If you defrost them, just cook it a little less.

  43. Cathi September 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Just wanted to leave a comment about the different ingredients in a bag being at different stages of freezing… foods containing high amounts of sugar (even naturally occuring sugars) are slower to freeze than denser foods like meats. Pineapple and its juice is high in sugar, honey, ketchup, etc. are all foods that fall in this category.

  44. johnna wood September 25, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    I am very excited about your five recipes. I am going to divide each recipes in two for my daughter who lives by herself and has no time to cook. My question is: do you think I need to add more liquid to each of the individual packets since i am splitting them up? I prepared a terriaki chicken recipe that I divided for crockpot cooking and my daughter said it did not have enough liquid and the flavor was intense (garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar)do you have any suggestions on what type of liquid to add? thanks!

  45. Shannon September 25, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    I tried the teriyaki pork chops or the first time tonight. Oh my were they good!!!! I served them with rice and green beans. The meat was so tender and juicy. Next time I will make coleslaw and do a pulled pork sandwhich. Amazing recipe!

  46. Cami Sullivan September 26, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    I leave at 7 am and don’t get home until after 6. Will these recipes be ruined if they are in the crockpot for that long?

  47. Janell September 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    You could probably make the beef recipes because the longer you cook them – the better they are. I usually cook them on high so I am sorry I can’t help you.

  48. Janell September 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Im so glad you liked them! Thanks for the comment!

  49. Janell September 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Maybe try some chicken or beef broth? Thats a great idea!

  50. Sarah September 28, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    For those who are gone for many hours over the day. My husband bought a timer to set so the crock-pot will go on or shut off at a certain time.

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