I dont know about you, I love Chocolate and coffee, so it was a giving I had to try this recipe! Try it for yourself and tell us what you think!
I like that this meal is an all-in-one and is healthy. I’ve been making it for a number of years. I make the filling as a freezer meal and then assemble it on the day of serving. I make two or four sets of the filling at a time and store each one in a large resealable freezer bag.
In the first article in this series, I outlined Steps 1 – 4, including important money-saving information about planning your freezer meals. In this second article in the series, I will be outlining what steps to follow the day before the big day of meal assembly.
Buy the groceries and containers needed. For most of my freezer meals, I use large freezer bags, but some recipes such as lasagna need a foil tray. Make note of this when you are making your grocery lists and buy as many bags and containers as you will need. For additional savings, cleaned out yogurt containers and the like can also be used if well sealed. I like to do my shopping at the warehouse store first. That way, if there were any ingredients on that list that they did not have in stock, I can purchase them at the local grocery store. In my community, the first Tuesday of the month you get 15% off your entire grocery bill. This is a huge savings. Remember, I have already called ahead with my meat order so I also get 15% off that, plus whatever additional discount on the meat I was able to negotiate over the phone.
Label your bags and containers. Using a permanent marker, write the name of the dish and the cooking instructions on the bags and containers that you will be using. By doing this before the cooking day, you will be able to save a lot of time and confusion the day of your assembly. Some people prefer to print up labels on their computer. Some people also like to add the date so that they will know when the meals were made. Alternately, you can print up a list and post it inside your freezer.
Fry up the ground beef or imitation ground beef, chop up the onions and other vegetable you will be using, and cube any chicken that needs to be cubed.
Set up your stations. Set up stations around your kitchen or workspace (for those who have a small kitchen, perhaps a dining room table can also be used). If you are doing this in a large group, you may wish to use a community or church kitchen. At each station, place the photocopied recipe, non-perishable ingredients that you will need, spices called for, the labelled freezer bags or containers, and any equipment you will need such as mixing bowls, can openers, measuring cups and spoons, and mixing spoons.
Get some sleep. The big day is coming and you will need your rest!
Next week, I will explain what to do on the actual day of making the freezer meals.
The Planning Begins!
Sometimes referred to “once a month cooking”, Freezer meals are a great way to save time and money!
I have been making freezer meals for the last 5 years for me and my wife. It has helped us save thousands of dollars, not to mention the amount of time it has free up not working about cooking supper every day! By spending one or two days cooking, I’m able to feed us Breakfast, Lunch,
Now with saving money, by doing once a month cooking (or in my case every 3 months!) I can feed upwards of 9 people for $10 dollars a meal! that’s $1.11 a person and much better than any dollar menu item!
Combine this with coupons and spend even less!
Have friends who love to come over and eat your food! Then invite them to pitch in and save even more! Buy in bulk and make the meals and split!
These first four steps should be done a week or so before you plan on making your meals!
Choosing your recipes. I use a combination of sources for my recipes. Some are family favorite recipes that I have adapted into a freezer meal or that I
I do choose a variety of meal types when planning, and also choose recipes that involve some similar preparation steps to cut down the time involved. As an example, in a month that I am choosing Chilli, I will also choose Sloppy Joes, as they both require browning the meat and chopping onions. If I am going to be cooking rice to make Spanish Rice, I will make several meals of Chicken Fried Rice as well. I also like to choose recipes that call for many of the same ingredients so that I can shop in bulk and save even more money. As an example, if I have a recipe that calls for adding cans of corn, such as a Tex Mex Casserole, I will also make Corn Chowder to freeze. That way, I can buy a case of corn and save money.
Print your recipes. These will later be used at your stations. Stations will be explained later.
Make grocery lists. If you have access to a warehouse store, you will want to make a list for that store as well as a list for your local grocery store to buy the items not stocked at the warehouse store. Make your grocery lists as you are writing out your recipe list. As you are going through, make tally marks next to the ingredients as each recipe calls for them. As an example, once you have onions on your list, every time a recipe calls for a certain amount of onions, make tally marks to indicate how many you will need. Doing these first two steps at the same time will allow you to plan more clearly.
Call ahead with your meat order. Especially if you are doing this with a group of friends, you will need a large quantity of meat and your local grocer may not have it in stock when you need it. I call the meat department ahead and put in my meat order. This saves time as well as when you are in the store, the order is ready for you. It can also save you money as most meat departments are willing to give you a discount because you are ordering in bulk. This step is very important.
My second article in this series will detail what needs to happen the day before the big day and then the last article will go through instructions for assembling your freezer meals. By following this plan, you too can save time, stress, and money when it comes to meal planning for your family.
If you’re like me, you gotta have your sloppy joes, and there is no reason at all someone who is trying to be
IF your not gluten free just makes this recipe and use regular buns!
- Instant Pot LUX Mini 3 Qt 6-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer$59.95
- Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners 2 Pack (8 Liners Total)$8.99
- Crock Pot Dump Meals, 5 Ingredients or Less, Just Dump and Slow Cook: Cathy Mitchell
- Ketogenic Crock Pot Cookbook: 250 Ketogenic Diet Recipes for Your Slow Cooker$17.99
One of the ways to manage your time if you have a family is to cut out cooking! That’s, why we suggest, freezing ready meals that are dump meals into the crockpot! Learn to Rock that Pot!
Some of you might need to convert to a gluten free diet, if so, please read on. We will teach you how to convert a recipe into a gluten-free recipe.
First we must mention there are considerations to take into account when converting a regular freezer dump meal into a gluten-free dump meal. I am sure I might have missed something we should consider here, yet these are ones I found when making gluten free freezer meals.
The first and most important thing to start when converting a regular freezer dump meal into a gluten free meal is to learn how to read your labels thats right some label items may contain hidden gluten!
Here is a page with a list of ingredients to watch out for!
Some recipes will need worked and rework due to the consistency of gluten vs non-gluten recipes. So please keep this in mind when converting it did not come out 100% like you wanted the first time, learn to adjust!’
For pasta, I prefer Tinkyada brand because it maintains its shape well and doesn’t seem to get as mushy as some other brands.
Something else I found out with pasta when it comes to gluten free freezer meals is to either cook it to just under what you normally would before including it in the freezer meal or to leave it uncooked and attach it to the bag and then cook it normally and add it on the day you serve the meal.
I have noticed when it comes to tortillas, the gluten free ones will not hold up so well to being frozen and cooked. Have not found any gluten-free burttio recipes that do well in the freezer, Udi gluten free tortillas have worked in some of my dump crockpot meals from the freezer.
Rule of thumb, Plan ahead and make 1-2 months of meals. This can even be over 1-2 days. Do it in small groups or maybe even start a local food share with friends! Get 5 friends together select 10 dump meal recipes and go shopping and prep them to help save even more money!
Some puplar freezer meal recipes seem to have ingredients you should watch out for if you are trying to convert to a gluten-free meal.
Dry Onion Soup Mix
many of the store-bought versions of this contain gluten hate to say it. There are some versions that are gluten free yet you need to read the labels very carefully. At a bulk bin store near me, they carry a gluten-free dry onion soup mix. Alternatively, you can also make your own using a recipe such as this one.
There are condensed soups available to purchase such as Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup from Pacific Natural or Amy’s Organic Cream of Tomato. There are also recipes readily available online for making your own cream soups such as this one for cream of mushroom soup because gluten is usually found in most condensed soups.
Some of the common sauces often called for in freezer meal recipes usually contains gluten. These include soy sauce and hoisin sauce. Be careful to choose a brand of soy sauce or hoisin sauce that does not contain gluten.
Many seasonings, especially seasoning blends contain gluten. A lot of my freezer meal recipes call for taco seasoning. Most taco seasonings contain gluten, but there is a tex
During my Gluten Free Freezer Meals series, I will be featuring some of our family’s favourite gluten free freezer meal recipes. You may also be interested in following my Gluten Free Recipes or Freezer Meals Pinterest Boards.
Of course, for the fastest freezer meal recipes (enabling you to assemble 10 meals in just one hour), check out my Chicken Dump and Beef Dump Recipes. All of the recipes include gluten free instructions.
Spice blends were one of the challenges I discovered when I first decided to become gluten-free. There are a lot of seasoning blends that do have gluten in them as a filler so you gotta learn to read the labels. That hidden gluten became something I needed to watch out for. It became easier much of the time just to make my own. So that’s what I started doing.
Taco seasoning is one of the spice blends I use most often because my family loves Mexican flavors and who
The recipe I’m sharing today is for a small amount of taco seasoning. I actually multiply it by 10 because it’s just as easy once I have all the ingredients out to make it all at once and freeze it.
Taco Seasoning Recipe:
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. oregano
If you like things on the spicier side, you can increase the crushed red pepper flakes or add a bit of cayenne pepper or even ghost pepper powder.
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Store in a resealable bag or airtight container. I keep mine in the freezer.
I always find making freezer meals is a good use of my time, however when I make chicken dump meals for my crockpot is when I feel most accomplished because I am able to make so many in such a short time!
They are called dump meal recipes, because you can dump all the ingredients in a frezer safe ziplock bag and then DUMP then into your crock pot, set and forget till dinner time!
These time saving recipe sare just a sample of some of the dump meals in my upcoming ebook.
This last time I put together 20 double meals by doubling up on 10 recipes! I did this in 2 steps, One morning session and one after noon session. In the morning I made Chicken Hurry, Caribbean Chicken, Lemon and Garlic Chicken, Sticky Chicken, and Cantonese Chicken.
The afternoon session, I just got everything ready and out, see this is key, having everything out and ready to make these dump meals go so quick to the freezer!
Steps to making Chicken Dump Meals:
Get out all ingredients.
Label resealable freezer bags (you can use a permanent marker or print labels to stick on) with the name and cooking instructions.
Prop the bottom of the bags and fold over the top so that they will stay open.
Add chicken into each bag. You can use boneless, skinless thighs or breasts.
Once the chicken is in all of the bags, dump the ingredients for the recipe into the bag.
When all the ingredients are in each bag, remove the excess air, seal the bags, lay flat, and freeze.
3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup honey, melted
3 tbsp. soya sauce**
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Dump meal into the
Lemon Mustard Chicken
3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Dump meal into the
French Canadian Chicken
3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 1/2 cup maple syrup 3 Tbsp. cider vinegar 3 garlic cloves, minced 3 Tbsp. soya sauce** 3 tsp. fresh grated ginger 1 tsp. pepper Cooking instructions: Dump meal in the crock pot on low for 4-6 hours or bake at 350° for an hour, covered, uncovering for the last 15 minutes. **if you are making these gluten-free, be sure to use gluten free soya sauce.
Pepper Lime Chicken
3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 3 garlic cloves, minced 1/4 cup lime juice 1 tsp. lime zest 1 tsp. thyme 1/2 tsp. pepper 1/4 tsp. salt 2 tsp. olive oil Cooking instructions: Thaw. Bake at 350° for an hour, covered or in the crock pot on low for 4-6 hours.
3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs one bottle of Russian salad dressing (don’t use Creamy Russian dressing. If you can’t find this, you can substitute with Catalina dressing) 1 1/4 cups Apricot jam 3 Tbsp. dry onion soup mix* *I use an MSG-free, gluten-free dry onion soup mix. Cooking instructions: Thaw. Bake at 350° for an hour, covered or in the crock pot on low for 4-6 hours.
Each recipe listed is to make one bag. To make 2 bags, you will need to double both the chicken and the other ingredients.
The recipes work best with 3-5 chicken breasts or 8-10 thighs per bag. If you are adding a lot more or a lot less chicken, you may need to adjust the recipes accordingly.
If you plan the meals so that they have some common ingredients, it saves even more money.
All these recipes can be made gluten-free by following the notes indicated.
I heard from a reader who suggested using slow cooker liners. I had never heard of such a thing, but it sounds like a way to save even more time because it eliminates the cleanup of the crockpot.
At each of your stations, put out the rest of the ingredients. These will include refrigerated ingredients and the items you prepared in advance such as the browned meat, cubed chicken, and chopped vegetables.
Step 11: If you are doing this in a group, assign one person to each station and get to work. Making many of the same meal is hardly any extra work and at the end of the day, all of you will have many meals to take home to your families. If you are doing this on your own, start at one station and work you way around. It helps to keep your energy up if you alternate between a dish that is easy to assemble and one that is more difficult, as you will see progress.
Step 12: Freeze the meals. For all meals that are put in a bag, let out all excess air and lay the bag flat. This will optimize your freezer space. If you are doing this in a group, have everyone bring a box or a laundry basket to transport their meals in. Keeping the meals cold can be tricky the day of the assembly, but if you live in a place where the winters are cold, schedule your cook days for cold days and store the assembled meals in the boxes outside until people are ready to go home.
Step 13: Stand back and admire your work. For the next month at least, your meals are made. Last year, I did a freezer meal marathon of two days of assembly and ended up with enough meals to last over three months.
(this is a picture of my actual freezer following a day of freezer meal assembly – there are 37 meals in here plus four bags of homemade tomato sauce that can later be used on pizzas, in soups, or on pasta…the end result is well worth the effort!)
By using this method of cooking, I am able to feed our family of 9 suppers for between $8 and $10 a meal, averaging out to less than or a bit more than $1 per person. (note…those calculations were before I started couponing, so I expect that the per meal amount would be considerably lower now.) I am also able to go about my days without having that mid-afternoon panic worrying about what to make for supper!