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Six Freezer Crockpot Meals in 30 Minutes

By September 1, 2014Freezer Prep Session

Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take a lot of time.  One of my favorite shortcuts is prepping simple freezer meals for my crockpot.  Here are the recipes, grocery list, and info you need to make six meals in 30 minutes or less.
6 Freezer Crockpot Meals in 30 Minutes

You know what’s amazing about freezer crockpot meals?  Making them never gets old.  I’ve been freezing meals for years, but when I assembled these six meals in 30 minutes (including clean-up!), I still thought, “Holy crap.  I just made six dinners in half an hour!” 

Here’s what I made…

CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PRINTABLE RECIPES AND FULL GROCERY LIST

Added 2/4/16: Once A Month Meals updated their balsamic chicken with pears and mushrooms recipe to include less vinegar.  For the best result, use the recipe on their site instead of the one in the printable recipes. 

Freezer eCookbooks

When I’m deciding which freezer crockpot meals to make, I look for recipes that can be frozen without any cooking ahead of time.  Since all of these meals were frozen raw, they were super quick to prep and won’t taste like leftovers at all.  A win-win!

I also like to prepare meals that include at least one vegetable.  This saves me time the day of cooking because I won’t need to prepare a vegetable as a side dish.  Plus, it helps my family to eat healthy.

Six Freezer Crockpot Meals in 30 Minutes - Mexican Chili

After I shared that I prepped seven slow cooker meals in an hour, someone asked why I make two of each meal at a time.  Here are the benefits of doubling the recipes…

  • You’ll save money because you can buy the ingredients in bulk. (For example, buying more pounds of meat or a huge jar of tomato sauce.)
  • You’ll save money when you can split the same ingredient across two meals. (For example, buying one lime and squeezing the juice into two separate freezer bags.)
  • You’ll have less leftover ingredients. (For example, buying one container of mushrooms and splitting it between the two bags of Balsamic Chicken above!)
  • You’ll save prep time because the same ingredients are used at least twice with the same measurements.

Freezer crockpot meals stay fresh in a standard freezer for at least three months and we always look forward to eating the same meal again after trying it the first time.  

Six Freezer Crockpot Meals in 30 Minutes - Hawaiian Pork Chops

Here are my tips for prepping freezer crockpot meals quickly and efficiently…

  1. If the price is similar, buy ingredients that are already prepped to save time.  (For example, I bought sliced mushrooms and sliced pineapple.)
  2. Print the recipes so they’re right in front of you and you don’t have to look them up on your phone/computer/tablet.
  3. Set a timer in your kitchen for 30 minutes so you’re aware of the time and work quickly.
  4. Label all bags with what’s inside and “use by” date. (For meals stored in a standard freezer attached to a refrigerator, it will be 3 months from your prep day.)
  5. Make an assembly line: Peel, chop, and slice all veggies and fruit, and add to bags.  Add sauces, spices, and everything else to bags in any order, except the meat.  Add meat to all the bags last.  (You want it to be on the top so it’s poured into your crockpot first.)
  6. Remove as much air as possible from all of the bags and freeze!

Then, when you’re ready to cook, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.  Add to your slow cooker and follow the recipe’s instructions.  Enjoy!

Six Freezer Crockpot Meals in Thirty Minutes

Questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as I can!

 

100 Comments

  • Diane says:

    I’m new to freezer meals — can you reuse your ziplock bags? I would think that you could, but there could be a reason not to . . .

    • Kelly says:

      Yes, you can wash and reuse them! I also freeze food that doesn’t have sauce in neat-os reusable food storage bags.

      • Sarah says:

        Hi, I am trying to print off the printable PDF and it prints but skips much of the info. It isn’t my printer, I double checked that. I even tried to cut and paste and that comes out goofy.
        Do you have any suggestions? I am new to this and am really excited to try these.
        Happy Day !!! 🙂

    • Sarah Studinski says:

      I don’t reuse plastic bags, but that is a personal phobia. Plastic has pores, like skin and I just never feel I can get them completely clean. And if the bag held pork or chicken…eww. But that is me. Health sites also recommend you don’t reuse because of the risk of salmonella and other cross contamination

      • Connie Abbott says:

        If you are going to reuse the bag and want to do all you can to keep it safe, it may be a further reassurance to wash the bag right after emptying it–then immediately put it back in the freezer. Then any tiny thing that might remain embedded in the plastic is less likely to become an issue. It would be pre-labeled too for the same dish again. On the other hand, ziploc bags aren’t terribly costly…if you consider any risk of food poisoning, any expenditure to avoid that seems worthwhile. (It doesn’t seem like a big risk to me though, if you’re prompt in washing and freezing it. Do I seem a little wishy-washy? Ha!)

      • Cheryl says:

        I wouldnt worry about geting sick from freezer meal bags being reused.. they are kept in freezer until dumped out.. as logn as u rinse and refill right away and return to freezer it would be ok.. but if u leave on counter for a few days even after being washed out then yes id toss them too! if any raw meat had been inside

    • Jennifer says:

      One thing I do when I wash them is turn them inside out. That way you can get the corners good and clean.

  • What a delicious recipe roundup! Thanks for including our Balsamic Chicken w/ Pears!

  • […] Kelly from New Leaf Wellness shows you how to make 6 Crockpot Freezer Meals in 30 Minutes. […]

    • Alicia says:

      The recipe for the chicken looks great! Is it okay to use fresh mushrooms and pears? Some things get a little wonky in the freezer; I didn’t know if you’ve tried it with fresh stuff. Thanks!

  • Denise says:

    Where do u get the labels?

  • Sophie says:

    CAn you buy a big bag of frozen chicken breasts. Or would that mess it up ?

    • Kelly says:

      Yes, you can absolutely use frozen. I’m not a big fan of store-bought frozen meat, but if you’re used to eating it go for it! Add it right to the bag frozen (don’t thaw it ahead of time). Won’t mess up anything at all!

  • Mary says:

    Hi – are there any meatless freezer crockpot recipes that can be shared? Thanks so much!

    • Kelly says:

      Hi Mary! I don’t have a lot because we eat meat with dinner almost every night. There is a recipe for garden vegetable soup in my Easy & Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook. I’m planning to share it for free in my freezer cooking session next week, so your timing is perfect. I also have a vegetable barley soup in my 15-Minute Freezer Recipes Cookbook, but that recipe isn’t online anywhere else.

      I will absolutely keep vegetarian meals in mind for future recipes. Thank you for your input!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Mary,

      My daughter is vegetarian and I have a small crockpot just for her. I made two half batches of each recipe and substituted her vegetarian substitutes. When it calls for chicken or pork I used the Quorn Naked Breasts, used the Morningstar Ground for hambuger, and Smart Life Beefless Tips for steak. I’ve used these products in her crockpot before and they’ve been fine. I really like when she’s eating the same meals as everyone else.

  • nilima says:

    if you have any vegetarian food for slow cooker. can you post it

    • Kelly says:

      Nilima, I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a lot of vegetarian recipes because we eat meat with dinner most nights. I would recommend checking out Once a Month Meals website. They have TONS of freezer recipes and I’m sure there are vegetarian ones that will work for you.

      Otherwise, there’s a recipe for garden vegetable soup in my Easy & Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook that I’m planning to share in my freezer cooking session next week. I also have a vegetable barley soup in my 15-Minute Freezer Recipes Cookbook, but that recipe isn’t online anywhere else.

      I’ll look for vegetarian recipes in the future. Thank you for your comment!

  • Brenda says:

    The freezer meals sound great, but I am just wondering how many adults would you say each meal would serve when frozen according to these recipes?

    • Kelly says:

      I would say 3-4. The balsamic chicken and pork chops will depend on the cuts of meat. I can get anywhere from 2-4 pieces of meat in a pound and I usually estimate one piece of meat per person.

  • KJWeise says:

    I work a regular job, so cooking time of 8-9 hours is best for me. That way, I can just throw stuff in the crock pot & turn it on as I leave for work; when I get home, dinner is ready. Is there any reason why I can’t just put everything in the crock pot frozen to get those extra 2-3 hours cooking time?

    • Kelly says:

      Thawing the meal helps it cook more evenly and safely (especially for meals with raw meat). Plus, if you freeze your meat flat in your freezer, it will end up being a flat square block that is difficult to fit in an oval crockpot. If I were you, I’d buy a crockpot with a timer that you can program to switch to warm. If that’s not an option right now, I know some people use light timers to turn off their regular crockpots an hour or two before they get home.

    • Steph82 says:

      KJWEISE: I have made plenty of freezer meals for the purpose of coming home and having dinner on the table quickly. I don’t usually thaw mine and they turn out ok. They do go in the crock pot in a block form as Kelly says. Sometimes the chicken gets a bit dried out, but it is not too bad. Hopefully you will have the same luck.

  • Stephanie says:

    Thanks for sharing these! I really prefer crockpot dishes that don’t require cooking ahead of time – because my main goal with the slow cooker is to save as much time as possible 😉 Also love the idea of prepping double batches, even more efficient.

  • Nicole says:

    This recipe set came at a perfect time! My store has both boneless chicken breasts & boneless pork chops on sale BOGO! I’m pretty sure I have some of the other stuff already too. I’m really looking forward to trying these recipes!

  • Krista says:

    Hi Kelly, have had one of the pork chop meals – how did it turn out if so?

    thanks k

  • Sara says:

    Are those cards you made or bought then taped to the bags? Or are they stickers?

    • Kelly says:

      I designed them and I tape them on. (I typically use shipping tape, but had to use packaging tape for these meals and it didn’t work as well.)

      The labels are included in my No Cook Freezer Meals eBook. I also sell them as a separate download in my “shop” tab for .99 cents.

  • […] Freezer Meals in 30 Minutes via New Leaf Wellness (who needs an […]

  • B says:

    Just curious if there is an idea to add more liquid to the recipes? I tried the pork chops and found that mine were quite dry and there was not enough liquid to cover the meat, and so the soy burnt, and it had an odd flavor. I will make this again, I am thinking of adding pineapple juice, more soysauce and maybe some broth and or water. Does anyone have suggestions for the other dishes? Thanks in advance!

    • Kelly says:

      I don’t recommend adding a lot of liquid. It sounds like your pork chops were overcooked, so I’d shorten the cooking time next time you make them (some crockpots are quite powerful!). Sorry it didn’t work out this time!

  • Maddy says:

    Can you re-freeze these meals after you’ve cooked it in the crockpot? I’m single so it’s hard to finish everything before it goes bad. I wasn’t sure if it was bad to freeze the ingredients multiple times…

  • Jenna says:

    Hi
    So I actually mix up the cornbread batter then pour on top of what’s already in crockpot?
    Thank you 🙂

  • Mike says:

    I really like the idea of being able to prepare the ingredients for slow cooker meals ahead of time but my girlfriend has gluten allergy and I’m struggling to come up with a good alternative to the condensed tomato soup, any suggestions?

  • Renee says:

    I loved the Mexican/chicken chili, but the other two recipes just didn’t taste good to my family. I was sad that I had to waste the ingredients but I guess that happens sometime. I will for sure make the Mexican chili again, it was outstanding! Thank you for sharing your recipes!

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks so much for your feedback! After eating both bags of balsamic chicken, we decided the flavor was too strong for the pears so I would omit them in the future. If you’re looking for more freezer recipes, checkout my more recent freezer crockpot soup post. Those are some of our faves!!

  • Amy says:

    Kelly, Do you have a ‘go to’ timer slow cooker that you use? Long story short, I’ve yet to find a programmable slow cooker that will work for longer than 3 months. I’ve tried the programmable Bella and Crock-Pot 6 qt slow cookers, the Bella slow cooker lasted for about 3 months and the Crock-Pot slow cooker went out after one use, which happened to be the day after I made 25 crockpot freezer meals. 🙂 Any suggestions?

  • Susan says:

    Odd question, but I am thinking of buying your books for my elderly parents. Is it possible to print the recipes for them? My plan was to make a few and take them over and then leave the recipes in print form for my dad, who does all of their cooking now. He’s 80, so paper is the only way to go with him, trust me! They keep forgetting to eat and the best thing I can come up with is crock pot cooking, since I think the smell of cooking food might remind them to eat breakfast and lunch by the time dinner is ready. It would be easier for him to freeze the leftovers for the rest of the week too. They have been eating out ALL the time and man, restaurant food is so unhealthy!

    • Kelly says:

      Yes, all of the eBooks are pdf files that are formatted to print on regular 8.5×11″ paper. 🙂 I love making freezer meals for my parents and grandparents.

  • Julie says:

    Hi Kelly! It’s so generous of you to share not only the idea but the grocery lists, recipes, and side dish recommendations. Amazing. Looking forward to trying these in an attempt to become more time-efficient while maintaining healthy food habits for Ironman training. I believe these will be tremendously helpful in my mission!

  • Jen says:

    Hi there. So excited to try these recipes. I’m a huge crockpot fan! I have two questions. I have five people that would be eating these, me, hubby, 19yr daughter, 12 yr son and 8 yr daughter. Would these be enough to feed us all ? Also wondering if you can use canned pineapple and pears ? Thanks so much 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      I would use two pounds of meat for that many people. Also, I’ll be honest and tell you that the vinegar sauce was just too strong. The chicken was good, but we couldn’t eat the pears or mushrooms. If you make that recipe, I’d only use 1-3 tablespoons of vinegar. (Or, substitute one of the chicken recipes from my Costco freezer meal post, because those are some of our favorite recipes.)

      Yes, I think canned fruit would work fine.

      • Jen says:

        Thank you for the tip. Lol my husband was searching all over the store for that vinegar.
        I’d have to agree that this is very generous of you. Your post are so extremely helpful. I’m so happy to have found it. Thanks again.

  • Colleen says:

    If I wanted to make the meal and cook that day, should I add any liquid since nothing is frozen? And what would you recommend for the Hawaiian Chicken?

  • Carla says:

    Hi Kelly.
    Love the crockpot meal plans. I love using the crockpot, leaves me more time to spend with the family. Can you please add me to you mailing list?

    Carla

  • Trista says:

    these look great.

    I’m looking to cook a meal in like 20 minutes with a croc pot from start to finish. Is this possible?

    Thank you.

  • Brooke says:

    Hey Kelly, these are great ideas! I just noticed something… The original balsamic chicken with pears and mushrooms calls for 1/3 c of balsamic to 4 lbs of chicken, but your recipe download says 1 c balsamic to 1 lb of chicken. This seems like A LOT of balsamic! Did you actually do this high of a balsamic to chicken ratio? I see in the comments you said it was a bit strong, and I’m wondering if that’s why…

    • Kelly says:

      Yes! No wonder the balsamic taste was too strong! Either OAMM changed their recipe or I totally screwed up. Sorry about that!

  • […] crockpot meals, or just crockpot meals in general. The one I have been using recently is  https://newleafwellness.biz/2014/09/01/6-freezer-crockpot-meals-30-minutes/ There’s so many different ones on there! I love that I can just gather the ingredients, […]

  • Rachael says:

    Hi, I note your pork medallion & pineapple looking bag? Can you slow cook chunks like this? What happens?

  • Kim says:

    Hi, I’ve made several freezer meals over the last few days with chicken and marinades. For some reason the chicken freezes, but the marinade doesn’t freeze at all or only freezes to the point of mush. Is this normal and is it still safe to eat these meals? The first recipe had oil which I was told doesn’t freeze so I’ve been sure to use marinades without oil and specifically labeled as freezer meals since then, but am still having this problem.

    • Kelly says:

      As long as your freezer is set to 0 degrees F, I’m sure they’re fine. I think that’s normal for liquids that don’t contain any water. Also, I freeze marinades with oil all the time – Don’t worry about them not turning into a solid. They’re delicious!

  • Nicole says:

    I know it sounds crazy, but could you pull them out of the freezer in the morning and cook them over the stove instead of the crockpot?

    • Kelly says:

      I think I would probably bake them instead. You could cook the chili on the stovetop, but I would chop the chicken before freezing if you go that route because it won’t shred.

  • abbie says:

    I made the balsamic chicken one today and we couldn’t eat it due to the very strong acidic taste of the vinegar, definitely only use a very small amount if you are brave enough to try it. I am trying the pineapple pork recipe tomorrow. Crossing my fingers. Thanks for all the recipes and prepping tips! Going to work on some of my own now that I think I have the hang of it. The balsamic one was so low in my 6 quart, what size crockpot do you use? I know they work best when almost full. Thanks again! Here’s hoping for a better result tomorrow. 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      I like my 6-qt slow cooker best, but also have a 4-qt. Crockpots work best when they are least 1/3 full, but no more than 2/3. Some of my chicken recipes seem to be less than that, but still turn out OK. Thanks for sharing, Abbie!

  • Laura Jewell says:

    where do you get the recipe sticky labels?

    • Kelly says:

      I designed them for my No Cook Freezer Meals eBook. They are printed on regular computer paper and you attach them to the bags with clear shipping tape. I send a similar version to my email subscribers for free.

  • Robin says:

    Hi! I love this idea! My neighbor and I decided to get together and make a bunch up together (with a glass of wine for extra fun) and stock our freezers. So, thanks for the recipes, ideas and freezer labels. I do have a question, I had the ingredients for the Hawaiian Chicken, so just to try it out, I assembled it, froze it and pulled it out today. I feel like there is not enough liquid to keep it from drying out. Should I be adding something else when I put it in the crock pot? Thanks!

  • Chris says:

    Can you use canned pineapple chunks and should you drain the juice for the Hawaiian pork chops?

  • Heather roberts says:

    Got a question on the Hawaiian chicken recipe do you only add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce? Is the no other liquid? Trina to find it on th er recipe FL want to try it .

  • Lisa says:

    I noticed most meals cook in 4-6 hours if thawed the night before. I’m at work longer than that and want to know if I could cook for 10 hours on low and get the same results? .

    • Kelly says:

      It depends on the size/strength of your crockpot. If you have a 4-quart or smaller crock, soups/chilis/roasts might do OK for that amount of time. They seem to do better with longer cooking times.

  • Angela says:

    Hi, I have a question about crock pots as I would live to do these freezer meals and use mine more. My crock pot is the new kind which heats up really really hot, even on the low setting. I understand that when it switches to keep warm, it is the same temp as the older crock pots were when they were cooking. So probably 60-70% of crockpot recipes out there have burned my food. I really do want to use the low setting and not keep warm setting all day. Do you have a solution or do I just need to stay away from recipes that don’t use lots of water or broth or liquid? Thanks!

    • Kelly says:

      If you are set on using your crockpot on its low setting I would only make recipes that do well with longer cooking times, like soups, chilis, stews, and roasts. I would definitely stay away from chicken breast recipes because they are easy to dry out.

  • Angela says:

    And to add to my comment. My crock pot specifically says it needs to have lots of liquid in it while cooking? So are all crock pots that way now?

    • Kelly says:

      I don’t think so. I have a couple of new ones and only use a lot of liquid for soup. I find adding extra water or broth only dilutes the flavor of most dishes. Plus I don’t like watery chicken or beef.

  • Keren Friday says:

    Thank you for generously sharing. I really needed some new crockpot ideas and these look fabulous. What is even more terrific, they are healthy! 🙂

  • Patty Mashike says:

    Is there a way that when you come up with a new recipe, that it can automatically be sent to us? I love this idea and I love the new recipes and sometimes I forget to check back. It’s just my memory is bad. It would be helpful for me if they were sent to my email. Please let me know. Tyvm.

    • Kelly says:

      Hi Patty! If you look at the right-hand side of my blog there is an option to “get new posts via email.” If you add your email there you will get an email every time I add something new. (If you’re on your phone or tablet, it will be on the bottom of the screen instead of the righthand side.)

  • Pearl says:

    Where can I find the recipee for pineapple pork chops it doesnt say how much brown sugar or how much pineapple orlow sodium for the crock pot i could not find how much ingredients to put in the pork chops
    Thank You
    Pearl

  • Della says:

    I see, I supospe that would have to be the case.

  • Kara says:

    I made the hawaiian chicken (but used pork chops as you said you have) and was very disappointed. While the meat was tender, the sauce was very bitter. I even added more sugar at the end to try to compensate. I know the pineapple was sweet (I used fresh) as I ate some of it before freezing it. Sorry, this was not a keeper recipe for me. This was my first freezer recipe of yours to try. I will try some others!

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