Monday, January 7, 2013

Menu Monday: Crock Pot Edition EDIT Now with shopping lists!

Welcome to the first Menu Monday post of the year! I could lie and say this will be a list of what we're going to eat the day we'll eat it, but that's not how it works at my house. I buy groceries every 2 weeks (that's our pay cycle and the fewer times we shop, the less I spend!) and usually shop at Aldi, though I'll hit up Kroger for meat. Once upon a time I went to many stores and coupon shopped and did amazingly well. I just feel like I lack the time to watch sales, shop multiple times, and energy to do it well. So this works for me. 

I shop, plan out 14 dinners, food for lunches, and food to grab on the go for breakfast. I plan to use my freezer more this year, since we have had too many convenience foods since I started working. I plan to do this in stages (there's no way I can cook for a month in a weekend), so this week was dedicated to Crock Pot cooking (well preparing for the crock pot).  

So basically I had to turn this (click here for the shopping list):

Into meals for my family.

I set up a work station and started chopping veggies. I cut up celery, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions (red and white) and white potatoes. I also had frozen broccoli and corn to add to the bags.

Then I filled the bags based on what meals I was making. Most got all the veggies, but some (like Chicken Broccoli Alfredo) didn't. 

Once I chose the veggies for each meal, I washed the cutting board and got out the one for meat. I cut up chicken breasts and added them to the bags of Alfredo, White Chili, Teriyaki, and Angel Hair Pasta. I washed the board and cut up a big roast for both roast beef and beef stew. I bagged pork chops and ribs, but I didn't add anything to them. Some add a barbecue mixture but I like to cook mine before adding sauce. I'm not a fan of a lot of sauce so I let my family add what they want after it's cooked. 

Most of these meals are complete enough to put in a crock pot and eat at the end of the day. Others have more steps, and I'll write them on the bag. The good thing to this is that it's more of a method than a recipe. If you don't like an ingredient, you don't have to add it. If you want to add something, you can. I fyou have seasonal produce to use, add it. Figure out what works for you!

The ten meals in my freezer now are:

  • Chicken Alfredo (Chicken Breasts, Broccoli, and Alfredo sauce)
  • White Chicken Chili (Chicken Breasts, sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, corn, onion, garlic, taco seasoning, half a can of rotel) I have to add Chicken Broth and beans (I cook dried beans and freeze so these are already in the freezer) when cooking. 
  • Sweet Potato Chili (Sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, celery, onions, garlic) just add a can of diced tomatoes, beans, and water when cooking.
  • Beef Stew (beef, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, onion). Just add water and seasonings when cooking.
  • Roast Beef (beef roast, carrots, potatoes, onion, onion soup mix). Just add water and seasonings when cooking.
  • Chicken Teriyaki  (Chicken, broccoli, carrots, celery, Teriyaki sauce, garlic) I just serve over rice. 
  • Chicken Angel Hair (chicken, red onion). This one is less of a crockpot meal, but it was easy to cut up the chicken at the same time. This is made using angel hair pasta, Italian dressing, and grape tomatoes.
  • Ribs. Just add BBQ and water when cooking. This usually has sides I make separately like baked beans and salad.
  • Pork Chops. Again this is cooked on it's own. I can add BBQ or any seasonings depending on how I want to have it that week. I cook the sides separately as well. I like potatoes (mashed or fried) and veggies. 
  • Veggie Soup. (All the veggies that were left). I add tomatoes, broth, and seasonings. I love to make a crusty bread to serve this with. It doesn't feel like it was what was left over :) 

I love knowing that I have dinner ready to throw in the crock pot for those busy days, and being able to control what goes in each meal.

You can follow me on Pinterest to see what recipes I've filed away for future Menu Mondays!


  1. I am seriously impressed and inspired by this! I have late labs three days per week, which means picking up the kids after 17:00, with little time to prep for dinner when we all get home.

    I might need to sit down and figure out some do-ahead meals and make up a week or two in advance, and I'll definitely bug you for more tips!

    1. Thank you! I had the first crock pot meal today and it was really wonderful to come home and have dinner DONE but also be something I feel good about feeding my family :)

  2. LOVE THIS!! I will totally be stealing at least 75% of your meals.

    1. Awesome! :) As long as you don't take them out of my freezer ;)

    2. Aw man! Foiled again. I guess I'll have to make them up instead. ;)

    3. Oh, and if you don't mind me asking, what is your shopping list?

    4. I will work on my shopping list and post it for you later (today was madness and I lack the brain cells), but I listed a lot of what I used in each bag if you need a place to start. I used an entire bag of carrots, celery, 2-3 lbs of potatoes and 3lbs sweet potatoes, about 4 lbs of chicken breasts, a 4lb roast (for 2 meals), ribs and pork chops, 2 bags of frozen corn, 2 bags frozen broccoli... tbs lol.

  3. Love this! Most of these are actually meals that accommodate our diets. So you just cut the meat up and put it in raw? Do you thaw before putting it all in the slow cooker?

    1. I cut it up raw, freeze it, then dump the frozen contents into the Crock Pot. This has worked really well because my crock has been burning things, but hasn't the past 2 times I've used it. I just have to make sure to add plenty of water.

    2. I love that most of these meals will work for you too! It wasn't really intentional, but I wanted to cut back on the filler bread that we go for and up the veggies (so throwing them all in a soup or chili works well to make sure they are eaten ;))


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