Take away all that decision-making and save yourself lots of time with freezer to slow cooker meals! All of the prep is done ahead of time. And in just an afternoon, you can put together an assortment of homemade meals to feed your hungry household for weeks. Easy meal planning tips.
From Freezer to Slow Cooker Cooking
Getting a healthy and delicious dinner on the table every night of the week can be a challenge for busy families. Meal planning and prepping can help to make the task of healthy family dinners easier and so can freezer meals that you can take directly from the freezer to the slow cooker. Is there anything easier than grabbing a plastic bag out of the freezer in the morning, pouring the contents into the slow cooker, and setting the timer? Nope, there really isn’t. And after all that you can now expect to have a delicious home-cooked meal at the end of the day.
If you don’t have much experience with freezer cooking you can learn more about it here and if you are new to the idea of meal planning this post will help get you started. Home-prepared meals that go straight from the freezer to the slow cooker are often referred to as “dump” meals. The meaning is behind the name, Typically because all that is needed is for you to pull them from the freezer and pour or “dump” them into the slow cooker.
Below we will go through the necessary tips to making your freezer to slow cooking meals experience simple.
Freezer to Slow Cooker Cooking Tips
Before you begin preparing your freezer to slow cooker meals you will need to do a little research and find some recipes to try. You can save time and money if you prepare more than one of each meal, and you will have the benefit of a freezer full of delicious meals. Once you have decided on your recipes you will need to make your shopping list to gather all of your ingredients.
While you are researching it is imperative that you pick a good time for you to prep and create your “dump” meals. I tend to pick a weekend morning. Then I grab my cup of coffee turn on my favorite radio station and get to work. I often enlist my kiddos to help set up baggies and labels.
Ingredients that do not fair well from freezing
Freezing can simply change the texture of your food. If you are batch cooking to freeze and the meal didn’t fair well after cooking it simply will not make it after freezing.
There are a few ingredients that you may not want to include in your freezer to slow cooker meals. Dairy products don’t tend to freeze very well and may separate making your finished dish look a little weird. You can still use milk or dairy in your slow cooker recipe, just add it near the end of the cooking time.
Raw potatoes also tend not to freeze very well, if any part of your potato is not fully submerged in liquid it will turn brown or black in color and look unappetizing. It’s easy enough to peel and dice a potato on your cooking day if you think that might be a problem.
Another item that you should be wary of putting in your freezer meals for the slow cooker is cooked pasta or rice. They can become too mushy if they are fully cooked and then frozen giving your completed dish an odd texture. Pasta and rice cook quickly enough that they can be added to your slow cooker near the end of the cooking time.
Other food that do not freeze well
- Cooked creamed soups
- Any food previously fried
- Sour cream
- Mayonaise based pasta salads
- Fulling cooked rice or pasta
- Raw celery
- Crumb toppings on casseroles – added after defrosting and before cooking.
- Uncooked beans – if added to a saucy meal will absorb any and all liquid.
Finding the best freezer to slow cooking recipes
You should be able to find lots of tried and true freezer to slow cooker meal recipes online. In fact, there are whole websites dedicated to it. If you want to keep it really simple to start with chicken breasts or pork chops. Simply add your favorite marinade and some chopped vegetables like bell peppers and onions in a freezer bag will make an easy and delicious freezer to slow cooker meal. When it’s done cooking serve it over rice and you have a delicious, healthy meal for dinner.
Here are some of my favorite recipe books
Prep work Tips
- Once you have decided on your recipes and gathered your ingredients you just need to fill your Ziploc freezer bags. Let the air out and place them in the freezer flat.
- Don’t forget to take a sharpie and label your bag with the meal and its cooking instructions. These bag holders can make filling your freezer bags much easier.
- It is best to lay your bagged meals flat in the freezer. This is a big space saving time. Avoid placing filled bags of food on the door of the freezer. You may end up with a stucked back of food.
Don’t forget, time is on your side if done right
If you are taking your meals directly from the freezer and placing them in the slow cooker. It is important to note you will need to add one and a half hours of cooking time to the slow cooker to accommodate thawing. If you are going to be home during the cooking process, you can turn the slow cooker on high for the first hour and a half. After which you will need to then turn it back down to low.
You can pull your freezer meal out the day or night before. Then place your pre-prepped meal in the refrigerator to begin the thawing process. If the meal is thawed before you begin cooking, the cooking your time will be the same as if you were cooking it fresh.