This is my first summer with three actively moving little children and wow, it is craziness sometimes. I feel like the summer has gotten away from me and one thing I could be doing better in is meals. So I committed this week to freeze several slow cooker meals, so we don’t have any excuse for not knowing what’s for dinner and then spending more than we should—maybe even eating out, especially on weekends. Please tell me you have that problem sometimes too! (Plus, as a sidenote, I’m excited because this should give me a little more afternoon time to work on some personal projects instead of just prepping dinner!)
It only took me about 2 hours last night (and I’d say I even worked slowly, trying to figure out how I’d organize a system like this the best, since this was the first time I did it this way). I don’t know exactly how much it cost me because I used a lot of random stuff that I have purchased on sale and just had on hand, but I know I am definitely at less than $1 per serving. Each of these slow cooker meals will serve five of us, plus should have leftovers for my husband’s lunch the following day. I’m figuring each bag cost me about $5. I could have spent less I am sure, and been more frugal in my purchases, but in desperation I just had to get these meals made for some family sanity!
The worst part for me was finding recipes that I liked, that were FREE, and that had the ingredients I had or felt I could afford. I will admit that I spent several hours researching recipes.
Since chicken and pork chops were on a decent sale this week at Redner’s, I went ahead and focused on recipes with those ingredients.
I was really impressed with the recipes I was able to find at NewLeafWellness, through Money Saving Mom (which I am occasionally addicted to following), but it did take me quite a bit of time to find ones that were FREE and not part of their recipe eBook. I loved how these recipes used fresh ingredients and sweeteners like honey.
I also used pinterest and ended up finding a post I really liked at A To Z Family Tree, with several pork chop recipes. I want to try some of the chicken recipes sometime too! Probably the next time I see chicken on sale (I watch for about $2/lb or less when possible). The ingredients were really simple!
Here are the recipes I made:
- Cinnamon Apple Pork Chops
- Honey Mustard Pork Chops
- Crockpot Cabbage Casserole
- Crockpot Applesauce BBQ Chicken
- Chicken Curry
- Crockpot Italian Chicken
- Slow Cooker Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce
I did stretch the meat a little bit and not always put the full amount of meat in each bag.
TIP > I knew I should have a way of knowing what recipes I put in the freezer, because I likely won’t remember what’s available. So I had the brilliant idea to clip the recipes I printed out on the front of my deep freezer. Then when I take the meal out, I can take the recipe with it, and either toss or save if its a winning meal favorite!
Hope this inspired you to try some freezer meals or try setting a goal where you think you could use some improvement this summer. Enjoy the weather and the plethora of fun frugal activities we have in Lancaster, and forget about dinner until dinner time! Let me know how it goes.