Wednesday, January 8, 2014

20 Crockpot Meals each under $7!

Hey Hey and Happy Wednesday to you! If you're anywhere near the Midwest you probably have Cabin Fever like me! I've been stuck at home for about five days now. What did I fill my time with these past couple days being couped up in my house and having nothing but my dog and husband to entertain me?!?! Glad you asked. I made 20 new (and some old) crockpot meals to get us through the rest of the month!
Yep! There's 20 meals in there! I know it may not look like it, but I promise they're all there.
Each meal is made for 2 adults for dinner and we always have enough for at least one lunch the next day. If you have a small family use the recipes as is, if you have a larger family just try doubling the meat.

I know a lot of people say to thaw out the meals 24 hours ahead of time, I don't. They say to move the meal from the freezer to the fridge the night before...I don't. They say not to add chicken stock or shredded cheese, or uncooked pasta...I do. I take my bags out in the morning and run hot water over them if I need to in order to make sure everything fits in the pot. The hot water helps make the contents in the bag break into pieces and fit in the crock pot better. I never have a problem with cooking any of these this way and I want to share them with you because they are so.darn.easy.

This time I'll attach the shopping list to this post. Now I want to fully disclose here...I did get all the groceries for these meals under $140 ($140/20=$7), however I had several of these spices already. So if you are a super new cook with no seasonings other than salt and pepper, this might cost you a little more. But then your pantry will be stocked with awesome herbs that will last you (hopefully) a while. Now go grab your crockpot and lets get crockpotting!

I break this process down into a little more detail here, my first round of crockpot cooking. First thing I do is pick out my meals (duh!). Then I go through each recipe and put each menu item on a spreadsheet. Then I total up everything I need. Next I go in my kitchen and see what I already have and don't need to purchase and take it off the list. Then it's off to the store. Once everything's bought and home, the chopping starts. You'll want to chop up all your veggies (I left out onions again in all these meals, but feel free to add them if you like them), meats and cheeses so that everything is ready to be thrown in the bags. Lucky for me I had my wonderful husband to help me!
Mmm...nothing is as sexy as a man who's not afraid to get his hands dirty doing something that's considered "girly"! Does that even make sense?! Ha. Cabin Fever people...I apologize. Moving on. Once everything is chopped, you'll want to label your bags with the name of the recipe and the instructions. That way you can just pull out the bag and know what you need to do. Drop in the meat you need in each bag and then go through each recipe dumping in what goes with it in each bag. You'll need to brown any ground beef and let it cool, I usually do that first. Fill your bags, lay them flat for easier storage, close it up, and freeze it until you're ready to make it. So go put on your favorite sweat pants, your comfiest shoes and pour a big ol glass of wine. Here we go!

BBQ Spareribs (makes 2 meals)
One of the bags got a hole in it, so I doubled it up.
2 lbs Country-style Spareribs, cut into large pieces
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Lay flat and freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour all contents into crock pot and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours.

I serve these with Homemade Cheese fries and a green veggie.

Bean Tater Tot Casserole (makes 2 meals)
1 lb ground beef, cooked
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb string beans, fresh or frozen
1 10 3/4 can cream of potato soup
1 Cup shredded cheese
21 oz bag frozen tater tots

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Lay flat and freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour all contents into crock pot and cook on high 2-3 hrs or low 4-6 hours.

*ignore the instructions on the bag

Cheesy Hash Browns (makes 2 meals)
1 smoked sausage, uncooked, cut into pieces
2 10 3/4 oz cans cheddar cheese soup
1 1/3 Cups buttermilk
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
2 lb frozen shredded hash browns
1/4 Cup parmesan cheese
2 tsp paprika

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Lay flat and freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour into crockpot and cook for 4-5 hours. I serve with green beans.

Golden Chicken and Noodles (makes 2 meals)
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 10 3/4 oz can broccoli cheese soup
1 Cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil
1 tsp pepper
Extra Wide Egg Noodles (used on day of serving)

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Lay flat and freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour into crock pot and cook for 5-7 hrs on low. Cook noodles and add to plate before adding chicken.

I serve these with mashed potatoes and a salad.

Lemon Garlic Chicken (makes 2 meals)
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 Cup water
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Lay flat and freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour into crock pot and cook on high 2 1/2-3 1/2 hrs or low 5-7 hrs. I serve this with macaroni and cheese and homemade bread sticks.
*I know the bag says 4-5hrs, I wrote down the wrong time.

Scalloped Potatoes & Chicken (makes 2 meals)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4-5 potatoes, sliced
1 10 3/4 oz cream of celery
1 soup can of milk
1 1/2 Cups Velveeta, cubed
1 Green pepper, chopped or sliced
salt and pepper

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Lay flat and freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour into crock pot and cook on high 3-4 hrs or low 6-8 hrs.

I serve with Parmesan Garlic Knots
*again, ignore cook time written on the bag

Tex Mex Chicken (makes 2 meals)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
4 Tbsp taco seasoning
4 Tbsp flour
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 Can corn
1 1/2 Cups salsa

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Lay flat and freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour into crock pot and cook on high 3-4 hrs, or low 6-8 hrs. Shred and serve.

I serve with Mexican cheese, sour cream and Fritos scoops.

White Chicken Chili (makes 2 meals)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 Cups chicken stock
2 Cans white beans, drained
1 Can chopped green chilies, drained
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp corn starch
4 tsp cumin
4 tsp chili powder
2 tsp salt/pepper

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Lay flat and freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour into crock pot and cook on low 4-5 hrs.

I add cheese and sour cream and serve with crescent rolls.
Macaroni and Cheese (makes 2 meals)
1 lb elbow macaroni
4 Cups shredded cheese
1 can evaporated milk
1 1/2 Cups milk
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T worchestershire sauce
1 package smoked sausage cut into cubes (not cooked)

Split all ingredients in half & place in bags. Freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, spray down crock pot with PAM really well, pour all contents into pot & cook on low 4-5 hrs, checking at 4 hours. Don't stir until ready to eat. I serve with broccoli & sub shredded chicken sometimes.
Loaded Potato Bacon Soup (makes 2 meals)
4-5 large russet potatoes, BAKED!
12 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped up
2/3 Cup butter
2/3 Cup flour
4 Cups chicken broth
3 Cups milk
4 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 Cups shredded cheese
2 oz Velveeta, cubed
1 Cup sour cream
1 tsp salt and pepper

This ones a little extensive, but I made it the same day I made all the meals. I made the potatoes and bacon while chopping everything up. For full instructions go here. Once it's cooked and cooled, split into two bags and freeze. On day of serving, reheat in crock pot for 2-4 hrs, checking after each hour.

There they are! All 20 crammed into my now full-to-the-max freezer. I want to address some questions I received last time. If you find you are away from home more than 8 hours a day, try using an automatic timer (like the one you use for Christmas lights) to turn your pot on a few hours after you've left the house. I use a 4 qt crockpot and most of the meals barely fill it half way, but they all still cook up great. Get to know your crockpot before you use it, if it's brand new. I learned a ton of helpful tips and found so many great recipes from this book I got for Christmas:

Here is the master shopping list, too. Sorry it's kind of crummy. Let me know if I forgot anything!

Ingredient                           Amount                               Seasoning           Amount
Ground Beef                      1 lb                                         Salt                         5 tsp
Country Style Pork Ribs 2 lbs                                       pepper                 5 tsp
Chicken                                                12                      seasoned salt    3 T
Smoked Sausage              2                                              flour                      1 cup
elbow macaroni                                1 lb                         taco seasoning  1
evaporated milk               1 can                                      parsley                 1 tsp
worchestershire sauce  1  T                                              basil                       1 tsp
egg                                         2                                     garlic powder     1 tsp
bacon                                    12 slices                           paprika                 1 tsp
butter                                   1 Cup                                chili powder       4 tsp
green onions                     4                                           cumin                    4 tsp
sour cream                         1 cup                                    
string beans                       1 lb                                        
Cream of potato               1 can                                     
cream of celery                 1 can
shredded cheese             11 cups                                
tater tots                             21 oz
green pepper                    2                                             
red pepper                         1                                             
Velveeta                              1 1/2 cups                                           
potatoes                              10
milk                                        11 Cups                                               
corn                                       1 cup                                    
salsa                                      1 1/2 cups
lemon juice                        3 T                                         
garlic                                      2 cloves                                               
broccoli cheese soup      2 cans                                   
noodles                          1 package
cheddar cheese soup     2 cans                                   
buttermilk                           1 1/3 cup
hash browns                      2 lbs                                      
parmesan cheese            1/4 cup                                
olive oil                                 4 T                                         
corn starch                          2 T                                         
chopped green chilies    1 can                                     
white beans                       2 cans                                   
chicken stock                     4 Cups                                  

**I linked up to simple supper tuesdaybuns in my oven, designed decor, coastal charm, nap-time creations, epic mommy adventures, dwellings, the heart of your home, between naps on the porch, by stephanie lynn, diy hshp, the chicken chick, made from pinterest, a little claireification, the country cook, tatertots and jello, serenity now, tidy mom, the jenny evolution, the self sufficient homeacre, bloom design, a glimpse inside, sweet bellaroos


  1. Wow. That looks like a lot of work but I'm sure it's worth it. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes, Darlene. Oh and I pinned.

  2. Wow, Elie, I am impressed! Even if I were snowed in, I don't think I'd have the ambition. Thanks for sharing the great ideas. I am pinning these right now. Have you shared this on my blog hop yet? If not, please do !!!! My readers love slowcooker recipe ideas.

  3. Oh my...this is great!! What a wonderful feeling to know you have at least 20 meals in your freezer to be able to pull out whenever you need them.
    And BTW, I have major cabin fever too!! Between everyone in my family having colds and the freezing weather, we have been pretty housebound since Christmas.

  4. Hi I am a new follower to your lovely blog (Via GFC)and it really feel pleasure meeting new awesome bloggers like you. Found you through Social Sunday Blog Hop. I would love it if you follow me back

    my blog:

  5. I should have cooked while we were snowed in! I live here in Indiana, too! We're close to the Michigan line and we got plenty of snow! I wrote down most of these recipes and I hope to use them to stock the freezer soon. I'm going to attempt to start meal planning and this could work perfectly for those days I don't want to cook!

  6. Oh wow, what a great way to use all of that time indoors! I wish I would have thought about doing that too haha [Midwest hollaaaa]. But all these recipes look great! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Why do you split the ingredients between two bags? I see it says it makes 2 meals, but I am assuming that means one meal for each person, not for different nights. (Newbee can ya tell)

    1. Since it's just Hubby and I right now, each meal makes plenty for us when I split the ingredients in half. Usually one chicken breast, most of the time shredded, along with everything else in the crock pot and our sides makes enough for the two of us. So if your family is bigger, try doubling the meat (and in some cases the seasonings) in each bag and you should still have enough for two meals. Hope this helps!

  8. Thanks for sharing!! I LOVE crockpot and freezer cooking! I can't wait to try out some of your recipes.

  9. I love to be organized! It is a lot of work but so worth it!
    Thanks for stopping by and linking up at Saturday Dishes.
    Diane Roark

  10. I love crock pot meals and the fact you did all these for $7 or less is great! Pinning this now!

  11. Canadian Baker & CookerJanuary 15, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    With the Cheesy Hash Browns, I was thinking of using ham instead of sausage since I have left over ham from a roast last night. How much would you suggest I use of the ham?

    Also, would you reduce your cook time on some of the recipes if you made it from fresh in the morning and started it right then and there?


  12. Thanks for sharing! I'm always looking for new recipes for my freezer :)

  13. Yum! Thanks for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope you will stop by and share again today!

  14. I wanted to share and let you know that I used some of your recipes (mostly modified versions) in my own crock pot freezer meal post!

  15. Thanks for sharing these, I can't wait to try. These are perfect for those busy nights- or the lazy ones :) Loaded Potato Bacon Soup sounds so delicious!
    Sammiey @

  16. The recipes look so yummy. I know my body would not allow me to do all at once, but since hubs and I are both disabled and by suppertime are too beat to cook, doing some would be helpful..Thanks. From New England and have been spared the worst so far. I found you through DIY Home Sweet Home. Evernote and Pinterest.

  17. Thanks for linking up at Whatever Goes Wednesday last week. Your crock pot meals were the most viewed link at last week's party, so we'll be highlighting them at tomorrow's link party. We hope you'll stop by and party with us again!!

  18. How long can you leave the meals in the freezer before they go bad?

  19. I'm always on the lookout for freezer meal - I pinned this. Thanks!

  20. Oh wow, I'd be set for several week's of crock pot cooking with these recipes. Thanks for sharing at Simple Supper Tuesday

  21. I must be doing something wrong because I've tried the Mac and cheese twice and it's not cooking properly. The noodles are still hard and the bottom is burnt. Any ideas?? Thanks! All the others came out great!!!

  22. Some ideas I have are to cook it on low. If you've been doing the high setting, maybe it cooks too fast. All crockpots are different, so maybe that setting is too high for this. When I make mine I start by spraying the pot like crazy, then add all the ingredients besides the pasta and wisk with a fork. Then I add the noodles and press them down so they are all "under water" (under the liquid). Then I sprinkle a cup of cheese over it and don't remove the lid until the end. If you cook this on low and it still turns out bad, try doing it for only 4 hrs on low, or 3 1/2. I've yet to have it burn on me...I'm actually making it right now, so try cooking on low for about 3 1/2 hours and see if it's burnt then.

  23. Ok , I had an unscheduled day off so I decided to give your 20 dinners a try. I'm happy to report that I completed them all, put them in the freezer and had the kitchen clean in 2 hrs and 55 minutes! I didn't race through them, I just had a few cheat items, like sliced frozen peppers, and a mandolin for the potatoes. I even made the loaded potato soup, just made the ingredients for that first then packaged it up last:) I can't wait to see how it all comes out of the slow cooker. Thanks for the info, please keep up the good work lady :)