Remember a few months ago when I wrote about the brilliant idea of freezer-to-crockpot cooking that I discovered thanks to Stephanie at Mama And Baby Love? It’s become a mainstay in my kitchen, and I can’t imagine not having bags of crockpot-ready food in the freezer. Every few weeks I prep several bags of our favorite lentil soup and Stephanie’s BBQ veggies (you can add chicken or not – it works either way). Then I can pull them out of the freezer and dump them into the crock pot on days when I know I’m going to be extra busy. It’s especially great on days when I’m running errands and not home during the day – I love walking in to a house that smells like a yummy dinner, and I especially love that all I have to do in the morning – when I’m busy getting ready for the day ahead – is dump a bag into the crock pot and add some water if it’s a soup. Hard to beat that.
Anyway, Stephanie has created a cookbook of 20 of those genius freezer-to-crockpot meals! She’s got vegetarian meals and meals that include meat, although I’ve found that some of the meat-based meals work well if I leave out the meat and then add chopped tempeh or Field Roast sausages near the end of the cooking time. As an aside, I’ve also been adding some meat back into my own diet. My husband and sons have always eaten meat, but I had stopped eating it for a few years. It’s still pretty scarce around here, but I do eat it sometimes. I love that Stephanie’s meals are a great way to include a little meat in a meal that is mostly vegetable-based (I tend to go heavier on the veggies and lighter on the meat when I make any meat-and-vegetable recipe).
Stephanie’s Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes includes shopping lists, nutritional info, and cute little labels that you can print out to stick on your freezer bags. And the whole thing is only
$5.99! (EDIT: the book has been updated and improved. The new price is $9.99 and you can see more details in this post). f I love having these freezer-to-crockpot meals on hand for my own family, and they’re also a great way to take food to someone else, like a family that has just had a baby or is dealing with an illness. The recipient doesn’t have to worry about keeping track of a casserole dish and getting it back to you, and if you squish the contents out a bit in your bag and lay it flat to freeze, it will make a nice flat brick that will be easy to fit into anyone’s freezer.
I’ve been making our favorite lentil soup and a couple of Stephanie’s previously-available recipes for several months now, and I’m definitely a big believer in the benefits of freezer-to-crockpot cooking. So I’m especially thrilled to have Stephanie’s new e-book in hand (which she graciously sent to me so that I could check it out) so that I can add some new meals to our freezer stash. I love how simple everything is. No-frills cooking at it’s best. There are no exotic or hard-to-find ingredients. Stephanie reminds me of myself when it comes to her approach to food: it should be nutritious, with no mystery ingredients. She explains how she goes about prepping the meals and answers some FAQs at the beginning of the book (yes, she freezes potatoes raw and they turn out just fine). This cookbook isn’t the one you’d turn to if you’re making Thanksgiving dinner for a group of foodies. But for everyday meals – when you’re busy, tired, and stretched in several directions at once – they are perfect.
If your current fallback plan is pizza delivery on busy days, think how much money your could save – how much better your diet will be – if you spend a few hours a month chopping ingredients and stashing bags in your freezer. Batch cooking lots of meals at one time and freezing them is a popular time saver in the kitchen. But prepping for the slow cooker is even easier, since you don’t have to cook anything on your prep day – you just chop the ingredients and put them in the freezer bags. I hope you enjoy Stephanie’s recipes as much as we do!