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The crockpot has to be one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. I love getting a meal prepped in the morning, and then smelling it cooking throughout the day. I probably already make a crockpot meal at least once a week, but knowing that we only have about 4 more weeks until we meet our new baby, I have a feeling I’ll be using the crockpot even more.
Typically prep work for the crockpot is not overly time-consuming, but I know with a new baby in the house, every moment of work makes a difference during a packed day. That’s where crockpot freezer meals come into play. All of the prep work is done ahead of time, so that on the day of, all you need to do is dump and cook.
These are a few of my favorite products that help make the process smooth and simple if you are doing the prep work by yourself: Gallon freezer Bags, Bag holder (acts like an extra set of hands when you are loading up the bag), and a Sharpie.
I’ve already prepped a fair number of meals that just need to be heated in the oven – check out more details in this post here. To round out my pre-baby meal prep, I made a batch of crockpot freezer meals. Here is a list of some of my favorite recipes to prep for crockpot freezer meals.
Sweet Potato and peanut stew
These are some of my all-time favorite flavors. Any meal that has sweet potatoes or peanuts is bound to be something I like. But combine the two, it certainly makes for a winner. This recipe comes from Pinch of Yum, who has a great selection of recipes. I’ve used a number of their recipes previously, and they have always turned out great.
When selecting recipes for crockpot freezer meals, I had a few goals. The first was to make sure it is something that the whole family would enjoy. The second is to make sure that it is a healthy meal. With a newborn, I want to make sure we are eating and feeling our best to be at our best for a little one. Another thing when considering recipes for our freezer meals is that I wanted them to have variety.
wild rice soup
Since most of our baby’s early days will be in the hottest months of the Texas summer, soup does not necessarily seem like an obvious choice. But there is something about wild rice soup (recipe here) that is comforting any time of the year. Especially when you are tired and looking for a comforting and healthy meal. We didn’t have wild rice available at the store when I was doing meal prep, so I went for a wild rice blend.
A delicious meat sauce is a great use of the crockpot as it allows the meat to become super tender while cooking throughout the day. It also allows all that flavor to soak into the sauce. My favorite way to eat the beef ragu (recipe here), is to serve it over large egg noodles. If you want to really round out this meal, a couple of pieces of garlic bread and a caesar salad are the perfect way to do it!
The first time I tried chicken tinga, we were over at our neighbor’s house watching the Szuperbowl. It was incredibly flavorful and made amazing tacos. Living in Texas, tacos are a staple in our weekly meal plans, and we love to get creative with what we put in them. After having chicken tinga at our neighbors, this has become a regular in our taco rotation. Check out the crockpot chicken tinga recipe we like here.
Korean BBQ Beef
I’m always looking for ways to make food that tastes like take-out from a local restaurant but is a bit healthier. This recipe definitely hits that spot for us, as it reminds us of take-out from a Korean restaurant nearby. Slow cooking the meat in a crockpot makes it delightfully tender and easily shredded to serve over homemade fried rice or steamed veggies.
Hawaiian Chicken Tacos
Shock – another taco recipe! But the best part is how different it tastes from the other taco recipe that I posted above. There is something about pineapple that makes you feel like you are on vacation or are eating the perfect dish for summer. This will probably be one of the recipes we eat first after Baby B makes their arrival since we will still be in the heat of summer.
Italian beef sandwiches
Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Italian beef sandwiches were a staple of local food choices. I think there were 3 different restaurants specializing in Italian beef sandwiches within 5 miles of our house. Whenever out-of-town family visited, there were always two things we would always eat – Italian beef sandwiches and deep-dish pizza. These are two of the best Chicago foods, in my personal opinion. This recipe is a pretty good replica for the sandwiches I grew up with, and the prep work is quite easy too!
Cube steak with gravy
Cube steak with gravy was my comfort meal growing up. Any time I was recovering from surgery or was having a bad day, my mom would make this meal, and it made me feel just a little bit better. I figured that recovering from childbirth definitely deserved making my favorite comfort meal. My favorite way to eat cube steak is to pair it with mashed potatoes and green beans. Very simple and very delicious! When I’ve made this meal in the past – I typically cook it all at once on the stove, but this crockpot recipe is great for saving a lot of additional time.
Gumbo is not something my husband and I frequently make, but I love the variety that it brings to this list of crockpot freezer meals. Gumbo is a great use of the crockpot since it lets all of the flavors meld together during the day. Plus, it’s a great way to include some okra in our diet. To me, okra is such a funky vegetable that I don’t always know how to use. Although – confession – I do love some fried okra as an appetizer. But using okra in this gumbo recipe is a much healthier version for my family.
Alright mamas-to-be, have you started making any freezer meals to prep for the arrival of your little one. And how much time do you have left to go? Let me know in the comment section below.