Saturday, September 6, 2014

Crock Pot Overload | 38 Meals for $295

Okay, I went a little bananas this round of cooking. My husband said to me, "How do you come up with the weirdest numbers? Like why don't you just do 20 or 30?" The truth is, I don't say I'm going to do x amount of meals. My process is simply writing down meals I want to do. Then when the list is done, I go through and count, multiply it by two (because I usually make two of everything). This time I made 38 meals. 28 crock pot. 10 freezer. I shopped and Winco and spent $295. That comes out to about $7.75 per meal including tax.


(PS - I haven't been paying attention to my blog this summer. So, I apologize to those of you leaving comments that got responses weeks and months late.)

As a fair [and obvious] warning, this is a lot of food. Like, so much I thought my cart was going to break as I wheeled through the aisles. I even hesitated at check out about a few meals. But, I was committed. I pulled through. And I was rolling deep on the way home. :)

Here we go...

Menu |

Chicken Fajitas (2)
Beef Stroganoff (2)
Sausage & Peppers Subs (2)
Sweet Chili Chicken (2)
Spaghetti Sauce (2)
Creamy Tomato & Pesto Pasta Sauce (2)
Quinoa Chili (2)
Bacon Potato Soup (2)
PF Chang's Copycat Lettuce Wraps (2)
Hawaiian Pulled Pork (2)
Honey Apple Pork Loin (2)
Minestrone Soup (2)
Creamy Dumplings (2)
Zuppa Tuscana (2)
Dirty Rice (2) - Freezer
Mac & Cheese (2) - Freezer
Shepherd's Pie (2) - Freezer
Chicken Fettuccine (2) - Freezer
Lasagna (2) - Freezer


Grocery List |

Meat:
3 bags of chicken breasts
1 large (3 lb.-ish) package of beef strips or cubes
8 lbs. ground Italian sausage
10 lbs. ground beef
2 packages of bacon
1 12-15 lb. pork loin (will be cut into 4)

Seasoning & Sauces:
2 Fajita seasoning packets
2 stroganoff seasoning packets
1 bottle red wine (I chose pinot noir)
1 bottle of Sweet Chile sauce (next to the teriyaki sauce)
1 large bottle of teriyaki sauce
4 bottles of BBQ sauce
1 bottle of honey
Dried Basil
Bay Leaves
Rice Vinegar
Garlic or Garlic powder
Chili Powder
Rubbed Sage
Oregano
Red pepper flakes
Brown Sugar
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Olive Oil
Onion Powder
Salt and Pepper

Produce:
2 green bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
3 sweet onions
2 heads of broccoli
2 apples
1 bag large carrots (you'll need about 4-6)
1 stalk of celery
2 zucchinis
1 bag of baby spinach
6 potatoes (I used yellow)

Canned goods:
2 jars pesto sauce
8 cans marinara sauce
2 cans tomato paste
6 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans black beans
2 cans kidney beans
6 cans corn
4 cans cream of chicken
8 cartons of chicken broth
2 cans pineapple chunks
2 cans cannellini beans
2 cans of cheddar cheese soup
2 cans green beans
2 jars of Alfredo sauce

Freezer:
2 bags hash browns

Dairy:
3 packages cream cheese
4 small cartons of heavy cream
1 container of ricotta
2 large bags of sprinkle cheese (I used a Colby and cheddar mix)

Dried foods:
4 cups of brown rice (from the bulk section)
2 cup quinoa (from the bulk section)
2 packages instant mashed potatoes
Ditalini pasta noodles
2 packages of macaroni noodles
2 boxes fettuccine noodles
2 boxes of lasagna noodles
2 boxes of egg noodles
2 packages of spaghetti noodles
2 packages of tortillas
2 packages of hoagies

Other:
Gallon sized freezer bags
8 disposable trays
Slow Cooker bags (you might as well have some handy!)


When you get home...
1. Begin cooking ALL of the ground sausage and ALL of the ground beef (I cooked the beef in the crock pot on high while I put everything else together and did those meals last).
2. Defrost 3 large chicken breasts to cook for the fettuccine. Once defrosted, season up with garlic, salt, and pepper and pan fry.
3. Begin cooking noodles. You will need to cook the fettuccine, lasagna and macaroni noodles ONLY. The egg noodles, spaghetti noodles, and ditalini noodles are for the pantry to be used later.
4. Wash and prep produce. 1 onion and the orange, yellow, and one of the red peppers need to be cut in slices. The green pepper, other red pepper, and onion need to be diced. Cut up the potatoes in bite-sized chunks, the broccoli into florets, the carrots, celery and zucchini into bite-sized pieces, and the apples into thin slices.

Now start prepping...

Recipes |


Chicken Fajitas (2)
3 large chicken breasts
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/2 orange pepper
1/2 sweet onion
1 packet of fajita seasoning
1 cup water

8 hours on low
Update: These are good. I prefer thawing them and grilling them as opposed to slow cooking which turns them into shredded chicken tacos.

Beef Stroganoff (2)
1/2 (approximately 1.5 lbs.) of the beef cubes
1 package cream cheese
1 packet stroganoff seasoning
1 cup water
1 handful or so of diced onion

8 hours on low
Serve over the egg noodles in your pantry
Update: Yum.

Sausage & Peppers Subs (2) This one is a WINNER WINNER with my kids!

1 lb. cooked ground sausage
1 diced green pepper
1/2 diced red pepper
1/2 the bottle of red wine

8 hours on low
Serve on the hoagies you will freeze with the meals.
Update: Yum. Great crowd pleaser.

Sweet Chili Chicken (2)
4 chicken breasts
1/2 bottle of sweet chili sauce
1 cup water
1 cup teriyaki sauce
garlic powder
1 head of broccoli florets

8 hours on low
Serve over rice.
Update: My husband loves this. Add the broccoli during the last hour to 30 minutes. It gets too soggy otherwise.

Spaghetti Sauce (2)
1 bottle marinara sauce
1 can tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb. cooked ground beef
1 lb. cooked ground Italian sausage
1 tsp. pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Garlic Powder
Basil
1 bay leaf

8 hours on low
Serve over the spaghetti in your pantry.
Update: Yum.

Creamy Tomato & Pesto Pasta Sauce (2) Got this idea from Jen Hatmaker.
1 carton heavy cream
1 jar pesto
1 jar marinara sauce
1 lb. (approx.) cooked ground sausage

8 hours on low
Serve over noodles.
Update: Yum.

Quinoa Chili (2)
1 cup rinsed quinoa
1 cup water
1 can marinara/tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn
1 can rinsed black beans
1 can rinsed kidney beans
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Garlic

8 hours on low
Update: Yum.

Bacon Potato Soup (2) This is Maci's FAVORITE SOUP!
1 carton chicken broth
1 bag hash browns
1 can cream of chicken
1 package cream cheese
1 can corn
Salt & Pepper
Basil
Bacon - to freeze

8 hours on low.
Cook bacon separately and crumble on top with chives, cheese, sour cream and all that yumminess.
Update: Seriously. Yum.

PF Chang's Copycat Lettuce Wraps (2)
3 chicken breasts
About 1-2 cups teriyaki sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Garlic Powder

8 hours on low
Shred and serve in iceberg lettuce cups.
Update: Yum.

Hawaiian Pulled Pork (2)
1/4 of the large pork loin (or a 2-5 lb. pork loin)
1 can pineapple chunks with juice
1 bottle BBQ sauce

8 hours on low
Update: Make sure you get a good BBQ - I prefer one on the sweet side to balance the tanginess of the pineapple.

Honey Apple Pork Loin (2)

1/4 of the large pork loin (or a 2-5 lb. pork loin)
Cut slices every inch in the loin without going all the way through
Stuff Apple slices in the cuts
Rub loin with sage, salt, pepper, and garlic
Drizzle with half the bottle of honey

8 hours on low
Update: Yum.

Minestrone Soup (2)
1 carton chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can rinsed cannellini beans
1/2 the chopped celery stalk
2-3 chopped carrots
1-2 handfuls of diced onion
1/4 of the bag of spinach
1 bay leaf
Rubbed sage
Salt and Pepper

8 hours on low
Add the ditalini pasta 30 minutes before the soup is done cooking.
Update: I'm not too big on soup but I did receive quite a few compliments on this one so it's a keeper.

Creamy Dumplings (2)
1 carton chicken broth
2 large tortillas ripped into 2 inch pieces
1 can cream of chicken
1 can corn
Salt and Pepper
Basil

8 hours on low
Add cooked chicken or ham if you would like.
Update: This one tastes good but the dumplings were too big. Make sure you rip the tortillas into smaller pieces.

Zuppa Tuscana (2)
1 carton chicken broth
1 carton heavy cream
1/4 bag of spinach
2-3 chopped carrots
1-2 handfuls of diced onion
1 lb. (approx.) of cooked ground sausage
Basil
Salt and Pepper
Garlic

8 hours on low
Update: Yum.

Dirty Rice (2) - Freezer
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 Tbsp. (at least) of Montreal Steak seasoning
1 lb. (approx.) cooked ground beef
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

Update: Yum. A husband favorite.

Mac & Cheese (2) - Freezer
1 cooked package of macaroni noodles
1 cup milk
2 can cheddar cheese soup
1/2 bag of spinkle cheese
Garlic
Salt and Pepper

Place in tray, top with cheese. If frozen, cook for about an hour at 350 degrees. Or 30 minutes if thawed.
Update: Yum. A husband favorite. Kids too.

Shepherd's Pie (2) - Freezer
Place 2 lbs. of cooked ground beef on the bottom of a tray
Drizzle an entire bottle of BBQ sauce on top
Layer one can of green beans
Spread 2 cups of prepared mashed potatoes over the beans and meat
Top with cheese

If frozen, cook for about an hour at 350 degrees. Or 30 minutes if thawed.
Update: Yum. A husband favorite.

Chicken Fettuccine (2) - Freezer
1 package cooked fettuccine noodles in a tray
Cubed the cooked chicken breasts, add half to each dinner
Top with 1 jar of Alfredo sauce

If frozen, cook for about an hour at 350 degrees. Or 30 minutes if thawed.
Update: Don't put this in a tray, just dump it in a bag. The tray made it get a little freezer burn. :(

Lasagna (2) - Freezer
Layer noodles, cooked ground beef, ricotta, marinara sauce, and sprinkle cheese.
Repeat about 3 times per lasagna.

If frozen, cook for about an hour at 350 degrees. Or 30 minutes if thawed.
Update: Yum.


I know, it's a lot. But guess who's got dinner covered for the next 5 weeks?? --->>This girl!