The Ongoing Saga of the Pinterest CrockPot Meals.

‘I can’t with these hoes’ is a saying my friend Melanie and I use as code for we are absolutely fed up with people. Well my bottom line statement on these crockpot meals are, “I can’t with this ho”.

I have 6 frozen crockpot meals that are leftover. See this post for the writeup of that joy. The first meal I tried I went to pull it out and the baggie ripped. I should have known that was a sign of future disaster.

Fast forward to today where I decided I want to try the Hoison Beef tomorrow so I go down to the chest freezer to grab it. Here’s a picture:

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Looks innocent, right? Well is is after i spent 20 minutes ripping out 3 other bags to get to my Hoison beef.

Not a single blogger mentioned that it might be beneficial if you a) double bag them and b) store them not next to each other since they froze together. Not a single person. Well I’m saying it now to save someone the heartache of freezing their fingers while chipping apart 3 crockpot meals to rebag them because the original bag shredded trying to separate the meals.

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Another thing that should be mentioned is the cook times. 6 to 8 on low means 5 to 6 MAX or your meat is leather. Also I couldn’t imagine the original flavoring. It had to be bland. Not one of those women mentioned salt or pepper in their recipe. First rule is salt and pepper. Period.

I’m going to head this off at the pass right now: I used name brand Ziploc freezer gallon bags. The struggle may be real but I never scrimp on a good freezer bag. So the brand of bags wasn’t the issue. It was misinformation along with my inexperience with freezing food because I just like the aggravation of planning and cooking a meal nightly. It’s also because what I’ve learned from this experience is I believe pre-frozen meals like this don’t taste good. They are edible but they just don’t taste good.

Not like my shrimp and grits did…
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The Day I Discovered Pinterest and the Internet is Full of Lies and Witchcraft

Yes, you read that title correctly, although to be fair, I always knew the Internet was full of lies. I had suspicions that Pinterest was full of Bullshit and experience says, “Why yes, yes it is”.

Last weekend, while my husband and step-son were out of town, I decided I would be productive. I planted my cat grass and herb garden that had been sitting in the bags for 3 weeks now and got this idea in my head to make some crock pot recipes to freeze so that in the future I can defrost those babies and go to town.

First thing I did was decided I would pick a reasonable number of crock pot bags to make. Eight sounded totally doable. I wasn’t going to go all crazy and do 40 (NOPE) and I wasn’t brave enough to even think about 20, 15, or 10.

In fact my first post about the subject on my Facebook page was very excited and lighthearted:
“I am about to embark on a new venture. Going to make 8 crockpot meals in bags to freeze. I’ll let you know if the baby or cats ends up in a bag instead of Thai chicken in peanut sauce. (Just kidding don’t call CPS)”

The last comment from me was around 4:15pm. As I was cleaning up my kitchen, which looked like I had cooked 8 meals in a speed race. It looked like a train hit it.

“I’ll write up a blog post. I’m like worn out for reals. It sucks.”

First of all this a Pinterest link to the page that started me on this whole project (sent as a link from my friend Melanie). In case you consider Pinterest the devil and won’t go follow that link I will tell you the title:

40 Meals in 4 Hours Crockpot Slow Cooker Freezer

Let me just bring this shit down a notch, k? First of all 40 meals in 4 hours. NOPE. More like 8 meals in 2.5 hours. Yes I drank a beer. Yes I had a 7 month old to take care of. Yes I was dodging around 2 cats who kept getting under my feet because of the raw meat. But still – by the end of it all I was sweating. For real. And the thing is I didn’t even have to hand chop my veggies. I used my new cuisinart chopper!!!! I didn’t need to do anything but cut the pork chops from a pork loin!
The myth is that this can be done for dirt cheap.

Folks – the struggle is REAL. I bought everything on SALE and used coupons. I didn’t buy EVERYTHING because I had purchased meat and sauces and stuff prior to this. Just from what I purchased on the day I went grocery shopping each CrockPot Baggie costs 18 dollars. EIGHTEEN DOLLARS. I used almost 17 dollars in discounts from coupons and MVP at Food Lion and STILL came out at 18 dollars a baggie.

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The days of dollar chopped meat are gone. 1.68 a pound for chicken wasn’t happening. And I bought the red sticker chicken and STILL it wasn’t that cheap.

 

IMG_20140913_140125_131So now that the basics are established I’ll lay out exactly what I did. Here’s a pdf of my recipes. I used a mixture of recipes from the above website and from other websites. All recipes were modified in the end by me. Here’s what I added to almost all recipe: salt, pepper, and garlic. Some, if I felt the sauce wasn’t enough, I added some chicken stock because I had an open container. I tasted each sauce before adding in the meat so it was seasoned well and most of them tasted great. Except the Chicken Cacciatore, I didn’t taste that sauce, that was the last one I did and IDGAF at that point. I was sweating.

First thing I did was crack open a Corona. I need to drink this stuff, it was bought the day I brought my son home from the hospital. He’s 7 months old. So first thing I did was crack open OLD beer and drink it.

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Then I decided to label all the bags. Clearly by the middle I had forgotten what some of the recipes were so I just labeled them as closely as I could remember.

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A neat trick, either the above website or another, showed me. I  took the baggie and held it up in my blender jar. I usually do this with a cylindrical tupperware I have but I couldn’t find it. The blender jar can’t hold as much as my tupperware though.

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I have a new Cuisinart immersion blender with a chopper attachment. I thought I would give that a whirl. It works pretty good except that a lot of times you get a single chunk of some veggie that you have to chop again after emptying the chopping thing. Here’s a picture because it’s beautiful!!! Stainless steel and dishwasher safe. BOOYAH.

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After 2.5 hours of making the stuff. I was done with the Chicken Cacciatore when I knocked it a bit over. Spilled some on the cabinet and on the floor. Not a lot. But enough to totally piss me off. I was tired, my back hurt, and I was sweating and now I have tomato sauce to clean up? Why can’t the cats want to lick that up?

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Here’s a large glorious picture of the CrockPot Baggies all done!!!! In the end it wasn’t worth it. The time and the energy just wasn’t worth it. I would recommend doing like 3 on a Saturday and that would be enough to make life easier during the week. But you know what would make life even sweeter while crockpotting? THESE BAD BOYS:

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I bought some of these because LazyTown – population 2 (Tricia and me!).

For the record I had some frozen chicken fingers I bought, ON SALE, for 4 dollars. I decided to make the Garlic Honey Chicken recipe. So I put all the stuff together in a baggie and set it in the fridge, then set out the crock pot with the slow cooker liner in it. I then took the rice cooker down and set that on the counter. This morning I tossed the rice and water in the rice cooker and put the baggie of Garlic Honey chicken in the crock pot and it’s been sitting cooking since 8am. I hope there’s enough sauce. At least I know the rice will be good. That took me like maybe 5 minutes last night and 10 minutes this morning. that’s 15 minutes total. So that took me 15 minutes (and I hand chopped the garlic) and multiply that by 8 baggies that’s 2 hours minimum.  There’s no way in hell a normal human being with normal human powers can make 40 crock pot baggies in 4 hours. Sorry to burst your bubble, Internet, but it’s NOT POSSIBLE. At least if you are a normal human, like me.
I don’t know how the recipes tasted but the sauces didn’t taste too bad so I assume it will all be edible.

Potato Bread Soup

I ate at Town Kitchen Provisions and usually get their tomato soup. This day they had made some kind of potato bread soup. Skeptical as I was (I don’t like change) I ordered it and was blown away. Potatoey, garlicky, yummy! I looked online for recipes and found some that were overly complicated (stir in cream cheese? Say WHUT?) that would take an hour to make or used way too many ingredients. I am ADD in the kitchen. I also work 2 jobs and have a 7 month old. So, overly complicated? Nope. Midway through I realized I didn’t have any chicken stock and the homemade chicken stock I made a couple weeks ago was frozen like a rock. So, this is a slightly ‘low rent’ kind of recipe.

I took some suggestions from some recipes and just used the basic potato sausage soup recipe I make during the winter and mixed it together to make this. It was delicious. Also don’t ask about exact measurements. I really do all my cooking by eyeball. Even some baking (I know you aren’t supposed to but I do) I do is eyeballed.  I can assure you that I did use exactly 4 cups of water and 4 cubes. And I probably used MORE garlic cloves. Garlic keeps the mosquitoes from biting you, I rarely have a bite and I rarely get ticks on me. It’s the insane amount of garlic I eat. You’re welcome, Internet.

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Without further ado:

Christine’s Potato Bread Soup
Heat oven to 350°
1 loaf of stale (or not) bread – chopped into cubes
3 carrots
2‐3 medium baking potatoes
2‐3 cloves of garlic (Use less if you like)
3 stalks of celery
1 medium yellow onion
4 pieces of bacon cut into lardons
Salt
Pepper
Thyme
Cream
1 can of cream of chicken soup
4 cups of water
4 beef bouillon cubes (can substitute chicken cubes)
1 Tbs butter
2‐3 Tbs of flour
Fresh parsley (optional)
1. Cut bread into cubes. Lay flat on baking pan and drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper on it. Put in
oven to toast. Check on it every 15 minutes. Pull out when toasted
2. Cut up the bacon into lardons and crisp on the stove in a dutch oven or stock pan. (You will cook
the rest of the soup in this pot so make it a good one)
3. Add celery, onions, garlic, and carrots (diced small) and sauté until onions are transparent.
4. Add thyme and pepper.
5. Cut the potatoes into small cubes and cook for a few minutes
6. Add the 4 cups of water and 4 bouillon cubes. (If you want to use stock, feel free. I didn’t have
any on hand)
7. Check on that bread? Is it toasted? It probably needs to be tossed some to get an even toasting.
8. Stir it up and cook for 20‐30 minutes (just until the potatoes are soft)
9. Check that bread again! It’s probably done. Set aside.
10. Add cream of chicken soup. Stir.
11. Add a dash of cream. Stir.
12. Heat up the butter in the microwave and mix it with the flour until it’s a paste. Incorporate that
into the soup to thicken it up some. (This is some French technique I sure as hell don’t
remember what it’s called. It’s probably the only good thing to come from France, besides wine
and cheese and the croissant)
13. Taste and add salt to taste.
14. Cut and toss in fresh parsley. Stir.
Ladle soup into a bowl and then put a few toasted cubes on top.

PDF Download of Recipe

“If cats looked like frogs we’d realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That’s what people remember.”
― Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies