The cookbook I am planning to write!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I don't think I posted about this. If I did, sorry. I am just really really REALLY excited!

    I am totally enthralled with the idea of cooking and freezing meals for an entire month. The idea just grabs me. It would mean a LOT less hassle on a daily basis.

    Realistically, there is no way in this world I can cook for a whole day. Some days I cannot even cook for a meal.

    So I have a new plan. One I have not heard recommended anywhere.

    I am going to adapt recipes so they can be frozen in their uncooked state to be taken out of a ziploc and put in the crockpot. All the chopping,browning, sauteing of onions, etc... would be done ahead and the result would be a ziploc full of food that can be crockpot cooked fresh every day or two.

    Any ideas, suggestions or recipes are welcome. I think that for those of us who have health problems this would let us have healthier meals with a LOT less daily pain and stress.

    I do plan to get at least one more crockpot to help with testing recipes.

    I am so excited!!!! I have been scouring the web for ideas!!!
  2. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I think this is an excellent idea, just be sure to read up on blanching techniques for various veggies and the like.

    Also, to safely hold foods like this you need a freezer that will hold foods at below zero temps.

    husband and I used to do this using a vacuum packing system. It worked very well but you need the blanching to prevent the veggies from losing taste and texture while stored.

    I am not a crock-pot expert, but husband was a chef for quite a few years. I'd be happy to pitch in with ideas if you'd like.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Great idea!

    We have a company out here that has done this with meals that you assemble at their facility, then take home to either freeze for later or refrigerate for more immediate cooking in your kitchen. None of them are crockpot oriented, though. We found out about them when husband went in for his brain surgery and his colleagues gave us several gift certs. for this place.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We also have a place where you can go prepare entrees and side dishes to cook and freeze. They cost more than a steak dinner at Texas Roadhouse Grill for 4 people to eat a meatless casserole. Not my idea of an affordable meal, but nice if you have gift certs.

    I welcome any tips, ideas and recipes. I am truly excited about this. I see a real need for it because many people cannot wrap their minds around the cook for a month thing but they CAN manage making a triple batch of something and freezing ingredients to make a fast crockpot meal.

    I do have an upright freezer. It was a gift for my22nd birthday from husband. It is still fairly energy efficient, per the electric co, and it keeps food below 0 degrees easily. I am obsessive about checking the temp of the freezer and fridge weekly.

    Bring on the ideas!!
  5. ML

    ML Guest

    I love this so much. Anything that makes it easier during the week and or combines quick, easy and healthy speaks to my core. I think this is a fabulous idea.
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What a great idea! I have my thinking cap on and will let you know if I come up with any ideas!
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I saw something on a TV ad about some new containers that look like tupperware but were made by someone else that supposedly kept food fresher and kept it from getting freezer burn. Probably could find it on that for sale on tv website. Would probably be good for these dishes.

    I would love to be able to cook meals like this but I am already confused by what you Arent crockpot meals already big meals? To save time when I need fast crock pot meals for me, I just buy those pre=made crock pot dinners. Toss in a little more uncooked beef, a can of beef broth, a can of potatos, and no one knows the differences. I just serve with corn bread.

    I could see if you were putting all the ingredients such as fried hamburger, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream into individual bags, then into a larger bag. Label "add chips or taco shells"
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Janet, the crockpot meals I see in the stores have so much MSG and other chemicals that they make many people ill. I cannot even smell a few of them with-o getting a migraine. They have some really nasty unneeded additives.

    Many of the recipes for crockpot meals require browning and sauteing and the whole recipe is a big deal. NOT something you toss in in 5 mins.

    I am planning meals with all the veggies chopped and blanched, meat seasoned, spices added, etc... that you take out of the ziploc and put in the crockpot. Add 1 cupof water to help things along and voila! There is a good, HEALTHY meal that you do NOT spend a small fortune on and do NOT have to experience all the chemicals with.

    It would let the empty nesters who are used to preparing meals for a family still do the prep she is used to but only have to cook enough for 2 and then on 1-4 days in the next few weeks all she would have to do is to get the bag out of the freezer, dump it in with water and go. Maybe add a can of soup, but nothing more.

    It will take time to work out but I think the benefits outweigh the risks.
  9. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I would have to think about that one. I don't do a lot of crock pot cooking.
    I usually will purchase a large amount of meat or tofu or tempeh and then marinade it, use only what we are going to eat and freeze the rest.
    I will do the huge marinade or spice all at once so I don't have to make more.
    I grill almost every night.
    If I had a large freezer maybe? That is a great idea though.
  10. babybear

    babybear New Member

    Awesome book idea! I will buy it when it's ready.

    For Ideas to try

    Fix,Freeze,Feast. It's more about buying in bulk than the crockpot but I have adapted our favorites to work for the crockpot.

    My sister has this book
    The $7 a Meal Slow Cooker Cookbook. We have used a lot of these recipes too.

    I'd be more than happy to be a test kitchen for you :D
  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I bought a book not that long ago that helped you create and make freezer ready meals for 30 days, complete with menu planning and shopping lists. The idea was to make 7/8 LARGE meals in a day or two, divide them up and then freeze them according to your needs (i.e., whether for a 4 serving, 2 serving, etc.). I did it for a while, but then H began to complain that the meals didn't seem "fresh". That's when I offered him the opportunity to start planning and making meals for the family. Hahahaha.

    Anyway, it was a good plan but it didn't have many crockpot recipes. I really like the idea of make ahead crock pot meals, especially as we move into the cooler weather.

    Unfortunately, I'm not too creative when it comes to the crockpot, except for meals such as mac-n-cheese, chilis, stews, and pot roast! I can't wait to hear some more meal ideas!
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jo...I would be interested in some of those ideas. Im not so much into the crockpot anymore. I really dont have the family size to do as much crock pot cooking or the need to do it since I am home. I do need the ease of having easily available meals though. I am often unable to cook because of being sick at night.
  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Janet, I will poke around my cookbook closet and see if I can locate it for you!
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    COOKBOOK CLOSET!!!! I dont even own a cookbook shelf...lmao. I own a cookbook search
  15. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    I use my crockpot fairly often and recently tried a chicken recipe called "Slow 'n' Easy Barbecued Chicken" at

    I haven't thought it thru on how it could be adapted to the method you describe, but in my experience most recipes can be changed in small ways to suit the chef and be just as tasty as the original creation.

    "Slow and Easy Barbecued Chicken" calls for drumsticks, which I rarely use because we prefer white meat, but they were a bargain at 99 cents a pound and all the good sauce on them added so much flavor, it didn't matter that the meat wasn't white.

    I enjoy the challenge of making a nice meal from whatever I have on hand and adding my own special flair to a dish by changing the recipe around a little.
  16. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Just remember that MANY herbs and some spices just don't freeze well at all. That is part of the reason the purchased meals are so laden with artificial ingredients.

    What husband used to do when cooking in bulk was to brown off meats in advance, pack them up. Blanch veggies, do the same, and pack up needed seasonings.

    It was work at the time of setup, but when you were ready to cook, all you really needed to do was to chuck the ingredients into the pot and go from there.

    With the seasonings, you got everything from tasteless to overpowering. For example, frozen thyme tastes an awful lot like listerine (as well it should since thyme oil is one of the active ingredients in listerine)

    Basil loses it's flavor and turns black. Keep your basil minced up and covered in olive oil in the fridge. Add it at the end of cooking and it tastes like fresh (the oil is also really nice in salad dressings and the like)