I did a little freezer “cooking” a few weeks ago. I made up a few meatloaves for the freezer, as well as one for dinner. It really is easy to make extra (double, triple, etc.) of something that you’re already going to make anyway. It takes very little extra time, and the bonus is that you have meals already prepped & ready to go in the freezer. All that really needs to be done is to pull it out the evening/night before & let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and then it’s ready to go the next day. This goes for any meal, whether you need to cook in the slow cooker, bake in the over, cook on the stove top, or grill. This particular day, I was planning meatloaf, so I planned to make extra. Here’s what I bought/used:
- 5 lb ground beef
- 5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 5 eggs
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 2 large carrots, shredded
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
- 10 slices bacon, cooked crisp
- 2 packets onion soup mix
- seasonings to taste ( this time, I used smoked paprika, roasted garlic powder, onion powder, salt, & pepper)
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups BBQ sauce
Mix everything together very well & divide into gallon freezer bags.
At this point, you can either shape it into a loaf or you can flatten it in the bag & freeze. I like to flatten it out when I’m freezing it for a couple of reasons: (1) It takes up less space in my freezer & (2) it takes a lot less time to thaw out because it’s not a large mass. I use my rolling pill to lightly press it flat in the freezer bag, which also helps me to get out as much air as possible.
The above ingredients netted me 4 meatloaves at 2.22 lbs each with 3 cups of extra veggies that I will use to make some more meatloaves. The veggies were divided into 2 quart bags & placed in the freezer along with 3 of the meatloaves.
I also wrote the cooking instructions on the bag so that anyone in my family can prepare this meal. To cook your meatloaf in the slow cooker: Shape & place your meatloaf in a foil-lined slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours, depending on your slow cooker. Top with BBQ sauce in the last 30 minutes or so.
This meatloaf is enough to feed my family of 5 for 1 meal. There may or may not be leftovers. It will depend on what sides we have & how hungry everyone is.
I had also purchased a whole cut up chicken & 2 packages of split chicken breasts that were marked down, so I placed all of that in the slow cooker the night before with about 1 cup of water. I deboned & shredded all of this meat & will divide it up into meal-size portions for the freezer to help make last minute meals go much quicker. This really helps to cut down my cooking/baking time since the meat is already cooked & ready to go. I leave out any seasonings so that I can season it up as I go, depending on what dishes I am making.
I also try to keep precooked ground beef on hand, but that’s a post for another day!
I hope you have enjoyed this post, & that it helps you make your meal planning, dinner preparations go a little more quickly & smoothly!