Prepare Post: Just how messy can I make my kitchen..?

Dinners, Recipes

Last week I posted my shopping list for my crockpot challenge, you can view it as well as the list of meals I’m making. So I went to Giant and bought all those ingredients, brought them home set to work… I put everything out on my table and added all the stuff I already had in my kitchen.

Crockpot 1

That’s a lot of food..

I started with the veggies first.. I cut up all the veggies and set them aside on plates.. the onions, peppers, potatoes and celery.

Although I wanted to make recipes that had as little cooking as possible I did precook the ground meat. You don’t have to, but you will have to add some time to the recipe if you don’t. So that’s what I did next, I browned all the ground meat, except for the meat I used for the meatball stew; that I set aside to make meatballs with.

Next I labeled all the bags, I wrote the meal name on it and also wrote the amount of broth that needed to be added. Some of these recipes call for 2-4 cups of chicken/beef broth, it didn’t make sense to me to add that to the bag that I froze because there was hardly room in the bag for it. I figured it would be just easier to add the broth into the crockpot when I cooked the meal.

One thing to note, however; is that broth only keeps in the fridge for about 7 days after you open it. What you can do though, is freeze it; and the easiest way I’ve found to freeze broth is in ice cube trays. Use the trays and then collect them all in a baggie that stays in the freezer. Measure each cube and you can figure out how many cubes equal a cup, etc, then label the bag with it so you don’t forget.

I took each recipe one at a time. I added the meats to the bags first, then the veggies, the starches (quinoa, rice, potatoes..) and the sauce and seasonings.

One thing you should not do… is assume that the bags will sit up on their own.. It’s not very easy to add all those ingredients to the bags with one hand.. So at one point I noticed with enough ingredients in the bag it kind of sat up itself.. so naturally I walked across the kitchen to check the recipe or something… and when I looked back, I had tomato sauce dripping down my dishwasher.. very close to loosing the entire contents of the bag to the floor.. uhh whoops..

I bagged all the recipes, except for one which I actually just made that day but can easily be frozen as well, and stuck them in the freezer. I probably should have checked my freezer ahead of time because all 5 bags, just about fit in my freezer. I had to do a lot of reorganizing to make everything fit.. good thing I didn’t add that broth…

Stayed tuned for my next posts about how each recipe turned out.

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Plan Post: That’s a heck of a grocery list…

Dinners, Recipes

A few weeks ago I posted about my crockpot challenge adventure. I must admit I’m a little behind on posting, but I have actually been completing the challenge, so I’m finally getting to posting about it.

I narrowed my long list of choices down to 4. Then I thought, oh hell… why not 6? Here are the ones I chose (some aren’t from the original list):

  • Beef Stew (not as healthy as I would like but I’ve been dying to make this)
  • Tex Mex Shredded Chicken
  • Turkey Chili
  • Stuffed Pepper Soup
  • Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
  • Chicken, Potato, Quinoa Soup

From there I had to create my shopping list, which is not a easy feat, I might add. What I found easiest, was to copy each recipe into a Word doc and start a new doc for my list. I started with the first recipe and added each ingredient to my blank doc and the amount. Then I went through each recipe and added on the amount if the item was already on my list and added the ingredient if it wasn’t. I know, I know, there’s probably an app out there for that, right? Actually, I have it. But the app also requires you to add each recipe to it’s database and then also specify the amount for each ingredient. Sometimes technology isn’t as easy as copy and paste… No, but seriously it’s a great app for normal grocery shopping.

Originally I was going to go to BJ’s because I thought wholesale would be better but I didn’t actually end up needing an excessive amount of anything in particular so I just went to Giant. I had to use one of those actual sized carts, instead of my usual halfy. You would also think that I would have taken a picture waiting in line too, since I used an actual checkout line instead of my usual self-checkout but I forgot, whoops. You’ll just have to see all the food in my kitchen in my next post.

Here is my shopping list (it’s quite impressive):

Produce

  • Onions 5
  • Peppers 3
  • Jalapenos 2
  • Baby Carrots 2lb
  • Sweet Potatoes 2
  • Potatoes 1lb + 4-5 singles
  • Frozen corn 3 c

Meat

  • Chicken 6lbs
  • Ground Turkey 4.5lb
  • Beef 2lb roast

Starch

  • Quinoa 2 c
  • Rice 1 c

Dairy

  • Eggs

Sauce

  • Tomato can diced 75 oz + spicy one
  • Spicy diced tomato
  • Tomato Sauce 23 oz
  • Beef Broth 6 c
  • Chicken Broth 11 c
  • Worcestershire 1tbsp
  • Can Mushrooms 4oz
  • Red wine ¾ c

Seasonings

  • Salt 2tsp
  • Pepper ½ tsp
  • Thyme ½ tsp
  • Garlic 4 tsp
  • Chili powder 7 tsp
  • Parsley ¼ c
  • Basil ½ tsp
  • Oregano ½ tsp
  • Garlic Powder 2 ½ tsp
  • Onion Powder 2 tsp
  • Cumin 2 tsp
  • Red Pepper Flakes ½ tsp
  • Paprika 1 tsp
  • Flour 3/4 c
  • Brown Sugar 1 tbsp
  • Oil

Everything that’s bold are the ingredients I knew I already had in my house (yes, I had 75 oz of diced tomatoes in my kitchen.. don’t ask).

Stay tuned for the actual trip and the mess I made in the kitchen.. No, surprisingly I didn’t make much of a mess at all. Except for when I almost dumped an entire meal on the floor… Hmm, story to follow..

But everyones doing it…

Dinners, Life, Recipes, Uncategorized

Didn’t your momma always ask you, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too”?

You’re supposed to answer no, by the way…

Well you know what, sometimes following the lead is good. I’m jumping on the crock pot bandwagon.. well, to be clear, I’ve always been on the crockpot bandwagon but I’m going to do the crockpot frozen meal challenge. Actually I think I just made that up, but that’s how all great things start, isn’t it?

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I’m going to do a series of posts over the next month or so, starting with this one, which we’ll dub the “Proposal Post” and over the next month I’m going to plan, buy, prepare, cook and (the best part) taste 4 different prepared ahead frozen crockpot meals. Pinterest is my go-to and I’ve found a few recipes I want to try, but if any of my followers want to throw out some suggestions or take votes on the ones I listed below, I’m up for it. Who knows, if I get enough recipes maybe I’ll make more. I’m trying to stick to the healthy side so don’t give me any creamy, cheesy goodness to make, because I might just cave.

Some recipes I’ve found so far that are on my maybe list are;

  • Lemon Chicken
  • Chicken and Spinach
  • Chicken and Sweet Potato stew
  • Pineapple Salsa Chicken
  • Beef and Broccoli
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Chicken Fajitas
  • Tex Mex Shredded Chicken
  • Teriyaki Chicken
  • Meatball stew
  • Sticky BBQ Meatballs
  • Chicken and Rice
  • Italian Chicken
  • Veggie and Beef stew
  • Beef Chili
  • Pulled Pork

So I guess that was more than I was initially going for but I’ll narrow it down and once I figure out all the logistics maybe I’ll bump it up to 6 meals, we’ll see… I’m only cooking for one so I’m hoping one pot will be leftovers for a week. So in the coming weeks you can expect the following posts from me, its a promise;

  • The Proposal Post (that’s this one)
  • The Plan Post (where I tell you all the meals I’m going to make and my shopping list)
  • The Prepare Post (this will be the crazy part where I share my shopping trip, all the food that I know have in my house and the preparing and separating)
  • The Pot 1-? Posts (Recipe and evaluation of meal 1-?)
  • The Post-Pots Posts (the final eval)

Like all my P’s? Let the crockpot challenge begin! Make sure you leave me some suggestions or votes! And maybe I’ll pass on this challenge and make it an actual thing!