Monday, September 14, 2015

That's a CROCK! (Not!)

You guys! I'm in the early stages of excitement about this new discovery: the Crock'd Slow Cooker Freezer Meals cookbook from New Leaf Wellness. After reading Major Knitter's blog post about it, I was forced to purchase my own e-copy of the cookbook and give it a try. I was inspired to copy her because she was cooking for her college student.

I have one of those, too, who is the FIRST of mine to go off the university meal-plan while not being employed there to get free meals. (OK, maybe my oldest daughter did, but she's a girl and seemed to be capable of feeding herself pretty well. Plus, I was busier with lots of little folks still at home and didn't have the time or energy to take meals to her. Sorry, Katie. xo)

Anyway....Tom's diet seems to be pretty basic and lackluster so far, and when I heard about this I jumped on it. I'm sure the fact that I am kinda tired of coming up with and cooking meals every night played into it. Just a little. ;-)

I am full of digressions this morning....

I picked a week from the 28 meals....You can prep all 28 in one day or you can just prep a week's worth....and took the convenient shopping list with me to Costco and Publix to buy enough to double the recipes. It just happened that I did my Costco shopping on Wednesday, and then I had time to do the Publix shopping later that evening while waiting for a child's activity to end, so alllll those meat and veggies were in my fridge taking up valuable space. I couldn't wait until Saturday to do the prep, so I decided to do it on Thursday when the kids were at school.

My plan was to prep 7 meals x 2 (one set for my household and one set for Tom), and it took me 4 hours, including cleanup, to chop veggies and add spices and meats to 14 meals. I think that's a savings of 10 hours. All those meals were bagged and frozen, and, yesterday, 7 of them were delivered to Tom's apartment freezer with his new crockpot (which we got a Kohl's with a 30% off coupon AND an extra $10 off gift. Deal!).

I didn't see anywhere in the cookbook how many people each meal serves, but it looks like 4-6. It will be perfect for the 4 of us here, but Tom will have more to eat than he can handle, I'm sure. Each meal will probably feed him for a couple of days, and he has the option of sharing with his apartment-mates or refreezing what he can't finish in a timely manner. I think those 7 meals may last most of the semester!

Major Knitter seemed to have completed her task faster than I did, but then, she was in the military. :-) A few thoughts I have about the process:

  • A helper on prep-day would be nice. One person on veggies, one on spices. Especially if you were prepping all 28 meals.
  • I'm really happy with MOST of the ingredients. I was shocked and a little disgusted by the ingredients in pre-made meatballs, so I will probably make my own next time.
  • Ideally, I would also cook my own dried beans instead of using canned.
  • A week's worth of meals provides a nice variety.
  • I'm thrilled that the recipes use whole foods, stay away from canned soups, and are generally free of flour and grains. Whether you use a bun for your sloppy joe, or a tortilla for your taco, is entirely up to you!
  • It makes it really, really easy to send a freezer meal to someone who is sick or has a new baby!
We ate our first meal last night because it was a busy day of driving hither and yon. Unfortunately, it got a little overcooked because we weren't at home the whole day, but I had the impression that it would have been really yummy otherwise.  Do you think this is something you would like to try for yourself or your college student?


  1. I'm not sure if my sons would have bothered using crockpot meals. Maybe marinara sauce and chili -- stuff like that. My oldest has a crockpot, but I don't think he uses it much and he usually goes home for lunch so it wouldn't be difficult. I used to delivery groceries to both kids -- would have been a lot less expensive to deliver frozen meals!

    1. I was actually thinking of you and your grocery runs---that it might be better to deliver frozen meals than individual ingredients. Tom is not at all likely to do any "real" cooking for himself and probably won't use the crockpot for anything other than the meals I sent.


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