I've seen a lot of pinterest posts recently on "dump" meals, and it's gotten me really interested. I love cooking, as you can see from the majority of my posts, but it also takes a lot of time. Not only time in regard to the cooking, but time PLANNING. I have been slacking on the planning portion lately, which is a major no no when trying to eat healthy. I've been cooking a lot of the same meals; healthy cooked chicken nuggets, healthy baked chicken parm, etc. Good food, just boring after awhile. So I gathered a few recipes that sounded appetizing and healthy & headed to the grocery store.
On my list:
Crock pot orange chicken
Crock pot teriyaki chicken
Crock pot honey sesame chicken
Crock pot cranberry chicken
At the store I also grabbed some boneless pork chops, turkey meat, & beef stew meat on sale.
I didn't plan ahead for those three meats and didn't know of a healthy recipe off hand, so I froze the pork chops and beef stew meat for later use. I'll use the turkey meat tomorrow & make stuffed peppers. I picked up some zucchini and onions to use for the peppers, too.
In addition to other household expenses, my total was only $111.00! Subtracting the household & misc. expenses, I spent around $80.00 on food. That's for 7 meals, not including left overs. Since it's just my husband & I in my house, we have a lot of left overs, but we depend on those for our lunches the following day. We love leftovers! :) Needless to say, I was pretty proud of my money saving skills.
After googling several ways to "cook" the "dump it" meals, I was on my way to preparing several meals.
I made sure to buy a box of freezer zip lock bags at the store, too. Don't forget those!
A lot of the sites said to chop ALL of the vegetables (for all of the meals) together at one time, same for meat, etc. I can definitely see how that helps with time management, but I am still new to this, so it was hard for me to try to figure out what all I needed and such. So I trimmed the chicken all together, but I cut the vegetables one recipe at a time. In the future, once I get used to making seven meals at one time, I'll try that method.
All you do is dump the contents into the bag (unless there are other prepping directions), squeeze out all of the air, seal the bag, and label with directions. I'd suggest writing on the bag before adding any contents. I wrote the name of the meal, what day I prepared it, exp. date, and any instructions, for ex: cook on high for 4 hours. I know it may seem like common sense, but I am trying to add all of the instructions that are easy to forget. :)
I googled how long you can keep meat frozen for and it said about 6 months.
I also came up with WW+ points, but I am not sure they are 100% correct.
The great thing about using recipes that can be cooked in the crock pot is that you don't even have to defrost the bag... just take it out of the freezer and pop it right into the crockpot. So easy!
Here's the recipes:
Crock Pot Orange Chicken:
This is the one that actually has some preparation, so I started with this one and went from there.
1 1/2 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/3 cup flour
1 T olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
3 T ketchup
4 oz frozen OJ concentrate, thawed
4 T brown sugar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 onions (I love onions, so I added more to the recipe)
In a bowl, combine and mix OJ concentrate, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and red pepper flakes. Place in bag.
Pour flour in small bowl and cover chicken breasts with flour.
Brown chicken in a skillet. Cool completely. Place in bag.
Label: Cook high 2-3 hours or low 5-6 hours.
Serve with rice
Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken:
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce, low sodium
1/2 cup onion (I used more)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 cloves garlic, mined
4 tsp. cornstarch, dissolved in 6 T in water
2 T vegetable oil
Place chicken breasts into bag.
In a bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pour in bag with chicken. Mix, squeeze air out, and seal the bag.
Label with instructions:
Cook on high 3-4 hours.
Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce in it. Dissolve 4 tsp of cornstartch in 6 T water. Pour into CP with sauce, cook on high 10 minutes.
Cut chicken into bite size pieces, place in CP, and coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with rice or noodles.
Crock Pot Cranberry Chicken:
5 boneless chicken breasts
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 cup fat free french dressing
Place chicken in bag, mix ingredients together in a bowl, pour in with chicken.
Cook on low 7 hours or high 4 hours.
Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken:
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup soy sauce, low sodium
1 1/2 T cider vinegar
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
Same instructions as previous recipe.
CP high 4 hours or low 8 hours.
Here's the picture of my freezer. I forgot to mention to flatten the bags to save space.