Food

Freezer Cooking with Slow Cooker Recipes FAQ Page

Be sure to check out my cookbook From Your Freezer To Your Family, Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes For Every Season Filled with 150 recipes and everything you need to know to get started and be successful with slow cooker freezer recipes!

It seems like overnight my blog has gone off the charts with visitors coming to check out myFreezer Cooking with Slow Cooker Recipe posts and everyone has lots of questions!

Also, please note, that I just updated the original recipes, I ended up adding more spices and sauce to make them a bit more flavorful. So be sure to try them again and let me know what you think! I loved them all before, but I know some people wanted them a bit more flavorful. I have to cook more on the bland side for my husband’s sensitive stomach.

I am so grateful for all the traffic, but I have not done a good job answering questions and keeping up with everyone. I am finally getting to the light at the end of the tunnel and have created a FAQ page of all your wonderful questions.

I hope this helps! If you have any more questions, keep them coming and I will do my best to update the FAQ page on a regular basis, but I really hope this covers most of the bases!

Freezer Cooking with Slow Cooker Recipes FAQ Page

Does the meat need to be cooked before freezing?

There are differing opinions on the safety of mixing raw meat with other ingredients before freezing. A slow cooker will reach temperatures high enough to destroy bacteria. If you’re uncomfortable with mixing then you can simply freeze the meat portions separately. I have been doing this for over a year now and have never had a problem. I do not recommend precooking the meat. I talked more about it here.

How much liquid do you add to your recipes?
If the recipe does not include liquid, then no liquid is added. The meats and vegetables will release liquids as they cook, especially since they are frozen and the ice crystals give off even more liquid. Some of my recipes do call for liquid. I know I am prone to typo’s but if it doesn’t call for liquid, you don’t need it!

Do you add the sour cream to the freezer bag or as a garnish for the Goulash recipe?
The sour cream is meant as a garnish. Same with the noodles. You cook them separately and add them in once everything is finished.

Do you need to blanch the vegetables before freezing?
Blanching is only recommended if you’re intending to preserve vegetables for storage, such as over winter, but it still is not necessary.

My vegetables turned out mushy, did I do something wrong?

No! They are supposed to be mushy. I realize not everyone likes mushy vegetables, but my family and I love them that way. It is actually easier for your body to digest and absorb nutrients that way. All my recipes are stew-like, so veggies are going to be very, very soft. We do always serve the meals with cous-cous to add a bit of texture.

How many bouillon cubes do you use per bag?
1 bouillon cube is used per bag. The recipes listed are already doubled. So you split everything between two bags.

Are the recipes doubled?
Honestly I don’t know if I would say they are doubled, but the are extra large. 🙂  Each recipe as listed will fill two, one gallon bags. Split the ingredients between two bags. Depending on your size of family is how far they will go. For us, our perfect little family of three, we get dinner and lots of leftovers from each bag.

Does the BBQ chicken recipe divide the sauces or put one can in each bag?
I split the sauce up between the two bags. The recipes listed are already doubled. So you split everything between two bags.

Are the recipes split into two bags or one whole recipe in a single bag?
Each recipe is split between two, 1 gallon bags. Sorry for the redundancy here people, but I get this question a lot!

What capacity slow cooker will accommodate these recipes?
I use All Clad’s 6 quart slow cooker. A 4 or 6 quart cooker will work just fine. If you are cooking for one, you could split the ingredients into 4 smaller portions and cooker in a smaller slow cooker as well.

How many meals will these recipes produce?
3 recipes will give you six bags of food. Each bag gives us dinner and leftovers. So 6 bags, should give you 12 meals, for a small family, 6 meals for a large family.

How long would these recipes stay good in the freezer?
I would think about 6 months. I usually use mine up before then, but that sounds about right!

Couldn’t you just use the special slow cooker bags for these?
I don’t really know much about the slow cooker bags, but I am gonna stay away from them for now. Even if you can get BPA free bags, it still has chemicals in the plastic. And when you heat plastic to high temperatures, that is when the chemicals leach out. I have no problem using plastic bags for storage in the freezer, but I would not want plastic and my food coming into contact at high temperatures. But that is just me!

Will you be posting more recipes?
You bettcha! Its been a long 4 months with the holidays and being pregnant and then miscarrying, so I have not been productive at all. But spring is the air, things are looking up and I got lots of ideas up my sleeve, so stay tuned!

Update: I have put out a new version of my book with all updated recipes plus a ton of brand new ones!

Other random tips from me to make the process quicker:
Chop all  your ingredients first. Then assemble spices and sauces. Then group everything by recipe and then start dumping. Make yourself a little assembly line on your counter and go to town!

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  • Heather
    February 9, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Thanks! I LOVE your website and have been wanting to do freezer cooking with some of my gal-pals. We’ve all checked out your posts to get ideas of what we want to do!

    • Stephanie
      February 10, 2012 at 3:00 AM

      Glad to hear! Have fun!

  • Patricia Rippetoe
    February 10, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    Hey mama, thanks for all your awesome help! I also love your card about “I am going to date you so hard!” Ha!! In my small town in texas I am getting alot of comments about this since I am 57 years old and everybody thinks I am nuts to think that is funny!! It is funny.

    • Stephanie
      February 10, 2012 at 3:01 AM

      Well, I am glad you have a sense of humor about it! I can’t believe how many people got upset! I mean, it is a lot of curse words, but it is hilarious!!

  • Tiffany V.
    February 10, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    To those who thought the veggies slightly “mushy;” cook your meal on high for 4 hours. Seems to work perfect for me!

  • Annette Holbrook
    February 10, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Thanks for the update. I’d like to start doing a lot of this type of cooking and have been looking at recipes at many sites, courtesy of Pinterest. I’m pretty sure that’s how a good chunk of your new followers are coming from.

    I haven’t had much time to explore ALL of your blog yet, but I like what I’ve seen so far. Most of all, I appreciate your honesty and humility in your sharing. Keep it coming… I’ll be back for more!

    • Stephanie
      February 10, 2012 at 7:14 PM

      Thanks so much Annette, glad to have you here!

  • Deb
    February 10, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    I can’t thank you enough for the recipes. I made them and I have been hooked on slow cooker freezer meals ever since. I put together 22 meals in one weekend. I just used slow cooker recipes that I already had and froze them in freezer bags. I always use the slow cooker liners too so clean up is a breeze. It saves me so much money on groceries and we eat less fast food now.

    • Stephanie
      February 10, 2012 at 7:13 PM

      Awesome!

  • Melissa
    February 10, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    One of my besties just had her 1st baby last night, about three weeks ago I dropped off a weeks worth of crockpot freezer meals for them to use after he was born…thanks to your wonderful recipes!!! My favorites were the healthy mama bbq chicken & the chicken w/cherries. Thanks for the delicious & healthy ideas!

    • Sarah
      February 23, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      YOU are a good friend!! What a great idea – will have to do this for a friend who’s expecting soon 🙂

  • Jaime Kiser
    February 11, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I love you blog! I’m deathly allergic to preservative so natural meals work best but finding tasty ones is a chore…thanks for the recipes! Maybe I’m just slow or my tea hasn’t kicked in so please bare with me. I know each meal is divided into two bags..when I’m making the meal do I cook what’s in one bag (for 3 people) or do I cook both bags? If I understand you right you cook one bag per dinner so that leaves you an identical meal for later thanks to the earlier prep work. Am I right?

    • Stephanie
      February 11, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      Yes, one bag in the slow cooker at a time. 🙂

    • Sarah
      February 23, 2012 at 7:11 PM

      So glad you asked this question because I found this confusing as well, even with the faqs. Thanks so much for sharing your genius, Stephanie!

  • Tata Wood
    February 12, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    I saw someone pinned your freezer slowcooker page on pintrest. I was just looking at your site and can’t seem to find the recipes. I don’t have my computer anymore so am looking on my phone. Can you tell me where to find them or send me a link please? Id love to try them!
    Thanks,
    Tara

    • Debs
      February 13, 2012 at 9:06 AM

      If you can see the ‘real food’ tab at the top of the page, click on that and the first few links on that page are the freezer slowcooker recipes

  • Debs
    February 12, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    I tried to read all the comments before asking this cos i know it’s annoying to answer the same question over and over!
    The curry recipe says the raisins and peanuts are for garnish, so they go in the bag or are they added later?
    thanks 🙂

  • cherie
    February 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    I think you’ve found a great niche to attract people to your blog 🙂

    My tremendous sympathies on your loss – squeeze tight the angel that’s here with you.

    • Stephanie
      February 14, 2012 at 6:45 PM

      Thanks so much Cherie.

  • Stacey
    February 19, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Just tried the Curry Chicken last night and it was delicious! Great recipe. I doubled the curry since we like it like that. Tonight is the Goulash. Can’t wait to see how it turns out. Thanks for posting such easy to prepare recipes. All told, it only took me 2 hours to get all things ready and bagged, including clean up time.

  • Stephanie M
    February 20, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Thank you so much for the freezer/slow cooker recipes. I love the BBQ Chicken recipe. This has been a lifesaver for my family during the week. It has helped us break the fast food cycle.

  • Tatiana
    February 20, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Do you have to have a large freezer? I was about to go gung-ho until I realized that I don’t have an extra freezer. My parade has been pooped on. 🙁

    • Stephanie
      February 20, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      I don’t think you have to have one, although it will make your life easier. If you only have one, you are gonna need to clear it out, get super duper organized and figure out how much room you have available for my freezer meals. They lay flat like bricks, so that does help take up less room.

  • ali
    February 23, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    My (all clad) slow cooker says in bold NOT to put frozen meats/foods directly into the slow cooker, but to dethaw meats before cooking. Do you not agree?

    • Stephanie
      February 23, 2012 at 1:19 AM

      Ha! I have never seen that. Well, it works just perfect for me!

  • Lindsay Braud
    February 23, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    I was so excited to try these recipes. I love the idea of having frozen meals ready for my crock pot. Might I suggest to anyone wanting to try the goulash…unless you have a true affinity for beets, leave them out. The entire things just tasted like beets (ewwww!). I haven’t tried the others yet, but I’m hoping for better luck!

    • Stephanie
      February 24, 2012 at 5:06 AM

      Oh, I love beets. But to me the dish does not taste like beets. How many did you put in?

      • Lindsay Braud
        February 26, 2012 at 11:50 PM

        We actually added less than the recipe called for because it started to look like too much. I think beets are just not for me or my family. The smell alone of cooked beets was enough to make my four-year old hold his nose and walk out of the kitchen. My mom said my dad is the same way about beets.

        • Stephanie
          February 27, 2012 at 2:29 AM

          That is so funny! A beet allergy! 🙂

  • Kate
    February 24, 2012 at 5:13 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing all of your recipes! I stumbled upon your blog via Pinterest and I am always looking for inspiration when it comes to slow cooker recipes. These are great and I am so excited to try them out!

  • Jaime
    March 3, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    I just wanted to tell you how impressed and excited I am about your slow cooker freezer bag recipes. I also wanted to tell you that I have experienced 2 miscarriages before I had my two kids, and I am thinking and praying for your body and heart to become well again.

    God bless,
    Jaime

    • Stephanie
      March 3, 2012 at 9:18 PM

      Thanks so much, Jaime.

  • Katsy
    March 4, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    THANK YOU I am going to try this “in the bag” technique.. my 6 and 2 1.2 yr old girls are tired of the same ole spaghetti and meatballs and other boring “go to” meals for me- I use my crock pot 1-2 x week and I am excited to try this new style of crockin! BLESS YOU- praying for your healing! – From San Antonio, TX!

  • kim
    March 20, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    DO you put the food into the crockpot frozen? or do you thaw first? I’ve heard that if you put food in froxen it stays in the “danger zone” to long until it gets to the proper temp.

    • Stephanie
      March 20, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      I put it straight in. As long as your slow cooker can get to high temperatures there is no problem. Mine get’s hot real fast. What kind do you have?

  • Carrie
    March 22, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    This is so great, I cant wait to try them out! Thank you!!

  • Jessica
    April 11, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Thank you so much for these recipes! I can’t wait to try and share them! A quick question, I have read about the veggies intentionally being somewhat “mushy”. It sounds like this will be fine most of the time, but my husband can be picky about mushy veggies. Do you have any suggestions on how to make them less mushy? Maybe separating veggies and adding to crock pot later? Does cooking on high for shorter time result in less mushy veggies?

    Thank you again. I’m so excited to have found your blog. I’m not a momma yet, but I am a very blessed Aunt. I’m so sorry for your recent loss and hope for your continued healing; know that baby angel is with you always.

    • Stephanie
      April 12, 2012 at 1:00 AM

      Yes, pretty much if you cook veggies in a slow cooker they will be soft. You can cook the veggies separately by sautéing in a frying pan or you can add them the last 30 minutes in the slow cooker. Thanks for your kind words, glad you are here!

  • Alicia @ Gateway to Saving
    May 1, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Hi Stephanie!

    The meals look great, I’ve been looking for something different than the typical slow cooker meals.

    For everyone that’s wondering about adding frozen meat to your crockpot: if you are not comfortable with it, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and shorten the cooking time by two hours.

    As far as the confusion over the packaging, it would probably clear everything up if it were worded ‘divide evenly between two one-gallon bags’. I read it incorrectly, too.

    Thanks for your hard work!

    • Stephanie
      May 1, 2012 at 1:52 PM

      Good point! Thanks. 😉

  • Shonda
    May 7, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    HI, do you have a store list to go by to make a batch of your meals or is everyone just going down through and writing a list of ingredients down? Thank you so much.

    • Stephanie
      May 8, 2012 at 1:15 AM

      Well, you could just go down the post and make a list or you could buy my new cookbook where it has new recipes and the classics from this post with grocery lists, nutrition info, and very cute labels!

  • Allie
    May 18, 2012 at 6:57 AM

    Just ordered the ecookbook and everything looks really great! However, regarding the “day of cooking” instructions, am I adding the amount of the ingredients listed, or do those get halved (with the other half being put in when the second bag is cooked)? For example, the paella recipe lists 2 cups shrimp, 8 cups chicken broth, and 2 cups of rice. Do those amounts get added to the crock pot OR do those amounts get split into 1 cup shrimp, 4 cups broth, and 1 cup rice?

    Can’t wait to get started!

    • Stephanie
      May 18, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      That particular recipes all gets dumped in. The ones that need to be split are noted. 😉

  • Ashley Benson
    September 26, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Hey! What a wonderful site with great information! I will be using it as a reference and ideas as I plan out the menu for my Health & Fitness Vacation I am hosting this November in St. Augustine! We will stay at an awesome beach house where we will focus on exercise and healthy, practical food prep and eating. Check it out on my blog! Spots still open 🙂

    • Stephanie
      September 26, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      That sounds awesome, I am not far from you in Tallahassee!

  • Christina
    October 19, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    So glad I came across your website. I am a new mom of a precious 3 month old little girl and I am unfortunately going back to work in a week! I have been trying to figure out how to eat quick and healthy. I am making my grocery list tomorrow! Everyone is a different shade of “green” when it comes to the environment, and I definitely appreciate the ideas on parenting and more.

  • Jackie
    January 1, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    I just purchased your ebook and the groceries and am going to start chopping as soon as I type this…HAPPY NEW YEAR by-the way,
    I am excited to get started, but I have one quick question. Is there a reason the stock needs to be added the day of cooking or can I add it in the bags before I freeze them? I just see this as another way to be able to grab this from the freezer and start my day without the extra step of making sure I actually have the stock on hand that day.
    Thanks for the great ideas!

    • Stephanie
      January 1, 2013 at 9:56 PM

      You can totally add the stock to the bag if you have room. But sometimes the gallon bags are not big enough to hold everything.

  • Brooke
    January 9, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    I am making the orange beef stew for a freezer meal exchange. I was going to put the chopped sweet potatoes in a seperate ziplock so they can either add it to the stew at the same time as the rest or wait until the last hour depending how they like their veggies. Can chopped sweet potatoes be frozen raw?

    • Stephanie
      January 9, 2013 at 10:25 PM

      Yes, you can add them raw to the bag. But that is a good idea for an option for people who don’t eat potatoes.

  • BAJ
    February 19, 2013 at 5:55 AM

    I love this idea, but our family doesn’t eat fish or meat, and I noticed that many of the recipes in your ebook are for meat dishes. Would you consider adding vegetarian dishes in a future update to the book? In the meantime, broadly speaking, can I take any slow-cooker recipe and turn it into a freezer cooking adventure? Thanks!

    • Stephanie
      February 19, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      My next cookbook that is set to come out late this summer will have much more vegetarian options. But yes, the key to making your own slow cooker freezer recipes is the flavors and then adjusting quantities and liquids for the freezing and then cooking process. I have two more free slow cooker freezer recipes coaching classes this month and how to make your own recipes is something I go over. 🙂

  • Patti
    March 16, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    I am intrigued with your cookbook but befor I buy it I wanted to ask about a concern I have. It looks like there are a lot of meat recipes, is that true? I am not a vegetarian but I eat meat sparingly. Do you have soup and bean recipes in your cookbook as well? Is it mostly meat and just a few vegetarian recipes? I wanted to know if it would fit our lifestyle before I purchase.

    • Stephanie
      March 17, 2013 at 11:56 PM

      Hey Patti, yes it is meat heavy with a few vegetarian options. 🙂

  • Julie
    March 24, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Hi Srephanie!
    I am a working mom of two and am constantly struggling to find healthy, easy meals that don’t require me to sacrifice my time in the evening with my girls by standing in the kitchen instead. Your website is fantastic and love your ebook! One problem. I bought your ebook and was looking through it on my iPhone, loved it, but when I hit “close,” it disappeared! Any ideas on where it went? Or can you I download another copy? Thanks for your help!

    • Stephanie
      March 24, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      So glad to hear that! All you need to do is make sure you have iBooks on your phone and then just make sure you SAVE the document to your iBooks. 🙂

  • Jennifer Hoppough
    April 3, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Hi Stephanie!
    I just placed an eBook order for your book! However, Paypal had the incorrect address and by the time I realized it, the transaction had already processed! Is there anyway I can receive the eBook through the correct email address?
    Thank you and I’m really looking forward to trying your recipes!
    Best,
    Jennifer

    • Stephanie
      April 3, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      There is no way to go back and change it now, but if you email me your paypal payment receipt we can get you a copy. [email protected]

  • MJinVT
    April 5, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Hey Stephanie, I just found your blog. Great ideas and recipes, but I notice that you don’t include many vegetarian recipes. Would love to see you include more meat-free recipes to your repertoire! Just a suggestion. 🙂 Thanks!

    • Stephanie
      April 5, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      Hi there and welcome! Sorry, there wont be many vegetarian dishes here, we are Paleo/WAPF/Real Food up in here. 🙂

  • Caren
    April 8, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Hey Mama! My husband and 6-yr-old son are the picky eaters at our house, so I bought the hard copy (yay!) and told them to pick their top 3 favorites to try. My son has been bugging me to make Opa’s Empanadas, so now I have a question: when I cook the ground beef in the crock pot will I need to drain the fat after cooking? It doesn’t say so in the book, so I’d just not worry about it, but I wanted to check with you. I really really really do not like cooking, mainly because everything I make (healthy) ends up only being eaten by me and my garbage disposal (oops! I mean my two-year-old). Crossing my fingers that “the boys” eat these up! Cheers! 🙂

    • Stephanie
      April 8, 2013 at 9:17 PM

      No maam! That fat is good for you! If you buy good, organic grassfed beef that is. 🙂

  • Jenifer
    September 5, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Hi Stephanie – (great name, btw, spelled the same as my sis!) – so I’ve read through all of the comments here and still had a question. We buy our grass fed a d pastured meat in bulk, So it already comes frozen. What are your suggestions? I’m thinking not all of your recipes would work… But some ideas I had were: 1) just cook the whole meal at once (I.e don’t split into 2 bags) and 2) maybe write on the outside of the bag that it goes with a lb of ground beef or whatever. What are your thoughts? Thanks! -Jenifer

    • Stephanie
      September 6, 2013 at 6:05 PM

      Yes, I buy meat in bulk too. It doesn’t usually last me all year, so sometimes I buy meat a couple of pounds at a time and sometimes I have 90 pounds in my deep freezer. When I have bulk in the freezer, I just bag the veggies and spices and then the day of cooking grab the corresponding piece of meat and throw both in the slow cooker frozen in the morning. Usually I will add more salt and pepper to the meat after about an hour of cooking, since it didn’t get the spice rub/mix at assembly time with the other ingredients.

  • Leslie
    April 2, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    Maybe the is addressed somewhere and I’m missing it, but do you cook ground beef before you put in the freezer bags? I see that you prefer not to pre-cook other cuts of meat and that makes sense, but I’d think you’d want to precook ground beef. No?

    • Stephanie
      April 4, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      Nah, you don’t have to. Ground beef cooks well in a slow cooker. But if you want to, you can.

  • Elena
    September 22, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Hi, I am planning to buy my first slow cooker and to learn how to use it with he help of your recipes.
    I am not sure, however, about the quantities of food I am going to obtain: I understood that with 1 bag of food you get about 3 adult portions, and that you cook only 1 bag in your 6 quarter slow cooker.
    I was planning to purchase a 3.5 quarter Slow cooker because I read that it is enought for a family of 2 that wants dinner + leftovers, but now I am afraid that it will be too small if in order to achieve the same result you use a 6 gallons…
    Did I misunderstood?

    • Elena
      September 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      *sorry, I mean a 6 quarters, not a 6 gallons… US volumetric system confuses me, I am italian 😛

    • Stephanie
      September 22, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      A 3.5 size slow cooker is totally fine, and the folks that have size usually split all the ingredients between 4 bags instead of 2 bags. Get it? Just divide it all evenly and make sure that whatever you put into a slowcooker, no matter the size, that is 3/4 full of food to heat and cook the food properly.

      • Elena
        September 23, 2014 at 8:35 AM

        Thank you, it’s very clear… I cannot wait to receive my slow cooker: I hate to cook, so minimal effort + big result is an irresistible combo!!!