Because I wonder if I would get some kind of crap if I called this Paleo Freezer Meals for Dummies. Because you know, this blog is SO popular that I’m sure it would matter.
This weekend I spent approximately a zillion years making paleo freezer meals. About 3ish hours on Saturday and another 2ish hours on Sunday. It was awesome, if not a little exhausting, but now I have literally 30 dinners and/or lunches ready to be defrosted and slapped in the crockpot or on the grill. Score.
On Saturday I spent the day with my friend Caitlin and her freakin adorable family (seriously, you guys, she has a 2-year old son and if you say “Ryan, show me the goods!” he will grunt, flex his biceps, and say, in his manliest voice, “Dig it!” …I mean really). We had a few recipes we were working from but we basically made it up as we went along. Then on Sunday I went to a freezer meal event at my gym that just serendipitously was scheduled for the same weekend as my afternoon with Caitlin, where we used a bunch of awesome spice blends from Tastefully Simple to create lots of awesome meals. Since I did not make up those recipes, I’m only going to share the recipes from what we made at Caitlin’s, but I’ll include a list of the types of food we made in the workshop so you can have some ideas for where to start!
If you are thinking of doing an afternoon of freezer meal prep, I would highly suggest getting a friend in on the experience. First of all, you can buy in even more bulk than you would have before and save a little more money that way, plus it’s way easier to motivated and get it all done in one fell swoop
instead of getting distracted by Project Runway if someone else is there doing it too.
Ideas for where to start if you are brand new to freezer meals (like I was):
In general: Anything you are going to cook later (in the crock pot or otherwise) can be frozen with raw meat in it. Anything you want to just be able to heat up and go should be cooked and then frozen because just reheating something may not be adequate for cooking the meat (which is what we did with the chili and chicken soup recipes below). Some other general ideas:
- Burgers, make them into patties and then freeze, then defrost the night before and grill
- Meatballs, combine meat and spices and ball ‘em up and freeze them, then defrost the night before and cook in a skillet or add to a crock pot with some tomato sauce
- Put chicken in with your favorite marinade and a little extra water into a bag, freeze it, then defrost and grill whenever you’re ready
- Actually pretty much anything that you can put in a crock pot, you can put in a bag and freeze it first… so what’s your favorite crock pot meal? Now you also have your new favorite freezer meal!
We started with this recipe because it had the most prep time associated with it, and as the meat was browning and everything was simmering we were able to move on and make other things.
- 2 lbs ground beef or bison
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup beef broth (we used bone broth and it made a big difference, but if you just have normal stock that’s fine)
- 15 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbs cumin (we actually used way more than this because we both love cumin, so let’s say at LEAST 2 tbs)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- salt + pepper
- 1-2 tbs of your favorite fat for browning the onions and beef
- (Or, in the case that you are explaining this recipe to a toddler, the ingredients are “chocolate” and “chili”)
- Use a deep skillet and start heating up your fat (we used coconut oil)
- Add the diced onions and let them cook for just a minute to soften ‘em up
- Add the diced garlic and the beef and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned
- Get out a big pot and put the beef in there, then add the beef broth and let it simmer for a few minutes
- Add everything else (this is chili, after all, not rocket science)
- Let it simmer for at least 30ish minutes to get all the flavors good and seeped together
- Let cool completely before placing into bags or tupperware and freezing (I recommend using single-serve tupperware so that you can just reheat one meal at a time instead of reheating the whole batch, but whatever works)
- To reheat, just put it in the stove or in the microwave
- PS, we quadrupled this recipe and it made about 12-15 adult-size servings
Paleo Chicken (no noodle) Soup
- 3 chicken breasts, cut into chunks (we used 5 chicken thighs instead because that’s what was on sale)
- 4 stalks of celery, sliced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups of chicken broth
- salt + pepper
- 1-2 tbs of fat for cooking the chicken
- Heat the fat up in a skillet and put your chicken chunks in to get ‘em started
- (You can add the veggies in here too at this point if you want them to be extra soft, which we did)
- Once the chicken is cooked through, transfer the chicken (and the veggies, if you used them) into a big pot
- Add the chicken broth
- Let simmer for 1-2 hours to soften up the chicken
- Let cool completely before putting into tupperware or a bag to freeze
- To reheat, just heat it up over the stove or in a microwave
- We also tripled this recipe and it made about 15 adult-sized servings
Painfully Easy Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken
- 4 chicken breasts (we used 6 thighs instead because, again, they were on sale)
- 1 cup paleo BBQ sauce (we were able to find something at the store that was paleo compliant, but if you’re out of luck, this recipe is really tasty)
- 1 cup canned pineapple, crushed or cubed
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- salt + pepper
- Put everything in a freezer bag
- Have a dance party because that was the easiest thing you’ve ever done
- When it’s time to reheat, let it thaw in the fridge overnight then put it in the crock pot for 6-8 hours on low. You can either shred it for Hawaiian tacos or serve it chilled on a salad… or really whatever the crap you want to do is fine.
Now I don’t know about you but I am kind of tired of typing and you are probably tired of reading. Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow which will include 2 more recipes plus a shopping list!