Wednesday, July 29, 2015

3 Chicken Crockpot Freezer Meals

Double these 3 simple chicken recipes, and you can have 6 freezer meals in less than an hour!
All meals have been taste tested and approved by my kids!


3 Crockpot Chicken Freezer Meals (recipes below)
  • Chicken Taco Soup
  • Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans
  • Teriyaki Chicken



Chicken Taco Soup
Ingredients
  • 2  boneless chicken breasts, fat trimmed
  • 1  tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1 (16 ounce) can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 (15 ounce) bag of frozen corn
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (10 ounce) cans rotel with green chilies,
    • LESS SPICY SUB- 1 can undrained diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 to 1 package of taco seasoning depending on spicy you like your soup (OR 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp garlic powder)
  • optional- cilantro/dry or fresh
Day of cooking
  •    2 to 3 cups chicken broth
  •  Serve with with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and/or tortilla chips.

To freeze:
1. Label Bag with instructions.
2. Combine all ingredients into a Ziploc bag and freeze flat.

To Serve:
1. Thaw overnight in fridge.
2. In Crockpot, add chicken broth, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. Shred chicken in crock pot once cooking is done.    Serve with with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and/or tortilla chips.


Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans
Ingredients  
  • 2 chicken breasts  (fat trimmed and cut in half)                               
  • 4 TBSP of lime juice              
  • 1 cups fresh cilantro, chopped   (2  cups if you really like cilantro)         
  • 1 bags (16 oz) bag frozen corn           
  • 2 minced garlic cloves                        
  • 1 TBSP dried minced onion  
  • 1 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tsp cumin                             
  • salt and pepper to taste
Day of Cooking
  • 2 tbsp olive  oil (used day of cooking)    
  • Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, or cheese on with tortillas or on top of salad.      
To Freeze:
1.Label your bags with cooking the directions
2.Trim all fat chicken breasts and cut in half to have a total of four pieces of chicken per bag
3.Place ingredients in a resalable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix together, get air out of bag, and zip bag closed. Lay flat to freeze

To Serve
1.When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.
2.Put contents of bag in Crockpot, and stir in 2 Tbsp of Olive oil.
3.Cook on LOW for 8 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours).  Shred Chicken with Fork.
4.Serve with tortillas and toppings such as with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and cheese.

Adapted from Over The Moon


Teriyaki Chicken (didn't get a picture, sorry)
  • 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts                                                      
  • 1 tbsp dried minced onion                            
  • 2  minced garlic cloves                                 
  • 1 (26 ounce) undrained cans pineapple chunks(or cup of pineapple juice if your kids don't like pineapples)        
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce       
Day of Cooking
  • Rice 
  • Bag of frozen stir fry veggies (steam-able in microwave)                           
To freeze
1. Label your bags with cooking the directions.
2. Trim chicken breasts and cut in half to have a total of four pieces of chicken per bag. Add  to bag.
4. Add rest of  ingredients to bag.
5. Let out air, seal bag, and lay flat in freezer.

To serve.
1. Thaw overnight in fridge.
2. Cook on Low 6 hours or High 3-4 hours. 
3. Stir in stri fry veggies and serve over rice.

Surviving Back-To-School Season as a Homeschooler

I think if you homeschool , be it year around or during the traditional school year, public school's "Back-to-School" season can be bit of  a challenge because it clearly highlights our different lifestyle. To survive this time as a homeschooler without becoming defensive, we must remember that Back-to-School  is a retail season.   Just like every other retail season in America, it will come at us from all sides. We will see those cute new backpacks as we grocery shop, and our news-feed will start filling up with smiling kids in their new gear on their first day of school. I must remember that it is the advertiser's job is to create a "want" where there wasn't one before, making back to school as appealing as possible.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good deal on school supplies, and I wish all the happiness on those smiling faces getting on buses with their new clothes and backpacks!  Even with awesome deals, I  must be careful not to become defensive of choosing a different path than most of my friends.  Last Winter I wrote a post about Defending versus Defensive; Security in My Choice to Homeschool.   I am challenging myself NOW not to become defensive.  I am also praying for compassion for those public school friends who also become defensive in response to my choice to homeschool.

The biggest challenge I face during Back-to-School season has nothing to do with  sale on glue sticks, but  how it subtly shifts my friendships. My public school friends will change their routine again, and our friendships again change.  They attend Daytime Bible Studies, meet for Starbucks after school drop-off, and discuss PTA issues.  There is NOTHING wrong with their routine, but  our conversations change because we have less in common and less time together during this season.

Whether you feel called to homeschool for faith reasons, or you just recognize it is what is best for your family, it is important to remember this is lifestyle.  Even if you only plan to homeschool for only a year, it against the mainstream and it changes more in your life than you first realize. Having a different lifestyle from others can be just plain hard sometimes, especially if you struggle with insecurity.

More than any other time of the year, Back-To-School Season highlights that I have a different lifestyle than many of my friends. And that is OK. I still love them, and they love me. We have a different routine, but we do not have a different end goal.  We all love our kids, and we all want them to be the best version of them they can be.

One practical way I am committing to celebrate the back-to-school time, instead of becoming defensive, will be to pray for each of the children that show up on my news-feed in their brand new backpacks.  I want to pray for their teacher, their parents, and their school year.  My boys may one day marry one of these beautiful public school girls, or become best friends with a public school boy.  I must stop looking at my own insecurities, and look at the amazing children  who will change our world one day, public school and home schooled alike.

Monday, July 20, 2015

5 Back To School Crockpot Freezer Meals



I don't really want to think about  school time while it is sunny and summer outside, but I know it is important to to prepare BEFORE Back-To-School Busyness begins.Each recipe below last for three months in freezer, so you can prep for those first few months getting back into school routine.  

5 Easy Crockpot Freezer Meals (recipes below)
All of these recipes are easy to assemble, and no cooking involved day of prep. My friend and I made four of each of the recipes, 20 meals total with each of us taking home 10 meals. 
  1. Sweet and Sour Meatballs (a.k.a. Hawaiian Meatballs) 
  2. BBQ Pulled Pork
  3. Mediterranean Pork Chops
  4. Cilantro Lime Chicken with Black Beans and Corn
  5. Teriyaki Chicken




Crockpot Sweet and Sour Meatballs
(a.k.a. Crock-pot Hawaiian Meatballs) 
 Ingredients:
  • 20 oz can pineapple tidbits or chunks 
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup peeled and cut carrot (about half size of baby carrots)
  • 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts (drained)
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  Day of Cooking
  • 28 oz package frozen meatballs (use day of cooking)
Materials needed:
  • Sharpie
  •  gallon-sized freezer-grade ziploc bag
  • measuring cups & mixing bowl
  • can opener
To freeze
1.Label Freezer Bag with cooking directions & date.
2. Drain Pineapples into mixing bowl, set juice aside.
3. Place  pineapples, carrots, pepper, and water chestnuts in bag.
4. Combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl with pineapple juice and pour over veggies & fruit in bag). 
5. Remove as much air as possible, freeze flat for up to 3 months.

To serve: 
1.Thaw in fridge overnight. 
2. Place Frozen Meatballs (can also use chicken breasts instead)  in bottom of crock pot. 
3. Pour contents of bag in crock-pot.  Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.
4.. Serve over rice.

Crockpot Pulled Pork
 Ingredients 
•1- 2-3 pound pork shoulder (also called pork butt or Boston Butt)
•Sea salt & pepper
•1/2 TBSP Minced Dried Onion
•1 cups barbecue sauce
•1 cans Root Beer
•1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt

 To Freeze:
1.Label your bags with cooking directions & date.
2.Rub meat with sea salt and pepper; set aside.
3.In medium bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, Root Beer, & seasoned salt until smooth, then add onion.
4. Place meat into gallon-size Ziploc bag. 
5. Pour sauce over meat; freeze until needed.

To serve:
1         Thaw in refrigerator; pour contents into slow cooker and cook on LOW  heat for 8 hours.
2         Remove pork, Trim fat and pull meat apart with fork.
3         Serve on it's own, or on Hawaiian Rolls or Hamburger Buns.


Crockpot Mediterranean Pork Chops
  • 4 to 6 Pork chops, thin cut
  • 1/8 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • ¾  tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp. dried basil
   Materials needed:
  • Sharpie
  • gallon-sized freezer-grade ziploc bag
  • measuring cups
To freeze:
1. Label Bag with instructions & date.
2. Combine all ingredients into a Ziploc bag and freeze flat.

To serve:
1         Thaw overnight in fridge
2         Cook on low in Crockpot for 8 hours.
3         Serve with rice or noodles, or mashed potatoes, and a vegetable side.



Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken 
with Corn and Black Beans
Ingredients  
  • 2 chicken breasts                                
  • 4 TBSP of lime juice              
  • 1 to 2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped            
  • 1 bags (16 oz) bag frozen corn           
  • 2 minced garlic cloves                        
  • 1 TBSP dried minced onion  
  • 1 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tsp cumin                             
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive  oil         
 Materials needed:
  • Sharpie
  •  gallon-sized freezer-grade ziploc bag
  • measuring cups
  • can opener


Directions:
1.Label your bags with cooking directions and date.  
2.Trim all fat off of chicken breasts and cut in half to have a total of four pieces of chicken per bag
3.Place ingredients in a gallon-sized freezer-grade ziploc bag. Mix together and zip closed, make sure all air is out and seal tight. Lay flat to freeze

To Serve
1.When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge overnight.
2.Put contents of bag in Crockpot, and stir in 2 Tbsp of Olive oil (optional).
3.Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours (or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours).  
4. Shred Chicken with Fork. .Serve with tortillas and toppings such as with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and cheese.

Adapted from Over The Moon


Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken 
  • 2 chicken breasts                                          
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped carrots (optional if you don't plan on using the stir fry vegetables below)              
  • 1 tbsp dried minced onion                            
  • 2  minced garlic cloves                                 
  • 1 (26 ounce) undrained cans pineapple tidbits (or a 1/2 cup of pineapple juice if your kids don't like pinapples)        
  • •1/2 cup teriyaki sauce                                   
Day of Cooking:

  • 1 bag of Frozen Stir Fry Vegetables  (I buy the Steam-able ones that I can throw into microwave)

 Materials needed:
  • Sharpie
  •  gallon-sized freezer-grade ziploc bag
  • measuring cups
  • can opener
To freeze
1. Label your bags with cooking the directions and date .
2. Trim all fat off chicken breasts and cut in half to have a total of four pieces of chicken per bag. Add meat to bag
3. Add remaining ingredients to each bag.
4. Let out air, seal bag, and lay flat in freezer. Can be used within 3 months.

To serve.
  1. Crockpot on High 4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours
  2. Shred chicken with fork. 
  3. Serve with Steamed Stir Fry vegetables & over hot rice.