Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Freezer CrockPot Example

This post goes hand in hand with the one from last night.
Here is an example on how to put it all together.
I found recipe from

First, I copied the recipe into my word doc, then copied the ingredients into my excel spreadsheet so I could gather all ingredients.

5-Spice Slow-Cooker Pork Ribs  
3-4 pounds baby back or St. Louis pork ribs
salt and ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse (granulated) garlic powder
1 fresh jalapeño, cut into rings2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Put the ribs into pieces that will fit standing up in the slow cooker. 

Lay the ribs on a cutting board and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

 In a small bowl, mix the Chinese five- spice and garlic powder together,  then massage onto the meat to coat the ribs. Toss the jalapeño rings into the bottom of the slow cooker, and add the rice vinegar, coconut aminos, and tomato paste. Stir until the tomato paste is combined with the other liquids. Add the ribs, standing up so they’re not lying in the liquid – or use a roasting rack inside the cooker so the ribs are not lying on the bottom – cover, and cook 6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. 
When the ribs are fall-apart tender, remove them from the cooker. Pour the liquid into a heat-proof container and refrigerate until the fat separates from the juices. Remove the fat and bring the remaining liquid to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Use as a dipping/drizzle sauce for the meat.4. Want ‘em crispy? Throw the ribs in a 400F oven for 10 minutes while you boil the sauce.
Fast Forward to actually prepping this meal for freezing:

I review the ingredients list, and decide what items should go together.  Here I put the liquids in one bag and the spices in another. The reason is that the spices are a 'rub' and the liquid goes in the bottom of the crockpot.  If this recipe simply had a marinade, I would have put the spices and liquid together in one bag.

I then took the ribs out of the store packaging and put them in a ziplock.

My end product, I have a gallon bag with all my necessary ingredients to just start a crockpot meal.  Bag goes into freezer, then 1-2 days before you're going to cook it, put it in the fridge to thaw.

After it thaws, (or depending on how you like to cook, you an put many frozen meats into  a crockpot and it will do fine).  I put the liquid in the bottom. If you have a thicker liquid, you can cut a corner of the bag and squeeze it out like icing a cake!

I tossed the ribs as directed then organized them on their side in the crockpot.

I can't tell you what this will taste like, as I just put it on.  I also made several changes, like I didn't use Chinese 5 Spice, and I didn't have coconut amino,so I used low sodium soy instead.

Hopefully this shows a little more how I put these together.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Prepping Food for the Month!

Today I posted a picture of my latest grand idea and you all seemed to want MORE so here's my brain dump on it!

For the 3 years leading up to Ironman I went to Dream Dinners.  John and I both loved the concept! They provide several meals from which to chose. You go to their store and prepare everything in an hour.  They do the hard work in organizing, chopping, and laying it all out for you.  You just assemble your meals the way you want them, go home, stick in freezer, then pull out as you need them!  Problem for me is once I started training really hard, I wasn't eating enough of the 'meals' to warrant the minimum required purchase.

*note if you stop in the Framingham store, tell them I said HI!

I loved meals for my crockpot, but not all of Dream Dinners went in the crockpot, some were saute, some oven, etc.  Most were simple but just not what I need right now.

I have been trying to collect ideas and recipes on how I can create a bunch of paleo-ish recipes for my CROCKPOT and today I took my first whack at it!

First I collected recipes in Pinterest. I started a board for crockpot and/or Paleo recipes that I intend on modifying or just using. I spent a week or so just collecting recipes when I had a free minute.

Yesterday I went through those recipes and copied a dozen or so into MS Word.  I put a page break between each so I could print it out and stick into the bags.

Next, I went through the recipes and outlined the ingredients into excel. I tallied up all the things I needed from each recipe (including Dill Weed, which I still giggle at writing or saying).  This is probably the most important part. You want to have ALL of your ingredients ready before you start.

Make sure you get good 'freezer' bags. You'll want quart, gallon and some 2 gallon ones. You will also want to get a large open mouth container that can hold a freezer bag open for you while you dump things into it! Otherwise you're messing with the edge of a plastic bag trying not to spill!

Next, the grocery store!  Ugh, I don't shop for a family of 18 but buying this much made me think I was doing just that!  WOW!

I had originally intended on also prepping the meals last night but I had ENOUGH once I collected, and organized the menu for the month then went shopping!

I personally love crockpot meals, but you can do this with LOTS of different meals and preparation styles!  I am also hesitant to post ACTUAL recipes for two reasons:

  1. I haven't tasted any of these yet and more importantly 
  2. I'm a 'non-measure' person.   

I modify recipes, eyeball spices and such.  For example one recipe called for Chinese 5 spice. John hates cloves, so I just threw in some other spices instead. I LITERALLY threw them in,  I couldn't tell you how much! I will continue to collect recipes on Pinterest, I've found that to be a great place to just tag what might look good, or what might be a good base for me.

I pulled out all ingredients and worked off one recipe at a time.  This was a mistake. Next time I will add more prep to my excel sheet so I can have things like veggies cut up appropriately before I start. You will mostly 'prep' the food prior to putting them into the bags. You will rarely cook anything before you freeze it.

If you do try this, you'll want to put your protein in one ziplock.  If that protein has a marinade, just go ahead and add it to the bag.  If it's a 'rub' or other dry spice ingredients put that in a separate small bag to be 'rubbed' before you cook it.   You'll want to put things like 'liquids' together into a ziploc, you may have a 'meal' with 3-4 ziplocks inside.  Put your recipe and directions INSIDE the bag, and write the date on the outside.

I will get better at this and will post some pictures of the step by step next time, but this should get you started!  I do have 4 more meals to do tomorrow night!

**UPDATE: check out my new blog post, it shows a little detailed explanation  of one recipe.

Thanks for reading!

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