Tricia’s Slow Cooker Batch Cooking: The Super Supper Saver

by Tricia H on February 24, 2011

Having that ground meat, already cooked and ready to pull out of the freezer is a super supper saver. It’s a strategy that works with busy toddlers under foot, hungry teens hovering and all those in between. (that’s us!)

For about two years now I’ve been batch cooking with my slow cooker every shopping trip. My friend, Little Sanctuary, shared how she cooks ground meat in her slow cooker. The mother of eight taught this mother of five her large family living strategy. The point is, you don’t have to stand and stir or deal with splatters. You just have to break up the meat with a fork now and then as you pass the slow cooker.

Recently, I had the privilege of five pounds of ground turkey from a bi-monthly visit to the warehouse club. Ground turkey is frugal and healthy. Five pounds of it is at least three meals, likely four in our house.

Directions: Here’s how it works. Even before the grocery store run, I place the slow cooker on the counter, at the ready. As soon as the Hodgepodge starts unloading the goods, I get a hold of the ground turkey and slide that meat right in the slow cooker.

Next comes the frozen, chopped onion. I confess that since I discovered this handy dandy package, I no longer chop an onion unless I have to. Frozen, chopped onion is great for pouring in the seasoning. See, sometimes saving money is saving time and tears :)

When the turkey finishes cooking, I drain it with the colander over a casserole dish. Last time, I decided to save out two pounds to make chili for supper that night.

Next, I washed out the slow cooker (since it was room temp by then and there wasn’t a chance of it cracking), and put all the ingredients back in to warm. Then I just threw in my favorite chili seasoning and a can of diced tomatoes. Because, if you are like me, I’m often not much in the mood to cook supper after a big grocery shopping trip.

Finally, I bagged up the remaining turkey in supper-sized portions and put it in the deep freeze. Supper tonight and saving suppers for several tomorrows.

Results:

•Five pounds of ground turkey

•Three pounds, cooked and in the freezer

•Two pounds stirred up as chili for supper

•Enough leftover chili for lunch tomorrow

At least five meals for us! Maybe for your family it might last a month?

Bonus option: OR I will cook half of the five pounds in the slow cooker and mix up meatballs and/or meatloaves with the rest (as I mentioned in my Meatball Subs recipe). Or, like Erin does in her Batch Cooking Meatloaf, Turkey Meatloaf Bites, and Herbed Meatballs.

Before batch cooking the slow cooker way I could only do one or the other in one day – shop or batch cook. Now I can have it both ways.

Guess what else? Slow cooker batch cooking got me going on a whole series called Back to Basics. I also batch cook with chicken and with ground beef. Cook it up in the slow cooker, bag it up for the freezer.

Would you like the main ingredient for suppers all ready to pull from the freezer? Or, what’s your favorite handy use for your slow cooker?

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