When Fall arrives, there is nothing I love more than firing up the slow cooker and letting a meal simmer all day long. The house smells amazing and you can literally leave it alone, cooking all day. Who doesn’t love to come home to dinner that’s ready? I do! Especially this time of year when my hubby works crazy hours. I can at least guarantee him a hot dinner. Last week, my sister in law Tiffany and I decided to take the whole day to prepare slow cooker meals that could be made in advance, frozen and prepared when you need them. Essentially, you can take any slow cooker recipe and modify it to a fix and freeze meal. Fall and winter are the best times to do this, as many slow cooker recipes are your typical comfort foods. But, slow cooker doesn’t necessarily mean canned soup…although it can, I do enjoy those once and awhile as well. Tiffany and I made the trip to Costco and bought all of our ingredients for our food prep extravaganza! Tiff hates Costco, but I think this trip maybe made her like it a little more. Or maybe it was the Caramel Spiced Apple Cider we got afterwards I had picked out the recipes in advance, made a shopping list and off we went. 1.5 hours later we had our ingredients and we were ready to go. I will do separate blog posts about these recipes as I make them. The first out of the bunch was a modified version of Martha Stewart’s Coconut Curry Chicken from this blog. I altered some of the ingredients as I went along. Tiffany and I both agreed it could use a little more kick!
*NOTE: While this dish is super easy to make as a fix and freeze, I do think having it frozen first allows a lot of water to release during the cooking process. For this reason, I really recommend using the full fat version of coconut milk and not the light. You need the extra thickness to get the right consistency. The other thing I should have done is once I had fully thawed my ziplock, I should have discarded the extra water. Oh well, live and learn!
- 3 pounds of boneless chicken breasts
- 2 pounds chopped butternut squash
- 2 onions thinly sliced or chopped
- 10 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 tablespoons ground curry powder
- 1 ounce of grated ginger
- 1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
- Coarse Salt
- 1 package of green peas
- 2 cans coconut milk (don’t use light)
- Cayenne pepper
- Assemble the first 9 ingredients into a gallon freezer zip lock bag. (Or, what I would probably do next time, since I cook for just me and my husband, is divide it into 2 freezer bags) That’s it, you’re done! Now put it in the freezer. There are a couple ways you can prepare it when you’re ready. The first is to slow cook it all day (and by all day I mean, starting at 8am) from the completely frozen state. I took mine out of the freezer, left it on the counter for 4 hours the night before, and then in the fridge the rest of the night. It cooks faster this way.
- From Frozen: Add one can of coconut milk and cook on low, all day. Once tender, shred the chicken into pieces and let simmer in the slow cooker on low. While you’re prepping your rice, add the last can of coconut milk and the bag of frozen peas and let simmer for another 20-25 minutes.
- From Thawed: Add one can of coconut milk and cook on high 4-5 hours, or low 6-8 hours. Once tender, shred the chicken into pieces and let simmer in the slow cooker on low. While you’re prepping your rice, add the last can of coconut milk and the bag of frozen peas and let simmer for another 20-25 minutes.
- Add cayenne pepper for a kick if you like.
- Serve with rice. Enjoy!