Hey, y'all! Welcome to my latest series on the blog; Make Ahead Mondays! Let me tell you, meal planning and meal prepping has been a game changer for me. Recently, our family grew from a family of 2 to a family of 5 when our latest group of foster children joined us.
Before, when it was just the two of us, I'd meal plan- meaning I'd sit down on the weekends and figure out what meals I was going to prepare throughout the week. I'd jot down a grocery list and head to the store to stock up for the week. Now that we're moms to a 5-year-old and 1 1/2-year-old twin boys, I had to switch over to meal prepping. Meal prepping, for me, means planning out our menu, grocery shopping, and then spending a couple of hours 1 day a week whipping up all of our meals for the week and tossing them into the freezer until we're ready to use them. Ya'll, I have so much more time on my hands doing things this way AND there's a hell of a lot less dishes.
Throughout this series, I'm going to share with you the recipes I use to on these meal prep days. Hang on tight, your life is about to get so much easier! This week, I'm highlighting my Cheesy Chicken + Tater Tot Casserole
What I love most about this dish is that it is super easy to make- especially if you use all of the suggested short cuts. Simply toss all of the ingredients into a crock pot for 4-6 hours on low heat and forget about it until dinner time! If you use a crock pot liner, there is virtually no clean-up. I mean really, could this dish be any easier?
The end result is fork tender and absolutely delicious! This simple dish is one of our family's absolute favorite meals! The twins devour it every single time I put it down in front of them- we're talking 2nds and 3rds here! In fact, the whole family tears it up.
Tips for Making Freezer Crock Pot Meals:
- Keep an eye on your grocery stores sale flyers and stock up on meat when it's on sale.
- Print off recipes your family likes so you don't have to hunt them down or create a special Pinterest board with all of your favorite freezer meals.
- Label each Ziploc bag with the name of the meal, simple directions and cooking time.
- Make sure you have all of the essentials before you get started- bag holders, gallon size bags, quart size bags, permanent markers, bag holders, and slow cooker liners are great to have on hand.
This dish tastes great with ranch or sour cream drizzled on top. We serve it with steamed broccoli or green beans to add a little color to our plate.
Gallon Size Ziploc Bags
Crock Pot Liner
32 oz bag frozen tater tots
1 3oz bag of bacon bits
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
Salt & pepper, to taste
To Enjoy Now:
1. Line a crock pot with a crock pot liner for easy clean up. Spray the liner with nonstick cooking spray. If you're feeling wild you can skip the liner and just spray the slow cookers.
2. Layer half of the frozen tater tots on the bottom of the crock pot.
3. Top with 1/2 of the bacon, 1/2 of the cheese, and the chicken.
4. Place the remaining tater tots on top and cover with the remaining cheese, and bacon. Pour the milk on top of the mixture.
5. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
To Enjoy Later (as a freezer meal):
1. Label a gallon size Ziploc bag with the meals name, directions and cook time.
2. Add all ingredients into a gallon size Ziploc bag. Seal and place in the freezer.
3. When ready to prepare, allow the bag to thaw in the fridge overnight. Empty the ingredients into a crock-pot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
4. Serve with your favorite veggies.
Be sure to save this yummy pin for later! Give me a like on Facebook or follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more delicious, easy to make recipes. You can also subscribe to the blog to have the recipes delivered straight to your inbox. See you next time!
**This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience**
Use #mandmcooks on social media so I can see how your dish turns out