Back to School Bulk Cooking with the Slow Cooker

We’re nearing the end of summer, which means that the back to school frenzy is beginning to show itself all over the television and in storefronts across America.

Don’t worry. This is going to be the best school year ever! The key to a successful year starts with becoming organized. For me, I feel the most organized when I have a meal plan in place and a fully stocked freezer.

There is no easier way to bulk-cook and freezer-stock (doesn’t that sound like it should be a new dance craze?) than to plug in your handy dandy slow cooker.
Back to School Bulk Cooking with the Slow Cooker Image
Bulk Ground Meat

(Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free)

Keep cooked ground meat in your freezer to add to soups, sauces, casseroles, and stir fries in a flash.

Makes 16 (4 ounce) servings of meat

  • 4 pounds lean ground meat (turkey, beef, or chicken)
  • 1 cup warm water

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the ground meat into your cooker and add the warmed water. There is no need to stir. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for about 5 hours. Your meat is finished cooking when it is no longer pink.

Line a large stock pot with aluminum foil and place a strainer into the pot. Pour the cooked meat into the strainer. Let it sit for about 20 minutes to drain all of the accumulated grease. Fold the foil into a packet and discard.

When the meat is cool, separate it into freezer bags or airtight containers and freeze. Simply thaw under hot water or overnight in the refrigerator and use in your favorite recipes.
Back to School Bulk Cooking with the Slow Cooker Image
Homemade “Canned” Beans

(Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Vegetarian, Vegan)

One pound of dry beans costs approximately the same as one 15-ounce can, but you get three times the yield. I like having pre-cooked beans on hand in the freezer to toss into salads or soups. My kids enjoy munching on them right out of the freezer.

Makes about 5 cups

  • 1 pound dry beans, picked over
  • Water

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Important note: All varieties of red beans must be boiled in water for at least 10 minutes before slow cooking to kill a naturally-occurring potential toxin. Soak beans overnight in water or boil on the stove for 10 minutes. Then let the beans sit, covered, in the hot water for 1 hour before draining.

Place the drained beans into your slow cooker insert and add 6 cups of fresh water. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 12 hours. If you live at a high elevation, your beans will take longer to cook than they do at sea level.

Drain and let the beans cool before placing about 12/3 cup portions into individual freezer containers or bags. Use each portion as you would one 15-ounce can of beans.
Back to School Bulk Cooking with the Slow Cooker Image
Shredded Beef

(Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free)

I like to use a chunky salsa for my cooking liquid to provide extra flavor and texture to my shredded meat. If you don’t eat onions or would prefer a milder flavor, use 1 cup of beef broth instead. Enjoy this meat in tacos, quesadillas, or anywhere you would use shredded beef.

Serves 8-10

  • 1 (4-5 pound) beef chuck roast
  • 2 cups prepared salsa

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the meat into the slow cooker insert and add the salsa. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for about 6 hours. Your meat is finished cooking when it has relaxed and begun to lose shape. If your meat isn’t finished after the allotted cooking time, you can “help” by cutting the roast into a few pieces, then continuing to slow cook on high for another hour.

Shred the meat completely using two forks. Cool and store in meal-sized

Back to School Bulk Cooking with the Slow Cooker Image
Bulk Cooked Chicken

(Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free)

I like to have cooked chicken on hand to toss into last-minute stir fries or serve on top of salads. My preschooler who is home with me during the day often eats these “chicken nuggets” for lunch with barbecue sauce and a side of fresh fruit.

Serves 8-12

  • 1 (3-5 pound) bag frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, slightly thawed
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Thaw the frozen chicken pieces slightly by running the bag under hot water or leaving the chicken in the refrigerator overnight.

Dump the entire bag into your slow cooker insert and add the chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for about 6 hours. Remove the chicken from the pot and cut into small cubes or shred completely using two forks. Cool and store in meal-sized portions in freezer bags or airtight plastic containers.

Written by Stephanie O’Dea

Disclaimer: All nutrition facts on Simply Gluten Free are meant only as a guide and may differ depending on product brands used or ingredient substitutions. Some errors may occur, so you are encouraged to confirm the recipe’s ingredient and nutrition suitability for your own diet.
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