On busy evenings, it is really tempting to grab fast food for dinner. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done and still prepare a nice meal for your family. This is when your crockpot comes to the rescue!
Making crockpot meals ahead of time and freezing them means that an easy dinner is as simple as thawing the ingredients the night before and dumping them in the crockpot before you dash out the door.
When you get home, the smell of a delicious hot meal will greet you and chase away any drive-through temptation.
I have rounded up my favorite seven crockpot meals can be made for under $50! Make them all the same week to take a break from cooking, or save them in the freezer to have on hand for nights when you know you will be busy.
A couple notes before you start:
This is a recipe round-up which means you need to click on the link to the original post to get the full recipe. I simply wanted to include all of these delicious recipes in one place, and let you know, ingredient by ingredient, how much they cost to make.
I put all my ingredients into gallon size freezer bags, which I label with any additional instructions and cook time. This makes it so I don’t have to think about what needs to be done before I even have coffee in the morning. Just set the crockpot to what it says on the bag.
You must thaw the ingredient bags before cooking or you will never be able to dump the ingredients into the crockpot. I just set it out on the counter the night before and it works pretty well.
If you are going to be gone all day and the cook time is shorter than when you will make it home, use a timer like this one. It is really easy and convenient to have the crockpot start cooking at the right time so that the meal is just finished cooking when you get home, instead of being boiled down to a crisp.
All of the ingredients were purchased at Aldi, Martin’s, and the pork chops are from Costco. I based my price calculations on my own grocery receipts, and I am assuming that you have basic spices in your cupboard, so the cost of spices isn’t included. (I ran the numbers and even if you have to buy spices, the serving of the spices in each recipe works out to be worth less than a penny.)
Chicken breasts were $1.69/lb at Aldi. Each breast weighed roughly 1/2 lb (some were a little less), so for the purposes of the calculations, I am saying 1 chicken breast is worth $.85.
I bought a package of pork chops at Costco for $14.04 and there were 9 thick chops in the pack. Therefore, each pork chop used is $1.56.
Your costs might be a little different than mine depending on season and location.
Okay, okay…we get it. On to the recipes!
Pumpkin Coconut Curry
This recipe is from Table for Two—use this link to find the full recipe! This is one of my favorite crockpot recipes! It freezes really well, just dump all the ingredients into a one-gallon freezer bag and place in the freezer. It is so delicious and hits the spot on a chilly fall evening. You can serve it over rice or with naan.
unsweetened coconut milk —Martin’s $1.89
pumpkin puree —Martin’s $1.49
chicken stock —Aldi $1.89 for 4 cups, $.47 for one cup
1/2 large onion—Aldi $.35
3 carrots— at Aldi $.99 for 12 carrots, so $.25 for 3
3 cups sweet potatoes —at Aldi $2.99 for 3lbs, so the pound I used is about $1
2 chicken breasts—at Aldi $1.70
one lime —at Aldi $.50
spices, salt and pepper
Total cost: $7.15
Baked Potato Soup
What is better than a thick and creamy baked potato soup on a cold winter day? This recipe is a-maz-ing. My son loved it so much, he started crying in the time it took me to refill his bowl! We serve it with fresh bread straight out of the bread maker! Head over to Here Comes the Sun for the full recipe.
3 lbs russet potatoes —10-pound bag of potatoes at Aldi is $4.49, so 3 pounds = $1.35
1 onion – at Aldi $.70
64 oz chicken broth —at Aldi $1.89 for 32 oz, $3.78 total
16 oz cream cheese— at Aldi $1.29 for 8 oz, $2.58 total
To make this recipe into a freezer friendly version: Cut up and freeze the potatoes, onion and garlic. When you are ready to cook, add everything except the cream cheese to the crockpot and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours.
After that time is up, add the cream cheese and stir until it melts in. Use an immersion blender or food processor to make the soup creamy, and serve!
Total cost: $8.41
Sweet BBQ Chicken
Yum! This one is so fast and simple to make and freeze, and coupled with the cost, it is no wonder why it is a summertime favorite. Over The Big Moon has the full recipe.
4 chicken breasts —$3.40 at Aldi
BBQ sauce —$.99 at Aldi
1/2 cup brown sugar —4 cup bag is $1.29 at Aldi, $.16 for 1/2 cup
1/4 cup vinegar —most people already have this in their cupboard
cayenne pepper, garlic powder
Total cost: $4.56
Creole Pork Chops
This recipe is from Recipes that Crock. If you aren’t familiar with this site, and you love your crockpot…you have to get over there! They have so many amazing recipes!
These pork chops are so tender they fell apart with a fork!
4 thick-cut boneless pork chops —$6.24 at Costco
can cream of chicken soup—$.79 at Aldi
pack of ranch salad dressing mix —$1.25 at Martin’s
creole seasoning —we use Bayou blast because we love it (we make a lot of cajun food), but you can use whatever kind you have on hand
Total cost: $8.28
Creamy Italian Chicken
This is another Over The Big Moon recipe. If you can’t tell…I am a big fan! This Creamy Italian Chicken is my husband’s favorite, he could lick the crockpot clean! I usually serve it with fresh seasonal vegetables…so good!
4 chicken breasts — $3.40 at Aldi
8 oz cream cheese —$1.29 at Aldi
1 can cream of chicken —$.79 at Aldi
Italian seasoning. The original recipe called for a dry packet of Italian seasoning, but I just added 1 tbsp of oregano, 1 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp black pepper, a tsp rosemary and just a couple shakes of crushed red pepper.
Total Cost: $5.48
Ranch Pork Chops
This recipe comes from Picky Palate. It is just incredible, nostalgic home cooking. The original recipe recommends serving it over mashed potatoes, and that is all right by me! Especially since I bought that 10-pound bag at Aldi for the potato soup!
4 pork chops—$6.24 at Costco
1 packet dry ranch dressing seasoning —$1.25 at Martin’s
1 10oz can cream of chicken soup —$.79 at Aldi
Total cost: $8.28
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
This recipe is from Six Sister’s Stuff and it is a really popular recipe for freezer-to-crockpot cooking—and for good reason! It is really easy to make, and it makes for a great pasta night if you serve it over linguine…yum!
3 chicken breasts—$2.55 at Aldi
1 16oz bag frozen broccoli florets —$.99 at Aldi
2 (16 oz) jars Alfredo sauce (light or full fat, they both work well) —$1.49 a jar, $2.98 at Martin’s
1 large green pepper —$.75 at Aldi
Total cost: $7.27
Total cost for all 7 meals: $49.43!
Not only were we able to make dinner for a week for under $50, but we had so many leftovers that we were able to have spectacular lunches as well. We went the entire week without eating out, and each of these recipes is so different that eating crockpot meals 7 nights in a row didn’t feel repetitive.