Cooking with Multiple Slow Cookers & Tons of Related Questions

Updated on August 16, 2012
♥.O. asks from Parcel Return Service, DC
5 answers

In an effort to streamline weekly dinners, my newest idea is to have multiple slow cookers going at the same time with different meats (turkey breast, chicken, beef, and pork) so that I can stock my freezer with cooked meats. I also plan to brown up some ground turkey on the stovetop. I work FT so I plan to do this on my day off from work. I’m hoping that one day per month will be sufficient as I do not plan on using these cooked meats on a daily basis. I will rotate these with other easy dinners. I will then use these cooked meats to spin into other meals such as pasta, tacos, burritos, etc. or to add to recipes that call for cooked meats. I’m also thinking about buying a food saver to package the meats for the freezer. So my questions are:
Has anyone done anything like this before? Did it work for you? Any advice, tips, tricks, thoughts, etc.?

If I have four slow cookers going at the same time will that dramatically heat up my kitchen? What about if they’re all set on “high”?

Will it use an enormous amount of electricity?

Do you have any basic recipes for turkey breast, chicken, beef roast, or pork roast? (I need them to be basic because I want to spin them into the other meals.) Do you have any ideas on how to cook them on high vs. low as I want to get the meat cooked, shredded, cooked, packaged, and frozen as quickly as possible.

Do you have any spinoff meal ideas or recipes for the cooked meat?

How long will these meats last in the freezer? I don’t have a deep freezer just two refrigerator/freezer combo types but I plan on using the Foodsaver system.

Has anyone used the Foodsaver system? Does it work well? Would it work well for my ideas here? Any advice on what model to buy (I’m assuming there are different models?) or where to buy it?

I currently own one slow cooker and one little dipper slow cooker so I would need to buy 3 additional slow cookers. And advice on which slow cooker to buy or where to buy it at? I currently have an oval shaped, programmable one. I don’t remember the brand name but I think it’s Rival. (I’m not at home right now to check.) It seems to be good but just wondering if there is anything better as I got this as a gift years ago.

I saw on pinterest that you can put warm chicken into the kitchen aid mixer and it will shred it for you? Has anyone tried this method? I’m thinking about trying this with all of the meats (turkey, chicken, beef roast, & pork roast) so that I don’t have to hand shred all of those meats which sounds time consuming. Honestly, I would love an excuse to buy a kitchen aid mixer anyway!

By the way I have a huge kitchen & lots of counter space w/an island in case anyone is wondering whether or not I have the room for 4 slow cookers and a kitchen aid mixer to be pulled out at the same time, lol.

Oh, and one more question! This may sound a bit silly but do stores only sell roast & turkey breast at certain times of the year? I tried to buy a pork roast at Sam’s Club one day and they didn’t seem to have any. I don’t know if they just hadn’t put any out yet or if they don’t carry them in the summer months??? Does anyone know about this? Do I have to stock up on these in the fall/winter months then?

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm pasting my answer from a while back when someone asked about once a month cooking:

I totally agree on the food saver...the best investment we've ever made. Your food will last so much longer in the freezer without any freezer burn :)

I have done up to two months worth of meals in a weekend. I have 4 large crock pots and I use the McCormicks seasoning packets to keep it simple. Keep in mind these meals are not gourmet meals but the quick fixes in a time crunch. There my "semi-homemade" Our family can stretch meals pretty far since our kids are only 5 and almost 2.

I will suggest now that if you have a large freezer start stocking up on your meats when they go on sale. I only purchase meats several times a year. I am known to go buy 50-100 packs of perdue chicken breasts when they go on BOGO free sale at the local market. In addition to freezing meats I also can them. It is very easy to do and saves a ton of time when rushing to get dinner on the table. The chicken actually cooks in the canning process so it's simply a matter of opening the jar, seasoning the chicken and warming it up. Dinner is done in 15 minutes or less.

Back to the point of the post :)

The night before my cooking marathon hubby and I wash and prep all the veggies needed for our recipes with the exception of the potatoes. Then I put a large pork roast with gingerale in one of the crock pots. It may sound weird but the gingerale makes the meat so tender and juicy. I slow cook the pork all night. The first thing I do in the morning is shred the pork, whip up some bbq sauce or if you have a fav brand you like than use that. One crock of pork makes a TON of homemade pulled pork bbq. Then I divide it out into multiple meals using my food saver bags. I can usually get 8-10 meals out of one large pork roast.

Once that is done and the crock is cleaned I refill it with a large pot roast with potatoes, green beans, carrots and onion. That will slow cook for 8 hours and again the meat is so tender and juicy. You can either divide the meat and veggies for individual "roast" meals or cut the roast into cubes and viola you have a wonderful homemade beef/veggie soup to bag and seal. 5-7 meals out of one crock.

Then I'll make the McCormicks original chicken recipe in another crock pot. (I double the recipe using 2 packets.) This is an all in one dish meal with the chicken, potatoes, green beans, carrots, onion, and any other veggie you'd like. 4-6 meals out of one crock.

The third crock is usually the McCormicks "country chicken" recipe doubled. I love the fact that the chicken and gravy are packed and sealed just waiting reheating. Easy to boil in the bag and then dump over rice or mashed potatoes. 4-6 meals.

The final crock is used to make a veggie mix of potatoes, carrots, green beans, onion, celery, etc. I season these with a packet of hidden valley ranch and slow cook the veggies all day...juicy and tender veggies. 8-10 side dishes done ;D

Once I have all four crocks going then I start on the stove/oven work. We prefer ground turkey over ground beef. I buy 1 lb logs of jenny O ground turkey for $1.99 each at walmart. Again I stock up on these and usually have at least 20 rolls in the freezer.

I start by mixing up 4 lbs of turkey with 4 McCormick's Swedish meatball packs. I do NOT fry the meatballs as directed. Instead I line my cookie sheets with parchment paper and cook all the meatballs at once in my oven on 350 for about 20 minutes. I insert our digital thermometer into one of the meatballs and it beeps at me when done. While the meatballs are cooking I prepare the sauce on the stove. After the meatballs are done I divide them into the food saver bags and then pour the sauce into the bags. This makes 8 meals for us easily. Just boil the bags to reheat and serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes add a veggie and viola dinner in minutes :)

Next I mix up Italian meatballs following same process. If I have homemade sauce on hand I'll use it if not I pour store brought sauce over the meatballs and seal them. Once again just boil the bag and serve over pasta with a salad or veggies for a simple supper. 8 more meals done in a matter of minutes :)

Next I brown up a ton of ground turkey with onions. Once browned and drained I divide into 3 batches. I take the first batch and whip up turkey taco meat. Divide and freeze to make quick tacos, taco salads or enchiladas. 8 meals.

The second batch is "simple sheppard's pie". Mix ground turkey, carrots, green beans, peas, corn and any other veggies you like, and beef gravy. I divide this into 6 small casserole dishes and seal in the food saver bag. Simply grab it from the freezer, remove the bag, pop it in the oven on 350 until warmed through, gravy will be bubbling. Top with mashed potatoes and put back in the oven for 15 minutes. I have used instant potatoes for this in a pinch and you can't tell the difference. I've also frozen it with the potatoes on top (I have a recipe for make ahead and freeze potatoes, if you're interested.) Delicious any way you do it :)

The third batch is for lasagna. I bake a huge tray of lasagna and then divide it into smaller casseroles to freeze. Add a salad and viola 6 more meals done :) I alternate lasagna with spinach stuffed shells each time I do this to give a variety in the quick meals.

I also make a huge tray of mac and cheese then divide into side dish servings and freeze. One tray can go along way as a side dish :)

I have hubby slice up beef for fajitas. I cook up the beef, peppers, onion, etc. Then divide and freeze for quick fajitas. I do the same with chicken. Another 4-6 meals done. All you have to do is warm and serve :)

Also check out the Lawry's marinades. They have a Hawaiian marinade that will knock your socks off. Use it to stir fry pork or chicken with green, red, and yellow peppers, broccoli, pineapples, and any other veggies you like stir fried. Divide and freeze. Simply boil bag and serve over rice or egg noodles....yummo!

I also make a huge batch of chili to divide and freeze. Chili always tastes better the next day :) I serve over rice or mashed potatoes with a dab of sour cream and cheddar cheese....delicious. We get 8-10 meals out of one big batch.

Once you get started you'll find a zillion things you can make ahead and freeze. For example, I freeze left over turkey and gravy for a quick boil in bag meal to serve hot turkey sandwiches or over mashed potatoes. Whatever you're in the mood for. If I've made a roast I cube the leftovers and make soup or stew to freeze. When I make a one pound meatloaf or in our case turkeyloaf my family only eats half in that meal. I freeze the other half to be used for a quick meal later in the month. You will find you are saving a ton of money because #1 you are not wasting food and #2 you'll have quick meals in place to avoid having to buy fast food out when you're too tired to cook.

When freezing your bags make sure you lay them flat until frozen. Once frozen you can stand them up on end to save space in the freezer.

Give it a try and let me know if you need any help :)
Peace and Blessings,
T. B.

P.S. I've never noticed an increase in my electric bill from cooking this way and it does not heat up the kitchen with the 4 crocks going at once. I do suggest cooking your meats on low overnight so the cooking is done while you're sleeping. That will give you plenty of time to shred/slice/divide, cool and bag during your day off. I think all mine are Rival programmables with the exception of the rival turn knob one that we got as a wedding present 18 years ago...still cooking with it so I'd say Rival is a great brand :) I know our stores generally carry various meats all year however they do tend to carry more hams and turkeys around the holidays. I usually stock up on those items during the sales and only purchase once a year. However we have 2 large deep freezers and 2 fridge/freezer combos.

Good Luck and Happy cooking :)

Peace and Blessings,
T. B

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I think I was probably the one Theresa B sent that info to. =) I have SEVEN crockpots and do my entire Thanksgiving dinner in them. That's the only time I have more than one going at a time and no, they do not "heat up" the kitchen and use very little electricity. I live in AZ and don't use my oven at all in the summer, its 115 here and way too hot.

I brown 6# of hamburger/turkey at a time and put in quart size zip baggies to freeze as needed. I use for pasta, sandwiches, salads, tacos, enchiladas, soups, etc.

I also put in 3# boneless skinless chicken breasts and 3# b/s chicken thighs in the crock, cover with water, add 2-3 packets of onion soup mix. cook on low all day or overnight. stir with slotted spoon, serve on kaiser buns. I divide the rest and put in the freezer for sandwiches, pasta, salads, soups, etc.

I found 4# of boneless pork chops on clearance and put them in the crock with a can of green enchilada sauce and some garlic and cilantro. cook on low all day/overnight. used in quesadillas, with rice, enchiladas, sandwhiches, etc.

Google "freezer meals" and "freezer to crock pot meals". Lots of blogs and websites come up with super easy recipes. One Saturday afternoon I made 11 freezer meals in about an hour and a half and NONE of it was cooked, just prep and throw it all in gallon freezer bags. Good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

DITTO the pressure cooker!!!

I'm so glad someone mentioned this!
I have one and it is perfect for some of the prep that you are talking about. You can cook a whole chicken in 45 minutes or so, and have it falling off the bone, so you can store the meat for later.

I am about to start homeschooling for the first time this year, and though we are all ridiculously excited, I am sort of seriously stressed about dinner. We are a home cooked meals type family, but if I don't get my act together and plan better, we may be eating cereal or pizza more often then desired! ;)

Also another great idea someone said, cook the meat throughout the night! Brilliant. That way in the morning, all you do is separate and package for freezing.

Great ideas ladies!
A help to us all!

Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

That's a lot of questions to answer...
I just want to add that I tried something similar when I was working FT and found that most crockpot meals tasted the same to me over time and I became quickly bored with what I cooked. So I only make recipes I know I really like and are quite different.
For example, be sure to drastically change the seasonings:
Taco Meat
Spaghetti Sauce
Asian Pork Roast with a soy-honey glaze
Roast with Potatoes, carrots & onions

Crockpots use very little electricity.

And what about prepping the fresh meat with the desired seasonings, then freezing and placing the whole shebang into a crockpot before work. That way the house smells delish when you get home.

Another option is set your oven on a very low temp, 200 degrees, put your ingredients into a dutch oven. Basically set it and forget it. It's very much the same as a crockpot, just drier.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Oh gosh, I can't answer all your questions as I don't use my crock pot all that often (mostly for beans). I do have a roast cooking today in one and then potatoes in another since we have a meet the teacher later today and I'd rather have dinner ready when we get home rather than start cooking when we get home. Anyway, I think four crockpots at once would heat up the kitchen a little. I've heard of people putting their crockpots outside. Just wanted to give you a tip for roasts, sear the outside of the meat before you place into crockpot so that it can carmelize. It helps bring out the flavor and prevents it from being soggy.
I was also going to suggest a pressure cooker instead of the crock pot cooking. You can cook practically anything in there in a fraction of the time. I'd still recommend the searing of the meat. I think I use my pressure cooker more than my crockpot for meats. It also comes in handy when corn goes on sale, however, I wouldn't recommend it for brocolli, LOL.
I've tried the mixer for shredding the chicken and it works, it just comes out a little more fine than if you were to do it by hand.
Here's a website with a lot of crock pot recipes:

Good luck!

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