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Feature: The Speedy Spatula

Happy Monday!!! In today's world we are all so very busy and, at times, we struggle to provide a good home cooked meal for our families. It's more convenient to go thru drive thru's, eat out, or grab something to bring home. We've found a solution!! Today, we are featuring a guest who found herself in the same situation and decided enough was enough. As a busy mom and wife, she turned her desire for good home cooked meals into a passion. We are excited to feature Amy Whitfield and her passion, The Speedy Spatula.   [caption id="attachment_11051" align="aligncenter" width="496"] The Whitfield Family[/caption]   Hey guys! Thank you for joining me today in my kitchen! Since we’ve already been through the introductions, I’ll jump straight into what The Speedy Spatula is all about. I began making Freezer-to-Crockpot and Freezer-to-Oven meals around 3 years ago. I initially began cooking in this way because it saved so much time and money and kept us out of the restaurants. We were budgeting to save money so that I could attend college debt free so the bonus of the saved cash by eating at home plus the virtually work-free home cooked meals was just perfect for our little family. Since I was a full time college student and working part time as well, I already used my crockpot quite a bit, but as my workload increased, there were alot of days that I would run out of the door before I even had a chance to put anything in the crockpot that morning for dinner that night. That left us hitting the restaurants and eating sandwiches more times than we could to count. I began scouring the web for a solution to this dilemma  when I came across Freezer-to-Crockpot meals. What a genius idea! I compiled a list of advice, instructions, and various recipes, and headed to the store for my next greatest adventure - meal prepping! Today I’m going to walk you through what I do once a month and show you how it’s done. Step 1. Gather as many recipes as you want to meal prep. In order to be as articulate as possible,  I’m going to show you how to meal prep for just one meal today so it won’t be too overwhelming. This simple process and the following steps can be used to meal prep for as many or as few meals as you would like to prep. My advice to beginners is to start with a small list and then move up to prepping more meals once you’ve found a rhythm and what works best for you. As a side note, if you’re looking for freezer compatible crockpot and oven meals, head over to my Instagram page @thespeedyspatula for a nice variety of freezer recipes. Step 2. After gathering your recipes, look them over to make sure you don’t have any more than 2-3 meats involved in the recipes. You don’t want a huge variety of meats because it just lengthens the shopping and meal prepping process. Also, try to stick with meals that require similar ingredients. You don’t want them to be cookie cutter, but if you can incorporate 2-3 of the same ingredients in nearly every meal, that will also save you from running all over the grocery store looking for different ingredients for every single meal.    Step 3. Gather all your recipes together and start making a grocery list. Be sure you include ingredients you need to buy for all meals including gallon sized freezer bags, and a permanent marker. I also suggest that you stock up on crockpot liners like these crockpot liners from Amazon because they will save you from needing to clean up any mess once you’ve cooked in your crockpot. Step 4. Once your grocery list is made, it’s time to get the party started! Head to the grocery store and purchase all your needed ingredients and supplies. When your items are purchased, grab a couple of  friends or three and head home to start on some meal prepping. Step 5. Place all of your ingredients in order: veggies that need chopped on one end of the counter with a knife and cutting board, place the meat beside the veggies with canned items and spices following the meat. It will make the process so much quicker and easier if you organize everything first. 1 Step 6. Now that we’ve got everything organized for our meal, it’s time to label the freezer bags. Grab your permanent marker and label the bags with the name of the meal, the date the meal was prepared, and the cooking instructions. Also, be sure and write on the bag any ingredients that may need added the day you cook the meal. Since we’re making Poppyseed Chicken today and it has Ritz Crackers as one of the ingredients, that’s what we’ll write on the bag that needs to be included the day of cooking. You don’t want to include the Ritz Crackers in the bag with all of the other ingredients because they will mix with the sauce and become soggy when frozen and then cooked. 2 Now  you’ll mix any ingredients or sauces that need to be mixed in a separate bowl. 3 Now you're ready to put it all in the freezer bag and freeze it! Just simply place your ingredients for the meal in the freezer bag, seal the bag, and freeze! Simple as that. 4 These meals will stay good in the freezer up to 5 months, so if you’re feeling particularly ambitious you can meal prep only 2-3 times per year and have all your meals ready to go and stored away for 5 months at a time. Pretty nifty hu? When you’re ready to cook the meal, thawing before cooking isn’t necessary. All you need to do is open the freezer bag and pour the contents into the crockpot. I would suggest using a crockpot liner such as the ones pictured below (link provided above)  in order to save yourself from having to clean the crockpot insert. 5 Now that you’re ready to cook the meal, set the correct cook time, add whatever ingredients that need added the day the meal cooks (if any), cover, and leave the crockpot to work it’s magic! 6 When you come home from work, school, or running errands your house will be filled with the delicious smells of this Poppyseed Chicken. Take a look at how amazing this stuff is! Your husband will declare you the best cook in the world and your children will rise up and call you Betty Crocker. Guaranteed. 7 Slap open some cans of carrots and peas, throw some rolls in the oven, and in less than 15min you’ve got dinner on the table. That’s right! And you didn’t even have to break a sweat (or the bank!) to do it! 8          Nobody would ever believe that this meal came from your freezer and then cooked in the crockpot all day! Go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You’re officially Super Woman. You go on with your bad self! For more great meals such as this one, go on over to Instagram and follow me @thespeedyspatula . I look forward to catching up with ya’ll over there! Crockpot Poppyseed Chicken Recipe INGREDIENTS: 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts 1 cup sour cream 1 Family Size can of cream of chicken soup 1 tablespoon poppyseeds 1 package Ritz Crackers, crushed 1 cup milk ¼ cup butter FREEZER PREP DIRECTIONS: Label a gallon sized freezer bag with the name of the meal, date, cooking instructions, and be sure to include that crackers will need to be added the day the meal is cooked. Place chicken breasts in a gallon sized freezer bag. Add in the butter. In a medium sized bowl, mix together cream of chicken soup, sour cream, poppyseeds, and milk. Stir until well combined and pour into the freezer bag. Seal and freeze! On the day you cook the meal, simply place a crockpot liner in the crockpot (optional), empty the frozen meal into the crockpot, add crushed Ritz crackers, cover and cook! REGULAR COOKING DIRECTIONS: Place a Crockpot liner in the crockpot. Place chicken breast in the crockpot and add butter on top of the chicken breasts. In a separate bowl mix together milk, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and poppyseeds. Pour mixture over the chicken. Add crushed Ritz crackers, cover and cook on high 4 hours. Enjoy!   Best Regards,   Nuggles