New response to the age-old question: “What’s for dinner?” 

“What’s for dinner?” This question asked sometime between 4 and 6pm each day makes millions of women angry, tense and exasperated all at the same time – myself included! There has to be a better way, right? I’m hoping so.

Effective immediately, we’ve implemented a new meal-making system in our household: 31 Crockpot Freezer Meals.


31 Crockpot Freezer Meals

A friend posted a link on her Facebook feed this week: 31 Crockpot Freezer Meals for Back-to-School from Kelly McNelis at New Leaf Wellness. Within minutes of reading it, my husband and I accepted the challenge of making all 31 meals at one time.

Go BIG or go home, right?!

Yep. That’s how we roll.

We downloaded Kelly’s 36-page PDF with recipes that are relatively basic and healthy – meat, fresh veggies and spices. She also includes a convenient shopping list for all 31 meals, which is a definite time-saver.

If you’re thinking about doing this yourself, you might have some questions. Having just gone through this, I’m happy to share the details of our experience!


how much does it cost to make 31 freezer meals?

Here is the breakdown on how much we spent on groceries:

  • Groceries = $205.80
  • Meat investment = $140.50
  • Wine investment = $12.00 (Yes, that is very cheap wine. We went with the “two-buck Chuck” from Trader Joe’s.)


$358 for 31 meals and an untold number of leftovers to use for lunches the next day doesn’t seem too bad. This averages out to just over $11.50/meal. Each meal indicates 4 – 6 servings. We only have three people (one of them being a 5-year-old) so we’re banking on having some leftovers.

Full disclosure: We had 2 beef roasts, 2 pounds of hamburger, 1 pound of ground turkey, a 2.5 lb pork roast and several spices already on hand. If we didn’t have these items, the price tag clearly would have been higher.


Time Investment

Here is how much time it took:

  • 1 hour going through our kitchen and freezer taking inventory of ingredients we have on hand & putting together the grocery list (1 person)
  • 1.5 hours shopping at the grocery store (1 person)
  • ½ hour at the butcher shop (1 person)
  • 4 hours in the kitchen making recipes 1 – 17 (2 people = 8 hours total)
  • 4 hours in the kitchen making recipes 18 – 31 (2 people = 8 hours total)
  • ½ hour cleaning up (2 people = 1 hour total)

TOTAL TIME INVESTMENT = 20 hours (or about 38 minutes per meal)

Overall, that seemed like a reasonable amount of time. I will admit our productivity slowed down the closer we got to the bottom of each wine bottle. We had to read and re-read the ingredient list on more than a few occasions! You might be able to be a little more efficient, but likely won’t have as much fun.



highly recommend purchasing a carrot slicer and an onion chopper if you choose to take on this ambitious endeavor. This will save you a ton of time as you are literally chopping up about 7 pounds of onions and 10 pounds of carrots. We already purchased these two items from Amazon for next time.


Things Just Got Real

We often see beautiful food photos on Facebook or cooking shows on TV that make it all look SO easy. Well, I can tell you that we’re not like the fancy TV chefs with a sous-chef to cut up all of the veggies in advance. Nope. Just regular people with a couple of knives cutting up our own veggies in our own kitchen. And drinking wine…lots of wine.

In my next post, I will provide a play-by-play of our experience implementing the meal-making system in the hopes that it provides some entertainment and insight to help you decide if this would be worth the time and effort to do yourself. (If you want to sign up to receive future blog posts, click here.)

Until next time, thanks for reading and happy ball juggling!



Question: What’s the best response you’ve ever given to the “What’s for dinner?” question? Please share your comments below.

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