Monday, January 13, 2014

7 FREEZER SLOW COOKER PALEO MEALS!

Apparently I have lost my mind. This morning I decided out of the blue I would cook a weeks worth of Paleo dinner slow cooker meals. It sounded like a great idea at 8 AM. Now- here I am at 4:30 PM...exhausted with a sink full of dirty dishes. All together with grocery shopping at two different stores and prepping all 7 meals it has really only taken me about 3-4 hours. Which honestly- really is not that bad! I won't have to cook dinner for quite a while now and I can finally get some more use out of my crock pot. I am actually happy I did this because with the baby coming it will be really great to have some meals that  know freeze well and taste good. So here it goes!


I started by googling the crap out the words "paleo" "freezer" "slow cooker" "meals" and I found a few websites that I pulled these from.... www.theascentblog.com; www.graciouslysaved.com; www.lovingmynest.com and http://blog.stuffimakemyhusband.com. I think I changed at least one thing if not more on almost every recipe I made.

After a google fest I headed to Whole Foods and then to Trader Joes for supplies. This is everything:

Luckily I had some things already on hand so the bill really wasn't too bad! (75 bucks at TJ's and 50 at Whole Foods for like 6 things because it is impossible to leave Whole Foods spending less than 50- especially when you get a smoothie and coconut water and extra stuff you don't need). 

RECIPE # 1- Crock Pot Paleo Hawaiian Chicken 

Ingredients: 
  • 4 chicken breasts 
  • 1 cup BBQ Sauce (I use Trader Joe's Brand) 
  • 1 Cup Canned Pineapple (I used frozen pineapple chunks instead) 
  • 3 Garlic cloves Minced 
  • s & p 


Directions: Place everything in the freezer bag and freeze. Yes- that easy. 
Write on Bag: Let thaw overnight in fridge. Cook in crock pot on LOW for 6-8 hours. 


Fun tip: I put the bag in my blender in my sink to make it easy. Oh and write on the bag FIRST.
Another fun tip: the blade of the blender will pierce the bottom and you will find out by having sauce drip all over you sooooo go ahead and put something over that before putting the bag in! 

RECIPE # 2: Paleo Slow Cooker Sausage, Pepper & Onions

Ingredients: 
  • 1 12-16 ounce package of sausage (I used organic chicken sausage with basil & something else)
  • 1 red, green & yellow bell pepper 
  • 1 large onion 
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes 
  • 4-6 garlic cloves minced 
  • Italian Seasoning 
  • s & p  
Directions: Put all this together in the bag. Then Freeze. 
Write on bag: No thaw needed. Cook on LOW in slow cooker for 8 hours. 


RECIPE # 3: Paleo Pork Chops w/Apple, Onion & Kraut
  
 Ingredients: 

  • 1 bag sauerkraut 
  • 4 thick cut pork chops 
  • Half a granny smith apple in small slices 
  • 1 medium onion 
  • Seasoning for chops (I used Trader Joe's 21 seasoning) 

Directions: 3 bags for this guy- Bag number 1 you will write on. Bag # 2 place seasoned pork chops, onions and apple. Bag # 3 is just the bag of kraut.
Write on Bag: Place kraut on the bottom of the slow cooker.
Place Pork Chop & apple/onion mixture on top.
Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.



RECIPE # 4: Paleo Italian Sausage with Onions & Peppers

Ingredients: 
  • 1 lb hot italian sausage links 
  • 1 large green pepper (chopped) 
  • 1 medium onion (chopped) 
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 
  • 4 Garlic cloves minced 
  • Onion powder
  • (I also add red pepper flakes and other italian type seasonings-it's up to you) 
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a bag & freeze. 
Write on Bag: No thaw needed. Cook in slow cooker on LOW for 6-8 hours. 


RECIPE # 5: Slow Cooker Paleo Taco Chicken 

Ingredients: 
  • 4-5 chicken breasts 
  • 1 package taco seasoning 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 can green chili 
  • 1 onion chopped 

Directions: Put the chicken in the freezer bag. In a small bowl combine the taco seasoning, the olive oil, vinegar and water. Pour mixture over the chicken. Add everything else to the bag & freeze. 
Write on Bag: No need to thaw. Cook on LOW in slow cooker for 6-8 hours. 


RECIPE # 6: Paleo Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 lbs of chicken breasts 
  • 1 cup dijon mustard 
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup 
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
  • s & p 
Directions: Throw everything in your bag & freeze. 
Write on Bag: No need to thaw. Cook on LOW in slow cooker for  hours. Sprinkle some rosemary right before serving. 




RECIPE # 7: Paleo Slow Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients: 
  • 5 bell peppers 
  • 1 lb ground italian hot sausage 
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower grated or food processed to make cauliflower rice 
  • 1 small white onion chopped 
  • 1 small can tomato paste 
  • 5 cloves of garlic 
  • Seasoning of Choice- I used basil, oregano, red pepper flakes & thyme. 
Directions: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (except peppers). Cut the tops off and take the seeds out of the bell peppers. Stuff those peppers with the mixture & freeze. I used a few bags and kept the peppers upright. 
Write on Bag: Place peppers at the bottom of slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. 

Boom. 7 dinners. A few hours. All Paleo friendly and hopefully all delicious- I will get back to you on how these taste after I make them. 


        52 comments:

        1. LOVE this post! Can't wait to try these recipes! The easier the dinner, the better!

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        2. I thought Paleo meant no processed meats i.e. sausage? And I think maple syrup would be frowned upon too, but I could be wrong....

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          1. My thoughts exactly.

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          2. Aidells Smoked Chicken Sausage-Chicken and Apple flavor from costcos is the best kind and maple syrup is just fine as long as its the real stuff. I have been eating this lifestyle change for awhile now.

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          3. Canned food and processed meats are not Paleo! I don't care what you say.

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          4. Yeah...this isn't quite paleo. For example, Trader Joe's BBQ sauce has all sorts of sugar and additives.

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        3. Ok, I just looked it up and it said many sausages are not Paleo since they use additives like nitrates, soy, refined sugar, MSG, milk powder, etc. etc.... BUT the ones with just meat and spices are obviously Paleo, you just have to read the ingredients label. From my findings, Grade B maple syrup can be ok in small amounts only. Thanks for all your great recipe ideas and sorry for the confusion in my first comment. :)

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          1. Thanks for the great questions!! You are actually right. When doing a very strict Paleo diet a lot of these things might be frowned upon. The BBQ sauce, the maple syrup and the sausage (because I used Trader Joes brand instead of a Whole Foods brand or making my own). The reason I still call these "Paleo" really has more to do with my personal philosophy about Paleo in general. When I first started experimenting with this life style (years ago) and I tried my very first 30 day challenge- I would have not used those three things. Why? Because the added sugar and the unknown amount of processing in the sausage. Since then my opinions and way of eating has changed from that super restrictive model. Why? Because after that initial experiment when I slowly added foods back my body did not have a negative reaction to dairy but it did have one to wheat and grain. So I started adding dairy back slowly and saw no negative results. After adding dairy back slowly I decided for my personal journey there were a few things that I wanted back. I hated making my own Paleo condiments. It was a pain in the butt and they always tasted bad. So I opted for ketchup, bbq sauce and mustard all from Trader Joes because they have very few ingredients and in my opinion don't hurt a thing. The BBQ sauce I use here has very few ingredients the worst of them being added sugar- same with the maple syrup. As for the sausage getting the really expensive stuff was never in our budget. A splurge of nice, organic Whole Foods meat is few and far between- but so is regular grocery store antibiotic filled meat. I go for "organic" "free range" "grass fed" options at Trader Joes. I know that the companies label these things in certain ways and this is not the best quality meat but I live in a big city with a small backyard where raising and slaughtering our own chickens really is not a viable option no matter how much better the meat would be for us. So if you are new to this Paleo journey I suggest you seriously give a 30 day challenge 100%. Feel the way your body is meant to feel- more energy, less fat, etc. And then from that feeling you have gauge what you can and or want to add back- try it slowly and listen to your body. If adding dairy backs makes you sick and gives you stomach pains- don't add it back! But if you still feel awesome then know you have that option. Every body is different and that's why I love this lifestyle because I can do the things that work best for me and my family and it might look completely different than someone else. I really appreciate your question because it has been a long time since I have talked about this on my blog and it was way overdue- sorry for the LONG response!!

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          2. Great response - we do a "modified" version of Paleo... the Primal Blueprint which allows the occasional dairy, dark chocolate, and red wine. ;) We try to do organic whenever possible and I don't lose sleep over the occasional indulgence or dinner out or with friends when I have no control over the menu. I try to eat this way 80-90% of the time and listen to my body when I do veer off course (as you suggested) to pay attention to what makes me feel less than 100%. Thanks for this resource - can't wait to try some of your meals!

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          3. A good thing to remember here is that my paleo is not your paleo - in order for us to be successful we all have to find out how restrictive or not we choose to be in order to make it something sustainable for us.

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        4. I just made 6 of these (I don't think I can get my kids to eat sour kraut and onions lol) in about an hour and a half. The blender tip you have was excellent but I couldn't get the blade out of mine so I just used a half gallon pitcher. Worked perfectly and now I won't have to make diner when I get home from the gym and I'm all tired and sweaty! Thanks for the recipes, I'm sharing your blog with family and friends. :)

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          1. Awesome! Please share your thoughts once you have tried them. We have had a few so far and the results have been pretty good! there are some changes I might make once I have time to go back through...I know the maple dijon chicken can be cooked for less time because in my crock pot it overcooked some.

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        5. What size slow cooker did you use?

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        6. Huh... Coulda swore I posted a comment... The Hawaiian chicken turned out awful! like bad enough I threw it out and as a penny pincher it pains me a lot. The stuffed peppers aren't bad (literally eating it right now) but I would use more seasoning next time (my own fault) and it took the whole 8 hours for mine to cook.

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          1. Taco chicken was really good

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          2. I agree about the Hawaiian chicken. This recipe is all over the place when you search slow cooker meals, so I had high expectations. But I also threw mine out. :(

            The maple dijon chicken on the other hand, is delicious! That's going into my regular rotation for sure!

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          3. Yes the chicken is awful! The smell that filled my house was nauseating. I cooked it on low for 6.5 hours and it is so tough. Very discouraging as a college student who spent a lot on organic ingredients for this meal, and for my first paleo mean on my first day of my diet to be so completely awful :(

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          4. I was also just looking back at the recipe- did you cook yours from frozen chicken like in the directions? If not maybe that's why it was so burnt! I also think I need to make a change and add some more BBQ sauce...

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        7. We really loved the hawaiin chicken..I'm sorry it turned out so bad for you! I was not a huge fan of the maple Dijon chicken or the peppers :( but I think I may have over cooked mine. Would love to hear any other suggestions or ways to improve any of these :)

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        8. How long did you cook the Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken? The time appear to have been left off the instructions.

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          1. 8 hours - look in the picture at the freezer bag :)

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          1. Not sure which recipe or ingredient in particular you are referring to.

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        10. Do you cook the sausage before mixing with other ingredients to stuff the peppers?

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          1. To be honest after cooking these the peppers was my least favorite. I think next time I make them I am going to cook the mixture only and then use fresh peppers to stuff and throw in the oven to finish them up. The peppers just ended up soggy. You can brown the meat before you are them to the mixture.

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        11. Totally weird question, in the picture of the Sausage Pepper and Onions recipe it looks like you used sausage links not sausage like you buy from a butcher counter. Is that what it is? Is it pre cooked sausage links or are they raw? I'm just debating if I use the aidells ones from costco or if I need to buy something else. I worry because the aidells ones are already cooked 8 hours in the crockpot would be too long.

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          1. Not weird at all! They are raw sausages!

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        12. My daughter sent me this link, so I gave it a try today. I read the comments about the peppers not getting done, so I pre-cooked the bell peppers in a dish with water in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes before stuffing them. Also the #2 and #4 recipes looked almost the same, so I just made one -- not sure what the difference really is. I also made two other old favorite recipes my family likes into freezer slow cooker meals that would probably qualify as Paleo: a chili recipe with ground turkey, 2 kinds of beans, canned tomatoes, peppers, onions, green chilies and spices, and a chicken cacciatore recipe. I used a large can of pineapple for the Hawaiian chicken, so with the extra I had I threw it into my chili recipe for something different. I'm not sure about the Dijan mustard maple syrup sauce, but I'm will to see how it turns out. My husband may love it. Thanks for the great ideas!

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        13. my only complaint about this page is that it should be labeled .. paleo-ish .. i was looking up recipes for a friend and i would be sad if she read these and took this for a paleo base. people that new to cutting out sugars and starches .. cutting out the crap basically .. because that is what we do when we go paleo, gluten free etc .. could really be mislead by some of these things. it is ok for someone seasoned in this that can make educated choices, but if they are new to getting rid of the boxed dinners in the pantry this could be a bad thing for them to run across.

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          1. Thank you for those thoughts! I think Paleo is really a term that doesn't quite have an agreed upon definition. Many people are very strict- and you are right for a 30 day elimination and strict paleo diet some of these things would not work. To be quite honest with you for someone brand new to paleo and for their first 30 days I wouldn't even suggest a lot of freezer meals. I think that first 30 days is a complete shift in someone attitude towards food. Going from "easy" and "fast" to actually putting thought into what you are eating and why. If it is your first time trying a 30 day challenge I would suggest cooking your meals fresh and experiencing the new ingredients you are working with without throwing them all in a crock pot and forgetting about it until dinner. This was made for me to prepare for my baby coming and in a definition of paleo I have adopted for the long term- not just for 30 days. I have found the strictness was too much personally for me and that healthy alternatives to homemade sauces was one shortcut I choose to take. I can add a disclaimer saying not all of these are strict paleo- but I encourage people to find that on their own and make their own changes to make to work for whatever definition of paleo they have chosen to adhere to. Thanks again for the comment!

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          2. I have to agree with Kimberly. The title of this post is quite deceiving. I found this link through Pinterest (where I saw someone had pinned it) and got excited because I've always wanted to eat much, much, healthier (cutting out as much processed foods as possible) and have never tried Paleo before. I figured this blog post would give me the nudge I needed to get myself started. But when I started reading through the first recipe of "7 Paleo Freezer Meals for the Slow Cooker" I was like, "Wait a minute, I don't think that ingredient is considered Paleo" and "I don't think this ingredient is considered Paleo either." You responded to Kimberly saying you don't think Paleo is a term that has an agreed upon definition. When I Googled "Paleo" it says: noun - a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food. When people hear the word Paleo, that's what they think of. They don't think "it's someone's interpretation of their own way to eat Paleo." So when I saw this post I was expecting full out Paleo meals (which I'm assuming lots of other people would too). I think the title of the blog post needs to be changed since they are not all true Paleo meals or should mention something about being "Modified Paleo meals." I would think there would have been some kind of disclaimer in the blog post saying you don't follow a strict Paleo diet, because when reading it, it sounds like you do (saying you're making a Paleo dinner implies everything the definition above says). I also tried to look for some disclaimer saying you don't follow a strict Paleo diet somewhere on your blog (the sidebar, a tab at the top of the page, etc.) and found nothing (so maybe you have it in another blog post? I haven't read through anything else you've written). I agree, I'd totally adopt a non-strict form of Paleo for myself, but this post and the title of it make it truly seem like these are considered Paleo meals, when certain ingredients in some of them are not. That was disappointing.

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          3. Ok... now that I posted my comment, it re-loaded your page for me and I was able to see your tabs at the top of your page. I did read through the "What is Paleo?" and it sounds like (according to what you wrote) you eat full out Paleo, no disclaimers about "...the strictness was too much personally for me and that healthy alternatives to homemade sauces was one shortcut I choose to take. I can add a disclaimer saying not all of these are strict paleo..." I'm not sure what the rest of your blog posts are like, but I think this one should definitely have a disclaimer in there somewhere.

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          4. Thank you for your feedback! The two ingredients here that are not considered Paleo are the BBQ sauce and the maple syrup. You can easily switch honey for the maple syrup or not use it at all- and for the BBQ sauce I state I use the trader Joes brand but there are plenty of Paleo bbq sauces out there that can be used instead. Making your own homemade BBQ sauce is your best bet because you can control the ingredients. I was in Whole Foods the other day and there was a whole section of Paleo approved condiments that are made with minimal ingredients.

            Honestly- I would change the name but 95% of this post and the recipes are strict Paleo. And the other 5% there are easy changes to make 100% Paleo. The fact is these are vegetable, meat and fruit dishes with very few added ingredients.

            I hope that this did not deter you from starting a Paleo lifestyle. Because I will be very honest- that kick you need to start a strict 30 day challenge will come HAVE to from within not from a post you find. YOU have to WANT to do Paleo. You have to prepare yourself. You have to definitely not start with frozen crock pot meals and instead start with fresh ingredients and recipes. I have a lot of fresh recipes on my blog that are 100% strict Paleo. It is not easy out there in the world to complete a Paleo challenge or to start a healthy lifestyle. There is temptation everywhere. Our old eating habits are just that- habits. And habits take a lot of hard work to kick. It takes a serious commitment to change the way we look and think about food. I cannot express how much eating healthy and creating a healthy life for yourself will change your life. I know that even though I am not currently eating Paleo (I fall on and off the wagon) that doing that first challenge completely altered the way in which I think about food.

            I have been posting on this blog on and off for years and my habits have changed from the beginning to now due to a lot of reasons. I like to think of my blog as a place where people can expect my full honesty about what I am eating and where I am in this journey to better health I have embarked on.

            I would hate to put a disclaimer on here that I do not think is necessary and deter people from finding some great recipes they can use and easily tweak. Or just avoid the two recipes out of 7 that have "questionable ingredients".

            Eating Paleo and beginning a healthy lifestyle is all about personal responsibility. Taking responsibility for preparing your food. Taking responsibility and planning your meals. Sucking it up when you want a cupcake and eating an apple instead. So I encourage people to see this post for what it is. If you disagree then change the ingredients you disagree with. If you want to eat healthier in this processed world we live in- then changing a BBQ sauce ingredient will be the easiest obstacle you will overcome.

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          5. Great response, Aubrey. I agree! :) Especially the parts about substituting ingredients and doing one's own research.

            And for the record, I'm Paleo-ish...with a now-and-then side of pepper jack cheese, s'mores, too much loaded coffee, Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce, Taco Bell Mexican Pizzas, Trader Joe's Cookie Butter, Gigi's Cupcakes...etc.etc.... yup...I've got issues. ;)

            BUT that's just it - I'm also work in progress...as are we all!

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          6. I'm in agreement with the other comments about this being paleoish...not fully paleo and misleading. I have done the whole thirty and I have done paleoish. I remember when I first when fully paleo being really frustrated by misleading post, such as yours, as I was going through the process of learning what paleo is and is not. When someone advertise something as paleo even if MOST of it is but not all of it that is misleading. To continue with my search.

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        14. This has changed the way we cook in our house. Thank you!!! We have loved the Maple Dijon Chicken and the Pork Chops and Kraut and can't wait to try the others in our freezer. :)

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        15. There's no freezing and thawing instructions for the porkchops. Do you have to thaw them overnight or just throw them right into the pot? Thanks!

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          1. I am so sorry I never replied to this! I had a tiny month old baby when this was posted and am sure I was sleep deprived, not showered and only using half of my brain.

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        16. We made the stuffed green peppers....loved using cauliflower for the rice & also like having a crock pot meal that we could go from freezer to crock pot. I left them in for 9 ish hours and they were cooked perfectly. I also made a marinara sauce to top them which we put on before serving. We didn't care for the flavor of the meat...it was rather bland for our taste. I do appreciate the time you took to put together the recipes. Thank you!

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        17. Funny how all the negative responses are by Anonymous. I once read a great article about Paleo and following the "Letter of the Law" versus the "Spirit of the Law". Like you, I follow the "Spirit" I am an educator in one of the lowest paying state in the US. I can't afford to buy all the pure organic foods or I would only be able to eat 3 or 4 times a week. You did an awesome job and I am definitly going to add these to my Paleo recipes, thanks so much!

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          1. Thank you for your comments! I agree completely and thank you again!

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        18. My Hawaiian chicken was not good at all :( cooked on low for 6.5 hours and the meat was tough and the chicken was almost burnt. It was pretty discouraging as a young adult on a very tight budget, and as my first first meal of my new eating plan :(

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          1. Sorry to hear that it didn't turn out for you! That is one of my family's favorites. I guess the type of BBQ sauce you use is important as well as knowing your crockpot. Some crockpots cook a lot faster than others. 6 hours on mine left the chicken moist and delicious. But we also love BBQ and the sauce we use. Don't be discouraged just realize you have to be careful with crockpots and check frequently if you're unfamiliar with how long certain meats take in yours. If this is your first day of paleo I would suggest something with less sugar as well. I have a one pan chicken meal that is super easy to prepare and cook & perfect for someone on a budget and in college.

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        19. Aubrey, Thank you so much for taking the type to make this blog and to add these recipes. Although they may not be 100%, the ingredients are there and can be altered to make it paleo in its entirety.
          My question is, some say thaw, some say don't thaw; is it detrimental to the dish if i go straight from freezer and into crock pot?
          Again, thank you so much for your time.

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          1. Thank you for reading! And that is a great question- I "paleoized" a lot of different recipes from a lot of different sites to come up with this list and followed the cooking instructions from those sites. I would say the only difference would be the cook time. If cooking something frozen I do think you need to make sure there is enough time in the crock to dethaw and cook through. Otherwise I do not see cooking it thawed or unthawed would otherwise compromise the taste or anything else about the dish!!

            have a great day :)

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        20. The maple syrup will be easy enough to substitute with some raw honey. :) Great thing an
          Bout recipes is you can almost always find substitutes to replace something you don't want. These sound super delicious!! Can't wait to try them!!

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        21. I would recommend anyone who is newer to paleo starting out with a site like Whole 9, Whole 30, and Nom Nom Paleo. Not affiliated with these any ways :-) but when I was starting out these sites were super helpful for me. In Fact if you go to the Whole 9 website- they have a list of other websites to use as resources for eating paleo.

          Otherwise, these look to be some mostly clean eating, healthier meal options that are mostly geared to paleo.


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        22. These are easily made into 100% paleo. This is a great starting point and since we are pregnant with baby #4, these recipes are going to make live easier. Thanks for posting.

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        23. Hi! This may be a silly question, but I'd like to put half the amount in the bag for the Hawaiian Chicken Recipe and cook just half at a time because I'll mostly just be cooking for me and don't want to have to eat the same thing for the whole week and get sick of it and waste it etc... is that an option? I don't want to have it burn on me or anything.

          Ps. I made the Hawaiian chicken before and I really liked it!! Maybe my bbq sauce was really good and that's what made it but I have no complaints about it :) I'm trying a different sauce this time though.

          Thanks for these! :)

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        24. Some of these comments are so rude! If it's not Paleo to your own specific liking then I'm pretty sure you can tweak the recipe and make it how you want it by using your own homemade BBQ sauce, purchase Nitrate and Nitrite free sausage, or use your own Pineapple (fresh, canned, frozen, whatever) of choice. People need to stop being so cruel, just saying.

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          1. Thank you! I was just reading through them all again and people really got their panties in a bunch.

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