Dump bag?! What on earth’s a dump bag?!
Sounds almost disgusting and certainly not something you’d want to eat, but hear me out.
What’s a dump bag?
Using a slow cooker is as convenient as cooking can be, but you can make it even more convenient by using dump bags.
A dump bag, also known as a freezer bag, is pre-prepared food that you put into your slow cooker.
You can either brown/seal some of the ingredients first, or just add them straight to the bag raw and let the slow cooker take care of all the hard work for you.
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Because the marinades or sauces will be allowed to work for a long time before you use the bags, you’ll end up getting a really great, deep flavour from your meal as well.
Why use dump bags?
Dump bags are all about saving time and money :)
Prepare your food as normal but just don’t cook it. Instead. divide the ingredients between some quality freezer bags and – BAM – you’ve got dinner prepped for the following week.
Do this with a few different recipes then you have a big variety of options to choose from – you may even be able to throw your meal plan out the window.
Just take the bag out of the freezer the night before and “dump” the contents into your slow cooker the following morning for a hassle free dinner.
Using a slow cooker works out cheaper than cooking on the hob or in the oven, which is the first win on saving cash.
The slow cooker makes cheap cuts of meat taste delicious so you can spend less money generally.
By cooking from scratch you will also save money on your food shop vs buying ready made sauces in jars or processed ready meals.
How to make the most of your dump bag dinners
If you’re going to start using dump or freezer bags as a way to use your slow cooker, here are a few tips to make the process painless and easy.
1. Get decent freezer bags
If you’re going to be storing your food in the fridge or freezer for a while, the last thing you want is for it to leak!
While I’m a total fan of the pound stores, their freezer bags don’t quite come up to scratch.
Make sure to get some decent quality freezer bags (preferably one that leaves a space for you to write on clearly).
Having a zip seal is far better than a tie bag as it will hold any liquids in far better.
2. Get labelling
Make sure you have a dump bag that you can write on so it’s easy to see what you’re pulling out of the freezer and when you froze it and the cooking time.
It may sound obvious but write on the bag BEFORE you put your ingredients in.
I’ve done it too many times (*facepalm*) and it’s not easy trying to write “beef casserole” on a bag full of beef casserole! It’s quite funny to watch though, I’m sure.
3. Store the bags flat
As you’ve used ziplock bags, you’ll be able to lay them down easily and they will stack on one another really well.
This will save you space in the freezer and will mean it’s thinner. This will speed up the defrosting time.
Try to push out as much of the air as possible when you’re sealing it too.
4. Don’t throw in anything
Not all foods freeze as well as others.
Big potatoes don’t do so well in a dump bag (but aren’t too bad if you chop them small in a casserole). Pasta, watery veg like courgettes should be avoided and some dairy based liquids as they can curdle.
For things like potatoes and pasta, just cook them fresh 20 minutes or so before your slow cooked meal is ready.
5. Batch cook
Preparing food using slow cooker freezer bags is so easy and it’s a perfect opportunity to get some batch cooking done.
However, you won’t actually be doing any real cooking – you’ll just be preparing foods to be cooked later on.
Spend an hour one weekend afternoon slicing carrots, dicing onions and prepping your meat.
If you’re going to be chopping up one onion, why not chop two, or three.
You’re now on your way to batch cooking so divide your ingredients (solid and liquid/wet ingredients) between different dump bags and, before you know it, you’ll have a week’s worth of slow cooker meals prepared in less than an hour!
Slow cooker dump bag recipes
But what can you cook using a dump bag?
There are so many different dishes you can cook. Grab some inspiration here.
Once you prepared or cooked your slow cooker dump bags, be sure to share your own recipes with us in our money saving food community.
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