We’ve been having some pretty warm weather in North Carolina but today was a little bit cooler. I decided to take the opportunity to make some taco soup/chili today. The recipe makes a big pot full so I always try to freeze half of it..
The taco soup is really easy to make and I always try to keep the supplies on hand. We like to top ours with cheese, sour cream, and serve it with tortilla chips. This will definitely make meal time easier and less stressful after a long day at work. Freezer meals save time and money.
What meals do you like to freeze?
March 4, 2011
Last year when I went back to work full-time I decided that freezer cooking would save me a lot of time. I have done a little freezer cooking before with freezing leftovers and such but now I try to be more intentional about it.
Sometimes freezer cooking depends on my level of energy or time that I have but many times it depends on sales. Whenever I see a good deal on ground beef I know that I can precook and preseason the meat for quick dinners. The same goes with chicken.
Last week Harris Teeter had their whole chickens for only $.59/lb. I went on Monday before the sale ended and purchased two chickens. I boiled the chickens, picked off the meat, and put the torn chicken into meal portioned containers. Here’s the fruit of the labor:
I ended up with enough chicken for at least four dinners. With this chicken I can make chicken casserole, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, chicken enchilada chili, chicken stew, and many other dishes.
Cooking with sale items saves time and money. Do you cook for the freezer?
January 10, 2011
Every now and then I look through my old recipes or read through some of my old article archives and think, Oh yeah. I haven’t made that in a while. That would be good! Today is one of those days. I started googling my name and found an old recipe on the web. I think it’s been about two years since I’ve made this. I still remember how good this taco recipe was so I need to make it sometime soon. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture for you. If I make it this week I’ll be sure to take a picture for you.
Slow Cooker Tex Mex Chicken Taco Recipe
With the rising price of groceries, we all could use some inexpensive recipes for our families. This is a slow-cooker recipe and it is great because it is easy, tasty, healthy, and inexpensive!
*Be sure to purchase the chicken breasts on sale as this is the most expensive part of the meal.
- chicken (I used 4 boneless breasts) – $2.00
- 1 can diced tomatoes (I used the ones with green chilies) – $.50
- 1 cup green salsa (such as the kind made by Herdez) – $.40
- 3 cloves minced garlic – $.15
- 1 cup sliced onions – $.25
- sliced bell peppers – $.75
- salt and pepper (I used Goya Adobo seasoning, which is one of our faves!)
- 14 oz can of kernel corn, drained – .50
- 15 oz can of black beans, drained and chopped or mashed – $.59
In a crock pot, put in your chicken, tomatoes, about 3/4-1 cup of green salsa, about 1 cup of sliced onions, some sliced bell peppers (if you wish), about 3 cloves minced garlic (I used the bottled minced) and salt and pepper (or Goya Adobo seasoning). Cook the chicken on high for about 3-4 hours, until tender.
Take the chicken out of the crock pot and set it on a plate or cutting board to let it cool some. Drain the juice out of the vegetables, reserving some of the liquid. Put the vegetables back into the crock pot. Add the can of drained corn and drained black beans. Cut up or shred the chicken and put it back into the crock pot. Add a little more of the green salsa (about 1/4 cup) and some of the liquid from the vegetables that you drained (about 1 cup). Stir all this together and allow it to cook for another 15-20 minutes.
Use the chicken in tacos, burritos, or quesadillas. Yummy!
We had enough of this chicken to feed our family of four and then some to freeze for another meal. I also served this recipe with Spanish rice. We topped our tacos with cheese and sour cream and a bit of fresh pico de gallo. Sorry, I wish I had a picture to share.
October 14, 2010
If you’re like me, then several of your recipes are simply inspirations from things you have read or from other recipes. Such is the case with this chicken enchilada chili. Last week, I was visiting 5 Dollar Dinners and came across Erin’s recipe for this dish. It sounded good and definitely worth trying. I decided to modify it according to my family’s taste. Also, my husband and I enjoy having leftover chili and soups to use for lunches so I wanted to make the recipe go further.
- 1 cup of homemade or store bought beef broth (.25, super double coupon sale)
- 1 6 oz can of tomato paste (.39)
- 3 tbsp of taco seasoning (.15, on sale plus coupon)
- 1 tbsp of chili powder (.05)
- 1/2 diced onion (.10)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic (.10)
- 1 15 oz can of red kidney beans, drained (.69)
- 2 15 oz cans of black beans, drained (1.38)
- 1 12 can of tomatoes with green chilies (.35, one sale and used .50 coupon)
- 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes (.55, stockpile price)
- 3-4 cups of cooked and shredded chicken from the freezer (.50, on sale for .19/lb)
- sour cream (.75)
- 1 cup shredded cheese (.20, buy 1 get 1 free plus coupon)
- tortilla chips (1.00)
- In a large 5 quart pot, wisk together the beef broth, tomato paste, and about 6 oz (one tomato paste can) of water. Add diced onions and minced garlic. Stir in taco seasoning and chili powder.
- Add 2 cans of black beans, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can tomatoes with green chilies, and 1 can of crushed tomatoes (I just put my diced tomatoes in the food processor). Stir and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Add cooked chicken. Cover, and simmer for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until warm throughout.
- Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.
The total cost of this dish was around $6.50, but we ate it for a few days which helped us to save money on work lunches. This dish made about 9-10 bowls of chili.
When I make this dish again, I will probably add one can of drained corn.
You can use less chicken. I made ours with a lot of chicken and it was so good.
When I make this recipe again, I hope to freeze some into lunch portions.
We enjoyed this recipe and it will definitely go in my recipe book to use during these upcoming months.
September 23, 2010
Every now and then I like to do some batch cooking. I try to use things that I have found on sale and with coupons. This past week, Harris Teeter had chicken fryers on sale for $.57/lb.
I decided to try the chicken stew after seeing the recipe on Southern Plate this week. It reminded me of the Brunswick stew the women’s ministry at church would make for their winter fundraiser. I would purchase extra quarts of the stew and freeze them. I remember how good they tasted on a cold winter day.
Tonight I gave the stew a try and it was yummy and filling. I had a bowl for supper tonight and froze the rest for future lunches and dinners. I also froze the remaining chicken broth to use for later use. I feel a lot of satisfaction from batch cooking because I know it is saving our family time and money, plus it’s usually healthier foods. If we’ve had a long day and I don’t feel like cooking, I know that I can come home and grab something from the freezer. This avoids expensive and unhealthy meals from the drive-thru. I made this pot of chicken stew for about $5.
Do you enjoy batch cooking? What are your favorite freezer meals?
August 15, 2010
From time to time, it may seem as though The Thrifty Mommy is crossing over into homemaking but honestly, I believe it all goes hand in hand. One of the ways I save the most money is on my grocery bill. Cooking delicious meals at home is just one of the things that contributes to a low food budget.
Believe it or not, my husband does not enjoy pasta dishes. Every now and then I need some pasta and so I will make spaghetti or something like that for the kids and myself. Finally, I decided to make a no pasta lasagna for my husband. There are many different ways to do this and many other ingredients that you can add, but here’s what I did:
These are in order, with the bottom layer listed first.
- spaghetti sauce with meat (I included a lot of meat to his liking.)
- fresh steamed spinach (or you can use thawed frozen spinach)
- cottage cheese mixed with 2 eggs and minced garlic
- shredded cheddar cheese
- parmesan cheese
- crushed red pepper
- steamed cabbage
- spaghetti sauce
- shredded mozarella cheese
My husband does not like a traditional marinara sauce, so I bought the Bertolli Vodka sauce. You can find it in most grocery stores. I made a small lasagna for him and a regular lasagna for the kids and myself. lol I always make enough lasagna to freeze a little for lunches.
Feel free to change this recipe around. You can use ground turkey instead of ground beef, you can use low fat cheese, or you can add some ground sausage or pepperoni slices. There are so many ways to change this recipe to make it suitable for the Atkins diet, South Beach, etc.
I baked these on 350F until it was hot and bubbly (about 45 minutes). Let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!
Edited August 1, 2012: I made this pasta free lasagna again this week. This time I layered it as: spaghetti sauce with meat (ground beef and Italian sausage), steamed cabbage (this took the place of the noodles), cottage cheese with egg mixed in, chopped spinach, Italian cheese mixture from Kraft (mozarella, parmesan, romano, etc), layer of pepperoni, layer of salami,spaghetti sauce, Italian cheese. My husband thanked me and said it was good!
Images (c) Karen Weideman.
May 17, 2010
I’ve been looking for another opportunity to make taco soup. Today it’s rainy and overcast, so it’s a perfect day. This dish is so easy and well received by everyone. The kids even like it. I like that this dish gets them eating beans and corn . . . items that are usually frowned upon.
- 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 package/envelope dry taco seasoning
- 1 package/envelope dry ranch seasoning
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 15 oz corn, drained
- 3 gloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cans Rotel tomatoes with chilis (I use one can with chilis and one regular diced.)
- 1 can tomato sauce
- Goya Adobo seasoning or salt and pepper, to taste
Brown ground beef with onion and drain. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until hot. Serve with sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips.
*Feel free to substitute other types of beans. Use navy beans instead of black beans. Add another can of beans to make it go further. It’s up to you! I have frozen our leftover soup and eaten it a month later. It froze really well.
image (c) Karen Weideman
May 12, 2010
Sometimes it is difficult for me to write up recipes for you all because I sort of make them up as I go. Many times, I’ll read a few recipes, see something that strikes an interest, and I’ll make up my own recipe. This is what has happened with the sausage and spinach recipe.
I’ve made this dish for our family, my husband’s work, and my small group. It was well received. Tonight when my kids asked what we were having, they responded with, “Thanks, Mom!”. It’s nice to fix something for them that they enjoy.
This quiche also freezes well. I freeze whatever we have left over. It makes for an easy breakfast or dinner. If there’s is not enough left, then I just add another side dish such as hashbrowns. To freeze the quiche, I simply cut it into serving size squares and put into a freezer safe container using parchment paper between the layers.
Sausage and Spinach Quiche
Serve with fruit and/or hashbrowns.
Here’s what I used:
- 9 eggs
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups frozen spinach (I used the kind from a bag.)
- 3/4 cup milk
- about 3/4 lb of cooked ground sausage
- seasonings – salt, pepper, garlic (to taste)
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, or until browned and no longer runny in middle.
The great thing about this recipe is that can be easily modified. Use mushrooms instead of spinach. Add more cheese. Use more eggs. Use half and half instead of milk. It’s up to you.
This big quiche can be made for less than $5 when using coupons, shopping sales, or buy 1 get 1 free sales.
images (c) Karen Weideman