Tag Archives: crock pot meals

5 Freezer Meals for 1 or 2 in 30 minutes

 

I know that’s a lot of numbers in the title, but what do you expect from a finance & food blog? 😉 There are many ways to save money on one of most people’s biggest budget categories (after housing): food.

  1. Eat at your parents house
  2. Eat only Ramen noodles
  3. One meal per day
  4. Intermittent fasting
  5. Freeganism
  6. Vegetable garden/farming
  7. Bulk buying
  8. Couponing
  9. Meal planning
  10. Freezer meals

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

But every tip will not work for every person and every situation.

If you are in a dorm with just a small refrigerator and 6 months until you move again, your life is drastically different from a family with four children in the suburbs with two chest freezers.

I’ve designed meal plans for the Dollar Tree, one week of dinners from one pork roast, and 10 freezer meals in one hour.

The Freezer Meals For 2 Plan

This plan is designed for smaller households, who have a freezer.

One or two people.

I made all of these meals for a friend who was about to have a baby. Having freezer meals on hand makes feeding yourself when sleep deprived and stressed so much easier! But these meals are also great for single people or couples who don’t like to cook, as they are super easy and stress free.

So if you have a big family or a big appetite, these recipes might not be for you. However they are very easy to scale up, simply double or triple the ingredients, and use larger freezer bags.

This is also designed to go straight from ingredients –> bag –> freezer –> thaw in refrigerator –> oven or crock pot.

5 freezer meals in 30 minutes

To complete these 5 freezer meals, in addition to the food ingredients you will need:

  • 5 quart sized freezer bags
  • Sharpie or other permanent marker
  • Container in which to thaw the bags in the refrigerator (otherwise they will leak condensation all over)

The ingredients are pantry staples (at least in my house!) and items you can easily find at most any grocery store. You can of course step up your game slightly and use dried beans you cook yourself, or produce straight from your garden. These tricks will lower the total cost even further.

But the total for this should be less than $30, for 5 nights of meals for 2 servings each, possibly with leftovers. I will also include some tips at the end on how you can jazz up each one to make it your own.

Per serving total = $3 or less

Recipes included:
  • Chicken & Rice Casserole
  • Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • 3 Bean Vegetarian Chili
  • White Bean & Barley Soup
  • Corn & Potato Chowder

5 freezer meals in 30 minutes

Entire Ingredients List:

  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can corn (can use frozen)
  • 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 large chicken breast, cut in half, or 2 total
  • 1 cup barley
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1-2 large baking potato
  • 1 onion, diced, or dried onion
  • Garlic powder or fresh garlic
  • Italian seasonings
  • Chili powder
  • Bouillon
  •  1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup rice

You will be using half or a third of some of these cans, I did not measure it out, I just eyeballed it. If you feel more comfortable with exact numbers, go ahead and get out a measuring cup.

Step 1: Cut up your carrots and potato and onion into a small dice. I did not peel either the potatoes or carrot, but you can if you want. You can also use canned potatoes, though the end product will be soggier. You can also use dried onion, like I did.

Step 2: Label your bags and write the instructions out. Trust me, you want to do this part before the bag is full and possibly wet outside.

Step 3: Open and drain all your cans.

Step 4: Cut a large boneless skinless chicken breast in half, or use two smaller cuts. You can leave the breast whole, or dice it up, either way works. You could also use canned chicken, 1 per recipe.

 

Once you have your labeled bags ready, just dump the ingredients into them, in the order listed. You want to put the meat in last, so it is the first thing to come out when you cook it. Then push out any air in the bag, and seal. Freeze laying flat if possible, as they are then easier to stack and take up less freezer space.

 

Chicken & Rice Casserole

  • 1/2 can corn
  • 1/2 bag frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1 chicken breast

*Thaw overnight. Bake at 350 in a casserole dish for 1 hour, or in crock pot on low for 2-3 hours, shred chicken before serving.

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 can pinto beans (or black beans)
  • 1/3 can diced tomatoes or 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • Diced or dried onion
  • 1 chicken breast

*Thaw, simmer on stove for 1 hour, or in crock pot on low 2-3 hours. Top with tortilla chips, sour cream, cheddar cheese, avocado…

 

3 Bean Vegetarian Chili

  •       1 can of 3 different kinds of beans
  •       1/3 can diced tomatoes
  •       Dried onion, garlic powder
  •       2 tbsp chili powder

*Thaw overnight. Add to slow cooker with 3 cups water, cook on low 6-8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours, stirring every hour or so if possible.

 

White Bean & Barley Soup

  •       1 cup white beans (or 1 can)
  •       1 cup barley
  •       ½ – 1 cup cut up carrots
  •       ½ white onion, diced
  •       1-2 cubes bouillon
  •       1/3 can diced tomatoes

*Thaw overnight. Add 6 cups water, simmer 2 hours on the stove or cook in crock pot on low for 6-8 hours.

 

Corn & Potato Chowder

  •       2 potatoes, diced
  •       ½ can corn
  •       ½ cup flour
  •       Garlic, onion, bouillon
  •       Optional: 1tbsp Italian seasoning

*Thaw, add 2 cups water and simmer 2 hours on the stove or cook in slow cooker on low 4-6 hours.

 

5 freezer meals in 30 minutes

 

 

 

Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas

 

A total workhorse in my kitchen, the humble Crock Pot (or slow cooker) is an absolute life-saver on weekdays when you just don’t have the time to cook, or to help prep ahead of time. There is something so satisfying about just tossing everything in the pot in the morning, then coming home after a long day to a house that smells like love.

(Food = Love, you see)

While the crock pot has certainly proven its worth time and time again with soups & stews like crock pot tortilla soup, chili, or red pozole with pork, and other favorites like apple sauce and cheddar broccoli rice, it is also awesome at making easy enchiladas!

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Enchiladas are a great one-pot meal, and can be made with any meat you like, or made vegetarian by using only beans, tofu, and/or cheese as the filling. This recipe adds a little spice to the meat mixture as well as using whole jalapenos for a kick. And I used regular old tomato sauce because I didn’t have any enchilada sauce.

So if you want to make enchiladas with no enchilada sauce, I got you.

Ingredients:

  • 12 10 inch tortillas (I used flour, but you can use corn too)
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked & shredded
  • 1 can refried beans
  • about 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup sliced jalapenos
  • about 1 cup shredded cheese

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Step 1: Lay out your tortilla, and spread 1-2 tbsp of refried bean in the center. You can use regular canned beans of any kind as well.

IMG_8732

Step 2: Put a layer of shredded chicken on top of the beans, as well as some hot salsa, shredded cheese, and a few sliced jalapenos.

IMG_8733

Step 3: Wrap the tortillas up like a burrito, and layer in a sprayed crock pot. Once you have a bottom layer of 2-3, pour on a few tbsp tomato sauce. Then layer on a few more. Repeat until you use up all the tortillas.

IMG_8734

Step 4: Sprinkle the top layer with a little more cheese and some more jalapeno slices, then set the crock pot on low for 4-6 hours.

IMG_8735

They bake up perfectly, soft on the inside with a little bit of crisp, and just the right amount of heat.

Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 12 10 inch tortillas (I used flour, but you can use corn too)
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked & shredded
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup sliced jalapenos
  • 1 cup shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. Lay out your tortilla, and spread 1-2 tbsp of refried bean in the center. You can use regular canned beans of any kind as well.
  2. Put a layer of shredded chicken on top of the beans, as well as some hot salsa, shredded cheese, and a few sliced jalapenos.
  3. Wrap the tortillas up like a burrito, and layer in a sprayed crock pot. Once you have a bottom layer of 2-3, pour on a few tbsp tomato sauce. Then layer on a few more. Repeat until you use up all the tortillas.
  4. Sprinkle the top layer with a little more cheese and some more jalapeno slices, then set the crock pot on low for 4-6 hours.
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http://www.budgetepicurean.com/comfort-food/crock-pot-chicken-enchiladas/

Three Bean Vegan Chili

 

Chili is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. It couldn’t be easier to put together, just throw all the ingredients in a crock pot and let it do the heavy lifting while you go to work, school, travel, write, hike, shop, whatever you do all day. Then come home to a hot, delicious, healthy meal that makes the whole house smell divine.

This is seriously the most perfect cold-weather dinner of all time.

White Bean Chicken Chili is definitely on my top ten for Crock Pot meals, but since I’ve been on a bit of a vegan kick lately, I wanted to make a chili with no meat or animal products that was equally delicious and satisfying. And that’s exactly what I did, and you can too!

Don’t tell those you serve that it’s vegan, and they likely won’t even know.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes (with green chilis if you want kick)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can white cannellini beans
  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

IMG_7580

Step 1: Open all the cans, and pour directly into the crock pot. Leave the tomato juice, but if you want to drain and rinse the beans to cut down on extra sodium, you totally can.

IMG_7583

Step 2: Cook in crock pot on low 6-8 hours, or high 2-4 hours. That’s it! Other addition you could make: chickpeas, really any other type of bean, crushed garlic, diced onion, carrots, celery, bell peppers, hot peppers, tomato juice, tomato sauce, hot sauce…   IMG_7587

IMG_7586

I made a batch of corn bread using Jiffy mix and a can of corn to serve with the chili. Yes, the carnivore had to add a handful of cheese, but progress is progress. Baby steps.

Since this makes a crap-ton of chili, some ideas to use up the remainder include chili cheese dogs, chili mac n cheese, and topping baked potatoes with a scoop for a filling meal or snack.

 

Three Bean Vegan Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 can diced tomatoes (with green chilis if you want kick)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can white cannellini beans
  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

Instructions

  1. Open all the cans, and pour directly into the crock pot. Leave the tomato juice, but if you want to drain and rinse the beans to cut down on extra sodium, you totally can.
  2. Cook in crock pot on low 6-8 hours, or high 2-4 hours. That's it! Other addition you could make: chickpeas, really any other type of bean, crushed garlic, diced onion, carrots, celery, bell peppers, hot peppers, tomato juice, tomato sauce, hot sauce...
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http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegan/three-bean-vegan-chili/