Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie

I have to say, this was one delicious meal.  I couldn’t get over how tasty it was.  And because of the cornbread recipe I use (which is sweeter than a lot of recipes) those two flavors combined to make one delicious dish.  I made this on Halloween and had my parents over.  It was unanimous…this is good!

I can’t wait to make it again.  Only this time,  I’ll make like 4 dishes worth and freeze them so I can just keep making and eating them.  All. Winter. Long.

Seriously, it’s that good.

Our two-year-old wasn’t too keen on it.  I think between the chili powder and the red pepper flakes it was too spicy for her…it wasn’t spicy, there was a slight zip to it, but it wasn’t spicy.  Maybe next time I’ll omit the red pepper flakes and see if she likes it…

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs stew steak, in small bite size pieces
1 carrot, shredded
1 zucchini, shredded
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cups frozen corn
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Directions:

Brown stew meat.  Add carrots, zucchini, onion, and bell pepper cook another 2-3 minutes.  Drain and cool.

Add to a gallon zip lock bag with remaining ingredients.  Freeze.

Thaw and cook in crock pot on low for 5-6 hours or high 3-4 hours.

Serve over cornbread.

(Because our family is small, I split this into two zip locks, making 2 meals with this one recipe)

If you want more freezer friendly crock pot recipes check out this post!

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie

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Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

This being a freezer meal, I couldn’t remember what was actually in it (other than the beans and broth I added when I put everything in the crock pot).

And then, once I got everything in the crock pot I stayed at home…so I never actually smelled it cooking (and any crock pot cook knows how good crock pot meals smell).

So without remembering what the ingredients were and being unable to smell the meal, I was a little unsure about how this soup would taste…I just thought it would be very very bland.

Right up until that first spoonful hit my taste buds.

Let me tell you what, this is a delicious stew.  And I’m not the only one who thought this was a pretty delicious dinner, my husband heartily approved of this meal.

The flavors are rather mild, but because no flavor overtakes the stew, it becomes a delightfully tasty dish.  A dish made even better with a slice of crusty bread to sop up some of the broth.

Ingredients:

2 cans beans, drained and rinsed (I used pinto and red beans)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
3 Tbsp uncooked rice (I used brown)
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
3-4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)

Directions:

Combine ingredients (except broth) in gallon zip lock bag.  Freeze.

Thaw.

Put contents of bag in crock pot.  Add enough broth to cover everything.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Serve and enjoy!

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

For more freezer friendly crock pot meals check out this post.

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

It’s official.  Fall has hit Montana.  And that means soup is fair game!  And so is crock potting.  Especially when you have a freezer full of crock pot meals tempting you every time you try and plan a meal.

Today was a home game for my husband’s soccer team, which meant that both he and I would be out of the house during prime dinner prepping time.  Enter freezer friendly crock pot meal!  And wah-lah!  A ridiculously tasty and healthy meal ready and waiting for us when we got home from the rather chilly fields.

And this was good.  And hearty.  As my husband was cleaning the kitchen (another reason I like to cook…someone else cleans up) he commented that he was a lot more full than he thought he would be.

And honestly, I have no idea how hard the prep for this meal was because I did it a couple weeks ago when I prepped 15 other freezer friendly meals.  So as far as I’m concerned, this meal was easy peasy.  I simply pulled it out of the freezer last night.  Dumped it into the crock pot today.  And added a can of black beans.  Dinner done.  Man, I’m amazing 🙂 .

Ingredients:

3 chicken breasts
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce (I prefer green, but you can use whatever you like)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 can black beans
Tortilla chips

Directions:

Put all ingredients except cilantro, black beans, and chips into a gallon zip lock bag and freeze.

When you’re ready to eat this dinner, thaw the dinner, then throw into crock pot.  Add the can of drained and rinsed black beans.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.

Shred the chicken (this was super duper easy, it practically fell apart at the touch).

Serve with cilantro and crushed tortilla chips.

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

Crock Pot Vegetable Lentil Stew

Vegetable Lentil Stew

Vegetable Lentil Stew

I had planned to make this stew today.  And to be completely honest, I hoped the weather would cooperate.  As in, I hoped it would be a cool, maybe even blustery, day.  And I was not disappointed.  It’s cool and we had a brief thunderstorm.  So pretty much today is the perfect day for a hearty, healthy, stew.  Especially if it fills the house with that warm smell of stew all day.

And while I love the leftovers, the original recipe made 8-10 servings…that’s a lot of leftovers for 2 adults and 1 toddler.  So I halved the recipe and then slightly adjusted it for the contents of my vegetable crisper (and my finicky (read: overly hot) crock pot).

This was a super easy crock pot meal.  And it made my heart giddy to see all those veggies going in.  And my husband, you know, that guy I talk about from time to time, he is baking a loaf of whole wheat bread…so we’ll probably have that with dinner.  Perfection!

Ingredients:

8 oz dried lentils, stones removed and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 leeks, chopped
1/2 cauliflower, chopped into small bite size pieces
2 med carrots, chopped
1.5 celery stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
20 oz diced tomatoes with sauce
1 cup kale, chopped
sour cream or greek yogurt (as topping)
shredded cheese (as topping)
additional water, as needed

Directions:

Put all ingredients minus sour cream and cheese into slow cooker.  Turn on low.  Cook for 6-8 hours until lentils are soft.  If the liquid runs out or gets too low add some more water.

Serve hot topped with sour cream and cheese.

Directions for the freezer:

Put all ingredients minus the sour cream and cheese and kale into a freezer bag.  Freeze.  Pull out of freezer the night before to defrost.  In the morning add to crock pot along with the chopped kale.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours until lentils are soft.

Serve hot topped with sour cream and cheese.

For more freezer friendly crock pot meals check out this post!

Vegetable Lentil Stew

My husband photo bombing the soup!

My husband photo bombing the soup!

Crock Pot Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling

Crock Pot Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling

Crock Pot Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling

Now I love crock pot cooking.  Is there any better way to finish your day than with a delicious, homecooked, and probably healthy meal that you didn’t actually have to prepare at the end of the day?  No, there is no better way…except maybe a 5 star restaurant…but even that takes some effort…like a shower.  So really, a crock pot meal is probably the best way to go.

I recently prepared 16 (16!!!!) freezer crock pot meals.  This was not, I repeat, not one of those meals.  However, after making it today, I definitely think this is a good meal to prep in advance.  Not that prep takes much time.  The hardest tasks are rinsing the quinoa and mincing the garlic (but I used a garlic press…so it wasn’t that hard).  Anyways, it’s super easy, it’s crazy healthy, and it’s pretty dang delicious too.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup lentils (I used 1/4 black lentils and 1/4 cup orange lentils…they were what I had in the pantry)
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
2+ cups of water

Directions:

Add everything to crock pot.  Cook on low 6-7 hours.  Check occasionally and add more water as necessary (this is a very important step with my lame-o crock pot, I’m always scorching things if I don’t put additional water in…apparently the low on my machine is equivalent to the high in most machines).

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve like you would tacos.  I prefer soft, whole wheat taco shells, but anything works (this would probably be a killer taco salad filling).  Then add any fillings you choose.

Possible fillings:

cheese (this is a requirement for me)
lettuce
tomatoes
avocados
sour cream
salsa
olives
peppers
hot sauce (this is a requirement for my husband)

Freezer directions:

Put all ingredients in a freezer bag.  Put in freezer.  Pull out of freezer the night before.  Put in crock pot the morning of.  Cook on low 6-7 hours.  Serve as you would regular tacos.

Sit down and enjoy your meal!

For more freezer friendly crock pot meals check out this post!

Crock Pot Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling

Crock Pot Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Meals

As we approach fall I begin thinking about food.  Just kidding.  I think about food all the time.  But as fall approaches I start thinking about the crock pot.  Just kidding.  I think about crock pot meals most months of the year.

However, with my due date quickly approaching (we’re two weeks away people, two weeks!) I’ve been thinking a lot about food.  Let’s just say that as much as I love food, I love sleep even more.  That means that I’ve been known to come home from a long day and if there isn’t food put in my hands I’ll just go to bed without eating.  Maybe not the greatest thing, but I gotta do what I gotta do.  However, that skipping dinner plan seems like a very bad plan for a lady who has just given birth and is breastfeeding.  I mean, I’m going to need my calories.  So I’ve been trying to figure out what to so there are little/low effort and yet still healthy meals available.

Now freezer meals are always trendy for new moms.  But usually prepping them takes a lot of work (not something I was particularly interested in).  Or they’re expensive, prepackaged meals from the store (also not something I’m interested in…we’ve got a new baby…that means we need to watch where our pennies go  and a frozen lasagna isn’t where I want to spend my extra money).

So I went to Pinterest.  And found some freezer friendly crock pot meals.  I thought that sounded like something I could do.  Healthy, relatively inexpensive, some prep work up front, but almost no work on the day of.  Perfect.

So I came up with 14 different meals.  Made a shopping list.  Went shopping.  And for a mere $150 (which ended up making 16 frozen crock pot meals PLUS bought us groceries for the next few days) I was ready to prep my crock pot meals.

After a few hours (read: 6) of washing, chopping, measuring, combining, and cleaning I had 16 crock pot meals in the freezer!  That means 16 dinners plus left overs.  And all I have to do is throw it in a crock pot and make rice or cornbread and a salad and I’ll have dinner prepped.

Produce needed for all my crock pot meals.

Produce needed for all my crock pot meals.

Veggies (and fruits) all chopped up and ready to be frozen.

Veggies (and fruits) all chopped up and ready to be frozen.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Aren’t you married?  Can’t your husband cook dinner?  And yes, he can.  He’s a really good cook and he likes cooking.  And he frequently makes meals for us.  However, he’s coaching soccer this fall, which means that he doesn’t get home from the fields until sometime between 6:30 and and 8:30…and I just don’t want to wait that long for him to cook dinner.  So it’s good to have something that I can do even when I’m exhausted and my arms are full of baby and a toddler has her arms wrapped around my legs.

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Meals

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Meals

As I get some of these recipes on my blog I’ll put links to them here.

Crock Pot Lentil Quinoa Filling

Crock Pot Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling

Crock Pot Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling

Crock Pot Vegetable Lentil Stew

Crock Pot Vegetable Lentil Stew

Crock Pot Vegetable Lentil Stew

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

Crock Pot Bean Stew

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

Crock Pot Tamale Pie

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie

Enjoy all the good eats!