These meals are all Vegan, but if your crowd is not all Vegan, scroll down for Omnivore additions.
Besides being tasty & healthy, these meals are all super-frugal! : )
And, if you need these meals to be Gluten-Free, use some Gluten-Free Tortillas, (and spices, etc) and you're all set!
Although there is a lot of detail here which may make this plan LOOK complicated, it is really quite easy - I found that it worked very well on a day when I had many other tasks to see to. I was able to work these cooking tasks around a full day of teaching, errand running, cooking a different dinner for my family, laundry & other obligations.
The overview is this:
Make an easy spice mix
Start 2 kinds of beans in the slow cooker.
Saute pre-cut frozen veggies.
Simmer a pot of Salsa.
Optional - put meat in a simple marinade & freeze (scroll all the way down for this one)
Combine & package most ingredients without further handling/cooking.
Mix together veggie burger ingredients, and cook them for 10 minutes while you tidy the kitchen.
See? It's really easy : )
After this Freezer Cooking Day, You'll be ready to enjoy these meals!Veggie Fajitas
On serving day, set out Veggie Fajita Mix, Salsa, Optional Omnivore Fajita strips, Lettuce, Tomato, Tortillas, Refried Beans, optional Fresh Guacamole (made with the Taco Seasoning you made today) & Chips.
Black Bean Enchiladas
On serving day, roll Enchilada filling in tortillas, top with Purchased Enchilada Sauce & Bake. Top with Lettuce & Tomato & optional fresh Guacamole (made with the Taco Seasoning you made today) or diced Avocado.
On Serving day, Set out Corn Chips, Simple Black Beans (or, you may prefer Refried Beans here - your choice) Lettuce, Tomato, Salsa, optional fresh Guacamole (made with the Taco Seasoning you made today), Optional Rice.
Fill Your Own Tortillas
On Serving Day, Set out Tortillas, Rice, Simple Black Beans (or Refried Beans - your choice) Lettuce, Tomato & Salsa. You might also choose to set out Taco Meat, Shredded Cheese & Sour Cream for Omnivores.
Lunch Bean Burritos for Freezer (or Bean Tacos)
For Burritos, roll Refried Beans, Rice & a spoon of Salsa in a Tortilla, roll up, & freeze.
For Soft Tacos, Fold Refried Beans with Lettuce & Tomato in Soft or Crunchy Taco Shell - top with Salsa if desired. (I usually make these from leftovers after a meal, rather than on freezer cooking day)
Southwest Black Bean Burgers
On Serving Day, serve these in Burger Buns with Lettuce & Tomato or with Tortillas as a wrap. Oven Fries go nicely, if you desire, or you could serve chips & salsa.
Black Bean and Corn Salad
On Serving day, Add to cooked Black Beans: Thawed Frozen Corn, Diced Tomato, Diced Avocado, Lime Juice & Taco Seasoning. Stir & Serve.
I really enjoy this salad wrapped in a Tortilla with a little Shredded Lettuce.
Super Simple Guacamole
Here's Your Shopping List:
Ingredients to purchase for cooking day:2 pound Pinto Beans (Dry)
2 pounds Black Beans (Dry)
3 Bags of 3 Pepper & Onion Mix (or 2 1/2# fresh Multi-colored Peppers & Onions, cut in Crescents)
4 cans Mushrooms (4 oz per can, or equivalent fresh)
2 pounds Rice
1 bag Frozen Corn
1 Bunch Cilantro
1 cup Carrots
Oats (you'll need 2 1/2 cups)
5 cans Chopped Tomatoes
2 Fresh Onions
Jarred Minced Garlic
Lime Juice (you'll need 1/4 cup)
Purchased Ready-Made Pantry Additions (of course, you can make your own if you prefer):
Corn Chips such as Baked Tostitos
1 can Enchilada Sauce of your choice
(If you are also cooking for an Omnivore, scroll down to the bottom of this post for additional shopping items)
|Some of the Basic Ingredients for a Mexican Freezer Cooking Session|
Spices & StaplesCheck your Spice cabinet for these spices in the proper quantity
so you know if you need to re-stock at the grocery before starting
1 1/2 T Coriander
Cumin (about 2 Tablespoons)
1/2 cup Chili powder (The American Spice Blend, NOT ground chilies)
Oregano (about 2 Tablespoons)
Sriracha OR 4 small pickled peppers (Thai), very finely minced
1/2 cup Onion Powder
4 teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 1/2 Tablespoons Paprika
Fresh Ingredients for Serving:Lettuce
Guacamole (make at serving time, using the Taco Seasoning you made) or Avocado (Optional)
Burger Buns or Bread (Optional)
On cooking day, you will Make:
"Refried" Beans (Fajita Side Dish, Bean Tacos or Freezer Bean Burritos, Haystacks)
Black Beans (Enchilada Filling, Fill your own Tortilla, Haystacks, Burgers, Bean & Corn Salad)
Rice (you can opt to cook this ahead, or at serving time)
This is the Work Plan:1. Make Taco Seasoning (This is a simple matter of measuring spices into a jar & shaking)
2. Start Pinto Beans cooking in Slow Cooker, and Black Beans in a second Slow Cooker If you only have one Slow Cooker, these steps can, of course, be done sequentially. (When I make two pounds of beans, I only increase the water to a total of 12 cups)
3. Saute 3 Bags of Pepper & Onion mix in large skillet (oil is optional here - I just cook them till they're done with nothing added). You will divide this mixture into 3rds later.
4. Prepare Salsa in a Stock Pot or Dutch Oven.
5. Optional: Prepare Rice
6. Take a Break till Slow Cookers are done : ) (or do optional step 10 here)
7. When Pinto Beans are Tender, Drain extra liquid, add spices & mix for "Refried" Beans according to directions. Package, label, & freeze. (I divide it into 4 freezer containers - about 2 1/2 to 3 cups per container)
8. When Black Beans are done, reserve 1/2 cup liquid and drain remaining liquid. Cool a little (to make your work easier) and package as follows:
For Simple Black Beans (to use for Fill Your Own Tortillas and Mexican Haystacks)
1/3 of Pepper & Onion Mixture, above
1 Tablespoon Minced, Jarred Garlic
4 1/2 cups Black Beans (drained)
1 Can Diced Tomatoes, with liquid
1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning.
1/2 Cup reserved Black Bean cooking Liquid
Divide into 2 Containers, label & Freeze.
For Black Bean Enchiladas Filling:
Combine, package, label & Freeze
1/3 Pepper & Onion Mixture, above
2 (4oz) cans Mushrooms, Drained
3 Cups Black Beans (drained)
2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
(when you prepare this, warm the filling and roll in tortillas - 1/3 cup per tortilla- top with Enchilada filling & bake according to directions.
For Veggie Fajitas
Combine, package, label & freeze
1/3 of Pepper & Onion Mix
1 1/2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
2 (4oz) cans Mushrooms, drained
Make Southwest Black Bean Burgers
Pulse ingredients in food processor, stir together, shape patties, and bake if desired. This is a 10- minute bake time - I tidy the kitchen while these bake.
Cool Slightly, Package for individual meals, label & Freeze. Our family eats about 6 patties at a meal, so for us this is a 2-meal recipe : )
These can be served on traditional burger buns or wrapped in a tortilla for a wrap-style sandwich, as you prefer.
Package remaining Black Beans (you should have about 2 cups) for Black Bean and Corn Salad
9. Finish Salsa Preparation (add Garlic, Lime Juice & Cilantro, puree slightly, package, label & freeze)
10. If you are cooking for Omnivores, prepare Fajita marinade, and place raw strips of beef or chicken in Zippered freezer bag with marinade. Label & Freeze. When the time comes to cook, thaw and discard marinade. Saute meat in skillet. Alternately, make Taco Meat by sauteeing Onion & Ground Beef - add Taco Seasoning to Taste. Cool & Freeze.
11. If you chose the optional freezer burritos, roll some Refried Beans, Rice & Salsa in Tortillas for the Freezer. Put a small amount of Salsa between the Refried Beans & Rice (rather than next to the tortilla), so that they will be less inclined to leak or become soggy. (When I make these, it is usually from leftovers AFTER a meal is served rather than on freezer cooking day)
12. Tidy Kitchen & relax - you have several Mexican Meals ready to go!
If you like this Freezer plan, you might also enjoy these:
Greek for a Week
Indian for a Week
Make Sauce Tonight, Have Easy Meals for a Week
World Tour One
World Tour Two
Or, if this plan has really inspired you, you might want to check out these:
How to Design Your Own Freezer Cooking Plan
Why Do Freezer Cooking?
Possible Omnivore Additions:Fajita Chicken Strips or Flank Steak Strips (I buy the beef pre-cut at the grocery)
I use this marinade for Chicken or Steak Fajita Strips
It is very slightly adapated from a George Foreman recipe
1 cup lime juice
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 T oil
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp crushed garlic
Thinly slice flank steak or boneless, skinless Chicken Breast
Place in gallon Ziploc or other large bag with marinade
Marinate 4 hours to overnight, or freeze.
Meat will marinate while becoming frozen and while thawing.
Thaw, Drain, discard liquid, saute or grill meat.
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