Monday, April 20, 2015

Mexican for a Week - Freezer Cooking Plan

Here's a freezer plan for a week of Mexican dinners. Of course, you probably don't want to eat Mexican every day for a whole week - you might prefer Vertical Meal Planning instead - this way, you can have Mexican once a week for more than a month! I recommend this plan to stock your freezer for several weeks' worth of "Taco Tuesdays."  That way, each week on your busy night (be it Tuesday or not), a Mexican meal is ready to heat & eat!

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.

Mexican Haystacks
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 & Staples

Check 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:

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:

Taco Seasoning

"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)

Sauteed Veggies

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)
Taco Meat
Shredded Cheddar
Sour Cream

I use this marinade for Chicken or Steak Fajita Strips
It is very slightly adapated from a George Foreman recipe

Fajita Marinade
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.
To use:
Thaw, Drain, discard liquid, saute or grill meat.

This Post was Featured on:

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Celebrate Earth Month! Live It Up at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #64
Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural

This is being shared on
Menu Plan Monday
The Art of Homemaking Mondays
What'd You Do This Weekend
Mom 2 Mom Mondays
Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural
Anti-Procrastination Tuesday
Tuesdays with a Twist
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Wake up Wednesday
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Coffee & Conversation
Think Tank Thursday 
This is How We Roll
Plant Based Potluck
Home Acre Hop
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Gluten Free Fridays 
Real Food Fridays 
Simple Saturdays 
Food on Fridays: Mexican


  1. I love this -love your list even to go to the grocery store. I'm going to have to try!

    1. Thanks so much for visiting & for your kind comments! I would LOVE to hear how it turns out when you try it : )

  2. This is a winning plan, Anna and it came at just the right time because I'm planning a freezer session myself. Lots of good ideas here :)

    1. Thanks so much! I'll look forward to seeing your freezer plan
      - I always enjoy your blog : )

  3. Looks delicious! I love Mexican food!

  4. Hi Anna,
    This post is so helpful! What a great way to organize amazing make-ahead meals! After many vacations in Mexico, I have fallen in love with their cuisine so I am delighted that you shared your "Mexican for a Week - Freezer Cooking Plan" with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop! I’m pinning and sharing!

    1. Thanks so much! And thanks for featuring this post this week! : )

  5. What a great idea! I like doing this type of future prep. I never thought to do a certain cuisine and store up for the week. Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. I am pinning this!

    1. Thanks so much! I'm so delighted that you like it : )

  6. Looks great :) I could eat Mexican food every day!

  7. What a great array of Mexican dishes. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & Twitted.

  8. So many great options, they all sound so good! Thanks for sharing at What'd You Do This Weekend? I hope you will join us again this Monday morning!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words & for hosting! : )

  9. Hi Anna,
    Such great ideas! Thank you for sharing your Mexican Meals for a Week Freezer Cooking Plan with us at the Plant-based Potluck Party! Pinning and sharing!

    1. Thanks so much for hosting & always making such nice comments : )

  10. I like your ideas, but I really like your idea of preparing ahead and freezing. I've been looking for a solution to our problem of food waste since we are a small family of three with only one person with a good appetite, and this freezing meals might work for us. I am going to try it. xxoo Su

    1. Thanks so much for visiting! It's great to "meet" you! I look forward to getting acquainted with your blog : )

  11. Good morning! I just wanted to let you know that this post has been FEATURED this week at the Art of Home-Making Mondays! Thank you for joining in and we hope to see you this week! :)

    1. Thank you SO much for the feature! I'm truly honored! : )


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