Before I had my son I did a full day cooking and freezing extravaganza, so I had options other than take out and convenience foods. This time around I don't have a full day without a toddler to go nuts in the kitchen (and if I do have a full day without toddler I don't want to cook). I have decided this time to cook double batches of dinners I am already making. Doesn't take much longer, just buy double ingredients then there is a meal to freeze and enjoy post baby number two (who is set to arrive in about seven weeks!). Now you don't have to have a baby on the way to use this idea. We all have busy lives where making dinner from scratch day in and day out is not always possible. It feels like an amazing trick to pull something healthy and homemade out of the freezer.
I started my freezer filling quest with Black Bean Quinoa Chili.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (19 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, cut into bit sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into bit sized pieces
2 celery ribs, cut into bit sized pieces
1 tablespoon chipotle chili sauce (or other hot sauce)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup corn, fresh, frozen or canned
1 handful cilantro, chopped
- Simmer the quinoa in the water until absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a pan.
- Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, chili powder and cumin and saute until fragrant, about 1 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, beans, peppers, celery, chipotle, oregano, salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the quinoa and corn and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
This freezes well. I like to freeze in large zip top freezer bags, that way I am not tying up all my containers in the freezer. They also tend to fit better in the freezer. Make sure your food is cooled completely before putting in any plastic. The food safe way to do this is to plug your sink and put your pot of food in and fill the sink with cold water and add some ice. You may have to re-fill with cold water to cool effectively. Give the food a stir so you don't get a hot spot in the middle. Once cooled add to desired container and write the date and what's in it. Once frozen it can be hard to tell what's in there.