Save Time With Make Ahead Meals

Save Time With Make Ahead Meals

In today’s world, with our busy schedules, it’s sometimes a real task to get a nutritious, healthy and kid-friendly meal on the table.  But with a little planning, we think you can create some super tasty meals that are inexpensive and nutritious that you’ll be proud to serve any night of the week. 

Meal One – Taco Casserole.  The next time you make tacos, buy several extra pounds of ground meat.  Brown all the beef together.  Use one pound for your meal, one pound for the make-ahead taco casserole and simply freeze the rest in one pound bags for use in sloppy joes, taco salads, spaghetti, cheeseburger skillet meals and more. 

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef, ground turkey or ground pork
1 packet taco seasoning, but to control the salt, sugar and MSG, it’s easy enough to make your own  **
1 cup of cooked rice or one can of drained kidney or black beans (optional – helps to stretch the meal)
1 diced onion
1 32 oz jar salsa
1 bag corn tortillas
1 8 oz container sour cream
2 cups grated cheese

Instructions:

Brown your meat
Add your taco seasoning and cook until bubbly. 
Once cooked through, add in your rice or beans. 
Assemble in a freezer-safe container by layering meat, onions, salsa, corn tortillas, sour cream and cheese. 
Cover with foil and freeze  

BONUS RECIPE!
Tasty and Healthy Taco Seasoning without MSG or added sugars 
*can be doubled or tripled

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon black pepper
½ tablespoon oregano
1 ½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp paprika
1 tablespoon salt (can be omitted)
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (cam be omitted or increased depending upon your taste)

Instructions:  mix all together. 


 

Meal 2- Freezer Broth.  OK– this isn’t a meal by itself, but is one of the best make-ahead meal bases that can help you make several meals in no time.  The best thing is that you can make the chicken in the slow cooker to save yourself time. 

Ingredients:

1 small whole chicken
2 bay leaves
1 onion – cut into chunks
2  celery stalks – cut into chunks
2 carrots – cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic – chopped
Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

Stick everything in the slow cooker
Add in enough water to fill the slow cooker
Let cook on low for 12-24 hours
When it’s ready, the meat should easily pull away from the bone.
Cool, then pull the chicken out very carefully. 
Pick the meat from the bone and discard the bones and skin.
Strain the broth into two one-gallon containers. 
Freeze the chicken meat separately in at least two one-quart bags. 

You can always use the chicken meat separately.  It’s great on salads, mixed with taco seasoning for a chicken taco dinner, mixed with spaghetti sauce for chicken spaghetti or even thrown into some fried rice. 

On weeknights, pull out one bag of broth and/or one bag of chicken in the morning to thaw.  For dinner, mix together on the stove top and add in some of the following ingredients:

  • egg noodles and organic frozen vegetables for chicken noodle soup
  • salsa, corn and black beans for a tasty Mexican tortilla soup.  Top with corn chips and cheese
  • sausage, kale and diced potatoes for a stick-to-your-ribs sausage soup.
  • Biscuits, cornstarch and organic frozen vegetables for a chicken pot pie
  • Rice and broccoli to make a tasty broccoli and rice dish.  Top with shredded cheese