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Go “all in” for double the payoff, with minimal effort. Big-batch cooking yields higher payoffs; it’s a timesaver and economical too! Check out these clever weeknight recipes that you can double and freeze for use when time is at a premium or you just don’t have the energy to cook. Take time on the weekend to make ahead or take the approach of doubling one recipe each weeknight you cook. Odds are you will thank yourself.
Three quick tips for big-batch cooking:
- Have the appropriate containers ready for freezer storage.
- Always let food cool to room temperature before freezing. The safest way to thaw is to remove from freezer and place in the fridge for 24-36 hours.
- Label, date and inventory your goods. Rotate your frozen assets by using the “first in, first out” method to avoid forgetting about a meal.
Southwest Chicken and Black Beans
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 hours
Servings: 6 servings + 6 servings to freeze
3 cans no-salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
32 ounces chicken broth, reduced sodium
1 can diced tomatoes
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 can green chilies, drained
1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
16 ounces salsa
2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 cups brown rice, cooked
In a slow cooker or crock pot, combine first 12 ingredients (through lime juice. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken shreds easily when pulled by two forks.
Remove chicken from crock pot; shred and return to the crock pot; heat through. Serve half the chicken mixture with 3 cups of hot cooked rice. Reserve about 6 cups of chicken mixture to freeze for up to three months. Thaw completely before reheating by setting in the fridge for 24-36 hours.
For a variation serve over multigrain chips; top with cheese and bake for 20 minutes at 350 or until cheese is bubbly for a fantastic chicken nacho recipe. Try it in a wrap or over a bed of mixed greens.
Hearty Beef Roast with Vegetables
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Servings: 4-6 + 3 lbs shredded beef
5 pounds beef rump roast, trimmed
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
2 leeks, white parts only, rinsed and chopped
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
8 ounces no-salt added tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Season beef, place in a crock pot; add leeks, potatoes and diced tomatoes (do not drain juice). In a medium bowl, mix together tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, chili powder and cumin; pour over meat and veggies. Set crock pot to low and cook 8 hours. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate keeping separate from beef. Remove beef and shred pulling apart with two forks. Portion out about a third of the meat, return to crock pot with the vegetables to heat through.
Portion out the remaining beef into freezer-safe containers. Refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to three months.
The leftover shredded beef is very versatile. Use the leftover meat to make sandwiches, a beef salad, or wrap in a crescent roll and bake together with cheese.
For more recipes, tips and time-saving kitchen strategies, visit www.thedinnerspin.com.