Chicken Tortilla Soup – Freezer Cooking February

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This was the first recipe I ever collected and I still love it! When I was in high school one of my friends mom’s made this recipe anytime we all gathered at her house to study. As we worked on our homework the kitchen would fill with the wonderful aroma of cumin, bell peppers and chicken as her mother cooked. It is such a wonderfully simple soup, but all the flavors work perfectly together. One note- it calls for half a cup of fresh salsa. As a Southern Californian I take salsa pretty seriously. Please don’t try to swap in the canned salsa that is shelf-stable, the results just won’t be the same!

To speed up this recipe, I defrost some of the shredded chicken I made earlier in the crockpot. By using precooked chicken the prep time for this soup is cut in half! I love to make this early in the day and let it simmer all day long. Top it with some sour cream and avocado for a full meal.

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2 cups shredded chicken

8 cups chicken broth

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, diced

1 can of corn, drained

4 ounces mild green chiles

½ cup fresh salsa

1 tablespoon cumin

 

In a large pot saute the bell peppers, garlic and onion until soft. Add all other ingredients and simmer for at least an hour. Top with cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, or avocado.

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BBQ Chicken Sandwiches – Freezer Cooking February

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This recipe couldn’t be easier and it is so versatile. I love keeping shredded chicken in my freezer for last minute meals. Shredded chicken can be turned into soft tacos, chicken salad, enchiladas and so many other things. I cook and freeze the chicken breasts plan, and add any sauces or seasonings later when they defrost.

To start the recipe, place 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts in your crockpot with enough water to cover all of the chicken. I like to add some cumin and minced garlic so the chicken isn’t too bland, but it’s up to you. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours. Discard the liquid, shred the chicken and freeze. I like to fill Ziploc freezer bags with about a pound of chicken each, so this would get my three easy meals.

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The morning before you are ready to enjoy the chicken just place it in the fridge to defrost. Heat on low in a saucepan and add your favorite BBQ sauce, serve on a bun and you have the fastest dinner ever!

Veggie Filled Meat Sauce – Freezer Cooking February

 

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Freezer cooking is one of the ways that I keep my sanity as a working mom. Having a healthy meal that is all set to pull out of the freezer after a long day at work can be a lifesaver! The next two weeks will be all freezer meals, I made all of them on one day and all the prep was done in less than two hours. I know a lot of people think freezer cooking can be intimidating, but once you get going and get a good routine down it’s so easy!

This recipe is one that I love because it is so flavorful and is full of great vegetables! I use extra lean ground turkey in my meat sauce and load it up with veggies, the result is a heart-healthy dish that the entire family loves. If you family isn’t a fan of veggies, just dice them super fine- the pasta sauce will cover the taste of most of the vegetables. I love using two different kinds of mushrooms because their meaty flavor and texture makes this feel like a true meat sauce.

1 ½ pounds extra lean ground turkey

2 green bell peppers, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped,

2 tablespoons garlic, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced

2 16 ounce jars of your favorite pasta sauce

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Brown the turkey with the garlic in a pan, drain any fat. In a large pot sauté the bell peppers, onion, carrots, and mushrooms until soft. Combine turkey, vegetables and pasta sauce simmer for 30 minutes. This easily makes 3 very large family servings, freeze the pasta sauce into whatever sized servings work best for you. I love to fill large mason jars with the sauce and fill up the freezer! The sauce can be used to top pasta, as a filling for lasagna or it can be used for a flavorful baked ziti.

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