Tag Archives: Frugal Recipes

image

10 Freezer Meals from your Pantry!

Have you ever had one of those times when you desperately wanted to be a blessing to someone, but you didn’t have very much money or were unable to go shopping? In the past, I’ve just lowered my eyes and said I couldn’t help by providing food for someone, but when a couple of different friends had legitimate needs recently, I decided to figure out a way to help! I was so pleased and encouraged with the results, that I thought I would share them in the hopes of encouraging someone else to step up to the challenge of helping even when you feel like you can’t. So, here is a list of freezer meals (or just meals) that most likely can be made completely from your pantry without an extra trip to the grocery store!

To preface: my main issue is always having fresh meat on hand for freezer meals. I don’t like to use meat that has been frozen before, plus meat is expensive so we are using it less and less. For these recipes I mostly went for beans and grains. We always have STACKS of canned beans in our pantry or dry ones for backup. Rice and Quinoa are also staples plus some noodles. I tend to have an overabundance of tuna so that’s an easy one to grab too. Many of these meals call for cheese, so it depends how much you have on hand. I buy ahead on cheese to freeze and for each of these meals I can add it frozen and then freeze the meals without ever affecting my frozen cheese. Everyone has different pantry items, but I felt like these meals mostly used staples. For spices, I often use onion powder in place of an onion. 1 T = 1 onion. I also use garlic powder in place of garlic cloves. ¼ t = 1 garlic clove. Some things in these recipes can easily be omitted if you don’t have them. :-)

Also just to note a pet peeve of mine. When you give a meal to someone to be a blessing to them, take note of the container in which you give the meal. It’s probably best not to use your own container where they have to somehow wash it and remember to return it. Also, they may be receiving lots of meals and freezer space could be tight. I find it best to use gallon size freezer bags folded in half and the meal flattened to take as little space as possible.

image

South of the Border Pie

This is a FAVORITE for us! Always the first freezer meal I make for someone in need. I usually have all of the ingredients, it’s cheap, easy, and a healthy comfort food.

Taken from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

Ingredients:

½ cup chopped onion (1 medium)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T olive oil or cooking

1-2 t chili powder

1 t ground cumin

¼ t salt

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans rinsed and drained

(I’ve also substituted pinto beans)

1 ½ cups cooked brown rice

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

¾ cup milk

2 beaten eggs

1. In a saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot oil until tender but not brown. Stir in chili powder, cumin and salt. Cook 1 minute more; cool. Stir in beans, cooked rice, cheese, milk and eggs.

**If doing a freezer meal, pour mixture into a gallon size bag, fold in half and freeze. Write the following for directions. Have the recipients thaw it first.**

2. Spray a 10 in. pie plate or quiche dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon mixture into pie plate. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven about 25 minutes or until the center is set. Let stand 10 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with sweet pepper and serve with salsa. Make 6 main dish servings (at most).

 

Black Bean Taco Soup

This is another favorite. It’s really more the consistency of chili than soup which is nice. You can include a Ziploc bag of uncooked rice if you like. The nice thing is that if you have frozen COOKED hamburger you can dump that in your bag along with all the other ingredients and be done. I love dump meals! Plus, this one makes a TON!

You can find the recipe HERE along with 7 other great recipes

 

Classic Tuna Casserole

This is another great dump meal if you don’t have much time. I skip the pimientos and put the bread crumbs in a separate Ziploc bag with a note in permanent marker to add 2T melted butter and sprinkle on top of casserole.

You can find the recipe HERE

 

Copycat Starbucks Black Bean Quinoa Recipe

This one tastes AMAZING and is a nice difference from typical freezer meals. Just wrap them, stick them in a gallon size bag, and freeze them. The recipients can fry them so they’re nice and fresh.

You can find the recipe HERE

 

Bean and Cheese Quesadillas

Any type of quesadilla works great, but we usually have cheese and refried beans on hand at the very least.

Simply spread refried beans on half a soft tortilla shell and cover with cheese. I also like to add dried cilantro and salt. If you have chicken or hamburger you could add that too.

Fold tortilla in half.

**If doing a freezer meal, line them up in a gallon size bag with parchment or wax paper in between to prevent sticking. Then Freeze. The recipient can thaw them and prepare them as indicated below.**

Melt butter on the stove.

Fry 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned and cheese is melted.

 

Split Pea Soup

This one always tastes so great and is super easy! I don’t always have a ham bone, so I throw a couple strips of bacon in there—tastes amazing!

Taken from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

Ingredients:

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup dry split peas, rinsed and drained

1 to 1 ½ pounds meaty smoked pork hocks or meaty ham bone

¼ t dried marjoram crushed

1 bay leaf

½ cup chopped carrot (1 medium)

½ cup chopped celery (1 stalk)

½ cup chopped onion (1 medium)

  1. In a large saucepan combine first 5 ingredients with a dash of pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove meat. When cool enough to handle, cut meat off bones, coarsely chop meat and discard bones. Return meat to saucepan.
  2. Stir in carrot, celery, and onion. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes more until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf.

Makes about 5 ½ cups (4 main dish servings).

I’ve actually found it turns out best if you add the vegetables at the beginning with everything else.

 

Lentil Soup

Doesn’t get much cheaper or easier than this one, and everyone loves homemade lentil soup. Admittedly, I omit the sausage.

Taken from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

Ingredients:

1 cup dry lentils, rinsed and drained

1 cup chopped green sweet pepper

1 cup chopped carrots (2 medium)

½ cup chopped onion (1 medium)

2 t instant chicken bouillon granules

2 t snipped fresh sage or ½ t dried sage, crushed

1/8 t ground red pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 oz. fully cooked smoked sausage links, quartered lengthwise and sliced

In a large pot mix lentils, sweet pepper, carrots, onion, bouillon granules, sage, ground red pepper, garlic and 5 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or till lentils and vegetables are tender. Stir in sausage and heat through.

Makes about 7 cups (5 main dish servings).

 

Pepperoni Stromboli

This one might be more of a stretch when it comes to pantry ingredients, but I always keep a couple extra bags of pepperoni around for those pizza cravings. The taste of this meal is to die for!! If giving it as a freezer meal, simply prepare and wrap in aluminum foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Instruct the recipients to thaw it before proceeding with baking instructions.

You can find the recipe HERE

 

Spaghetti

There’s nothing wrong with cooking up the noodles, pouring a jar of spaghetti sauce on top and freezing it for someone. It certainly will make their job easier when it comes to dinner time! If you have hamburger or meatballs, add them.

 

Fettuccini Alfredo with Broccoli

This can be the same kind of thing. Pour a jar of alfredo sauce on cooked noodles and dump in a partial bag of broccoli florets. I’d love it if someone gave us this meal! If you have it, you can add chicken or shrimp.

 

Pancakes

Cook up a big batch of pancakes. This is something I can’t do for about 6 weeks after each of our kids is born, but they are my husband’s favorite. He would be one very happy man if someone brought us frozen, homemade pancakes! :-)

 

I hope this list is helpful and encourages you to find ways to be a blessing to someone even if you don’t feel like you can. I’d also love to hear any ideas you may have on pantry recipes!

 

-Lydia