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Hi all! Welcome to my second installment of freezer meals for the winter season.  If you didn’t see my introduction post on beating the winter blues you can find it here.  And my first set of freezer meal recipes can be found here.

 

So just to recap on how freezer meals fit into my holistic approach to beating the winter blues and my own case of SAD (seasonal affective disorder).  For me, and for many people who feel down or depressed in the winter season, motivation is at an all time low. While I do gain some satisfaction from cooking, its not enough to motivate me to cook healthy, wholesome food for me and my family. So once I begin to feel down, my nutritional intake starts to suffer. Basically I eat junk food and I don’t do a lot of healthy cooking. This is a cyclical problem as I often feel guilty for eating that junk food and respond by eating more – it’s called emotional eating and its a tough cycle to break.  My hope is that by having a freezer full of nutritious home cooked food I can break this pattern.

 

First the freezer meals will take something off my already overflowing plate (and just to note, your metaphorical plate often shrinks in size when you get depressed). Second I don’t have to worry about the nutrition of me and my family as I already have healthy meals prepped by me, ready to go.

 

Let’s get started with this next installment of recipes!

 

Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

Black Bean Casserole

The original recipe for this meal can be found here.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 3 cups of cooked black beans
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, shredded
    • I used my food processor
  • 1 cup shredded old cheddar
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup salsa
    • Bonus – used the salsa I canned this summer 🙂

 

Instructions

  • Combine quinoa, black beans, sweet potatoes, half of the cheese, cumin, salt and pepper in a large bowl or pot
    • Stir well
  • In a small bowl beat eggs and then add salsa
    • Pour this mixture in the bowl and stir well.
  • Divide evenly into aluminum tins (the ones with the lids)
  • Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the top
  • Label your lid with the cooking instructions, names of the dish and the date made
    • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350F

As with past recipes, I doubled everything. It made six 3 pound aluminium tins.

 

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash

I just love Two Peas & Their Pod. Such a great resources for excellent recipes. I used this recipe and just did it on the stove top instead of the crockpot (because my crockpot was otherwise occupied with dinner). I also made a couple of changes (which you will find below).

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
    • I added this
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into cubes (about five cups worth)
  • 1 large apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can of coconut milk
    • I added this and reduced the broth
  • 1-1/2 cups of veggie broth
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients into a large stock pot (or slow cooker)
  • If on the stove top
    • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until the veggies are nice and soft
  • If in the slow cooker
    • Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3-1/2 to 4 hours
  • Once the vegetables are soft use an immersion blender and blend the soup smooth

 

Freezing Instructions

I tend to use freezer bags for soups. I used to use mason jars but after losing about half of them due to cracking (even though I didn’t fill them to the top!) I switched to bags.

Using a marker write the name of the soup and the date made on the bag

Use a ladle to scoop out an appropriate portion of your family

Squeeze out as much air as possible out of your bag and lie flat in your freezer.

Once frozen they can be stacked like this in your freezer and it saves a lot of room!

 

Chickpeas in Curried Coconut Broth

oh-chickpeas-curried-coconut-broth-x

This is one of our staple and favourite recipes. We love it so much that I just made a huge batch and froze the whole thing.  The original recipe can be found here. I follow it almost exactly except for the jalapeno peppers.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of chickpeas (540 ml), rinsed and drained
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes (798 ml), undrained
  • 1-1/2 cups of chopped onions
    • The recipe calls for them to be sauteed first. I’ve never found this step necessary. Tastes great if you toss them in fresh and it’s less work and clean up.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
    • Again, I’ve always skipped the sauteing step
  • 1 can of coconut milk (398 ml)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • You have two choices if you plan to freeze this. I put everything in my crock pot for a few hours, let it cool and then divided it into ziploc bags
    • Freeze as much as you think would be a reasonable portion size for your family in each freezer bag
    • This recipe states it serves 6.
  • Alternatively, you can combine all ingredients and skip the cooking step and just freeze once mixed.

Once thawed: 

  • Cover and cook on low in your slow cooker for 6-8 hours
  • Add 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro and serve over rice

 

Happy Winter Cooking!!