Utilizing Your Freezer

Cooking for one can be difficult because most recipes makes at least 4 servings. Grocery shopping can be challenging because ground turkey, chicken, etc. come in packages meant for a family. In order to save money and time, your freezer should become your best friend. I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize this but it has made a world of difference in the amount of food I throw away and having convenient, healthy meals.

I spent today making a batch of my WW Turkey Chili and Slow Cooker Lasagna– both of which make about 6-8 servings each- just so I could portion them out into individual tupperware and freeze them to have on hand for the next few weeks. Both recipes freeze very well and it’s like having a homemade, healthy frozen meal at my finger tips. All I have to do is grab the tupperware from the freezer and defrost it for about 20 minutes and I have a meal ready to go!

Another great money-saver is making homemade chicken stock and then freezing it. All you need to do is save the bones from a rotisserie chicken or two (which can be frozen by themselves before you make the stock), have some bay leaves/other spices and mirepoix on hand. Top it off with some water and you’re done. Check out Ina Garten’s recipe! Portion is out into 1 or 2 cup portions, pour into tupperware and freeze! Next time you need to make some soup, risotto or anything else requiring chicken stock, you have some ready to go! I made some back in December and I have used it in a number of dishes. I just pulled some out to defrost overnight to make a chicken dish tomorrow (look for the post tomorrow afternoon!)

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Buying meat in bulk can be a great way to save as well. I had tried to freeze meat a ton of times but always ended up with freezer burn. My solution is to individually bag each chicken breast (or steak or whatever you need to freeze). Make sure you remove all the extra air from the baggies and that the meat if laying flat (this way it will defrost evenly). To finish it off and protect it even more, lay all the baggies in a tupperware and seal tightly. This way, you have individual portions whenever you need them! I also pulled some chicken out to make the recipe tomorrow!

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Utilizing your freezer to its full capacity can save you a ton of time and money!

I also wanted to add in a picture of the chili I made today. I tried something a little different by adding in about a tablespoon of curry powder. We’ll see how it goes! Stay tuned!

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Weight Watchers Quick “Vegetarian” Chili

I have made this chili a few times before and its so easy and delicious. I used to pass a Trader Joe’s walking home from work so I would just pop in, grab the ingredients and it was ready within 30 minutes of walking in the door. I have tweaked it a bit to fit my taste and I have added turkey to make it a little more filling. It does add a few points (if you stick with the 1 1/4 cup serving) but I have found that I don’t eat as big of a portion when the turkey is added in.

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WW Vegetarian Chili*

1 tsp canola oil

1 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced

14 1/2 oz stewed tomato(es)

15 oz canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained

15 1/4 oz canned yellow corn, drained

15 oz canned tomato sauce

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup(s) dehydrated onion flakes

1/4 tsp black pepper

 Instructions

Heat oil in a large, nonstick, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, corn, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, onion and pepper; stir well.

Increase heat to high and bring chili to a boil; cook, stirring frequently, until chili is thick and flavors are concentrated, about 5 minutes. Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese. Yields about 1 1/4 cups chili and 1 tablespoon cheese per serving.

Notes

Use a heavy pot or the chili can burn easily. If it starts to stick to the pan, reduce the heat and stir constantly.

*I made a few changes. First, I added in about a pound of ground turkey. I used the Trader Joe’s pre-cut mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) instead of garlic, olive oil instead of canola and I omitted the onion flakes and the oregano. I also added in cayenne (I love heat) and I added in black beans.

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First I added the mirepoix to the oil

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Once the mirepoix had cooked down a little (about 4-5 minutes), I added in the turkey. This is when I added most of my seasoning (cayenne, chili flakes, salt, pepper and some garlic powder)

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While the turkey was browning, I emptied the black beans, kidney beans and corn into a colander and rinsed them (this is important because it helps remove unneeded starch from the beans and corn)

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Once the turkey has browned on one side, break it up with your wooden spoon and mix in the mirepoix

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Add in the stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to incorporate

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Add in the beans and corn and stir

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Bring to a boil and stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes until the chili thickens

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(this is while it’s boiling)

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ALL DONE!

WW Points for WW version (no meat) : 8 points per 1 1/4 cup serving

WW Points for my version: 7 points per 1 cup serving

The best part about this recipe? All the ingredients (minus spices and oil) cost around $12 at Trader Joe’s. Thats only $2.40 per serving! YAY for cheap, filling and delicious recipes!