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Divas: Freezer to crockpot meals save money and time

Let’s talk about a busy person’s best friend – freezer to crockpot meals. A few hours prepping can fill your freezer with lots of easy meals that will save time and money in the future. Here’s the trick – when chicken breasts, beef or pork roasts go on sale, pick up a few extra pounds to make into crockpot meals. Freeze your bargain bounty in zip-top freezer bags marked with the date and contents. Freeze flat to maximize storage space in your freezer.

Now dinner is as easy as removing a bag from the freezer to defrost in the fridge then dumping it in the crockpot the next morning. Diva done!

Here is a family favorite that frequents my freezer. White Chicken Chili makes a nice change from beef and tomato chili. It’s so creamy it balances the heat nicely and it’s fast and easy to make. I usually make a double batch – one for tonight and one for the freezer. Also - this recipe works equally well with pork. Bonus!

CREAMY WHITE

CHICKEN CHILI

Yield – 8 servings

What You’ll Need:

4 chicken breasts (approximately 3 pounds)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon cumin

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 small sweet onion - chopped

1 tablespoon diced jalapeño peppers – optional

1 ½ cups (12 oz.jar) prepared salsa verde

1 can cream of chicken soup

After it’s cooked add:

1 ½ cups (14.75 oz. can) cannellini or great northern beans

1 (15 oz.) can corn

4 oz. cream cheese – cubed

Optional garnish – cilantro, avocado, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, hot sauce and corn chips

Here’s How:

Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes and sprinkle with garlic powder and cumin.

In a skillet on medium-high heat, add the oil and brown the chicken in batches. You’re not cooking it, just browning for color and great flavor.

Set the browned chicken aside and lightly sauté the onion. If you like heat, add diced jalapeño peppers. Set aside.

Meanwhile – blend the salsa verde and cream soup together. When you’re done browning the chicken and onion, add the soup mixture to the pan and stir, making sure to pick up all the lovely browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Dump the chicken and onion and all the collected juice back into the pan and stir it together.

At this point you can either dump this into your crockpot for 4-6 hours on LOW and have dinner tonight. OR, you can let this cool and place it into a zip-top gallon-sized freezer bag. Get as much of the air out of the bag as possible and seal it up. Freeze flat.

When you’re ready to use it defrost in the fridge for 24 hours. Place the contents of the bag in the crockpot and set it on LOW for 7 to 8 hours.

When the chili is cooked – add the beans, corn and cream cheese and give it 20 minutes to heat through and melt the cream cheese. Stir and serve with garnishes on the side. Half the fun is letting everyone create their own garnish masterpiece.

Fabulous Food contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com

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