Tag Archives: beans

Minimalist Dinner Plan (w/ freezer meals)

One really simple approach to creating your monthly dinner plan is batch cooking. Which, with all the overly complicated meal prep YouTube videos out there, can seem incredibly daunting. However, just a little bit goes a long way when cooking ahead for the month. (Especially if you’re just cooking for one or two and you’re ok with repeating foods!) “Feed your freezer today, feed yourself all month”… is that a saying? It should be.

Here are four things you can make for the month ahead to make dinners a little easier…

Baked Beans

A big pot of baked beans is kind of obnoxious to make on the regular. But it freezes incredibly well. This is a great side item, but I like it as the main dish. I got the idea from one of my favorite books, My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss, which talks about having baked beans for dinner with steamed broccoli and corn bread. Yum!

Alternative – Any other type of beans or grains

Twice-Baked Potatoes

These are more of the side item situation. You can make them the cheesy way or as more of a loaded baked potato with sour cream and bacon and chives. Then, add one half to round out a meat and veg meal. Or have both halves with a salad or some soup.

Alternative – Any other starchy side item

Starbucks Copycat Wraps

These have been my obsession lately. You basically cook some quinoa, corn, and black beans and throw them in a wrap with some jalapeno Havarti shredded cheese. Wrap ’em in aluminum foil and stick in your freezer for the quickest dinners. (Great if you have to take dinner on the go!) With some chips and a pickle spear you’ll feel like you grabbed fast food.

Alternative – Any other freezable sandwich or wrap

Buttermilk Pancakes

If there’s one thing I’m committed to on a deep and spiritual level, it’s breakfast for dinner. But I’m also way too lazy to make pancakes on a weeknight. Sunday around noon while listening to some tunes? Sure. When I’m starving after working all day? Not so much. Good thing you can throw a batch of these in your freezer then whip a few out as needed, scramble some eggs, fry up some sausage, and bingo-bango you’re eating like a brekky-for-dinner CHAMPION.

Alternative – Waffles, french toast, sourdough bread, etc.

How it all comes together…

If you’re cooking for a household of 2 and you make 6 potatoes, 2 lbs of beans, 18 pancakes, and 10 wraps…

That’s 6 meals with potato halves (3 if you’re doing the whole potato), 6 meals with beans, 3 meals with pancakes, and 5 meals with wraps. 20 meals that are partially complete before dinnertime even rolls around!

What do you think? Would you try this monthly dinner plan approach? Do you feed your freezer? Comment below! xoxo 

P.S. Quick + Easy Meal Plan for One on a Budget.

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Recipe: Hearty Roasted Vegetable Soup

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With the days turning to darkness at such a rapid rate, I’ve been gravitating towards cozy meals. You know the type. Colorful, warming dishes that pack a hearty punch. A dinner gobbled up out of a single bowl clutched to your chest as you curl up in front of your latest Netflix programming.

I love the flavor of roasted veggies in the winter-time. (I also love how they smell while they’re roasting in the oven. Yum!) But I’ve never thought to throw a whole batch of the lil buggers in a soup pot! *light bulb* So, I roasted up some of my favorite vegetables and while they did their thing in the oven, I got to work on the rest of the soup. To up the “heartiness” factor I included a whole bunch of beans. And tied everything together with a tomato-based broth.

The result was a delicious, comforting soup. The vegetables were the perfect consistency swimming around in a slightly spicy, tomato-y bowl. So, I definitely recommend you give this one a try. It was very inexpensive, easy to make, and made enough to eat AND freeze. Here’s how it’s done…

What you’ll need: 

For the roasted veggies…

– 2 bell peppers

– 2 small or 1 large onion

– 2 sweet potatoes

– a handful of baby carrots (or cut up your own, I just always have baby carrots in the fridge)

– minced garlic

– olive oil

– paprika

– chili powder

– salt and pepper

For the rest of the soup…

– 2 cans of diced tomatoes (I used one spicy can and one regular can)

– 1 vegetable stock cube

– black eyed peas

– kidney beans

– butter beans

– 1 Tbsp brown sugar

– mustard

– Worcestershire sauce

and how it all comes together: 

– Pre-heat your oven to 390 degrees F (or whatever temperature you find works best to roast veg in your particular oven).

– Peel the sweet potatoes, chop them into large chunks, and spread them out on your baking tray or roasting dish.

– Add in your carrots.

– Cut up your bell peppers into strips and add them to the tray. Do the same with your onions. (Note: The size of your vegetables may seem large for a soup but they’re all gonna break down a bit once they’ve been added to the pot.)

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– Add minced garlic to taste.

– Drizzle olive oil over everything and sprinkle on salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder.

– Toss everything up with your hands.

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– Put the whole kit and kaboodle in the oven for about 30 minutes.

– While these are roasting you can turn to the base of the soup.

– Start by making your vegetable stock according to the directions on the package. (Usually mixing the cube with 2 cups of boiling water.)

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– While you’re waiting for your water to boil for the vegetable stock, grab a large soup pot and add your cans of tomatoes and beans. For the beans you can use whatever type you like. I put a can of blackeyed peas, kidney beans, and butter beans in a strainer. After mixing and rinsing them, I scooped out about 3 cups into the pot. The rest of the bean mixture I put in a Tupperware to store for a later meal.

– Bring your tomatoes and beans to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Then add in 1 Tbsp of brown sugar, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a squeeze of mustard, and salt and pepper. Give it a good stir.

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– Your vegetable stock should now be ready so pour that in too! Let everything simmer away until your timer goes off for those delicious roasted veggies.

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– Once the veggies look good and roasted, pop them out of the oven…

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– …and put them in the soup pot!

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– Give everything a generous stir, then pop the lid on and let everything hang out together for at least 5 minutes but longer if you want those sweet potatoes to get falling-apart decadent!

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– I left mine on the lowest stove-top setting for about 30 minutes. I no doubt would have gotten impatient and served it up sooner but Chet was stuck in traffic. If you have the time, cook it longer! It turned out perfect and the vegetables were divine.

– Serve it up in a big bowl and go for it! We had ours with some multi-grain bread (perfect for dunking) but cornbread or biscuits would also be yummy. Enjoy!

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What do you make for dinner on dark December nights? Do you like cozy, comfort food? Would you give this recipe a try? I want to eat it again and again!!!