I have posted before about my crock-pot obsession and how I have several recipes for cooking with meat and beer. http://howtosurvivethewinter.blogspot.com/2010/11/hunk-of-meat-can-of-beer-and-crockpot.html These days I tend to try to double up on these recipes and put a batch in the freezer for later. The recipe for French Dip Sandwiches can be used as such or thickened with a little flour when re-heating for Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches. Last weekend I fired up 2 crockpots full of Beef Stew, and now I have 4 meals worth in the freezer.
I also made my Salsa last weekend, which inspired me to make Julia's favorite:
Tortilla Soup1) Combine in crock pot:
1 quart "Salsa Juice" see my Salsa recipe, previous post
3 chicken breasts
1/2 can beer (I threw this in for a little more liquid.)
2) Cook 5 hours on low in crock pot or until the chicken will shred easily.
3) Add 2 c sweet corn and 1 pint salsa. (I used fresh corn that I cut raw from the cob)
4)At this point I devided this into 3 portions and froze two in Food Saver bags*.
5) The third portion I stored in the fridge for a couple of days until I was ready to serve.
6) Before serving add 1 c shredded sharp cheddar and 1/4 c sour cream.
7) Heat to desired temp. Top with crushed tortilla chips and more salsa.
Note that I freeze everything except the dairy ingredients. This saves room in the freezer, time on my bulk cooking day, and I think it tastes better when you add the dairy ingredients fresh.
*Tip: When I freeze soup in the food saver bags, I use a large bag and freeze it flat, so that it is no more than an inch thick. That way to thaw, you just pop the bag into a sink of hot water and it is ready for the pan in 15 minutes or so.
I used this strategy to make another favorite soup which contains a lot of my favorite short cuts:
Brocolli Potato Chowder
1) Combine in a large soup pot:
1 large vidallia onion, chopped
1 pound chopped bacon ends (I get these at the butcher, they are cheaper than the sliced bacon, usually lean and thicker sliced than regular bacon, they work great for soups)
Saute these until the bacon browns and the onions are translucent. Pour off any excess bacon fat
1 bag frozen hash brown potatoes (the cubes, not the shredded ones)
2 pounds fresh chopped broccoli
4T chicken soup starter (this is like a paste that is in the grocery store soup section next to the boullion.)
1 T Italian seasoning blend
Enough water to cover.
3) Bring to a boil and add 1 box of orzo pasta. Cook 5 minutes or until the orzo is done.