The middle of winter calls for hearty meals that stick to your ribs…Cozy casseroles, comfort foods, meat & potatoes.
Here are four recipes that fit the bill, and better yet…they’re quick, easy, and affordable!
1. EASIEST MEATLOAF EVER
I’m doing a little bit of freezer cooking/prepping today, because our daily life has just been out of control lately. I’m having trouble getting anything on the table, let alone a home-cooked meal, so I absolutely have to prep ahead on weekends when Dr. B is home to help me with the munchkins.
Right now I’m making what I call the Easiest Meatloaf Ever. I literally just dump a bunch of ingredients in my KitchenAid mixer, let it mix everything up, throw it in a ziplock bag, and into the freezer it goes until I’m ready for it. The day I’m going to make it, I just set it in the crockpot, squirt on a little ketchup, and let it cook. How easy is that?
For a meatloaf, you can really add anything you want and the beauty of it is that there’s really no need to measure. But, here’s what I added to mine: (this recipe makes 2 loaves!) 🙂
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 c parm cheese
- 3/4 c shredded cheese
- 1/2 c chopped onions
- 3/4 c Italian bread crumbs
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Dash cayenne pepper
- Dash Worcestershire sauce
- 3 Tbs ketchup
- 1/2 packet (or entire packet)onion soup mix
- Throw it in the mixer and let it spin! Or dig in with your bare hands if you’d rather. Just mix up up reeeaaaal good!
- I take half the mixture and form it in a loaf pan, then take it out carefully without disturbing the shape, and place it in a ziplock bag.
- Write instructions and what it is on the outside of the bag with a sharpie.
- On the day that you’re going to serve it, just give your crockpot a quick spray of nonstick cooking spray, put the frozen loaf in the crockpot, put ketchup on top and let it cook on low about 4 hours or til done.
- I have added a layer of veggies, potatoes, or cream soup (or all of those things) first and then set the frozen meatloaf on top and it’s a great one-pot dish!
- It really doesn’t get any easier than this! Less than 10 minutes to prep and it cooks itself!
- Yum! 😉
2. TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE
This is a dish my mother-in-law has been making forever, and it’s one of my husband and my son’s favorite comfort foods.
I love this, because you can make it anyway you want…throw in extra veggies if you have them leftover. You could even use chicken instead of tuna!
Here’s my spin on the classic. 🙂
- 1 bag egg noodles, cooked according to directions
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 2 cans tuna in water
- 1 cup celery, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 TBS butter
- 1 cup boxed cheese (like Velveeta, but I buy the Aldi brand) diced into cubes
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tsp black pepper
- In a skillet, add butter, onion, garlic, and celery.
- Saute on low just until slightly softened.
- Reduce heat, and stir in milk and cheese.
- Stir constantly until cheese melts.
- Keep stirring, and add mushroom soup & tuna.
- Stir until melted and very well mixed.
- Spray 9×13 baking pan with non stick cooking spray.
- Add egg noodles.
- Pour cheese mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with pepper.
- Stir well.
- Should be moist, so add more milk if it’s not.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
- I like to sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes.
3. CROCKPOT VEGGIE SOUP
This is a go-to favorite in our family. It’s made of nothing but canned veggies, broth & herbs. It could not be simpler! You’ll be surprised at how DELICIOUS it is! It costs just a few dollars for a GIANT crockpot full, and it is so healthy! I make it healthier by always draining and rinsing my canned veggies to remove the excess sodium.
- 1 Carton Vegetable Stock
- 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
- 1 Can Corn
- 1 Can Green Beans
- 1 Can Carrots
- 1 Can Kidney Beans
- 1 Can Mixed Vegetables
- About 1 Teaspoon of Each of These Spices: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dried Minced Onion, Paprika, Pepper, Basil, Oregano, Chili Powder
- Pour veggie stock into crockpot.
- Add canned tomatoes with their juices.
- Add spices.
- Open all remaining cans. Drain liquid. Rinse with cold water. Drain again. Add to crockpot.
- Cook on low 6-8 hours.
- Serves MANY!
4. TATER TOT CASSEROLE
Tater Tot Casserole is one of our favorite go-to cheap meals. It makes mass quantities, everyone loves it, and it’s oh-so-cheap. I always include this on my “favorite freezer meals” list.
- 1 Bag Tater Tots
- 1 Steamer Bag Frozen Mixed Vegetables
- 1 lb Ground Turkey
- 1 Can Condensed Cream Soup
- 1/4 Cup Milk
- Shredded Cheese
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add a single layer of tater tots in bottom of pan.
- Brown ground turkey and layer over tater tots.
- Steam veggies for 3 minutes in bag, add layer over turkey.
- Mix cream soup with milk and pour over entire mixture.
- Top with shredded cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly.