Works for Me Wednesday: Bulk Cooking and Freezing

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If you read my Meal Plan Monday posts, you’ve probably noticed that we have refried beans a lot. One reason is that we all really enjoy Mexican food, but the other is that, several months ago, I came across a fabulous recipe for homemade refried beans. I haven’t bought a can of refried beans since. Even my husband, who doesn’t like refried beans, likes these.

I was already buying dry pinto beans, rather than canned, for chili. Once I found the refried beans recipe, I quickly realized that the seasoning for them would compliment beans for chili, too. Since we rarely eat plain pintos, but rather use them for chili and for the refried beans, I decided it would make my life much simpler to make large batches in my crock pot and freeze them in usable portion sizes.

So, now, every few months or so, I’ll make a 2 or 4 lb. bag of pintos in the crock pot, seasoned according to the refried beans recipe. Once they’ve cooled a bit, I ladle them, juice and all into my two-cup measuring cup. Then, I pour that into a 1-qt. freezer bag. Pouring into the measuring cup first is much less messy than trying to ladle into a freezer bag.

bulk cooking pinto beans

Once I have all the bags filled and labeled, I lay them out flat in the freezer. Then, when they’re all frozen, I can turn them up on their sides, taking up little storage space. Not only are the beans much tastier than their canned counterparts, but they’re also much more economical.

Visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for more Works for Me Wednesday tips.

Do you have a regularly used food that has become a convenience food through bulk cooking and freezing? I’d love to hear your tips.

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7 Comments

  1. I will have to venture into the world of preparing my own beans. We go through black beans over here like nobody’s business!

  2. Yep, I agree 100% I can’t even remember what my life was like before freezer and bulk cooking. Laying the bags flat really is such a space saver.

  3. Thanks for the recipe. I like to do this with chicken noodle soup. I’ll double or triple it and freeze the extra for a nice hot bowl of soup on a cold day. I use the Mrs. Grass soup in a bag..lazy …but quick and (yum) tasty. Thanks for the tip with the measuring cup..wish I’d thought of that last time. What a mess I made! 😉

  4. So you are just going to tease us with the recipe? Not cool!

    I love freezing bulk. I can freeze leftovers from a whole meal, and have homemade t.v. dinners whenever we want.

  5. Thanks for posting the link to the refried bean recipe. I love refried beans and have tried a few different recipes with no success. Buying the cans for 1.29 is much more expensive than making them from scratch!

  6. Was just looking for a good recipe for homemade refried beans yesterday! Thanks for sharing–can’t wait to try it!

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