I’m a member of a Spouses Club here on the base where we are stationed. This club is a non-profit org that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for not only ourselves, but for our community. Through our fundraising events and through the thrift store that we run we are able to make donations to those in need both on our base and to the surrounding communities off our station. It’s a beautiful thing. Even though my part is small (very small, I’m only a member-paying patron), I’m proud to be part of such an amazing group of women and men who give so much of their time and talents to enrich others’ lives.
With all that being said, since I try to keep up a food blog, I was recently asked to create a Freezer Meal Workshop for our club members. If it involves food, you know I’m going to say YES! Ha!
I knew what I was getting myself in to. I’ve planned and prepared food for very large groups of people before, but it has been quite some time. It was no easy task. I had to plan a menu of 5 slow-cooker meals that would be able to be frozen, then thawed, then thrown into a crock pot at a moments notice. Creating the menu was the easy part. The hard part was shopping around for the highest quality ingredients for the best price and then creating a shopping list of the amount of each ingredient needed for each meal. That’s 5 meals x 8 families that consists of at least 4 people each family. It was quite the long shopping list! Needless to say, I was not able to find that perfect, halo over the building with angels singing “ahhhhhh”, grocery store that would have everything I needed under one roof. I had to write up several grocery lists for 3-4 different stores and spend a week shopping and gathering ingredients.
Anyway, I tell you all this to say that even though it’s a tough task, I really enjoy it. The best part is when everyone gathers in one kitchen to slice, chop, measure, and pour as they prepare these meals for their families. It’s exceedingly chaotic, but it’s like one large family striving to work together to ensure the quality of life for their individual families. Which, reiterates the purpose of my blog~ to bring the family around the table, one meal at a time. I just loooove it when things come together like this!
Now I will get off my soap box, and tell you the real reason why I shared this with you– I want to share the food we prepared! DUH!
Here’s the menu I used. I do not have pictures of most of the meals, but if you click on the links below you can at least get the recipes.
Quinoa Enchilada Bowls (keep scrolling down for pictures and recipe of this one!)
What I will give you today: Quinoa Enchilada Bowls.
This meal is soooo tasty! It gives you a one-two punch of protein and veggies, without the kids saying, “ewww, what’s that?” I’ve made red quinoa before and used it in a salad (click here for my Red Quinoa Salad recipe), but my kids didn’t like it. But this quinoa dish, they loved this one! They were rather disappointed that the enchiladas were in bowls. So, I pulled out some soft tortillas and they filled the tortillas with it and ate it like a taco. Then they were pleased as punch. And, rather, so was I.
The only things you need to chop are onions and jalepeno. If you’re not a fan of either one, then you’re in luck! Besides chopping those two things, you literally just dump ingredients into your crock-pot, stir everything together, and cover to cook. Presto!
Even though we are keeping it somewhat healthy by leaving out the soft tortillas, feel free to add them to the dinner! I think this would be delicious filling up a tortilla, then smothering it in enchilada sauce and cheese, then baking for about 15 minutes.
Here’s the link for the recipe: OR, you can scroll down for my version 🙂
- 1 pound ground chicken, optional (I did not use, due to wanting a fully vegetarian meal)
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 1-15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1-15oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1- 10oz can enchilada sauce
- 2 tbsp Mexian Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
- 3 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Place all ingredients, except for the ground chicken, quinoa, and the last 3 ingredients, in a large ziploc freezer bag. Seal and shake to combine ingredients. Place rinsed quinoa into a second ziploc bag, seal. Place both sealed bags inside another large ziploc freezer. Label and store in freezer until ready to use.
- Defrost bag in refrigerator for 12-18 hours. Dump ingredients into slow-cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until the liquid is all absorbed into the mixture and quinoa has broken open and displays a thread-like appearance.
- Remove lid, stir. Stir in the cheese, sprinkle a bit extra on top, if you like. Replace lid and let the cheese melt. Top with chopped green onions and cilantro before serving.
- In a large skillet, cook the ground chicken until no pink remains. Place in the slow-cooker.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients, except for the last 3 ingredients. Stir to combine. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until the liquid is all absorbed into the mixture.
- Remove lid, stir. Stir in the cheese, sprinkle a bit extra on top. Replace lid and let the cheese melt. Top with chopped green onions and cilantro before serving.