October 20, 2017

Mexican Style Recipes โ€“ freezer meals


Last month, I shared my ONE HOUR meal planning experiment.
As a work at home, home schooling mom of five, my days sometimes feel like a never ending roller coaster.
Thinking of the “What for dinner?” answer leaves me a bit light headed.
I have done many things over the years to “perfect” my Meal Time Mountain madness, but few things have been as beneficial as my one hour experiment.
The results? FIFTEEN meal options ready and waiting with only five minutes of prep time.

If you haven’t read my Meal Planning with a Twist post first…start here or the rest of my post won’t make a lot of sense. It will give you the background of how I was able to have 15 meal ideas ready to go with only a little over one hour of work. Seriously!

Since the last two weeks have been quite hectic in our home, I really got off track with meal preparations. I admit it…it happens to all of us. That is why I was grateful to have staples ready to go. The 5 o’clock dinner question was asked quite a few times, and frankly nothing was simmering…but within five minutes, their request was answered.

When I posted the ideas for the meal planning, many people needed the hard core recipes and wanted to know exactly what I did with what I had in the freezer. So here are the Mexican meals that I made…in five minutes of prep time.
I made enchiladas (both baked and cold) with the black beans, and rice/beef mixture. One week, I served them warm and made them up myself (as shown above).
The following week, I lined the burritos and toppings up buffet style and the kids could mix/match their own creation dolloping them with cheese, salsa, onions, pepper, lettuce, and sour cream (shown below).

One of my favorite meals of all times is the timeless taco salad. It’s a joke when we go out to eat because I almost always order a taco salad (and a side of fries…it’s a sickness, I know).
I was able to enjoy both beef taco salads and chicken taco salads in minutes since the meats were already cooked. I just needed to heat and go.


This taco casserole was one of the very first meals I made for my husband when we were married. Much laughter comes with this memory.
I cooked this in a brand new bake ware set that I received as a wedding present.ย  That set came with a plastic lid, and guess what I did….
If it comes with a lid, certainly I’m supposed to put the lid on the dish and bake, correct?
Sheesh…who knew?

The fire alarm in our apartment went off. The fire trucks came blaring. Everyone wanted to know what happened.
Yes, it was a proud Domestic goddess moment. And the true culprit?
My brand new beautifully melted plastic lid. How dare it destroy my gourmet creation.
And you can bet that my frugal nature tried to peel that plastic right off…I was NOT going to throw it away! hee hee

Sorry I don’t have a picture of it in layers…just imagine.

Taco Casserole – this is a melt in your mouth beef casserole recipe that combines easy with Tex-Mex. This is delicious made before hand and then heated up.

Of course, I always double this recipe, and pray for left overs. ๐Ÿ™‚ As you perfect the recipe, you will make it your own. I added a layer of rice as a filler item which is always needed with my huge eaters. I vary this original recipe a bit now, but I am giving it to you the way I received it with my variations highlighted.

  • 1 pound ground beef (optional rice…my addition)
  • 1 small onion, chopped (peppers, tomatoes, and various shredded garden veggies in the summer time to make it a really healthy option)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 envelope of taco seasoning
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup sour cream (light sour cream works perfectly)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (have done it with all cottage cheese in a pinch)
  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips (this is how I use up our crushed stale reminents in the pantry)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) grated Monterey Jack cheese (or whatever you have on hand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, brown the beef (oh yes, that was already done for me during my experiment), then drain off extra fat; remove from heat. Add onion, garlic powder, taco seasoning mix, and tomato sauce to beef; mix and set aside. In a medium sized bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese; set aside. Place half the crushed chips in the bottom of a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish that has been coated with a nonstick vegetable spray. Add enough meat mixture to cover the chips, then cover the meat with half of the sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with half the grated cheese. Repeat layers. Bake uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, until cheese melts and casserole is heated through.

This is just as good with ground turkey. It’s so rich that it’s almost as good as a hot dip.
This is frugal friendly as all of these items I get when they are deeply discounted.

Yes, we love Mexican and I can’t wait to try some of those that have recently been linked for Tasty Tuesday.

Have your ever done Once a Month cooking or an easier version like I have just shown you? Trust me….it’s well worth it.
So what have you been making lately?


  1. Pat Anderson says:

    YUM! Things look fantastic around here!! I want to stay for supper.

    Way to go. What an asset this site is to my household responsibility! Thanks a LOT!

    Pat Anderson
    Inspiring WAHMs to make a difference


  2. Your melted lid reminds me of the time I tried to make a cake (from a box mix) in my husband’s (then boyfriend’s) blender because he didn’t have a mixer – then I tried to push the ingredients down in the blender with a spatula only to have the end of the spatula go flying off as it hit the metal blade and spin small bits of plastic/rubber spatula into the cake – it was not a proud moment but funny now… I can’t wait to try your taco casserole dish – sounds delish! Can I just say that I love your blog – you are so inspiring – when I struggle to keep up a house and 2 small children I just find such inspiration in reading your blog!


  3. Amy @ Finer Things says:

    Love Mexican food!

    I’ve melted a few plastic bowls when I preheat my oven and forget that the bread dough is IN the oven rising. Oops!


  4. Kim @ Forever Wherever says:

    Great post as always Jen! I do like to plan ahead when I find chicken on sale. I love being able to pull cooked chicken out of the freezer when I’m in a hurry.

    I love taco salad. That’s what I make myself when we have tacos for dinner. Your photos make me hungry!



  5. I really need to figure out the whole freezer meal thing- it really could save me so much time. Thanks for sharing your yummy recipes.


  6. Mexican is a favorite at our house. Glad you shared some of your great recipes with us!


  7. Christy@MercyEveryMorning says:

    I love freezer cooking this way! I just did a similar post about freezer cooking last month.



  8. Jerri - Simply Sweet Home says:

    Yummy looking stuff!


  9. janellybelly says:

    I would LOVE to try your one hour challenge!!! Looks like it was so helpful when it came to dinner and all those recipes look GREAT! We LOVE mexican at our house too! =0> Thanks for sharing!!!


  10. That taco casserole sounds so good!

    Your lid story reminded me of the time I used saran wrap in the oven. I was out of aluminum foil so I thought it would work. I don’t know what I was thinking!


  11. HouseMama says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.


  12. Stephanie says:

    Oh I the beginning homemaking stories I could tell you! I have done batch cooking often,but never this organized. I love it! I am going to try it next time around….


  13. Susan Lang says:

    Hey! My first recipe post on my blog and at your party. Thanks for hosting. Is there any way you can fix my goof. After my name would you delete desiging your dream home and put in (Everybody Loves this Salad). Thanks!


  14. That dish sounds wonderful!!! I’ll have to give the one hour challenge a try some time!!



  15. Sandy Toes says:

    That looks so yummy…all your meat frozen and ready is amazing to me.
    sandy toe


  16. That looks so good. PLus, the one hour challenge would save me lots of time in the kitchen later. Thanks for sharing.


  17. Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free says:

    I could live off Mexican, or Italian food for that matter!

    You’ve made me hungry with your pictures and recipes–and it’s not even 7:30 am!!


  18. The Happy Housewife says:

    Yum! Just stumbled the recipes, the taco casserole sounds delish!


  19. Kim... and Her Coffee says:

    Oh Jen, am I glad to be back on here. This is a great feature on your blog. LOVE getting new dinner tips and recipes. I’ll try to get with it later today and link a recipe of my own ~ but will for sure be on board next week. Can’t wait to try your recipe and all the other great links! Thanks for the tips and recipes!!! Have a great day….


  20. Mary Ellen ~ Carolina Momma says:

    Yum! That looks delicious. I love Mexican too! It’s the ultimate in frugal cooking.

    And your story reminds me of the time I turned the oven on to preheat, forgetting I put a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store in there to keep the cats away from it. Luckily the plastic melted around the chicken and not on it.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!


  21. Great ideas. My freezer is getting a little empty- time to feed it! Thanks for the tips.


  22. Liz@HoosierHomemade says:

    Great post! I enjoyed the post on your Meal Planning with a twist, also. I usually freeze cooked hamburger for quick meals, but need to get into doing more.
    Thanks for hosting!


  23. My first time linking! (except that I accidentally linked to last week first … sorry)


  24. michelle says:

    Wow, that taco casserole looks so yummy! I make enchiladas every once and a while, but I’ve never really made anything else that’s tex/mex. I need to try it!


  25. Ok, I went back and read your one hour experiment and it sounds good! (My only problem is I live in small, small, tiny town in the middle of nowhere and coupons, double discounts, getting groceries almost free is not an option … so I just have buy on sale, but your suggestions will save me TIME and some MONEY, too!)


  26. YUM…all of that looks great. Mexican food is my FAVORITE!!!! You alreay know I browned up all my family pack of meat and portioned it out BEFORE I put it in the freezer. It has already saved us from going out twice. YAY!!


  27. Hopefull says:

    I love your encouragment with freezer meals – it is so practical and when mom is less stressed the whole family is happy ๐Ÿ™‚


  28. Stacey @ The Blessed Nest says:

    Your fire alarm story had me laughing! ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t worry, at least you didn’t set your own hand on fire like I did by using a dish towel to take cookies out of the oven! The towel must have touched the hot coils inside the oven, because I’m trying to look all savvy as my friends were over at my little apartment and I’m holding the cookie sheet like Little Stacey Homemaker, when one guy goes, “Umm…your hand is on fire…”! I look down, and sure enough, just then all the nerves in my hand let me know too! LOL!!!

    Anyway, I just wasn’t able to pull together my recipe idea with pics for this Tues, so I’ll try for next time {hint–it’s dessert!}!!


  29. Your recipe sounds fabulous, and I can’t wait to try your freezer meal ideas. Thanks!


  30. Frugal Homemaker says:

    I love bulk cooking strategies. I need to shift gears and get some summer recipes prepared and frozen. Thanks for the motivation and for hosting Tasty Tuesday.


  31. Ok, I soooo love this we heart taco night! I was gonna post my sister Rena’s Mexican Cornbread, but I will wait so I don’t take away from your dish. Last night was taco night and I loved it. I substituted our usual turkey with leftover BBQ chicken and reheated with enchilada sauce and cheese.



  32. Susan Lang says:

    Jen, so glad the napa or is it nappa cabbage recipe found its way back to you. I had a comment on my post with another version you might want to check out. …susan


  33. Jerralea says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I love that we can use the crused stale chips in the bottom of the tortilla chip bag — I have that happen a lot and hate that we’re wasting them. Now I can use it!


  34. Snow White says:

    looks so tasty!


  35. Michelle says:

    yum! we love tacos around here! can’t wait to try it! gonna give the one hour challenge a go next week.


  36. My mom melted one of her spatulas in the oven one time. When she pulled it out, the handle dried all funny shaped. It was her favorite spatula for years after that ๐Ÿ™‚


  37. i think i’m going to try that casserole of yours! looks scrumptious!
    too funny about the plastic lid in the oven. sounds like something i would do, i mean have done too, lol!


  38. I love freezer meals! Anything to help that crazy dinner time.


  39. Thanks for stopping by my page. So happy I found Tasty Tuesday and will continue to post here! That pork dinner is delish, I dont have many pork recipes either thats why we eat it very seldom, but I’ve been searching and testing some and I have found a couple pork recipes that fit our household! I’ve never tried a freezer meal, but I just might have to give yours a go and see how it turns out!


  40. Ms. Latina says:

    This looks so yummy! Was wondering if you would like to post the same or another healthy meal on my blog … its such an appetizing meal done frugally I think my NYC readers would really eat it up (pun intended!). Please let me know FYI: I never knew about Tasty Tuesday!


  41. I love this meme, too! I’ll try to join in next week!


  42. I look forward to more freezer meals. We’re actually trying to find a used upright freezer (or scratch-n-dent sale one) right now. I haven’t been reading terribly long, but somewhere along the way I missed that you homeschool all 5 kids. I’d LOVE to hear more about that, but I will be searching to see if there are already posts up.


  43. Hi there! I just wanted to say – genius!!! I have belonged to a group of ladies who got together and made freezer meals. It was the best thing ever. I really need to start doing this again. Such a wonderful idea. Goood for you!



  44. Joy @ Joy Of Desserts says:

    I’ve never done this type of one hour cooking for a month, but I will be trying it your way.

    I was LOL about your plastic lid experience, NOT at you mind you, but I could just really picture the scene you described with the newlywed, the firemen, the neighbors … FUNNY!


  45. The Topiary Lady says:

    I too am a homeschooling mom, of 4, and am always trying to make/create healthy and interesting foods to tempt my boy’s never ending appeptites! I love to make taco casserole, except we call it “mexican lasagna” and use whole wheat tortillas and layer everything. SO good and a nice variety.
    Thanks for all your great ideas.


  46. Kristy K says:

    I just found your blog last week and I think I’ve read every entry on meals and fashion. I should pace myself, right?

    I made your taco casserole a few days ago for dinner and there was not a crumb left. Not a single speck. My husband asked me to make a double batch next time so he can have some left over for lunch.

    You have such a great blog!


  47. Made the Taco casserole for dinner this eve. Really enjoying it! I had ground chicken on hand and used that. The only thing I left out was the garlic powder. Very nice dish…I like the cottage cheese/sour cream mixture. Glad you have shared this recipe! My thanks…


    Jen Reply:

    So glad you enjoyed it! I bet ground chicken was yummy in it.


  48. Stephanie says:

    Has anyone made this up to the baking point, then frozen? I’m wondering if it can be thawed/baked in the microwave. Love the idea – thanks!!


  49. If you are going to make the Taco Casserole as a freezer meal, how do you do that? Do you cook it for the full 30-35 minutes, then thaw and microwave? Microwave from frozen? What are the suggested cooking times?


  50. Thanks for the article and for posting some traditional Mexican food ideas along with some of their recipes. My wife and I love to cook and are looking for something new and fun to make and eat. We also love testing out new authentic Mexican restaurants and try to do so at least once a month!


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