Freezer Meal: Chili For 30

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Freezer Meal Chili For 30 | via

Freezer Meal: Chili For 30

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This recipe comes straight out of our family cookbook passed on to us by my husbands grandparents. The only difference I made to this family recipe was cut it half as the original recipe was for Chili for 60 people and frankly, even though I have a big family that is a LOT of chili.

You see my husband’s grandfather, Papa, was a Baptist minister and as such had several recipes that served a large crowd. We assume this is one of those recipes he would make up to take to church events and such. It really is a basic chili recipe and actually quite easy to make. The hardest part for me was finding a pot big enough to cook it in. My largest stockpot was not quite big enough so we took out our electric roaster oven which I use mostly just for Thanksgiving turkey and that really fit the bill.

Electric Roasting Oven - Use for big batch cooking

Our family really loves chili on a cold winter night and having batches of it already cooked and ready to thaw and heat in our freezer just makes for easy meal prep on busy weeknights. Our very favorite way to eat chili is just with some freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese and some warm homemade corn bread. But there are other great ways to use chili too. Chili dogs, walking tacos (Frito corn chips with chili & cheese), stuffed inside bell peppers and baked (with cheese). So many great ways to eat chili.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family does!

Freezer Meal: Chili For 30

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Yield: 30

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

Freezer Meal: Chili For 30

This basic recipe for chili serves roughly 30 people and makes for a great freezer meal by placing the cooked chili in freezer bags and freezing for up to 1 year.



Working in batches, brown and crumble the ground beef or ground turkey in a large frying pan until no longer pink, drain well.

Add the meat to a large stockpot or electric roasting oven along with the rest of the ingredients.

Cover and cook on medium-low heat. Simmer for 1 to 2 hours stirring every so often to prevent burning.

If cooking in electric roasting oven set the temperature at 200° F.

Cool chili to room temperature in spoon into zipper freezer bags.

Label each bag with what is inside as well as date frozen.

Freeze bags flat in freezer to save room.

Chili can be frozen for up to 1 year.

To serve thaw and re-heat.


**As is this is a mild chili with little to no heat. Very kid friendly. If you would like to add a little heat to it add in 1 - 2 chopped jalapeño peppers when you add everything to the pot.

Freezer Meal: Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

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Freezer Meal: Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

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This recipe for Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole is one of my families personal favorites, it is comfort food at it’s best, yet it is quite the pretty casserole and is nice enough to serve when we have company.

I love taking advantage of rotisserie chickens from the grocery store. The price is usually actually cheaper to buy a chicken already cooked than it is to buy a whole raw chicken and cook it yourself. I do however, try to wait for some sort of sale or deal on the rotisserie chickens and I snatch 4 or 5 of them up, pull the meat off the bones and freeze it for easy meals. And this Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole is the perfect use for that chicken meat!

The casserole recipe calls for the use of fresh leeks and mushrooms and a lot of yummy cheese. There is no “cream of” soups in this recipe either, instead creaminess is added via some sour cream. We like to top our casserole with a handful or two of chopped pecans for some extra added crunch But you can leave that off if you have nut allergies or they are too expensive. Panko bread crumbs would be lovely too!

This recipe makes two 9X13 inch casseroles which each serves 6-8 people + some. You can easily divide this up into 4 or 6 smaller casserole dishes as well. I just have a big family thus the larger casserole sizes.

Recipe for Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole:

Freezer Meal: Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 2 Casseroles - each serving 6-8 people

Freezer Meal: Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

This easy to prepare casserole dish is a family favorite yet special enough for company. Serve with a nice side salad and some crusty bread or rolls for a easy dinner.


  • 2 Cups uncooked long-grain & wild rice mix (such as RiceSelect
  • 2 Leeks
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 (16 Oz.) Packages Sliced Mushrooms
  • 2 Cups Sour Cream (Fat Free is OK)
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Cup Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 1 Cup Dry White Wine (can omit and use water)
  • 8 Cups Shredded Chicken From 2 Rotisserie Chickens
  • 1 Cup Chopped Pecans (Optional)
  • Chopped Chives (Garnish, Optional)


Cook the wild rice blend according to the package directions and set aside.

While the rice is cooking, remove and discard the root end and tough outer leaves of the leeks and the top, leaving the white portion and about 3 inches of green portion.

Cut each leek into quarters lengthwise and then thinly slice leek.

Rinse well to remove all grit from the leek and drain.

Melt butter in a very large skillet (I use an electric skillet over medium-low heat.

Add leek & cook 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring often for 10 minutes.

Add the wine (or water if using) and bring to the simmering point and cook for 5 minutes.

Add cooked rice mixture and shredded chicken to the skillet with the leeks and mushrooms and stir everything well to combine.

Add sour cream and salt & pepper to taste and mix well.

Pour mixture into (2) 9X13 baking dishes or foil pans.

Sprinkle top with shredded cheese, pecans and chives.

Cover well and freeze.

To Bake:

From thawed state - bake at 350°F for 20 minutes

From frozen state - bake at 350°F for 45 - 60 minutes


You can also use leftover Thanksgiving turkey in this recipe - it is wonderful!

Copycat Wendy’s Apple Pecan Salad – It’s What’s For Dinner

Our family limits our eating out to about 4 times a month. Every other week we go out to dinner with the family and then on the alternating weeks my husband and I try to do a date night just the two of us.

We have been married 17 years now and since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner I don’t think it inappropriate in giving some marriage advice. So here is folks…Heidi’s 3 tips to a happy marriage.

  1. Learn to laugh at each other and yourself. If you can laugh at the stuff life throws you you will be good to go. Our marriage has gone through our fair share of bad stuff and what keeps us going is the ability to laugh through it.
  2. Don’t sweat the small stuff – AKA, pick your battles. I used to get really upset over dumb little things like his inability to see clutter or that the trash needs to be taken out. But you know what? At the end of the day it does not matter. And, the less I nagged about it the better he got about it.
  3. Take time for a date night. I wish we could do it once a week but our schedules and budget do not really allow it. But every two weeks we do a date night. This allows us to focus on our relationship without the distractions of the kids, work, house, etc and allows us the opportunity to laugh at life (see number 1).

OK, now that is out of the way let’s talk about dinner…. so, like I said we don’t eat out very often but sometimes we kind of crave something one of the restaurants serves, like the Apple Pecan Salad at Wendy’s….YUM. So guess what? You can recreate it at home! And we have been kind of eating heavy the last few days so a nice salad seems like a light dinner option tonight.

So what’s for dinner tonight?

Copycat Wendy’s Apple Pecan Salad

Copycat Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad

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This recipe is full of fresh flavors, apples, romaine lettuce, dried cranberries, pecans, some cooked chicken…yum! The only thing I am going to change is the blue cheese. While I ? blue cheese, my husband, not so much. He just cannot seem to wrap his brain around the mold thing…so I am going to cube some Swiss cheese instead. I know it will still be amazing! Plus, blue cheese IS a tad on the expensive side…and you know I am all about the frugal!



  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, torn
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 100 gms. cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup roasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/8 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 chopped green apple
  • 1/2 chopped gala apple


  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. pomegranate juice
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the full recipe and directions please head on over to Noshing with the Nolands!

Do you have a favorite copycat recipe? Or maybe some marriage advice? Share it below in the comments!

Sloppy Joe Casserole – It’s What’s For Dinner

Today is a busy day in the Kennedy household, we have a function at the kids school this evening so that means I need something SUPER easy to make for dinner. And this recipe fits the bill, it only has 4 ingredients and they are all things I have on hand. Crescent rolls (in the freezer), Manwich (was on sale recently), hamburger, and mozzarella cheese (also in the freezer). This is the perfect stockpile meal!

So what’s for dinner tonight?

Sloppy Joe Casserole 

Sloppy Joe Casserole

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I am pretty sure this recipe could not get any more frugal. These are all items that many of us have in our stockpiles. I don’t normally have Manwich on hand but I did pick up a couple of cans a couple of weeks ago when they were on sale (no coupons…GASP!). But if you don’t have Manwich on hand, try substituting some tomato sauce and some of your favorite BBQ sauce and whatever spices & seasonings you like. I like some pepper, and maybe some garlic powder myself.

And if you don’t have garlic crescent rolls…use the plain ones and if you want sprinkle the top lightly with a wee bit of garlic salt. Same thing!


  • 2.5 pounds of lean ground beef
    2 can of Manwich
    2 packages of Pillsbury Garlic Crescent Rolls
    4 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided

For the full recipe and directions please head on over to Cravings of a Lunatic!

What is on your menu plan for dinner tonight? Leave us a comment below and share. Links to yummy recipes are welcome too!

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Skillet – It’s What’s For Dinner!

I was rooting around in my freezer today, grabbing a gallon of milk (yes we freeze our milk!…which I proceeded to drop the frozen gallon on my foot. OUCH). I was making room for some stuff and came across a package of kielbasa and that sounded tasty for dinner tonight. I didn’t make a meal plan for this week so we are going to be eating from the stockpile and making meals from whatever we have on hand. So I needed a recipe that I already have everything here at the house. And I found one!

So what’s for dinner tonight?

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Skillet

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Skillet

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I actually lucked out on this recipe because I had all of the ingredients. Well, let me back that up. I have frozen tortellini, which I am going to thaw before adding to the skillet. And while heavy cream is not something I always have, my husband works for a dairy and he brought me a carton the other day. I was going to make some ice cream with it or something but I don’t think 1/2 of a cup is going to make that big of a difference in the ice cream…so yeah…we got dinner tonight! If you don’t have cream, I bet you could use just milk or if you have a can of evaporated milk on hand that would work too.


  • 1 lb smoked sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 9 oz refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

For the full recipe and directions please head on over to Plain Chicken!

What is on your menu plan for dinner tonight? Leave us a comment below and share. Links to yummy recipes are welcome too!