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We need to have a chat about freezer meals. If you’re not already doing them, sister, you need to be. My life was changed by freezer meals. Whether I organize a marathon cooking day to create a stash of thirty meals or just make an extra batch of dinner for the night and freeze it, sealing them up with my FoodSaver® FM5200 Vacuum Sealing System and stashing them in the freezer is crazy convenient and makes my life easy breezy during weeks when our schedule gets hectic. One of my family’s favorite freezer friendly meals is my Freezer Friendly Taco Casserole, which is full of zesty flavor, but a cinch to throw together for an easy breezy meal for later in the month.
I start by browning two pounds of extra lean ground beef over high heat in a large skillet with some olive oil.
Once it’s mostly browned, I add two finely diced (almost grated) onions and two finely diced jalapeños to the skillet until they start to soften.
Then I add in some garlic. Around five or so finely diced cloves and I cook it until it’s fragrant.
At this point, the beef should be completely browned and ready to drain, so I drain the fat out and return the beef mixture to my skillet where I add in some taco seasoning.
Once the taco seasoning has fully incorporated into the meat, I remove my skillet from the stove transfer it into a foil baking dish.
Over the meat I add two cans of drained black beans, two cans of canned green chiles, some salt, some pepper, a generous amount of tomato paste (roughly 4-6 tablespoons), a heaping handful of cheese, and a jar of picante sauce (again, pureed because my kids are all, “Ewwww, chunks, Mom!”). I mix it all together until everything is stirred together and then smooth it out flat.
Next I add a layer of shredded cheddar cheese over the top, about 3/4 of a cup.
If I’m making this immediately, I pop it into a 350F degree oven for about 30-35 minutes until it’s heated through and the cheese is bubbly.
If I’m making this to freeze, I allow it to cool completely before sealing it with my FoodSaver® FM5200. This little beauty is my freezer meal BFF. I simply grab one of my bags off the 2 pack FoodSaver® 11″ x 16′ Vacuum Seal Roll and write on the thaw/bake instructions (see the recipe card below for full instructions) on the top, place my foil pan inside, and seal it with my FoodSaver® FM5200. It literally does the work for me and by taking all of the air out, I can ensure my meat will be cooked evenly throughout the casserole. I prefer to store my freezer meals with my FoodSaver® FM5200 not just because it makes storage easy and saves me time, but because it keeps my food fresh up to 5X longer compared to ordinary storage methods and helps to prevent freezer burn. The as seen on TV Newell FoodSaver® FM5200 are available at Walmart stores around the country, making them accessible to everyone.
To seal the casserole, I grab one of the bags from the roll and jot down the baking instructions using a permanent marker,
Then I simply place the entire casserole plan into the bag.
I insert the open end of the bag into the slot on my FoodSaver® and press the seal button. The machine does the rest of the work for me and automatically sucks all the air out and seals the bag shut.
The Freezer Friendly Taco Casserole will keep in the freezer for about three months. When I’m ready to make it for my family, friends, or a loved one in need (another great reason to keep freezer meals on hand!), I pull it out and let it thaw overnight in the fridge. When I’m ready to bake it, I remove it from the bag and bake it in a 350F degree oven for about 50 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly.
I like to top the casserole with corn chips, freshly diced green onion, and black olives. When I make this Freezer Friendly Taco Casserole, I serve it with refried black beans and Mexican rice on the side as well as some flour or corn tortillas for a fresh spin on taco night.
- 2 pounds ground beef, extra lean
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced or grated
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 packets taco seasoning
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cans (4 ounces each) diced green chiles, drained and pureed
- kosher salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (16 oounces each) jar picante sauce, pureed
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided in half
- lime wedges
- corn chips
- chopped tomatoes
- sliced black olives
- sour cream
- sliced jalapeños
- In a large skillet, brown ground beef over high heat with some olive oil until nearly browned.
- Add grated onion and jalapeño to beef, stirring often, until softened.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Once beef is completely browned, drain fat and return to skillet.
- Add taco seasoning, black beans, green chiles, salt, pepper, tomato paste and picante sauce and cook until ingredients have married and warmed through.
- Add half of the cheese and remove skillet from heat.
- Transfer beef mixture to prepared foil baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake in a 350F degree oven for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Top with optional fresh toppings and enjoy!
- Transfer beef mixture to prepared foil baking dish and cover with cling wrap or foil.
- Allow to cool completely.
- Write thawing/baking instructions on one bag from FoodSaver® 11" x 16' Vacuum Seal Roll (Instructions: Thaw overnight in fridge. Remove from bag and bake in 350F degree oven for 55 minutes).
- Remove wrap and foil cover from baking dish.
- Place foil baking dish inside FoodSaver bag and seal with FoodSaver® FM5200 Vacuum Sealing System.
- Freeze for up to three months.
- When ready to eat, thaw overnight in fridge, and bake in 350F degree oven for 55 minutes.
- Top with optional toppings and enjoy!
Be sure to visit your local Walmart store to pick up your own FoodSaver® FM5200 so you can start creating you best quality freezer meals for your family and friends. For more FoodSaver® ideas, recipes, tips, and tricks, visit their Facebook page or their Instagram to discover more from bloggers like me.