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Guest Post: Christie’s Freezing Tips and Southwest Chicken with Black Bean and Corn Relish recipe

I have enjoyed having Christie share so many delicious recipes this month. I have been trying to incorporate some of the guest cook’s recipes into meals that I make for own family. This is a meal that will definately be in an upcoming menu.  If you haven’t yet you must go and check out her blog. She has many delicious dishes with lots of photos and instructions. I asked Christie to share with us 5 things that she has learned since she began “batch cooking”.  Here are her wonderful tips:1. Start with soups. If you are new to batch cooking and you want to see if you like it, then dig out your favorite chili recipe. Make a double or triple batch in a big soup pot and freeze the leftovers. Then in a week or two bake up some potatoes or oven fries and reheat your favorite chili and pour over the potatoes. Or on a Friday night scoop up some chili and serve with tortilla chips and cheese during movie night.Soups freeze and reheat well. Avoid cream based soups and stick to tomato and broth based soups. I always keep a few quarts of homemade chicken noodle soup in the freezer so if an illness hits the house I have comfort food ready to go.2. Always cook potatoes before freezing. They turn black. Yuck!3. Raw tomatoes do not freeze well. They turn to mush. Try to substitute salsa or canned diced/stewed tomatoes if possible.4. Try to buy a family pack of meat or poultry so you can save a little money. I do not coupon, but I check the ads before I shop and if a particular ingredient is on sale or in season then I make my menu around that one item. For instance…green peppers are in season right now and very plentiful at the farmer stand. So I researched the web and found a stuffed pepper soup that sounds easy and freezes well. Now I will load up on peppers this week and make a double batch of soup while my son takes a nap on Tuesday. One for dinner and one for the freezer.5. My last tip has to do with reheating/cooking day. I try to keep a weekly supply of my favorite toppers in the fridge for when I cook and eat my freezer meals. On my list is fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, light sour cream and cheddar cheese. Then when you bring your meal to the table these can really brighten them up. No one has to know that you made dinner last month. =) Some Parmesan cheese from your fridge or a handful of croutons from your cupboard can really make your soup more exciting.I hope that helps inspire you to try batch cooking in your home!Christie

Chicken with Black Bean and Corn Relish

This is an original dish that I derived from my famous salsa recipe. I have a black bean and corn salsa recipe that makes my family just crazy happy. They love it on chips, tacos, salads or even by itself with a fork! I adapted the salsa to make a relish topping for chicken that is freezer friendly. I removed the tomatoes because those do not survive the freezing and thawing without turning to mush. Instead I created an easy marinade out of cumin and tomato sauce. These chicken breasts can be baked or grilled depending on the weather and your family’s preference.

Ingredients:5.25 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts 10.452 Tbsp cumin .5015 oz tomato sauce (smaller than pictured) .7415 oz can black beans .6815 oz can sweet corn .681 green pepper .741 medium yellow onion .213 limes .901/2 cup cilantro .741 1/2 tsp oregano1 tsp salt1 tsp sugarDirections:My family pack of chicken breasts contained 6 large breasts. I placed three breasts into two gallon freezer bags.

Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of cumin into each bag and pour in 1 cup of tomato sauce. Seal bags and mush around to evenly distribute the cumin. Set aside.

Now drain and rinse the black beans. Pour into a medium mixing bowl. Drain the canned corn and add to your mixing bowl. Chop the onion and green pepper. The green pepper will get a little soft during the freezing and thawing process so cut your pieces a little big so they have a good crunch.

Add your onions and green pepper to the mixing bowl with the corn and black beans. Add 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro, 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1tsp salt and 1 tsp white sugar. Squeeze in the juice of all three limes and stir well.

This will be the topping to your chicken. This relish will not be cooked. Separate the relish into two sandwich bags and seal.

Take one bag of chicken and one bag of relish and place together in a separate gallon freezer bag and label.

Place one in the fridge to make for dinner. Placed the other in the freezer for a later meal. When you are ready to prepare please thaw the frozen one in the fridge for two days. Take the chicken out of the bag of cumin and tomato sauce and shake off excess marinade. Place the breasts in a pan to bake at 350 for 30 minutes or grill over medium heat for 8 minutes a side.Once the breasts are fully cooked top each one with a generous scoop of the relish. The relish should not be cooked or warmed. I like to serve mine with a side of wild rice. If you would like to mix it up a little more you can slice the chicken breasts after baking/grilling and place in a flour tortilla and top with the black bean and corn relish for a new twist on a chicken taco.

I was able to make two meals for $7.84. My husband loves this dish! I hope you like it too. The lime juice makes it tangy, and the corn makes it sweet. It’s like a summer salad on top of a tasty grilled chicken breast.Enjoy!Christie aka Keeza

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