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On of the best ways to master money is eating in. Part of eating in means KNOWING what’s in your freezer and pantry. Below are 21 of my favorite recipes that feed a family of 6 for under $2.00 per person per serving. 

When you take stock of what is in your freezer and pantry while planning your menu, it is easier to scout deals and stock up on items like frozen vegetables, chicken prices, beef. All of these are great items to fill your freezer with. 

Meal Planning is the greatest way to save money, next to coupons (which I don’t do). So if you wondering what that entails or looks like, you can print the menu and then add some of these recipes to your weekly meals. (Click here for print out: HVFH Weekly Menu

1. Colorado White Chili (adapted from Don’t Panic, Dinner’s In the Freezer).

1 T. cooking oil

1 medium onion, chopped fine or use 2 green onions, diced

4 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 4.5 oz can of diced green chilies (mild or hot)

1 T . cumin (powdered works best)

1/2 t. ground red pepper

2 t. of oregano

1/2 t. ground cloves

1 15.5 oz can great white northern beans (do not drain)

1. 15.5 oz sweet corn or frozen (here in Nebraska, we just shave it off the cobb)

1  15.5 oz can of black beans (this can be added or not added to it, we love our black beans)

2 cups of cooked chicken  chopped or two cans of canned chicken

5 cups of chicken broth

Serve with shredded Monterrey jack cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips. To make it more kid friendly, skip the chili and onion, substitute a mild can of Rotel!


In a large pan combine oil, onion, garlic, and chilies. Saute until tender. Stir in the spices, beans, corn, chicken and chicken broth. Cook and stir until heated through. Adjust seasonings to your family’s tastebuds, then allow it to cool before storing the soup in a freezer bag or freezer container.This recipe serves 6 to 8 hungry people! If you would like to create another batch, simply double or triple the amount of each ingredient and dish out into your freezer containers!


2. Jamaican Jerk Pork

Serves about 6.


  • 3 lb. of boneless pork loin
  • 2 Tbsp. thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. ground allspice
  • 1 Bulb of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 Medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 cup orange juice


Finely chop up the onions, set aside. Then all all the ingredients (minus the meat), and mix in a blender until well blended. Next rub down the pork in the mixture and set it in the crock pot. Add the rest of the mixture and onions. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours until pork is done. Pull pork from crock pot, let it rest. Once it has cooled, begin shredding the pork. Serve with a bed of rice or potatoes. Another option is to put the pork into wraps or buns.


3. Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Serves 4 to 6 and takes a bit more preparation.


  • 1 pound ground chuck or round
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce, low sodium
  • 2 tablespoons grated or finely minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1 large sweet bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • hot cooked rice
  • 1 can pineapple, chunks (15 ounces)


In a large bowl, combine ground beef, egg, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, bread crumbs, and onion. Shape into 1 1/2 in balls. In a large skillet, lightly brown meatballs in the vegetable oil. Drain well. Transfer meatballs to slow cooker.In a small bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, cornstarch and bell pepper; stir to blend. Pour over meatballs. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 7 hours. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in pineapple with juice. If thicker juices are desired, combine more cornstarch with a little cold water and add, stirring, until thickened. Serve with hot cooked rice.



4. Creamy Beef Stroganoff

Serves about 6.

  • 1-1/2 (10.75 ounce) cans Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 (8 ounce) package sliced white mushrooms
  • 2-1/4 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2-1/4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 (2 pound) boneless beef bottom round steak, cut into thin strips
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  •  12 ounce package medium egg noodles, cooked and drained
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional, I get mine from my garden).


  1. Stir the soup, water, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, onions, garlic and black pepper into the slow cooker. Add the beef and stir to coat.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours or until the beef is fork-tender. Stir the sour cream in the cooker. Serve the beef mixture with the noodles. Sprinkle with the parsley, if desired.


5. Sloppy Joes (My kids’ favorite).

Serves about 6.


  • 2 pounds ground beef (or turkey)
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • ½ cups ketchup
  • 6 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef and green pepper; drain off fat. Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, & brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Pour into crock pot and simmer for (at least) two hours. Season with salt & pepper. (OR you can do it another way, cook hamburger ahead of time in the crock pot).


6. Finger-Lickin’ Good BBQ Chicken


  • 3 pounds of chicken (chicken breasts or hindquarters work great for this too).
  • 2 cups water or chicken broth ( I use bullion cubes).
  • Your favorite bbq sauce.
  • (Optional): Cilantro and red pepper flakes, around here, we like things with a kick.


Throw it all in your crock pot, cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. An hour before serving, add more bbq sauce for taste. Serves about 6. I added Cilantro to the mix and after it cooked in the broth and spice for 3 hours, I then added the BBQ Sauce. Have fun with trying a different way of crock pot recipes.

 7. Slow Cooker Tacos

Serves  About 6


  • 1 taco seasoning packet (brand of your choice)
  • 1 cup chicken broth or beef broth
  • 1 pound chicken breasts – boneless & skinless or one pound of ground beef


Dissolve taco seasoning into chicken broth. Place meat in slow cooker and pour broth over them. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for about 4. (If using chicken, allow meat to cool before shredding with two forks).

Serve with re-fried beans and nacho chips with melted cheese, and shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and your favorite hot sauce. If your kids don’t like taco shells, use hamburger buns instead.


 8. Italian Chicken (Husband loves this one)

Slow Cooker Chicken Italian

Serves 6


  • 6 chicken breast halves
  • 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 2/3 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup Italian Dressing (the fat free works great too)

Place all ingredients in crock pot. Cover and cook on low for eight hours. This is paired well with a box of couscous or your favorite quick pasta!


9. Fiesta Chicken with Rice

Serves about 6.

1 can (15 ounce) tomato sauce
2 cans (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained
1 cup long-grain rice
1 can (14.5 ounce) chicken broth
1 can (15 ounce) pinto beans, undrained
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, undrained
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 package (1 ounce size) chicken taco seasoning mix


Combine tomato sauce, tomatoes, rice, broth, beans, chicken and seasoning mix in slow cooker.

Cook on LOW setting for 8 hours or on HIGH setting for 4 hours. Stir before serving.


10. Slow Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 4 to 6.


  • 1 pkg. chicken breasts (1 – 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 1 jar chicken gravy
  • 1 4 oz can green chilies, chopped or one can of mild Rotel (sweeter flavor, less spice)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • corn tortillas
  • shredded cheese


Combine chicken, gravy, green chiles (rotel), and chopped onion in slow cooker; cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours. Take chicken out of sauce and shred. Fill corn tortillas with chicken and sauce. Top with shredded cheese and roll. Place in baking dish. Pour excess sauce over and sprinkle with more shredded cheese. Bake at 350° for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.


11. Chicken Roast
  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 pounds small white potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium carrots, cut in chunks
  • 1 medium onion, cut in thin wedges
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Dash salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin


Combine potatoes, carrots, and onions and throw it into the  slow cooker with parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter.Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with the smoked paprika, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, honey, and dash of salt and dash of cumin. Rub chicken breasts with the paprika mixture; arrange on vegetables.Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours, or on LOW for 7 to 9 hours, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.

 12. French Lentil Soup
  • 3 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery stalks plus chopped celery leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 cups lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 1 14 1/2–ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • Balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium–high heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups broth, lentils, and tomatoes  and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.

You can either serve the soup as it is or follow the instructions below for the French version. 

Transfer 2 cups soup (mostly solids) to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup in pan; thin soup with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if too thick. Season with salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with celery leaves.

 13. Classic Minestrone
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes with liquid
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup small shell pasta or macaroni
  • 1 15.5-oz. can cannellini or navy beans, drained
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving, optional


  1. 1. Combine carrots, celery, onion and garlic in slow cooker. Pour in broth and stir in tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and Italian seasoning. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.
  2. 2. Thirty minutes before serving, stir in pasta and beans. Cover and then increase heat to high and cook until pasta is tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, sprinkled with Parmesan, if desired.


14. Heather’s Nebraskan Potato Soup
  •  6  to 8 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3  carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced (Use celery seed if your family doesn’t like celery, about 2 tsp).
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half
  • Garnish: fresh celery leaves


  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a 4 1/2-quart slow cooker.
  2. Cook, covered, at HIGH 3 hours or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Stir together flour and half-and-half; stir into soup. Cover and cook 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve in Italian Bread Bowls.


15. Classic Beef Stew (Nebraska Style)
  • 4 pound roast, your choice for the cut of meat
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (plus more if needed)
  • 2 large onions, diced (2 cups) 
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 pound potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 pound baby carrots (about 2 cups) 
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup Frankes Sweet Corn (cut off the cob) or frozen corn thawed


  1. Cut meat into pieces and add to a slow cooker. Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the onions; transfer to the cooker. Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits; add to the cooker. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover and cook on low heat for 7 1/2 hours, or on high for 4 hours. Add the peas  and corn, heat through.


16. Turkey Chili Cheese Pie with Corn Meal Crust (adapted from All You in 2011).


  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey 
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten 
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese


  1. 1. Mist slow-cooker insert with cooking spray. Warm 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in turkey, mixing well and breaking up large clumps of meat. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Add beans, bring to a boil and pour into slow cooker.
  2. 2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Mix well, then stir in egg, milk, 1/4 cup vegetable oil and cheese. Pour batter over chili in slow cooker and gently spread to cover. Cover slow cooker and cook on low until chili is hot and crust is lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 hours.
17. Apricot Chicken
  •  12  dried apricots (we use fresh or frozen apricots, we have a apricot tree in our front yard).
  • 8 medium chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 lb.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth


  1. Rinse apricots and scatter them in a slow cooker. Pat chicken dry; season with salt and pepper and other spices.
  2. Arrange chicken over apricots.
  3. Saute onion until translucent or toss in!
  4. Add broth to skillet; turn heat to high. Bring to a boil, loosening browned bits.
  5. Pour contents of skillet over apricots and chicken. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours.
  6. Transfer thighs to a serving dish ; cover with foil to keep warm. Pour remaining contents into a saucepan. Boil, stirring often, until reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. Pour over chicken.
18. Slow cooker Hash-brown Casserole (adapted from about southern food).


  • 30 to 32 ounces frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
  • 1 cup chopped onion, optional
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed nacho cheese soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 8 ounces light sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter


Spray the crockery insert with nonstick cooking spray or lightly grease the inside surface. Combine the thawed hash browns, onion, soups, sour cream, and melted butter. Pack into the slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours.
Serves 6.

 19. Slow Cooked Chili 

Serves about 8.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 pound stew beef, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (any type of meat will work)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup  parsley
  • 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown it for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the chili powder and cumin and let the spices heat for 1 minute, stirring all the while. Stir in the flour and let the mixture cook for 1 minute more.
  2. Transfer the meat mixture to a large slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the garnishes), and stir well. Cover the cooker and let the mixture cook for 6 to 8 hours on the low setting, stirring occasionally. If necessary, thin the chili with a little water or stock as it cooks.
20. Ham & Cheesy Potato Dinner (Crock pot style, recipe adapted from

Serves about 10.


  • cooking spray
  • 28 ounces frozen diced potatoes with
  • peppers and onions, thawed
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar and Monterey
  • Jack cheese
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream
  • of celery soup
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 (3 pound) boneless fully cooked ham,
  • halved lengthwise


1.Spray the inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.

2.Combine potatoes, Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, cream of celery soup, and sour cream in the slow cooker.

3.Place ham on top of potato mixture.

4.Cook potato mixture on Low for 5 to 6 hours. Stir well before serving.

21. vegetable Soup


    • 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes ( undrained)
    • 1 large onions ( chopped)
    • 4 garlic cloves ( pressed)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil ( divided)
    • 2 large carrots ( chopped)
    • 2 small celery ribs ( chopped)
    • 1 medium turnips ( chopped)
    • 2 cups green beans ( cut in 1-inch pieces)
    • 6 cups chicken broth ( or vegetable broth)
    • 1/4 head cabbage ( chopped)
    • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 small russet potatoes ( peeled and chopped)


  1. In a large soup pot, heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook till nearly translucent.
  3. Now add the garlic. Don’t let the garlic brown and saute another couple of minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the chopped veggies, sauteing for just a minute or two; the extra tablespoon of olive oil is if you need it for the rest of the veggies. Remember–you’re not cooking them– just sauteing them for the wonderful flavor this quick step will infuse in your soup.
  5. Add the thyme and salt and pepper while sauteing.
  6. Now put the veggies in the crock pot, add the tomatoes and broth.
  7. Cook on low 7-9 hours (depending on your crock pot) or high 4-6 hours.
  8. Just before serving, gently mash some of the potato chunks against the side of the crock pot to thicken the soup, give it a stir and serve.


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Heather Riggleman

Heather Riggleman believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything but not necessarily in that order. You can visit to find out more. 

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