Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Freezer Cooking in an Hour: Black Bean Brownies, Frito Chili Pie, and the Grain-Free Waffle Flop

I took an hour yesterday evening to do some cooking for the freezer. I was anxious to try the Black Bean Brownies because I was just very curious to see how they turned out.

Most of my family members were quite skeptical of them and one even turned up their nose and wouldn’t touch them, but most of us declared them quite yummy. If you knew they had black beans in them, you could faintly taste them, but I doubt you’d figure it out if you didn’t know. You’d probably just think they were a really fudgy, light brownie.

I also made a big batch of Frito Chili Pie–well, the Chili part minus the Fritos. (We’ll add those in once we pull it out from the freezer.) I substituted kidney beans for the pinto beans (because that’s what I had on hand) and it ended up turning out quite yummy.

Unfortunately, the Grain-Free Waffles weren’t quite as successful. I did substitute almond milk for the yogurt, so that could have been some of the issue. But they tasted icky (well, they certainly didn’t taste anything like normal waffles!) and the batter got all stuck on the waffle maker. So stuck, in fact, that it took me a good 20 minutes to get the thing cleaned up after my attempt to make the recipe.

Oh well, you can’t hit a home run with every recipe experimentation! 🙂

Did you have any recipe successes or failures this week?

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • hmm didn’t really have any notable recipe successes, but I think the black bean brownies are good and if you don’t tell people (esp. children) they have bean in them, no one will be the wiser!

    • I have never tried black bean brownies before…not sure how I feel about it. Are they good? LOL. Ok, I will try them. Anything to get the kids to each veggies!!

    • Stephanie says:

      I agree, that these are good. Just remember – there are BEANS in those brownies. So if you are one who can sit and eat a whole pan, don’t. I would try one or two first and see how you do with them. We had 2 interesting pull-ups the next day, after a small serving size was given, and a few others in the house were slightly affected. It did extend how long the brownies lasted, though. =)

    • After typing up my meal plan for the week (, which included black bean brownies for snack time, I read Crystal’s freezer cooking and found that she had done black bean brownies too. Crazy coincidence. I do wonder how they will freeze as the recipe that I’m using (from Kitchen Stewardship’s Sweets e-book) says not to use frozen beans. I soaked and cooked my dry beans over the weekend and hope to make them today. Let me know how they taste after being in the freezer.

      I’m guessing that for those who eat beans on a regular basis they should be able to handle the black bean brownies without too many bowel issues. No more than one sweet treat a day is always a good rule of thumb anyway, even if they are healthy.

  • How much fat was in the waffles? I found that pancakes and waffles need some kind of good starch to keep them from sticking though.

  • Dawn Karels says:

    I tried to make homemade bread for the first time. Yeast did not activate. Epic fail as no rising occurred. Husband thought it was hilarious.

    • There was a period of time that I was required to obstain from yeast which was hard because I LOVE my bread. Then I learned that seltzer water is a great substitute. If you struggle with getting the yeast to activate try making it with seltzer water instead.

    • Dawn,

      The next time:

      Proof your yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Make sure the temperature is between 105º and 110º (use a thermomter). Hotter or colder and it doesn’t proof (hotter can kill the yeast). Give it 5 minutes and make sure it bubbles up before you put it in your bread. If it doesn’t bubble up, try again with new yeast. You can also put in a pinch of sugar to help the yeast.

      And make something REALLY tasty for your husband that you’re excellent at 🙂

      • Yeast and I still don’t always get along as far as breadmaking goes. I did, however, that water temperature was something I needed to pay attention to. I was running the hot water until it was hot. 105 degrees sounds kind of hot, but when you think about how warm your body temp is, it isn’t that much warmer than luke warm. That is now my test, slightly warmer than lukewarm on the inside of my wrist.

    • Kimberly Brock says:

      You can use instant yeast which I use all the time and my bread comes out great! No proofing involved 🙂 Happy Baking!

  • Siobhan says:

    I tried those waffles as well and they were nasty- trust me it wasnt you!

  • Tip for the waffle maker… Pour hot water in it (like very runny batter hahaha) and let it soak for 15+ min. I waffled a PB&J on some weak bread & the J seeped though & burnt hard but good hot soak got it right out.

    I’ve been trying all sorts of things in the waffle maker lately but no GF dishes. That thing has a way of turning the oridnary into extrodinary.

  • Lizzie says:

    Crystal, with my eating plan I cannot eat sugar or starch. So I gave up on waffles–I found this recipe and have made them twice. My 11 yr old son loves them too;)

    I have not tried this recipe yet

    The recipe you posted–I can’t see how it would have worked;0! I have found using coconut flour or almond flour or now protein powder makes a huge difference.
    No it’s not cheap food but when you have food issues made at home substitutes are far better than the pre-packaged non grain (or whatever) items.

    Perhaps Tropical Traditions would have some coconut flour recipes for pancakes or waffles? I haven’t looked yet:)

  • WilliamB says:

    The Chicken in (cheesy) Yorkshire Pudding, from the usually reliable 365 Ways to Cook Chicken, was a flop. No one liked the yorkshire pudding except me, and while I liked the taste I didn’t like it enough to justify the nutritional negatives. I fished out the chicken and composted the rest.

  • Kathy says:

    a failure for me this week…made a pie crust with coconut oil…not sure what went wrong there 😛
    a new french bread recipe turned out yummy and 3 out of 4 of us liked a new baked ziti recipe.

  • I’ve been trying to make the best of my current dairy-free diet, and made some amazing smoothies using almond milk ice cream and coconut milk. I actually preferred the flavor to our normal yogurt+milk recipe!

    I also made meatballs using pecorino romano cheese (sheep’s milk) instead of parmesan, and they turned out well too.

    • Andrea says:

      Chocolate almond milk with ice in the blender is a nice, easy treat, too. Almost like a milkshake!

    • Adriana says:

      I have two go-to dairy free smoothie recipes:

      Chocolate Banana Smoothie:
      3 bananas
      2 cups almond milk
      3 tablespoons cacao powder

      I just made up those measurements; I usually just dump & try. I use Navitas Naturals Raw Cacoa Powder; it has no sugar, but as long as the bananas are sweet, you won’t miss the sugar. I also add in 1/4-1/2 cup of raw oats for a little more “oomph”.

      Coconut Mango Smoothie:
      2 cups coconut milk
      2 cups frozen mango
      1-2 bananas

      Again, the measurements are estimated. I buy frozen mango at Sam’s; it’s easier to work with. This one tastes like a pina colada without the alcohol. It’s so good in the summer.

  • becca says:

    I tried a couple recipes from my tablet app – both were good but I am really enjoying the ham & swiss casserole! The other was pacific clam chowder. Both are quite fattening, I’m sure, but I had most ingredients on hand.

  • Traci Zellner says:

    The Frito Chili Pie is similar to Walking Tacos (I live in Ohio so maybe that’s the difference? lol). Walking Tacos are the small bags of Fritos, sloppy joe, sour cream, cheese, lettuce. Very tasty.

  • Lucy says:

    I made roasted tomato and( hidden vegetable )spaghetti sauce. I used up bell peppers and zucchini that I had in the fridge, along with some onion and garlic. I thought it was ok, but hubby and child didn’t like it.

  • Sandy B says:

    I just made a batch of Multi-grain waffles from an old Healthy Cooking. Delicious! Cornmeal, whole wheat and all-purpose flour – they are the best waffles for keeping my waffle iron “easy to clean” 😀

  • Suzanne says:

    was this the black bean brownies from ten dollar dinners with melissa d’arabian on food network? i made some last week but i also added pureed spinach. Yummy!


  • Emma K says:

    I tried a chicken alfredo lasagna this week that was super good (although I’m sure very high in calories).

    My son had a gluten, dairy, egg allergy the first 2 years. I had many of those waffle failures (and breakfast) trying to get the right combo of different flours to work. I never found one that tasted exactly like waffles but I’m sure there are good ones out there.

  • My Superbowl Muffuletta is sure to be a success! I LOVE this sub-style sandwich, served in a round bread loaf.

  • Kelly says:

    I made 2 variations on grilled cheese for dinner tonight. Both were hits with the family. Baked Potato Grilled Cheese and Pizza Grilled Cheese–thank you Pinterest!!

    • Andrea says:

      We make grilled cheese with a slice of tomato in the summer when we have fresh tomatoes. So good, especially with cheddar!

  • I attempted to make coconut oil. No go. At least it was a cheap failure!

    Anyone have a successfully created coconut oil recipes??

  • I had a big disaster (one of many lately, sigh) with a Dukan chicken recipe, poulet confit a l’ail (basically, chicken with garlic). My usually-adorable toddler apparently futzed with the oven controls without anybody noticing, causing the oven to heat only from the top, and resulting in chicken that was nearly burned on the top and raw on the sides. Not good.

    OTOH, Dukan’s chocolate mousse recipe turned out VERY well, and who wouldn’t rather eat chocolate than chicken?

    I can’t wait to be done with Dukan.

  • Shannon says:

    I found a terrific recipe for banana muffins, which I intended on making into donuts with my new pans (thank you, Mom!). Well, *after* I got my kids all stoked about it, I read the recipe very thoroughly only to find that it makes 6-8 reg. sized muffins. My donut equivalent would be about 4-5 donuts. Had I paid attention, I could have tripled the batch and been good to go, but it just wasn’t my day. So once I made the single and then a double batch, patiently waited for them to cool and snuck one before the kids found out – quality control, you know – they were HORRIBLE! What a day!

  • Julie H says:

    I made a batch of Chocolate-Chip Lime Muffins for the freezer today and they are amazing! I should have doubled the recipe, but since it was new, I wanted to make sure we liked them. We do!!!!!!!!!!

  • Julie says:

    I actually tried the Grain Free Waffles after seeing them on your menu plan! I did them as pancakes, and we really liked them. You would definitely need Yogurt, not any type of milk, as this is a very liquid-y recipe to begin with. Also, they are good if you don’t think of them as pancakes, but as something else entirely – I called them sweet cakes and my family (3 year old included) gobbled them up with no syrup needed!

    Sort of like veggie burgers are good if you appreciate them as their own food; but they are not good if you want them to taste like actual burgers.

  • Kristin says:

    Utter failure: pineapple curry chicken from the latest TOH. Too many expensive.ingredients and the “sauce” was watery and bland. Yuck.

    However, the sausage broccoli calzone from the same TOH issue was awesome!! Good thing I.doubled the recipe for my crew of 5, because thy were absolutely inhaled. Turns out, even MY kids will eat broccoli when it comes attached with suasage and cheese. 🙂

    Sorry about.typos. phone tiping is the.pits.

  • Angie says:

    Gluten free, casein free waffles we like:

    2 c. gf flour mix + 1 tsp. xanthan gum
    1/2 tsp. salt
    3 tsp. baking powder
    1 1/2 c. rice milk + some extra to thin batter
    2 eggs
    4 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

    (adapted from recipe # 40362)

    Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then mix together. I always save egg whites for last so I can whisk them and add later. That makes a nice crispy outside.

    GF flour mix used above is the basic 2c. rice flour, 1c. potato starch, 1/2 c. tapioca flour. I keep a huge batch of this in my fridge to use when baking anything GF.

    Other quick tips: Coconut milk is an excellent substitute in smoothies and baking for GF and casein (dairy) free foods. One thing I can’t live without is my Gluten free, Casein Free, Soy Free Shopping guide. Also available in GF free, or GF and Casein free only.

    Your pumpkin chocolate chip recipe for muffins is wonderful when made with GF, CF variations!

    Hope you have better luck on your GF, CF journey. It does get easier!


  • I made our favorite waffle recipe this week. It’s from The America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. I highly recommend this cookbook, because the recipes have rarely disappointed.

    The only thing I don’t like about this book is that the recipes take too long sometimes and if I don’t read the recipes ahead of time, I end up a little surprised and may have to resort to “plan B” if I don’t have time to complete the recipe before it’s necessary.

    • I have 3 or 4 ATK Cookbooks and have probably made a dozen recipes. We’ve liked every recipe we’ve tried. I highly recommend the entire series!

      • Hi Sara,

        We have the ATK Family Cookbook. I’d love to try some of their others. They do have awesome recipes and this is, by far, my favorite cookbook. I think they have such great recipes because each recipe has been tested so many times.

        I don’t know if you’ve ever tried the Big Chocolate Chip cookie recipe. It’s wonderful!

        • Sandra,
          I have my eye on their Slow Cooker Cookbook next. Can’t have enough slow-cooker recipes! Costco often has ATK cookbooks for significantly cheaper than elsewhere, so I’m keeping my eye out. Going to look for the cookie recipe as well. Thank you!

          • You’re welcome Sara! I’ll have to remember to look for the slow cooker cookbook, too. I need to learn how to use my crock pot more often. I just had baby #5 in December, and using the slow cooker for dinner would make life a bit easier.

  • Penny T. says:

    I cooked up some shredded chicken and ground turkey to freeze for future meals (and eliminate a step)… it’s hard to mess those things up. My daughter and I also diced about 6 peppers (various colors) that were marked down and froze them for future use in recipes. I spent part of the day prepping my Super Bowl food… precooked the potatoes for the potato skins and baked the “healthier” bacon in the oven (much easier cleanup) for the skins, too. I just have to put things together tomorrow.

  • Laura F says:

    The Pamela’s brand baking mixes are wonderful if you need a quick GF mix. The pancake mix is our favorite!

  • Anna says:

    I tried your the easy italian breadsticks recipe this week. They were amazing and yes better than olive gardens!!! I had to change my menus around so I could make them twice this week. 🙂
    I really didn’t have any fails, but accidentally bought medium salsa so the kids couldn’t eat the black bean taco bake. But it was still good.

    • beth b says:

      My kids and our babysitter love those breadsticks so I’ve been keeping uncooked ones in the freezer to bake for after school snacks. I add ~1/2 cup parmesan to the dough which makes them extra yummy.

  • Abigail says:

    I have an amazing wheat free waffle recipe using brown rice and oatmeal. If you are interested, Crystal, let me know. I would be glad to share.

  • Karen S. says:

    When I am adapting recipes for my dairy free diet that include yogurt, I do not use it either. I think Soy yogurt is gross. I do use Tofutti brand sour cream (Kroger carries) though for a great substitute in baking or just extra soft tofu in recipes such as a smoothie.
    Hope this helps!

  • Sabrina says:

    Which was better- black bean brownies or chick pea blondies?

  • Christine says:

    For gluten-free waffles, try Pamela’s baking and pancake mix. You follow the pancake recipe on the package and add an extra egg. They taste like regular waffles. You can buy Pamela’s at Whole Foods, Stop and Shop, and online at Amazon. It is great for muffins, biscuits, and pancakes, too. I promise you—my kids love it too.

    • Courtney says:

      Agree! We love Pamela’s mixes, too 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Yes! I was about to post about Pamela’s as well. I did find, for me, that using fake syrup (which I’m usually ok with) is no good with gf pancakes. I used real syrup for the first time today—and instead of grudgingly eating, I gobbled them up! I’m supposed to be very low-sugar, but I think for this, I’ve just got to go real (I did grow up with real, so maybe that’s it?).

      • Jenny says:

        The Pamela’s mixes I can get locally are not dairy-free unfortunately so they don’t work for me! Wish they were as they are good.

  • Kristin says:

    Oh, I also had huge success with a recipe I made up: stawberry-grape jelly. We were out of jelly and I just could not handle the store again! I made it using grape juice, sugar, and two boxes of strawberry jello. So easy and so yummy!

  • Anne says:

    Fail for the week was a new slow-cooker potato soup recipe (too salty even after leaving out 1/2 of what the recipe called for)
    Success is finding a from scratch blueberry muffin recipe! Thanks, Pinterest! (It made 24 so 1/2 are in the freezer so we don’t eat them all in 1 day & can pull them out & heat for 20 seconds for a quick breakfast option.)

  • Shauna says:

    I made Salsa Verde Steak in the slow cooker and it was a hit at my house. I really needed some new recipes to use up some round steak we had in the freezer. I found the recipe at the bottom of your link for the Beef and Black Bean taco bake from your weekly menu.

  • kate says:

    No new recipes for me, but I spent the day freezer cooking for my grampa. He’s 87 and lives alone, and I know he’s not up for much cooking anymore. Sometimes he eats soup two meals a day because he doesn’t want to go to the trouble of making something. At one point there was a brief comment thread on this site about freezing leftovers in meal-portions for elderly people, and I was inspired to give it a go.

    So I bought a whole bunch of individual-sized foil pans (not terribly cost-effective, but this way I know he can just pop one into his toaster oven and have dinner on the table in about half an hour – and if he decides he likes having his freezer stocked, I should be able to re-use at least some of them) and started cooking.

    I made him four pans of lasagna (he should get two meals out of each), four pans of chicken and black bean enchilladas (also probably two meals each), five pans of chicken tetrazzini (one meal each), and three ziploc bags of asian pepper steak (probably one meal each, and he can make his own rice in the microwave).

    And while I was cooking, I put an 8×8 pan of lasagna in my own freezer, along with a couple Tupperwares of pepper steak, and left out a 9×13 pan of enchilladas which I will eat for dinner all week, and about two lunches worth of tetrazzini to take to work.

    My mother and I took a cooler full of food over to grampa’s house this afternoon, and he was just so excited, and I know he’s looking forward to having a variety of almost-ready-to-eat homemade dinners in his freezer. And best of all, I know he’ll get a good meal every night this month.

  • linda derosett says:

    I tried the black bean brownies last week. They should come posted with a warning label that states ‘your digestive system will now become a lethal weapon’. I loved the idea of healthy brownies, but the just weren’t worth the ensuing misery!

  • Caren says:

    Here’s our favorite super-simple recipe for grain-free dairy-free waffles:

    Thanks for sharing your waffle photo. I have had so many recipes turn out like that!

  • Lorna says:

    I unwrapped the first of this year’s home made hard cheeses. I made it on new years day and it was a quick maturing recipe I hadn’t tried before. Tasted great, good texture to eat but too crumbly to store well. May have to eat it all up instead!!

  • Kara says:

    FYI, they do have a So Delicious Brand coconut yogurt which does not have soy or dairy which we have to use in our house in recipes that call for yogurt.

    PS A couple of allergists told me that it takes 7-8 weeks for all dairy to get out of your system…(so for your trial for one of your children…keep it up a good while). It took 16 weeks for my son’s symptoms to clear up when we discovered his 16 + allergies.

    • Monica says:

      We love the coconut yogurt too! You can even strain the plain coconut yogurt and get coconut cream cheese! I also agree with waiting awhile, we saw improvements after a few days of taking out the allergens, but after a couple months things were much better. You also have to be careful with little things like seasonings. We eventually had to start buying them from the farm to make sure they didn’t have any hidden ingredients (wheat, soy, dairy) in them

    • Meredith says:

      We were told 3 months by a GI doc at the Children’s Hospital (Denver). Not the news you want to hear in the midst of trying to figure out what’s wrong with a baby – but yes, by all means – keep it up a good while indeed. 🙂

  • Dawn says:

    Crystal – I have been making the chocolate banana bread recipe you posted a few weeks back every week since then. It is a big hit in my house. Thanks for sharing all you do.

  • Julie says:

    Here’s an AMAZING recipe for you:
    All of the recipes on here are wonderful! This one is gluten free, dairy free & made with chick peas. She comes up with some pretty wonderful & healthy desserts.

  • tonja says:

    Here is my very picky-eater son’s FAVORITE waffles and/or pancake recipe: It is gluten-free if you want it to be (that’s how we make it, even though we don’t have issues) and I have never had it turn out badly, no matter which ingredients I’ve used. I’m pretty sure I’ve made it with coconut milk or almond milk in the past. I usually just throw in whatever I have on hand.
    Honestly, I have not always been crazy about some of Sue Gregg’s recipes–but this one is a winner in my family’s book!!!

  • Sorry to hear about your flop! 🙂 If it helps, the almond milk will change the consistency of the batter significantly. I hope you get to try it again with the yogurt. I make these all the time for my kids and they love them!

  • Jessie P. says:

    Here’s a simple recipe for grain free waffles…no yogurt needed!
    Haven’t tried them yet, but hope to soon! We’re on the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) for my husband’s colitis.

  • Monica says:

    We have done the black bean brownies but we use a box mix & just omit everything (eggs etc) just the mix & add the pureed blk beans! My son can not have eggs or dairy so it’s a treat for him to have the same brownies f/ a box that everyone else is eating.

  • Cara Ivey says:

    I too make Black Bean Brownies. In fact we almost use an identical recipe. I’ve had MUCH more luck using 1/2C Honey in place of the sugar. It mixes better with the beans and completely hides the bean flavor. We LOVE them!

  • jessica says:

    I think you are right. when a recipe like that calls for something thick like yogurt u can play with yogurt, creme , sour cream but if u use any kind of milk u are adding liquid , too much liquid will cause it not to work. Esp. important in understanding before u go too much further w/ gluten free. foods.
    I haven’t tried these, but I think I will

  • Christine says:

    My favorite part is when you share the flops. Not that you failed — but that you are confident enough to show that you have less than perfect moments, too.

  • Jan says:

    Recipe success this week: lazy cook’s slow-cooker pot roast. I threw a 2-lb chuck roast (frozen) and a can of Progresso french onion soup into my 4.5-qt slow cooker and let it cook on low for 4 hours. Then I added cut-up carrots and potatoes (I think it was 4 or 5 of each) and cooked for another 4 hours. Very yummy! I served it with a loaf of bread made with the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day master recipe. This is my third or fourth batch of the artisan bread, and I’m definitely getingt a feel for the right consistency of the dough based on the protein content of the particular flour (bleached, unbleached, bread)–loaves are turning out better each time!

  • Rebekah says:

    I made those waffles last week and they turned out great. We were looking for a quick on the go breakfast for my hubby who is trying to lose some weight by doing a low-carb type diet. They are a little expensive to make but they tasted great!

  • I made a bunch of soups and packaged them in lunch sized containers. That’s lunch for the next 2 months! I also made quick bread to go along with it.

    My experiment of the week was making ground beef substitute. We haven’t had any yet so I’m not sure how it turned out. It smelled really good though! Here’s the recipe I used:

    Frito pie sounds good. I’ll have to add that to my menu next month.

  • Dineen says:

    I tried making breakfast turkey sausage from ground turkey I found in the meat department on a decent price that wasn’t a pre-frozen chub. It turned out OK in terms of the spices I chose, but unfortunately the butcher had ground it too fine so the texture was a bit unpleasant. My husband and I have been eating it, but the 4-year-old is rejecting it when normally ground turkey is no different to her than hamburger whenever I’ve used it in the past.

  • Teresa says:

    On Sunday I tried a recipe in my new pressure cooker that we named “Star Wars Darth Maul Meatballs”. They were the ugliest meatballs I have ever seen, hence they look like Darth Maul, but they were delicious. Here is the recipe and pics (be sure to scroll down the post and see the meatball and Darth Maul comparison):

  • Ilyssa says:

    I’ve made Black Bean Brownies before (from the Weight Watchers Website) and they were great! We left them overnight and they became much less fudgy/cakey and more brownie like. Very good!!!

  • kari says:

    Have you tried the chickpea chocolate cake? I prefer it over the black bean recipes…

  • Karin says:

    Crazy on the waffles! Our family loves these things! You really should’ve followed the recipe b/c they are fabulous and they are very easy to work with. Almond milk would be way too watery as a yogurt substitute. Deliciously organic is one of my favorite blogs b/c she does an amazing job of testing her recipes out…she usually works a recipe over many times to get the correct ratios on her ingredients. That’s why I trust her recipes! I’d try some of her other fabulous recipes as they are written!! Better luck next time!

  • Heather says:

    If you are looking for a gluten free waffle, here is my recipe. It is not grain free, though. It uses buckwheat (naturally gluten free, despite the name) and (certified gluten free) oats. But it does taste good, and freezes well!

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *