Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Casserole Freezer Meals...The Not So Lazy Freezer Meals

I have expressed several times that I a lazy cook and that my favorite kitchen appliance is my slow cooker. I feel that if I have to spend longer than 30 minutes preparing and cooking dinner its wasting my time. But I like to think I am also a nice person and try to make things my family likes and my family LOVES lasagna but I never make it because it is a bit time consuming. (although a friend recently told me about a slow cooker lasagna recipe I really want to try).

In what was a moment of brilliance, "I thought I will do a few casserole freezer meals to treat the family." Apparently I need my head examined this was not a good idea and did not follow my lazy philosophy of quick dinner meals. It wasn't even quick freezer meal took for ever. 

I was very frustrated the whole time...I kept thinking I could prepare a whole month of slow cooker freezer meals in the amount of time this is taking. First you have to cook the food, then assemble it, then freeze it, then thaw it and then bake it....just thinking about all the steps involved are making me feel exhausted.

With all that being said the "pseudo" step-kids were very excited to see lasagna on the menu and ate every bite with no complaints. I am not sure if I will do it again but with that kind of response....its possible.

Since this is the first time I have done this I have only one doesn't make it easier but will help protect your food against freezer burn. Be sure to get tin foil pans with lids. After assembling your dish but a layer of press n'seal wrap followed by tin foil and then the lid for the pan. Just don't forget to remove the extra layers before me that does not end well and you end up ordering pizza for dinner.

Oh yea...when defrosting its best to get the pan out the at least the day before and let it defrost in the fridge until you are ready to cook. You can cook everything when its frozen but this will dramatically change cook times.

I decided to make lasagna, chicken pot pie and chicken enchilada. I made 2 pans of all three so I doubled each recipe...might as well stock up a little.

Chicken Pot Pie
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • rosemary, thyme, marjoram and basil, powdered or fresh (I used a poultry fresh herb blend)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups chicken, cut into cubes
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 2 frozen pie crusts thawed
  1. Cook chicken in a large frying pan with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Once completely cooked remove from pan and set aside*. I skipped this step by cooking all the chicken in the slow cooker the night before.
  2. Heat chicken stock and milk in a sauce pan. Simmer over medium-low heat then cover to keep warm.
  3. Melt butter in the same pan you used to cook chicken. Add carrots and celery and cook until they start to get soft.
  4. Add onions, garlic and herbs/seasoning to the pan. Cook until onions start to turn transparent. Add salt and pepper, peas and corn and cook until vegetables are no longer frozen.
  5. Add the chicken to the vegetables and stir. 
  6. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and vegetables and stir until well combined.
  7. Pour in the chicken and milk mixture. Stir until flour has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
  8. Take one pie crust and place in a the bottom of a tin foil pan with lid. This will require you to do a little "mushing to make it fit". Just make sure the bottom is covered.
  9. Place chicken and vegetable mixture in pan on top of pie crust.
  10. Roll out the second pie crust and place on top of the mixture tucking the edge of the crust around the chicken and vegetable careful you don't want to burn yourself like I do every time I make it.
  1. Thaw casserole.
  2. Beat an egg and brush over the top of your pie crust. Cut a few slits into the top crust to help with "venting"
  3. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove lid and cook another 20 minutes.
  4. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Chicken Enchiladas
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies 
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice
  • 12 tortilla shells
  • 1 can enchilada sauce (I used mild so The "pseudo" step kids will eat it).
  1. Mix chicken, diced tomatoes with chilies and 1.5 cups of cheese in bowl 
  2. Place a spoonful of the mixture on a tortilla shell, roll and place in a tin foil pan with lid.
  3. Repeat step 2 until pan is full or mixture is gone.
  4. Evenly pour enchilada sauce over rolled tortillas.
  5. Top with remaining cheese.
  1. Thaw enchiladas.
  2. Cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

  • 6 oz Turkey Burger
  • 6 oz Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 1 med chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 26 oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • lasagna noodles 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese
  1. Cook meat, onions and garlic over medium heat until meat is done; drain off fat. Add spaghetti sauce and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook lasagna noodles. Drain noodles; rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside.
  3. Combine egg, ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce in tin foil pan. Layer noodles, ricotta cheese mixture, meat sauce and Parmesan cheese. Repeat until ingredients are gone.
  1. Thaw Lasagna.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees covered for 40 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 20 more minutes.
  3. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

If you like it share it

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...