May 31, 2012 at 9:20 a.m.
People are gardening, washing windows or are involved in all sorts of outside activities. The days go by quickly for many of us and when it’s close to dinner time, it’s good to have a dish ready to put in the oven after a busy day. The recipes today are for making “freezer-friendly” dishes to make.
It’s not about leftovers, it’s preparing two of the same dishes to be eaten at different times. And with that...
CHEESY CHICKEN CASSEROLE
4 c. cooked, cubed chicken
2 cans Cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 lb., bacon, cooked, drained on paper toweling and crumbled
1 c. - 1 or 2% milk
1 c. mayonnaise
4 c. spiral pasta, cooked according to pkg. directions, drained
4 medium tomatoes, seed and chopped
3 c. fresh baby spinach, chopped, packed into measuring cup
2 c. shredded Colby-Monterey jack cheese
In a large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients; stir in pasta, tomatoes and spinach. Turn into 2 greased 8” square baking dishes. Sprinkle 1 c. cheese over each dish. Cool one casserole; cover and freeze for up to three months. Cover and bake remaining casserole at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. To use frozen casserole: thaw in fridge overnight. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Makes two casseroles, 5 servings each. Note: When freezing one casserole, line the pan with foil before putting chicken mixture into pan, leaving 2-inches overhang on two sides of the pan. When frozen, left casserole out of pan onto a sheet of foil; wrap tightly with more foil. Label instructions for cooking, the date it was prepared and what it is. Doing it this way give you your baking dish back to use when needed for something else. When you want to use the casserole, put it into the pan, thaw and bake as directed. Do the same for following recipes.
SOUTHWEST ENCHILADA BAKE
30- 6” corn tortillas
3 lbs., lean ground beef
2 large onions, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and diced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2-15 oz. cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
2 cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
2-10 oz. cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
2-10 oz. can enchilada sauce
1/2 t. hot pepper sauce
4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Cut tortilla into eighths, set aside. In a Dutch oven or very large saucepan combine next 5 ingredients over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in next 5 ingredients; heat through. Spread 2-2/3 c. meat mixture into each of two greased 9x13” baking dishes. Top each with 2 c. cut tortillas. Repeat layers. Top with rest of meat mixture; sprinkle with cheese. Cool one casserole; cover and freeze up to 3 months. Cover and bake other casserole at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Before freezing, wrap casserole as in previous recipe. Also, if cheese is getting too brown, cover casserole very loosely with foil. To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the fridge overnight. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or till cheese is melted. Let stand before cutting. Note: Use disposable gloves when cutting jalapeno pepper. Makes two casseroles, eight servings each.
SAUSAGE AND FETTUCCINE CASSEROLE
1-1/2 lb. fettuccine pasta, cooked according to pkg. directions
2 lbs., bulk Italian sausage
2 large onions, minced
1 medium green pepper, diced
2-28 oz. cans diced tomatoes or 4-15 oz. cans, undrained
2-4 oz. cans mushrooms, drained
4 t. Italian seasoning
4 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 small cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 c. beef broth
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
In a Dutch oven or very large saucepan, cook sausage, onions and green pepper first over medium heat till meat is no longer pink; drain. Add next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil; lower heat; simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes. Add fettuccini to sausage mixture. Transfer half of the sausage mixture to 2 greased 9x13” baking dishes. Top each with 1 cup mozzarella cheese; top with rest of sausage mixture. In a small bowl, whisk together soup and broth; pour over each casserole. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and rest of mozzarella. Cool one casserole; cover and freeze up to three months. Cover and bake remaining casserole at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or till bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. To use frozen casserole: Remove from freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not thaw). Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer till heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes two casseroles, six servings each.
Thought for the Day:
Forever is a long time, but not as long as it was yesterday!
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