When I wrote out my freezer cooking plan last week, I was hopeful that I could pull it all together, especially since I haven’t put together a freezer cooking day in quite a long time. However, I worked in the extra meals during times when I was already cooking, so it didn’t feel like I was adding extra work into my week.
The first freezer meal I worked on was lasagna. Instead of preparing just one lasagna for our family’s dinner that evening, I put together three lasagnas, enabling me to pop two into the freezer for future meals.
I started by defrosting and browning five pounds of ground beef. While the beef was browning, I boiled water for the lasagna noodles. Once the meat was finished, I divided it into five bowls – three for lasagna and two for the pasta bake that I planned to make later in the week.
To the remaining three bowls of browned ground beef, I added cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, an egg, and basil. After draining the noodles, I filled three pans with alternating layers of pasta sauce, noodles, and cheese/beef mixture, ending with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
I popped one pan into the oven, and I wrapped the other two pans, marked them with the date and recipe name, and put them in the freezer for later use.
On Wednesday, I put together two pans of pasta bake, using the remaining ground beef that had already been browned. One was used for dinner that evening, while the other was sent to the freezer.
Finally, over the weekend, I prepared a package of chicken, and put together two large pans of chicken parmesan. Instead of using either pan for dinner, I put them both in the freezer. All in all, I probably spent an hour and a half putting together these meals. In return, I have five meals available for our family – and the only prep work will be pulling them out of the freezer and putting them in the oven!
It was a relief to know I could still accomplish freezer cooking without devoting a whole day to the process. I thought I’d share our family’s lasagna recipe. It’s super easy, and we all really enjoy it:
1 lb. ground beef
8 lasagna noodles
1 jar pasta sauce
16 oz. cottage cheese
3+ cups mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. basil
Brown ground beef; drain. While meat is cooking, boil noodles according to package directions. Combine ground beef, cottage cheese, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, egg, and basil.
Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Top with four lasagna noodles. Layer half of the beef and cheese mixture on top of the noodles. Repeat layers. Top with additional layer of pasta sauce and remaining cup (or more if desired) of mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.