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Friday, February 7, 2014

Freezer Meals

3 hours and 12 freezer meals!

My friend Jenna came up and we put together freezer meals that will be a great help when baby arrives. We collected recipes from family and friends and made the following:

1- Broccoli Chicken Casserole
2- Pepperoni Ziti Casserole
3- Tortilla Casserole
4- Tater Tot Casserole
5- Taco Pasta Bake
6- Chicken Tetrazzini

Some things we considered:
-Each recipe made a 9x13 pan, but for a family of two we split each into 2-8x8 pans, and used disposable catering pans for easy clean up.
-We substituted gluten free wherever possible. I know the Cream of Mushroom soups (etc) do contain gluten, but I am not that sensitive so I can tolerate that small amount.  
-I also prepped all the meat the night before, which helped save time when putting the meals together. 
-Many people suggested using plastic wrap on top and foil helps to prevent freezer burn, but we wrote on each foil to remove the plastic wrap before baking!
- Lastly, we wrote in sharpie the name of the dish on the sides for organization, and the cooking instructions on top.

Here are our recipes:

Broccoli Chicken Casserole
4 cups cooked broccoli
2 cups cooked chicken, diced (I used meat from pre-cooked deli chicken from Safeway and used the whole chicken)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup mayo
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon curry
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
Toasted bread crumbs (to be done the day you will cook casserole)

1- Separate cooked broccoli into two greased freezer pans.
2- Mix chicken, cream of mushroom soup, mayo, lemon juice, and curry in bowl.
3- Spread mixture evenly over broccoli in the two freezer pans.
4- Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
5- Freeze (plastic wrapped over top, and then foil with instructions on it)

Bake: Remove from freezer, top with toasted bread crumbs, bake at 325 degrees for 45 min to 1 hr with foil until warmed and bubbly in middle, take off foil and bake additional 15 min.

Pepperoni Ziti Casserole
1 lb Ziti, (we used Trader Joe's gluten free tube pasta)
1/2 lb ground turkey
29 oz can tomato sauce
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
5 oz fresh spinach (chopped)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup water
Parmesan cheese

1- Cook pasta.
2- Meanwhile, brown turkey, drain fat.
3- In large bowl, mix cooked turkey, 29 oz tomato sauce, 1 cup mozzarella, chopped fresh spinach, ricotta, Italian seasoning, garlic, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and pepper.
4- Drain cooked pasta, fold into bowl.
5- Divide into 2 greased 8x8 pans.
6- Combine 1 cup water and 8oz tomato sauce, pour over the tops of the two separate pans.
7- Sprinkle tops with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
8- Line tops with pepperoni.
9- Cover with plastic and then foil and put in freezer.

Bake: Take pasta out of freezer night before or morning of using dish. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes covered with foil, then uncover and cook for 5 more minutes.

Tortilla Casserole
Meat of cooked deli chicken, diced (about 2 cups)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2-4 cups cheddar cheese
2-4 cups pepper jack cheese
1 can black beans
10-12 corn tortillas (flour would work well, too)

1- Mix diced chicken, soup, salsa, beans, and cumin in bowl.
2- Line both greased 8x8 pans with tortillas (I tore them into pieces to fit the square pans)
3- Layer in each pan about 1/4 of chicken mixture on layer of tortillas, top with 1/4 shredded cheeses.
4- Repeat layer of tortillas, then meat mixture, then cheese.
5- Cover with plastic and then foil, and freeze.

Bake: Bake covered with foil for about 1hr or until bubbly in center. Great served topped with sour cream and guacamole.

Tater Tot Casserole
1 lb ground turkey
2 lb frozen tater tots
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can evaporated milk

1- Brown meat, drain, separate into 2 greased 8x8 pans.
2- Top with tater tots.
3- Mix soups and evaporated milk together and pour over tops of tater tots.
4- Cover with plastic and then foil, and freeze.

Bake: Bake from freezer topped with foil for about 1 hr, or until warmed throughout. Remove foil and bake for additional 10- 15 minutes.

Taco Pasta Bake
1 lb ground meat
12 oz pasta (we used gluten free)
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 package taco seasoning
2-4 cups grated cheese

1- Cook pasta.
2- Meanwhile, brown meat and drain.
3- Mix together cooked meat, drained pasta, taco seasoning, grated cheese, and the drained and rinsed beans and corn.
4- Let cool and cover with plastic and foil, then freeze.

Bake: No baking needed, defrost and microwave servings individually. The cheese will help it stick together. Serve with sour cream, salsa, guacamole. 

Chicken Tetrazzini
12 oz pasta (we used gluten free)
2-3 cups cooked chicken, diced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 cup frozen peas
4-6 sliced white mushrooms
1/4 stick butter
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Parmesan cheese
Sea salt

1- Cook pasta.
2- Meanwhile, melt butter and saute mushrooms until soft.
3- In large bowl mix chicken broth, cream of mushroom soups, sour cream, peas, cooked mushrooms, and shredded cheese, add salt and pepper to taste.
4- Mix in cooked, drained pasta and diced cooked chicken.
5- Separate into 2 greased 8x8 pans.
6- Top with Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with paprika.
7- Cover with plastic wrap and then foil, and freeze.

Bake: Bake covered with foil at 350 for about 1hr, or until bubbly throughout. Take off foil for additional 10-15 minutes.

Thankful for this sweet friend in my life :)


  1. I'm curious to hear which are favorites! I made a rendition of the pepperoni casserole for dinner tonight ;). Thankful for you too!

  2. By the way, Progresso soup sells "Creamy Mushroom" soup that is gluten free among many other options. :)

    1. I'll have to try it next time. Thanks so much!

  3. For the Tetrazzini - how much broth did you use? I made all of these yesterday! Well, prepped them at least. :) Thanks for the great recipes.

    1. Sorry! Great question- just 1 cup.

  4. Is there a preferred substitute for the cream of mushroom soup for picky eaters?

    1. I haven't tried substituting, but if you find something that works well please let me know :)

    2. Did you find a replacement for the cream of mushroom soup? I was thinking cream of chicken would work.

  5. Planning on making these tomorrow. Hoping my kids like them.

    1. How did it go? I'm making mine today to restock up. My third time and it's going a little faster now. Any tips or suggestions?

  6. Are the cooking times for freezer to oven, or after being thawed?

  7. Thank you for sharing this! I love doing this kind of thing so that on super busy days I can still feed everyone something home made. A suggestion though, for this blog: for something like this where you are making several different meals that might have some similar ingredients it would be wonderfully helpful to have one list of ingredients for shopping and prep purposes. To at a glance, know how much beef/chicken/turkey to cook up the night before for all of the different meals. How many cans of beans (or oz/cups if you are using dry beans and soaking them yourself), how many tomatoes, broccoli, onions, etc...Again, thank you for your time and sharing these recipes and suggestions! Blessings!

    1. I was just thinking this same thing. I'm excited to try these this week!

    2. Great tips, thanks for the suggestions!

  8. I have family members who do not like and cannot tolerate mushrooms. Would substituting the cream of mushroom soup "alter" the recipes in a negative way?

    1. My friend Jenna is one who really alters recipes based on what works for her, and what she has on hand... so I would say go for it and let me know if you find something that improves the recipes! Thanks!

  9. Thank you so much for posting freezer meals that don't have to go in the crock pot. I love that I can take these and pop them in the fridge when I get up and then I can pop them in the oven when I get home from work. I need to find more of these. Thanks again.

  10. What is the cooking time for the tater tot cassrole?

  11. I think I was able to put together a shopping list - I'm going to follow this weekend and will update if I forget anything....

    Shopping List

    6 cups cooked chicken (or 3 rotisserie chicken)
    1 ½ lb turkey
    1 lb ground beef

    6 cups cheddar cheese
    1 ½ cup shredded mozzarella
    ½ cup ricotta cheese
    2 cups Parmesan cheese
    4 cups pepper jack cheese
    4 cups Mexican cheese

    4 cans cream of mushroom soup
    29 oz can tomato sauce
    8 oz can tomato sauce
    1 can cream of celery soup
    1 cup salsa
    2 can black beans
    1 can cream of chicken soup
    1 can evaporated milk
    1 can corn
    1 cup chicken broth

    Curry (½ teaspoon)
    Italian Seasoning (4 tablespoons)
    Garlic powder (½ teaspoon)
    Crushed red pepper (½ teaspoon)
    Cumin (½ teaspoon)

    4 cups Broccoli
    Lemon (need 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
    5 oz fresh spinach
    Garlic (2 cloves)
    6 sliced white mushrooms

    1 lb ziti
    24 oz pasta

    2 lbs frozen tater tots
    1 cup frozen peas

    12-8x8 pans with lids
    Mayo (¼ cup)
    Butter (1/4 stick)
    Toasted bread crumbs
    12 corn or flour tortillas
    1 cup sour cream
    1 package taco seasoning

  12. Thank you for the shopping list. This will save me a lot of time!

  13. how much was all of this? we are on a budget, or trying anyways lol..

  14. So how many servings would you say these make in the 9 x 13? 4?

  15. Temps for oven on the tater-tot and tortilla casseroles?

  16. Temps for oven on the tater-tot and tortilla casseroles??

  17. For the tortilla casserole, do you thaw first or straight from freezer to oven for your listed baking time?