|3/21/2013 10:54:00 AM|
One for dinner, one for later
March is National Frozen Food Month, among other things such as National Nutrition, Peanut, Pancake and Egg Month. Today it’s about frozen foods and I have a list of foods that freeze well. Condensed creamed soups, Alfredo sauce, spaghetti sauce, chili, breads, pizza sauce, shredded cheese, pasta cooked barely tender, mashed potatoes (cubed or diced don’t hold up well after thawing), dairy products, full fat mayo (not “lite” or fat free.) For best results, combine with condensed cream soups before freezing.
Top this rich casserole with a little crunch, and you have a dish the whole family will like, plus another to freeze for another meal.
CREAMY HAM AND NOODLE CASSEROLES
10 c. uncooked tricolor or plain spiral pasta
4 celery ribs, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced (you can use a sweet red pepper if you wish)
1/2 c. diced onion
1/4 c. butter or margarine cubed
3 cans condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
3 c. 1 or 2% milk
1/2 t. salt
4 c. cubed cooked ham
4- 4 oz. cans mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 c. crushed butter-flavored crackers (Ritz, Club crackers)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch over, saute the next three ingredients. In a very large bowl, combine the soup mixture, ham and mushrooms. Drain pasta; stir into soup mixture. Transfer to two greased 9x13 inch baking dishes. Top each with cracker crumbs. Cover on tightly with foil and freeze up to three months. Bake remaining casserole, uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. To use frozen casserole: Thaw in fridge overnight. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until heated through. Makes two casseroles, nine servings each.
CHICKEN-PESTO PENNE CASSEROLES
1- 16 oz. package penne pasta
6 c. cubed cooked chicken
4 c. (16 oz.) shredded Italian cheese blend
3 c. fresh baby spinach, stems removed
1- 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1- 15 oz. can Alfredo sauce
1- 10 oz. jar prepared pesto
1-1/2 c. 1 or 2% milk
1/2 c. each, seasoned bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. olive oil
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine next seven ingredients. Drain pasta and mix into chicken mixture. Transfer to two greased eight-inch square baking dishes. In a small bowl, combine last three ingredients; sprinkle over casseroles. Cover one casserole tightly with foil, freeze up to three months. Cover and bake remaining casserole at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly. To use frozen casserole: Thaw in fridge overnight. Remove from freezer 30 minutes before baking. Keep covered and bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until bubbly. Makes two casseroles, six servings each. Note: If you don’t have two eight inch square baking dishes, you can use a nine inch pie plate.
2- 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1- 6 oz. can tomato paste
4 t. sugar
2 t. dried basil leaves
1-1/2 t. dried oregano leaves
1/2 t. each, salt, onion powder and garlic powder
1- 1 lb. bulk spicy pork sausage
1 c. chopped fresh mushrooms
1 pkg. (3 1/2 oz.) sliced pepperoni
3 c. (12 oz.) shredded provolone cheese, divided
1 c. chopped ripe olives
12 flour tortillas (6 in.)
1/3 c. shredded Parmesan cheese.
Combine first eight ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Cook pork and mushrooms in a large skillet over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Spread 1/3 c. sauce on the bottom of each of two greased 11x7 inch baking dishes. Place four pepperoni slices, 1/4 c. sausage mixture, 2 T. provolone cheese and a heaping T. olives down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place six enchiladas in each dish, seam side down in baking dishes. Pour the rest of sauce over the top; sprinkle with Parmesan and rest of provolone cheese. Cover and bake one casserole at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover, bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted. Cool and cover tightly with foil, the remaining casserole; freeze up to three months. To use frozen casserole: Thaw, covered, in fridge over night. Remove 30 minutes before baking. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese melted. Makes two casseroles (six servings each.)
Note: I find many recipes that call for an 11x7 inch baking dish. Give yourself a gift and buy one. It is important to use the correct size baking dish. I have a glass one and I use it a lot.
Thought for the Day: Your mind can only hold one thought at a time -- make it positive and construction.