Easy Freezer Meals

freezer meals

If you’re like me, before you know it dinnertime has rolled around again and you’re left wondering what to make/what you have the ingredients for/what’s quick, because let’s be honest…some days we’re just not in the mood to spend a half hour or better in the kitchen cooking!  Not to mention busy days/nights where you simply just don’t have the time to make something.  That’s when I either make some sort of processed junk that’s quick or invite ourselves to my parents for dinner so that I don’t have to think about it!

In an attempt to solve my little problem of “what to make for dinner” on those nights, I decided to make up some easy freezer meals to have on hand that I can pop into the oven and have a work-free homemade meal!  This week I only made 3 meals, trying to stick with ingredients that I had in the cupboards already.  I ended up with: stuffed shells, 2 pans of lasagna and tater tot casserole.  **Note: my recipes are for 2-3 servings, or to fill an 8×8 pan**

Grocery List (for all 3 meals):

1 package of Lasagna noodles

1 box of jumbo shells

1 large jar of spaghetti sauce, optional: 1 jar of alfredo sauce

1 large container of ricotta cheese

1 package each of shredded mozzarella, parmesan and cheddar cheese

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 package of frozen tater tots

1 can of cream of mushroom or celery soup

1 package of frozen peas and corn

Seasonings/spices: I like to use garlic, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, basil, onion powder

 

Stuffed Shells (I made a pan of 10 stuffed shells)

  • Brown 1/2 lb. ground beef and season to liking.  At the same time, cook shells according to packaging
  • Mix together 1 cup of ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, basil and Italian seasoning
  • Remove cooked ground beef from heat, let cool and mix with room temperature spaghetti sauce (making it as saucy or meaty as you like)
  • Drain and rinse cooked shells in cold water
  • Spread a thin layer of meat sauce mixture or alfredo sauce at the bottom of an 8×8 baking tin
  • Stuff shells with ricotta mixture, place in a single layer in the pan and cover with meat sauce
  • Sprinkle a little parmesan and mozzarella cheese over the top and cover with tin foil and/or lid
  • To cook: remove tin foil and bake in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until heated thoroughly and cheese is bubbly.

shells

Lasagna (I made 2 8×8 pans, each pan half meat, half no meat)

  • Brown 1/2 lb. ground beef and season to liking. At the same time, cook lasagna noodles according to packaging
  • Mix together the rest of the container of ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, basil and Italian seasoning
  • Remove cooked ground beef from heat, let cool and mix with room temperature spaghetti sauce (making it as saucy or meaty as you like)
  • Drain and rinse cooked noodles in cold water
  • Spread a thin layer of meat sauce mixture or alfredo sauce at the bottom of an 8×8 baking tin
  • Layer noodles, ricotta mixture, meat sauce/spaghetti sauce on non-meat half, and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.  Repeat
  • Top with another layer of noodles, a little bit of sauce and a good amount of mozzarella/parmesan cheese.  Cover with tin foil and/or lid
  • To cook: remove tin foil and bake in 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until heated thoroughly and cheese is bubbly.
  • **Note: to make the entire pan meaty, increase your ground beef by another 1/2 lb.**

lasagna

Tater Tot Casserole (I made 2 8×8 pans, each pan half meat, half no meat)

  • Brown 1/2 lb. ground beef and season to liking.  Remove from heat and let cool
  • Mix together 1/2 can cream of celery or mushroom soup, cooked meat, salt and pepper and frozen vegetables if desired.  Mix the other half of the can of soup with salt and pepper and frozen vegetables.
  • Spray the bottom of 8×8 pan with cooking spray
  • Spread 1/2 meat mixture on one side, 1/2 vegetable mixture on the other side
  • Cover with a generous amount of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Top with frozen tater tots.  Cover with tin foil and/or lid
  • To cook: remove tin foil and bake in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until bubbly and tater tots are browned.
  • **Note: to make the entire pan meaty, increase your ground beef by 1/2 lb.**

tater tot casserole

I’m telling you, freezer meals are the way to go!  The next time you’re in the mood to cook, take advantage and stock your freezer.  A few hours of labor and a one time kitchen cleanup will result in several meals ready to pop in the oven whenever you need them!  Check back in a couple weeks… I just might have a few new recipes for you!

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