To maintain my sanity I have been experimenting lately with freezer meals, using 1/2 for dinner and freezing 1/2 for later. So far I have found some REALLY great recipes to share and I have a stocked freezer (yippee!).
Here is one that we liked, with a few changes by moi:
Chicken & Vegetable Pasta Bake
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 brown onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, ends trimmed, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- About 3 cups dried risoni pasta
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
- 1 cup grated cheddar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 3 cups milk, warmed
- 2/3 cup grated cheddar
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, corn, and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl. In the same frying pan, brown chicken until no longer pink.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain.
- To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until well combined. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar.
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Add the pasta, bechamel sauce and chicken to the veggie mixture and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the pasta mixture into a 3L (12-cup) capacity ovenproof dish.
- Combine the breadcrumbs and cheddar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the pasta mixture. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Serve.
- Freeze: At the end of step 5, set aside to cool. Divide among freezerproof, ovenproof dishes. Cover with lids, plastic wrap, or foil. Place in fridge for 4 hours or until cooled. Label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before baking 6-8 hours. To bake, leave foil on and cook at 375 for 25 minutes or so. I think you could cook it frozen, just adjust the cooking time accordingly. In case you forget to take it out in the morning...