Meal planning doesn’t have to make you wring your hands, stomp your feet and cause you to order pizza in frustration. The solution is simple if you plan a little bit ahead, keep a perpetual grocery list going, utilize easy recipes and keep your pantry stockpiled.
One trick that has always helped me in a pinch has been to make extra and freeze it. Casseroles are the ideal dish for the freezer as they manage to hold up to the freezer beautifully without losing taste or texture.
So why not make one a week as part of your regular weekly menu plan and double the recipe? Then you will have a stash of casseroles in your freezer for another time.
But let’s take this frozen casserole concept a step further. A little bit of planning for the future costs you nearly nothing in money and time and allows you to reach out and help someone else. An extra frozen casserole is easy stuff and could be a lifeline to a friend or relative in need.
Here’s a fabulous recipe (easily doubled!) with freezing tips included:
Chicken and Artichoke Casserole
- 5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves cut in 1″ strips
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic pressed (OPTIONAL—check to see if garlic bothers the baby if you’re gifting to a nursing mom)
- 1 cup mushrooms sliced
- 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts drained
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 can chicken broth or use homemade
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a skillet over medium heat, brown chicken lightly in 2 tablespoons butter, add the garlic and mushrooms and keep cooking till chicken mixture is smelling very garlicky.
- Transfer browned chicken strips to a baking dish (for your extra casserole, use an aluminum pan that can be tossed after use); arrange artichoke hearts on top.
- In the skillet, melt remaining butter and add the flour, whisking to blend (no lumps!). Add broth and cook until thickened then pour over chicken mixture.
- Bake the casserole, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes.
You may also want to check out our wonderful Batch Cooking Freezer Meals! Just defrost, cook, and eat! Dinner was never easier for you or to give others!
Do we take the casserole (food contents) out of the pan and then put it in the bag & freezer? Or does the pan go with the food into the freezer?
What size of pan is needed?
Two or three quarts should be good, and yes the pan goes in the freezer… if you don’t have one to spare, you can use a disposable one OR line your pan before freezing and take your pan back the next day (putting a mostly solid casserole back in the freezer).