Thursday, November 5, 2009

Make Ahead Meal

Last year a friend and I would each make several meals for the freezer (x2) and then swap. It was a great way to save time in the kitchen and came in especially handy for me on days I had to work late. As long as I remembered to set the meal out to thaw, my husband could just throw it in the oven and dinner would be ready by the time I got home.

Lately I've been researching Once-a-month-cooking, freezer meals, and the like. The thing is, I like the act of cooking enough that I don't really want to do it all in two days (though that sounds like a fun and exhausting two days), but I would like to find a handful of things to keep in the freezer for those busy nights (and sometimes mornings). So, the research continues.

I do have a few of those types of recipes up my sleeve, though, especially after a year of experimenting. I must say that I think it's hard to find a dish that is not compromised by a month or two in the freezer. I typically prefer to prepare part of the dish ahead and save the assembly for later (i.e., meatballs, cooked chicken or ground beef).

However, I do make this Spaghetti Casserole pretty much anytime I need to take a meal to someone and don't have much time to prepare. It goes together quickly, and the best part is that it makes 2 for the new parents and one for us. It's nothing fancy, but it's cheap, easy and good.

(I'm adding this to Life as Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap that she does each week...what a great way to get new recipes!)

Spaghetti Casserole

1 package (16 ounces) angel hair pasta
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. Remove from the heat.
Drain pasta. Combine soup and sour cream. In two 8-in. square baking dishes, layer half of the meat sauce, pasta, soup mixture and cheese. Repeat layers.
Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350° for 55-65 minutes or until cheese is melted.
To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake as directed. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).

1 comment:

~ said...

This sounds so good! My hubby could eat spaghetti every night, so I know that he will love it. Thanks for posting.