Canned tuna on crackers
But because I have a long history with freezer cooking on account of many years of having to be frugal, I am re-visiting the blessings found in not having much (and yes, there have been many) in order to share some wonderful recipes.
Over the next few weeks I'll share some of my time tested tried and true freezer recipes that you can make for your family - or your adult children. Starting with lasagna. People, I make good lasagna. (there, I said it)
The following is the first in my series of Freezer cooking blogs, updated for 2012.
There's nothing quite so handy as having really good homemade food in the freezer to pop into the oven after a long day at work or school.
I often do a cooking day every few weekends to stock up and am planning such a foray this weekend. This time around I'll be making lasagna, tex mex chicken, chicken fried rice, Italian meatballs, and quiche. I'll intersperse the frozen meals over the following two weeks with meals made in the crockpot and will share the whole lot with everyone as I go.
"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."
- Teneva Jordan
I don't know what it is about me that causes Mother Bear mode to kick in - but it gives me great happiness to create a feeling of warmth and security in the people I love. Part of that comes from growing up without having much money. Because times were very often tough growing up, knowing I've stocked our freezers and pantry gives me a sense of safety and accomplishment. Like I've done something important.
People who don't cook or have loads of money may not understand this, but I know there are people reading who will get what I'm saying. I write these blogs for you. And for myself. To support my fervent belief that a life of abundance need not cost a fortune and that cooking with love will always result in a finished product that soothes the appetite and the soul.
So now, onto the lasagna!
For the step by step video, please click PLAY.
The Kitchen Witch's Amazingly Good Make Ahead Lasagna
For printable recipe click HERE
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
- 16 no boil lasagna noodles DO NOT COOK
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 540 ml can Aylmer's or Aylmer's Accents (flavour of your choice) diced tomatoes
- 1 156 ml (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 large 390 ml (26 oz) jar of your favourite prepared spaghetti sauce
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup frozen spinach, well drained
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 500 gram package Kraft Four Cheese Italiano cheese blend
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned.
- Pour cooked mixture into a bowl and add tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, herbs, seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir everything up. There's no need to simmer the sauce because the flavours will all just meld together.
- In a mixing bowl, combine cottage cheese with egg, spinach, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Spoon a little sauce in bottom of a standard size lasagna pan evenly. Layer 4 uncooked noodles, 1/3 of the cottage cheese, followed by 1/3 of the meat sauce, 1/3 the shredded four cheese blend and the parmesan cheese. Repeat with 4 more uncooked noodles until all ingredients are used, ending with sauce and cheeses. You will be using 8 noodles per lasagna.
- Cover with tin foil and freeze.
- When ready to bake, thaw completely. I pull out my lasagna in the morning before work.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Makes 2 lasagnas.
So join me over the next few weeks for a little bit of freezer cooking.
It's a great way to create everyday magic!
Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.
Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.