Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Freezer Cooking - Casserole Edition

On Saturday, I made 22 casseroles.

2 Lasagnas (probably 6-8 servings each)
2 Cheeseburger Casseroles (6 servings each)
2 8" Garlicky Chicken Noodle Bake (4-6 servings each)
1 9x13" Garlicky Chicken Noodle Bake (10-12 servings)
4 Taco Pies (4-6 servings each)
4 Chicken Spaghetti Casseroles (4-6 servings each)
4 Tex-Mex Chicken Casseroles (4-6 servings each)
3 Chicken & Dressing Casseroles (4-6 servings each)

Originally I was going to just double these whenever I made them for dinner, but instead I just did it all in one day. It took about 5 hours and we spent $125.00 on groceries. That does not include ground beef because I still had enough beef left from the cow that we bought from my uncle in February.

I could've gotten the meals all made in a little less time if I would've planned a little better. My ground beef had been in the fridge about 24 hours, but it was still frozen. So before I could start cooking, I had to thaw all the ground beef. I also thought I'd be able to cook all of the chicken in my big stock pot, but it wouldn't all fit, so I had to cook the chicken in two batches. I did use my Kitchen Aid mixer to shred the chicken - it was so easy! Not being able to cook all of the meat as quickly as I thought I would be able to is what really slowed me down since I also needed to cook spaghetti, egg noodles and rice. I thought I would spend about 30-45 minutes cooking meat and instead it took closer to an hour and half.

Only 20 of them are in the freezer. I kept one of the Chicken Spaghetti Casseroles out for dinner that night and the 9x13 Garlicky Chicken Noodle Bake was the lunch the next day (my parents & brother's family were coming over). I ran out of foil pans so one of the Taco Pies is in my Pyrex pie pan.

I do plan to have another batch cooking extravaganza, but I have to wait until I forget how much I hurt and until Justin forgets how annoying it was for me to be in the kitchen for 5 hours. Next time I'm going to whip up about 3-4 crock pot recipes.

There are a few things I should've done differently. I should've cooked my rice and/or spaghetti and/or egg noodles while I was waiting for my beef to thaw - I reached a point where I needed at least one of those things done and it wasn't done (or even started). I should've put my lasagna's in smaller pans, same with my cheeseburger casserole since those are in the same type of pan. I should've planned my freezer space better - I used circular pans for quite a few of the recipes, but I probably could've used 8x8 square pans, I could've packed them into my freezer better. I should've made Anaya help more. I should've had a better plan for what to do with Claire, she really wanted someone (preferably me) to sit down and play with her and no one was doing it. I should've washed more dishes as I went, although then in exchange for letting Anaya have a sleepover tonight we made her do all the dishes anyways!

Things I did right: I got started quickly (even with the frozen meat set back; I had a hair cut scheduled for 7:50 am on Saturday, as soon as I got back, I started pulling things out of the fridge to get started. I made a master shopping list, checked my pantry and managed to get all my groceries in one trip (YAY!). I used my mixer to shred my chicken (that was seriously awesome). I just did it, and now we have 20 meals for the next couple of months.

Recipe Links:

Lasagna, Cheeseburger Casserole, Tex-Mex Chicken Casserole and Chicken & Dressing Casserole all came from The Shabby Creek Cottage's freezer cooking post.

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole came from Pioneer Woman.

Garlicky Chicken Noodle Bake came from my Not Your Mother's Make Ahead & Freeze Cookbook.

Taco Pie is a mixture of a bunch of different recipes, basically it is 3 layers of tortilla, refried beans, taco meat and cheese. Top with another tortilla, pour about half a can of enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with more cheese. Then bake it at 350 for about 30 minutes or until it's all melty and yummy looking. And I make it in a pie plate, so it's a pie...not a casserole.

1 comment:

  1. I am IMPRESSED! It has been a long time since I did this type of mega-cooking, but I do have a couple of cook books from Tupperware specifically for prep and freezing.