After moping around the house panicking over what in the world I’m going to do in the month of November with all the insanity about to take place with packing up the current house and trying to finish building the new house before we have to move in four weeks plus care for three active little boys… oh yeah, and middle boy has surgery on the 13th…, I was given a piece of inspiration. My wonderful friends sent me instant FB messages letting me know they were available to help watch the boys on certain weekends and one volunteered to bring us a frozen casserole to use for when we needed it most. GENIOUS!!!
Goodness, why hadn’t I thought of freezer meals before now?!?!?! By the way, Vonda, you are truly my hero. 🙂 So with the thought of using the last of my free days to prepare for the onslaught, I took advantage of the boys’ nap time and planted myself in the kitchen with the goal of creating as many freezer meals as possible with the ingredients I already had inside the house.
I ended up with…
- (2) 9×13 pans of pizza casserole – one for freezing the other for dinner that night
- (1) 8×8 pan of layered enchilada casserole
- (10) sausage breakfast burritos
- (1) batch of pepper steak
- (2) loaves of sandwich bread
While the bread was rising the first time I pulled out all my ingredients from the freezer. The only thing I actually didn’t make that day was the pepper steak because I had made a huge batch of it Sunday for a church pot luck and had set some aside to use for a different meal later in the week. However, we had plenty of pepper steak and rice left over from the pot luck, so I was just going to freeze the remainder of the sauce. Pepper steak is a great recipe to throw together in the morning and just let it cook down on low all day. The longer the better since the meat becomes more tender the longer it cooks.
Here is a list of main ingredients I used for all the meals:
- (4) bell peppers
- (1 C.) onion, diced
- (1) can mushrooms
- (1) can black olives
- (2) lbs. Italian sausage
- (1) lb. elbow noodles
- (1/2) lb. breakfast sausage
- (1) lb. stew meat
- (1) can diced or stewed tomatoes
- (2 C.) cooked cubed or shredded chicken
- full recipe of homemade flour tortillas
- (12) eggs
- (4 C.) mozzarella cheese
- (4 C.) cheddar cheese
- (2 C.) black & red beans [I used the ones I had frozen but it is the same as one can black beans, drained]
- (1) pkg. cream cheese
Let’s see…the only things I had to actually cook to make all the meals were the stew meat, Italian sausage, tortilla shells and eggs. Everything else had already been prepared and frozen in advance. Love that!!!
I started my water boiling for the noodles and put the Italian sausage in a pan to fry up with onion and bell pepper. While that was cooking on the stove, I began to defrost the beans, chicken and breakfast sausage in the microwave.
Finished the pizza casseroles and got to work on the layered enchilada casserole. The bulk of my time ended up being used to make a fresh batch of tortilla shells. Worth the effort since they taste so much better than the store-bought stuff and were nice and soft making them easy to fold.
With the tortillas finished and resting under a cloth towel, I mixed together the chicken, softened cream cheese, beans and salsa (that was a deviation from the original recipe). Put together the layers inside the 8×8 pan and wrapped it all up.
Next, with the tortillas still warm and soft, I scrambled up my dozen farm-fresh eggs. Placed my thawed breakfast sausage inside with the eggs to combine. Then I tore enough pieces of wax paper for each burrito and placed a tortilla on each piece before filling. After filled with the egg mixture and cheddar cheese, I wrapped each one individually inside a piece of wax paper then placed in a gallon freezer bag.
Switched the bread over to loaf pans for the final rising.
There you have it! Each of these meals will make a minimum of two meals (one main meal and left over lunch). Here is the recipe for the pizza casserole. I’ve added links above for the rest of the recipes used.
Zesty Pizza Casserole – by Meals in Minutes
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ½ tsp. oregano
- ½ C. onion, chopped
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ C. green pepper, chopped
- ½ tsp. basil
- 2 16-oz cans pizza sauce
- 2 C. prepared elbow macaroni
- 4-oz. can mushrooms, drained
- ¾ C. shredded mozzarella
- 4-oz. pkg. sliced pepperoni
- ½ tsp. salt
DIRECTIONS: Brown ground beef with onion and green pepper; add remaining ingredients except for the mozzarella. Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 dish; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.