I’ve been in a quest to simplify dinner as I mentioned previously on the blog…before I went back to work a month ago, I prepped a lot of frozen dinners and wrote out a 30 day meal plan… Now I have to admit that my meal plan was definitely not followed to a t; however, it was super nice to have dinners in the freezer if I didn’t have time to cook something fresh because honestly the minute I get home from work, the only thing I want to do is play with Emily!
One of the freezer recipes that we tested out this week came from an adaptation of a BHG recipe posted on the IGE blog (which is one of my new favorite blogs by the way)… It sounded delicious and definitely different from the normal pasta based casseroles that I have made in the past! Of course I adapted it a bit more so it is doubly adapted from the original recipe…
Freezer Chicken Artichoke Casserole
- 12oz whole wheat bow tie pasta (I think rotini or ziti would work just as well!)
- 3 chicken breasts, cooked, shredded
- 1 T evoo
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 2 eggs
- 2 c 1% milk
- red pepper flakes & crushed black pepper, to taste
- 1-8oz package Mozzarella shredded cheese
- 3 – 8oz jars of artichokes, drained and chopped
- 2 packages of sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 24 oz of chopped, thawed, and drained frozen spinach (fresh can be subbed too!)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided into two
- 2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
- 2 Ts butter, melted
- Boil pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, boil chicken, let cool, and shred!
- Chop onion. Pour 1 T evoo into a large pan, add onion, and saute until translucent (or until your whole house smells like onions!)
- Whisk together eggs & milk, then add mozzarella cheese, artichokes, sundried tomatoes and thawed spinach.
- Add in cooked chicken & pasta and pour into your casserole dish.
- On the side, take two slices of toasted bread and process in a food processor (I used a vitamix). Combine with 1/2 c Parmesan cheese & red pepper flakes / black pepper. Separate mixture into two.
- This recipe is doubled so I poured this into two 9×13 casserole dishes: one to enjoy now and one for the freezer!
- Enjoy now: Bake casserole at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. After two minutes, combine half of topping mixture with 1 T melted butter and sprinkle on top of casserole and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Freezer instructions: Do not bake. Instead, wrap / cover tightly with plastic wrap / foil / lid, etc and place in freezer. Take remaining topping and place in freezer safe container (I put mine in a freezer bag and taped it to the top of my container). Take out of freezer and place in fridge one day prior to serving. At meal time, cook as directed above (including topping instructions)!
We enjoyed this several weeks ago fresh and then thawed it out and cooked the frozen dish this past week and it was delicious! I loved the tang from the artichokes combined with the sweetness of the sundried tomatoes… delish! This is definitely going to be added to the monthly menu
I think the key to freezer dishes (in most cases), is organization, making sure they are well covered and air tight & remembering what each one is! When freezer cooking, it is important to label everything! I usually just use a post-it note and tape it on so it doesn’t fall off in the freezer. I label with what it is, cooking instructions, and how many servings I anticipate