The Beauty of Casseroles

When critiquing freezer cooking, lots of folks will say, “but we don’t like casseroles.” And to a point, I get that. Especially if those casseroles are filled with metallic-flavored, canned cream of something soup. It can get a little trite if all your casseroles come from the same sauce or feature the same flavor profile.

But, I know from much experience that a casserole is cozy, filling comfort food. It’s also easy to delegate to someone else in the family to cook up. If I’m gone at dinner time, my husband would much rather pop a lasagne into the oven than have to prepare a three-course meal — even if I’ve already made those three courses in advance.

Casseroles, depending on how they’re constructed, can be one-dish dinners. You can serve a salad and bread on the side, but you don’t have to. This makes for super easy serving and clean-up, perfect for mom’s night out, or when the chief cook just wants to put his or her feet up.

I’ve created my November cooking plan (available next week in an easy download) to involve mostly casseroles and one dish dinners for this reason.

Here are some of our favorite casseroles for freezing:

* indicates a cookbook recipe.

31 Days of Freezer Cooking

For more ideas about how to make freezer cooking work for you, follow along with us here in October as I post 31 Days of Freezer Cooking. You can see past posts here.

For even more Freezer Cooking how-to’s you can also buy my book, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook.

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Comments

  1. I can attest that the Shepherd’s Pie in the book is delicious. I have tried probably half a dozen recipes for Shepherd’s Pie in the past 20 years and yours is the first I’ve loved. The Chicken Divan is next on the list for me to make.

    • @Micha @ Cookin’ Mimi, thanks for the encouragement!

    • @Micha @ Cookin’ Mimi, Admittedly, I haven’t purchased the cookbook yet (asking hubbalicious for my bday next month!) But Chicken Divan is divine… recently I’ve started adding fried onion strings on top and it is a whole new world of fantastic! (I previously turned my nose up at fried onion strings) I’m excited to see the recipe in the cookbook and see if it’s much different from our family recipe I’ve been eating since I was a kid! Deeelish!

  2. Jessica, I’ve got a bit of a roadblock to making and freezing casseroles to stock my freezer, and I was wondering what you might suggest. My roadblock is the issue of casserole dishes. I have plenty of lovely casserole dishes, but as most of them are 9×13, they are too big for my family of two adults and a one-year-old. I only have a few dishes small enough for meals for us, and I’ve had times that I wanted to use them, but they were in the freezer! I have often wondered if I should invest in some more small casserole dishes (maybe from the thrift store!) or if it would be better to use one-use aluminum pans. I hate waste, but I also don’t have much space! What have you found that works for your family to still have the occasional pan to use without waste or clutter? Thanks so much for all your tips you’ve been sharing!

    • MaryEllen says:

      @Lizzy,
      I have solved that problem by lining my casserole with a layer of foil, then lining it again with plastic wrap. Prepare the recipe, fill the lined casserole, cover with the overhang of plastic and foil, then freeze. Once it is frozen solid, remove the wrapped food from the dish, slide into a freezer bag, label and freeze. Your pan is now empty. When you want to use the meal, remove all the wrapping, place the frozen block of food back in the pan and thaw.

    • @Lizzy, I have always used disposables on occasion and then reused them after washing. They don’t last forever, but they’re a cheap investment. Also, lots of folks have done what Mary Ellen does.

    • Stephanie says:

      @Lizzy, You could use what you might already own? For example 1 11×7 and a loaf pan, or 2 8×8 or 2 pie plates or round cake pans. You would make the same amount as would go in a 9×13 and divide it into multiple pans.
      I used to only have 1 small round casserole and lots of mini loaf tins I would make half in the round casserole and use multiple mini loaf tins for the freezer these made out to be great lunches or pick your own dinner nights.

  3. Everything you fix looks sooo good!

  4. AllieZirkle says:

    What’s pictured above? I love the smile face in the spoon :-)

    Chicken enchilada casserole is a fave of mine but not my family’s favorite. I’m making divan this week. Yum!

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