Preparing freezer meals for after the baby is born. Today's post focuses on preparing taco pie and buffalo chicken pasta bake as frozen meals.
I'm working on frozen meals for after Baby K is born and I just don't have the endurance to do those crazy "stock your freezer with meals in 5 hours straight of cooking" challenges that some people do. So I decided to split up my meals and do a couple at a time. For this prep, I completed 6 meals and I think it took me a little under an hour. I made Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake (I use a bit less chicken) and Taco Pie (click on the links for the original recipes). The Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake tells you how to make it as a freezer meal, but I had to sorta guess how to do it with the Taco Pie.
Note that you should be careful to wash your hands between handling the different foods and make sure to keep track of which utensils are used on which meat.
- Chicken Breast (I used 2 breasts per meal, Total: 6 breasts)
- Ground Beef (3 lbs)
- Franks Red Hot (3 cups)
- Ranch Dressing (3 cups)
- Taco Seasoning (9 tbsp or 3 packages)
- Crescent Rolls (3, 8oz containers)
- Tortilla Chips (I keep all my leftover tortilla chip pieces for this recipe specifically but I imagine one bag would work for all three taco pie meals if you go light on the chips like I do)
- 24 oz of Penne Pasta
- 24 oz Fat Free Sour Cream
- Cheddar Cheese (3-6 cups)
- Mexican Style Cheese (24 oz)
- 3 One Gallon Ziplock Freezer Bags (Costco has these in bulk if you do a lot of freezer meals)
- 3 Lasagna Pans (Dollar Store win!)
- Permanent market to label the bags/foil
How I Cook and Freeze the Meals
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake
You need 6 chicken breasts and 3 lbs of ground beef. Cut chicken breasts into small squares and put in a casserole dish to cook at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes or so (that's how long mine took, but my oven is sorta jacked up right now- still waiting on repairs).
In the meantime, begin to boil water for pasta.
While chicken is cooking, take three lasagna casserole dishes and line them with an 8 oz package of crescent rolls per dish. Cook at 375 degrees as stated on package (11 min on mine).
Begin to brown the ground beef. In the meantime, your water should be starting to boil. Add penne (as much as you can cook a once which was all 24 oz for me in my big stock pot).
Continue to stir penne and ground beef (separate spoons).
When timer goes off, remove lasagna pans from oven. Allow to cool.
Label three bags for the buffalo chicken pasta.
My pasta was finished next. I drained and rinsed with cold water. Let drain.
Once beef is browned, add 6 tbsp of taco seasoning (I used 6, but I think you may want to use 3 tbsp per pound instead which in that case is 9 tbsp). Stir. Wait to cool.
Once my pasta is drained, I split it up into 3 portions and placed each portion in one bag. I mixed each portion of Franks Sauce and Ranch separately, then added the portion to the appropriate bag. You can massage the sauce into the pasta, then measure out and add your portions of chicken to the bags. Massage that in as well.
Add cheese to bag. Mix in. Seal and freeze bag.
Only two are shown bagged here because we needed to eat dinner too. Oops.
Okay now we've got beef... It should be fairly cool at this point. I stirred in 24 oz of fat free sour cream (my preference is to have slightly less sour cream than the recipe calls for). Then I separated it out into three portions, placing each portion on top of the crescent roll bottom in the lasagna dishes.
Add cheese to tops of each.
Add crushed tortilla chips (I always save my crushed chips for this recipe). I go light on the tortilla chips too. Then just cover and label.
Defrost. We did 350F for 25-30 minutes before it was warm enough, but I don't think it'd defrosted enough.