Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Make Now, Bake Later

Here is some excellent information ( I found this in my local hometown paper some time ago) recipes for freezer cooking.  The great thing about freezer cooking is..... some night when you do not feel like putting forth the effort of dinner.....you go out to your freezer and pull out one of these casseroles.  Just remember to use your coupons and stack your coupons so you are not paying full price for your ingredients.  See how frugal you are? 
Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day!!!!

The refrigerator and freezer are wonderful kitchen tools if you use them to your advantage. Go-to dishes have never been easier, thanks to the classic preservation methods of refrigeration and freezing. With one stop at the grocery store you can have all the ingredients you need to create a variety of wholesome meals in a snap.

Know the storage basics. Heavy-duty freezer bags are perfect for keeping sauces, marinades and soups for up to one month, whereas glass containers can provide simple portion control for already assembled dishes. Well-wrapped, double-sealed meals will be less likely to get freezer burn and can be stored for up to two to three months. Make sure to clearly label and date your freezer meals for easy reference.

Thaw with care. There are several ways to thaw out your freezer meals, but only a couple of safe ones. You can place smaller containers in the refrigerator in the morning, and then pop them in the oven in the evening. If you are in a hurry, do a quick thaw by immersing the container in cold water or defrosting it on a low setting in the microwave.

Go Fifty-Fifty. Serve half to your family now, half later. This Fiesta Chicken, Rice and Bean Casserole made with the classic Mexican flavors of jalapeño, cumin, corn and black beans can be enjoyed more than once. The addition of instant chicken bouillon granules and evaporated milk give it an especially savory and creamy flavor.

Beef Penne Pasta Casserole

1 pound dried penne pasta, prepared according to package directions

8 ounces lean ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 cups water

2 cans (6 ounces each) Italian tomato paste

1/3 cup red wine or water

1 tablespoon MAGGI Instant Beef Flavor Bouillon (Seriously just use any bouillon We know better than to brand loyal~ use those coupons)

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cook beef and onion in large saucepan, stirring occasionally, until beef is no longer pink. Add water, tomato paste, wine and bouillon; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes or until flavors are blended.

Layer ingredients as follows in ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking dish: 1/2 pasta, 1/2 sauce and 1/2 cheese. Repeat layers; cover.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Season with salt to taste.

For freeze ahead:

Prepare as above; do not bake. Cover; freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Season with salt to taste.

Fiesta Chicken, Rice and Bean Casserole

2 cups water

2 teaspoons Maggi Instant Chicken Flavor Bouillon

¾ cup long-grain white rice

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 bell pepper, any color, chopped

1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 can (12 fluid ounces) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups cooked, chopped or shredded chicken breast meat (about 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves)

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterrey Jack cheese with jalapeños

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed well and drained

1 ½ cups frozen, thawed corn, drained

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 13 x 9-inch or 3-quart casserole dish.

Bring water and bouillon to a boil in medium saucepan. Add rice; cover. Reduce heat to low; cook for 15 to 18 minutes or until rice is almost tender and most of liquid is absorbed (the rice will continue to cook in the casserole).

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeño and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic; cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Whisk together evaporated milk and eggs; stir into saucepan along with prepared rice, chicken, cheese, beans and corn. Spoon into prepared dish.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly and edges are golden. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

For freeze ahead:
Prepare as above using two 2-quart casserole dishes; do not bake or sprinkle with cilantro. Allow casserole to cool to room temperature. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, then with aluminum foil; freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Uncover. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Ravioli Lasagna

1 package (20 ounces) refrigerated family size four cheese Ravioli, prepared according to package directions

1 container (15 ounces )reduced-fat ricotta cheese

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup fat free milk

2 containers (15 ounces each) refrigerated marinara sauce

1/4 cup (.75 ounce) refrigerated freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf dishes.

Combine ricotta cheese, spinach, eggs and milk in medium bowl. Place one-fourth pasta in each prepared dish. Add one-fourth sauce and half ricotta mixture to each dish. Top each with half remaining pasta and half remaining sauce. Sprinkle both dishes with Parmesan cheese. Cover one dish with plastic wrap, then over wrap with foil. Label and freeze for up to 2 months.

Cover remaining dish with foil. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

To bake frozen Lasagna: Place dish in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 375° F. Remove foil and plastic wrap; recover with foil. Bake for 1 hour or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Berry Banana Fro Yo Shake

I found this on the Dole website...  It totally looks worth trying....  I recently watched "Under Cover Boss" and the CEO of Dole and Fresh Express was on there, and he seemed like a great guy and a great boss.  Now when I see the Dole Bananas and Fresh Express salad at the store...  it makes me smile.  I know where this stuff comes from.......
Have a FABULOUS & FRUGAL Day!!!!

This is a cross between a smoothie and a milk shake using frozen yogurt and fresh fruit. Perfect for a quick dessert, but even good enough for breakfast and takes less than 5 minutes to make.

I recently fell in love with Stonyfield's Organic Vanilla Frozen Yogurt. I can't believe how good it tastes and it's hard to believe it's fat free! If you haven't tried it and are looking for a healthier vanilla ice cream alternative, you'll love it and it has the same live cultures as it's yogurt.

For best results, make sure the bananas are really ripe, the riper the sweeter your shake will be. I like to use frozen bananas, you can even use frozen berries!

Very Berry Banana Fro Yo Shake


Servings: 1 • Serving Size: 1 shake • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 5 pts

Calories: 211.7 • Fat: 2.1 g • Protein: 5.6 g • Carb: 48 g • Fiber: 5.7 g • Sugar: 26.3 g

Sodium: 90.6 mg


1/2 cup mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries)

1/2 ripe frozen banana

1/2 cup organic nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt (Stonyfields)

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or skim, soy, etc)

Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth