Friday, February 22, 2008

Sanity in the freezer

I managed to get all four lasagnas done yesterday, despite the cranky little guy's interruptions. Given the size of these pans, that's eight meals ready to go--a real sanity saver.

I've never done an entire once-a-month cooking session; the process just doesn't work well for me. What does work is making up several meals' worth of the same thing at a time. This goes particularly well when I plan around sales; last fall when boneless skinless chicken thighs went on sale, I put 60 lbs of marinated meat into the freezer. It was great to pull out a bag to defrost and grill with minimal fuss, and since we were given a rotisary for Christmas we've been roasting chicken almost weekly.

The lasagna ingredients weren't on sale this week, but it was a special request from dh.

Lasagna for the freezer, as I made it yesterday:
2 lbs ground beef
7-8 small onions (4 large)
2 green peppers
1 lb mushrooms
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 28 oz. diced organic tomatoes
2 jars organic prepared pasta sauce
4.5 boxes whole wheat lasagna noodles
3 lb carton lowfat cottage cheese
5 eggs
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 5 lb bag shredded mozzerella cheese
4 cans sliced black olives
1 cup Italian seasoning

1. Brown the ground beef in the oil. Finely chop the onions and green peppers in food processor, and add to the browned beef. Dice the mushrooms, and add. Cook thoroughly. Puree tomatoes in food processor and add to pot. Stir in prepared sauce and Italian seasoning and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

2. Beat eggs and add cottage cheese, parmesan, and approximately half the shredded mozzerella and mix well.

3.Layer sauce, pasta, and cheese mixture in four aluminum pans. When the cheese mixture is gone, use mozzerella for last layer. Top with sliced olives. Cover with foil and freeze.

4. Defrost for 24 hours before cooking. 350* for 45 minutes, covered, and then anothr 15-20 minutes uncovered.

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