Casserole dinners are the best way to use ingredients from your pantry and freezer in a complete, one pot (or pan) meal.
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What is a Casserole?
At its core, a casserole dinner is a dish that is a complete meal in one and is typically served in the same dish it was baked or cooked in.
First, you have a protein. This can be ground meat, diced or canned chicken, any other meat chopped into bite-size pieces or even beans.
Then, you have a starch or carbohydrate. This is usually rice or noodles of some kind.
Next, you have any variety of vegetables. I love to use frozen vegetables because they hold up the the baking and they are cheaper than fresh and easy to store.
Last, you need some kind of sauce to bring it all together. This can be canned soup, broth, gravy, or even cheese. The possibilities really are endless.
For example, one of my favorite dishes as a kid was a kind of Beef Stroganoff casserole knock-off. It consisted of ground beef, egg noodles, canned cream of mushroom soup mixed with a little milk to make it saucy, and a bag of frozen peas. It isn't the healthiest dish, but it is a complete meal and I loved it!
Can You Freeze Casserole Dinners?
Absolutely! A lot of times, I will make a double batch of a recipe on purpose so that I can freeze half of it for a future meal. If you're going to do the work, you might as well get two meals out of it.
My favorite way to prepare a casserole to go straight to the freezer is to follow the recipe instructions all the way to the point of baking. So, you have all of your ingredients mixed or layered in. Usually, your meat is already cooked or browned.
The next step is to either seal with an airtight lid or wrap with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. I also really like these foil pans because they include a lid and they are perfect for when you want to gift a meal to a friend or neighbor.
You'll want to make sure that you label your casserole with a freezer label. These are my favorites because they peel off of plastic lids easily and don't leave a sticky residue.