Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Freezer Meals- Part 2: Lasagna, Pizza Dough and Cookies

I shared a couple of months ago about how much I love having freezer meals. They make my life so much easier! My crockpot freezer meals post has gotten a great response, so I thought I would share some of my other freezer staples.

Pizza Dough
I have a weakness for pizza. In our mission to stop eating out so much, it's been really hard for me to stop ordering pizza on a lazy weekend night. Now I always try to have a couple of batches of pizza dough in the freezer so that we can have fresh, delicious pizza in about 15 minutes!
This recipe uses a stand mixer.

1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl.
  2. Add salt, olive oil, and flour.
  3. Attach bowl and dough hook, turn to speed 2 and mix for 3 minutes until dough clings to dough hook and cleans sides of bowl. 
  4. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  5. Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
  6. Punch dough down.
  7. Brush 14 inch pizza pan (I use a Pampered Chef round baking stone) with oil. 
  8. Press dough across bottom of pan forming collar around edge to hold filling. Top with fillings and bake at 450°F for 12 to 18 minutes.
To freeze, make the dough according to the above recipe and let it rise about an hour. Punch the dough down. Wrap the dough in saran wrap that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Place wrapped dough in a Ziploc bag and then into the freezer.

To use: place the dough in the fridge in the morning and it will be ready to use that evening. Add your toppings and bake as directed.

Italian food is a huge hit in our house and I grew up loving my mom's lasagna. It was the first real meal that I learned to cook and I often make it when we have guests. It is an easy recipe, but it's time consuming.  When I go to the trouble to make it, it's simple to just double or triple the recipe to make some for our freezer. Mike doesn't like ricotta cheese, so I only use mozzarella and parmesan. It freezes very well and I just add some garlic bread and veggies on the side for a great meal.

I don't have a written recipe of this. I don't really have a measurement for the cheese, I just use however much looks good. I love cheese, so it's normally a lot!

1 box of lasagna noodles
1 lb of ground beef
1 24 oz jar of pasta sauce (I use Prego flavored with meat)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions.
3. In another pot, brown the ground beef. Add the pasta sauce to the beef.
4. To assemble: Put a layer of noodles on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish (I use a Pyrex glass casserole dish.) Pour a layer of sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella cheese and then a layer of parmesan cheese. Repeat the layering process: noodles, sauce, and then cheese until the pan is full.
5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is bubbly and golden.

To Freeze: Let the lasagna cool and place it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. When it is completely cool, cut into individual pieces and place into ziploc bags.

Place it in the fridge in the morning and it will be ready to eat that evening. Microwave for a minute or two and enjoy.

Cookie Dough
Who doesn't love fresh chocolate chip cookies? Grace and I love to bake them, but the traditional Tollhouse cookie recipe makes a ton of cookies. When we make them, we bake up a dozen and freeze the rest for later. You can freeze the dough whole, but I prefer to make individual balls and then freeze them. To do this, form the individual balls, put them on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. When they are hard, put them in a ziploc bag for storage and place them back in the freezer.

When you are ready to bake them, put them straight onto the cookie sheet and add a couple of minutes to your normal baking time.

What are some of your favorite freezer meal recipes? I am going to be making more this weekend and would love some new recipes!

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