The holidays are officially here, which means our schedules get even busier!
In our home, if I can save time in the kitchen, it means more time with the family, and more time for all the other things I have on my to do list! Years ago, freeze ahead cooking became a great way to shave time spent in the kitchen off of my schedule and over the years I have found some great hearty recipes to satisfy my hungry clan. Here is a new favorite in the Kilcoyne home, a recipe that I adapted to our tastes. Feel free to adapt it to make your own freeze ahead meal!
Easy Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta Freeze Ahead Bake * Preheat Oven to 375
- Cooked, cubed chicken, about 3 cups
- Cooked and drained bow tie pasta, 1 box
- 1 Diced red pepper, sweet bell
- Chopped leeks or green onion, about one cup
- Diced sweet onion, about ½ cup
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 cup parmesan cheese plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded, plus a little extra for sprinkling
- Sea salt
- 1 ½ cups crushed saltine crackers mixed with 2 tblsp. Melted butter
1. In a 9×13 baking pan coat the bottom with butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
2. In a large bowl or pot, combine chicken, bow tie pasta, red pepper, leeks or green onion, evaporated milk, cheeses. Mix well.
3. Season with sea salt, about a teaspoon, and pepper, about a teaspoon or a little more if you really like pepper. *At this point if you are freezing the dish, allow to cool completely and place in a freezer safe container. Label and date the dish and freeze. You can also freeze the crushed cracker mixture in a small Ziploc baggie, label and place in freezer. Will keep for about 4 months in the freezer.
4. Place mixture in baking pan and top with crushed cracker mix and sprinkle a small amount of parmesan and Monterey Jack Cheese.
5. Bake until bubbly and golden brown on top
6. To serve immediately, dig in!
7. To reheat from freezer, pull dish and topping out of freezer and thaw. Place in oven safe baking dish that has been coated with butter and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Put in preheated oven till bubbly and golden brown.
8. Should serve 7-10 people comfortably, although if your family is prone to go back for heavy seconds, you may wish to double the recipe. This meal is great served with a light salad.