Cooking on a budget is hard. Cooking for one is also hard. That’s why I like to do “freezer cooking” where I can use what I want now and store the rest for a later date (like on a week that I’m running tight on cash…I get to say, “oh look, I have food in the freezer!”). And sometimes you just gotta make those decisions. New pair of shoes or lots of fresh groceries. Think of the freezer food as your rainy day fund.
Obviously some foods freeze better than others. I like to make pastas, soups, chilis and stews. Another thing to note is that you can store all these foods and keep your fridge stocked with fresh veggies and fruits to give you a balanced meal! You can also store the pastas and casseroles in cheap foil freezer containers from the grocery store, or gallon zip lock bags for the soups and stews to help save space.
There are SO many casseroles out there, and over the series of freezer cooking posts I will introduce you to more ideas, but I had to start with a classic that just has a special place in my memory.
Growing up with just my mom and sister, my mom was unable physically to cook since she is paraplegic. It was well before my interest in cooking began, and my sister and I were still pretty young to be in the kitchen on our own. My mom also had her accident right after she was married, so she didn’t know enough about cooking to even instruct us. So of course my Mimi would save the day by making a bunch of casseroles and freeze them, providing us with a fully stocked freezer up so we would not starve. 🙂
- 2 cups Cooked Chicken
- 3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
- 2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
- 2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1/4 cup Finely Diced Green Pepper
- 1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion
- 1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
- 2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
- 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
- 1/8 teaspoon (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
- Salt And Pepper, to taste
- 1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Cook chicken according to your preference, like grilling, roasting or frying and cut the meat into cubes to make two cups. Cook spaghetti according to directions until al dente. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with all remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.
Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).