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A few weeks ago we were visiting some friends. I offered to help her in the kitchen and gave the disclaimer that I probably had about a minute and a half of uninterrupted time to help. Sure enough less than 2 minutes later my 1 year old was at my feet begging to be picked up. Having a 3 year-old and a 1 year-old my ability to dedicate my sole attention to making dinner is unlikely. I know this sounds crazy but to prep dinner for eating around 5:30 or 6 I usually start about 4, and that is for those recipes that promise they are ready in 30 minutes or less. Those unending amounts of urgent “MOM” pleas prevent me from making a thirty minute recipe in anything short of two hours. During the holidays when we are trying to watch a budget a little closer and be prepared to serve a few extra mouths if the occasion calls for it, I love to make a few go to dishes and freeze them, one of my fall favorites is Butternut Squash Enchiladas, but I don’t have a ton of space and to freeze a casserole can be a little tricky. Today I’m sharing my tips for freezing my butternut squash enchiladas or your favorite dishes so they will be ready for your busy holiday season:
How to Freeze Casseroles:
- Place wax paper in the bottom of your casserole dish, layer your food into the dish and cover with plastic wrap tightly and then with foil. Note: I like to use the dish I will cook it in, so usually I use my 9 x 13 glass casserole dish which is safe for the freezer.
- If you are cooking something before freezing it, make sure your food is cool before putting in the freezer, this is better for your appliances and for food safety.
- Freeze overnight, then pop your casserole out of the dish. This allows you to keep your dish for other uses and saves you some space too! I used to just put an extra layer of plastic wrap around my casserole, but I found my food came out with so much freezer burn. I started using FoodSaver® FM3941 Vacuum Sealing System and FoodSaver® Bags and Rolls Value Pack to prevent this. After I freeze my casserole and pop it out, I put it in the FoodSaver® bags and seal it. This keeps my food freezer burn free and keeps it fresh 5x longer than my old go to of freezer bags or plastic wrap.
A few extra things to keep in mind when deciding what types of foods to freeze. Don’t pick any vegetables with a high water content like lettuce or cucumbers. If your dish includes meat you will want to cook that before freezing, but other ingredients can often remain raw, like lasagna noodles. Make sure to label your casserole well with directions for how to prepare so that it doesn’t get lost in the bottom of your freezer.
The FoodSaver® System includes vacuum seal bags, vacuum zipper bags and containers designed to work together with vacuum sealers for optimal performance. You can also use it to marinate meat quicker and even cook meat through the sous vide method. By taking all of the air out, you can ensure your meat will be cooked evenly throughout.
Want to try it out for yourself? I got mine at Costco, and they are having these specials in the month of November:
- The FoodSaver® FM3941 Vacuum Sealing System will be $40 OFF in November (must have Costco membership).
- FoodSaver® Bags and Rolls Value Pack will be $10 OFF in November (must have Costco membership)