Monday, January 16, 2012

Freezer Recipes: Mac N Cheese, Mushroom Lasagna, and Baked Chicken Penne

Let me say this before I go any further. Learn to make a good bechamel sauce. IT IS YOUR FRIEND, especially on a big cooking day like this one! You can add different flavors to the sauce, and it's a super simple, easy base.

To make a bechamel sauce, you need 3 ingredients:

1 stick butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Milk, you really have to just eyeball it. I'm really not sure how much I use...probably about 1 1/2-2 cups.

It's just like making a gravy. Melt one stick of butter, once melted add flour and whisk together until it makes a nice roux. For a bechamel, you do want to let the flour cook for a little bit, but you don't want it to get to a chestnut color or anything. This is just a base. Once all mixed, and you want to keep whisking until you add the milk, add milk and let it reach a boil. Once boiling, immediately turn down and keep whisking.

There you have your bechamel sauce.

Macaroni and Cheese:

1 recipe Bechamel sauce
2 cups of cheddar cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs mixed with dried parsley or Italian seasoning.
1 box noodles of your choice, I used whole wheat penne

Boil your noodles before you start making any of your sauces. This just makes it go by much quicker. This recipe made two casserole dishes for me. Add your noodles to the casserole pans. Then mix 1 1/2 cups of cheddar and all of the parmesan cheese until it gets nice and melty. That is now a delicious cheese sauce! Add 1/2 of the mixture to each casserole dish and mix together with the noodles. Top each pan with the remaining cheddar cheese and bread crumbs. You can mix the bread crumbs with melted butter if you like. I don't because there is enough fat from the cheese to make these into a nice crumbly crust.

You can then freeze them. When frozen, put them in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour. We had this last night with a simple tossed salad. It was fan-freaking-tastic!!!

Mushroom Lasagna:

This one is just terribly simple, but oh-so-good.

1 recipe bechamel sauce
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 package lasagna noodles, cooked
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese (You can use any cheese you like, I just bought this kind in bulk!)
Salt and Pepper to taste

This recipe also makes two casserole pans. Add your first layer of noodles to the dishes.  Add the mushrooms and parmesan cheese to the sauce, mix until creamy. Layer the mixture between lasagna noodles. You'll probably get about  3-4 layers in each pan. Top with the cheddar cheese, and voila! Mushroom lasagna!

Bake at 350 directly from the freezer for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly!

Baked Chicken Penne with Sundried Tomatoes

1 Recipe bechamel sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
1 cup sundried tomatoes
1 4 oz. container black olives
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 package of noodles of your choice, cooked (I used bowtie)

Again, this recipe also makes to casserole pans. Mix the pasta with your bechamel sauce. You don't need to add anything to the sauce this time. Mix in chicken and sundried tomatoes, and top with parmesan cheese and black olives. It's ready to be frozen here, and then baked at 350 degrees for one hour! YUM!

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