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Make-Ahead Meals Cheat Sheet

Make-Ahead Meals Cheat Sheet
Fill your freezer with more than just lasagna. Here's everything you need to know about making delicious, freezer-friendly dinners. 
5-Ingredient Beef Enchilada Casserole

5-Ingredient Beef Enchilada Casserole

Make it Now: Bake in 13x9-inch pan at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes.

Make it Later: Split recipe into two 8x8-inch pans. Bake one for dinner tonight following instructions above, and cover and freeze the other pan for later. When you’re ready to eat, bake frozen at 350°F for 60 minutes covered then 10 to 15 minutes uncovered OR thaw and bake at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes.

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Make-Ahead Cheesy Turkey Chili Bake

Make-Ahead Cheesy Turkey Chili Bake

Make it Now: Bake prepared casserole in 13x9-inch pan at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes.

Make it Later: Split recipe into two 8x8-inch pans. Bake one for dinner tonight following instructions above, and cover and freeze the other pan for later. When you’re ready to use, bake frozen at 350°F for 75 to 90 minutes OR thaw and bake at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes.

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Make-Ahead Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

Make-Ahead Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

Make it Now: Mix cooked pasta and remaining ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes.

Make it Later: Mix cooked pasta and remaining ingredients and separate between two 8x8-inch pans sprayed with cooking spray. Cover and freeze. When you’re ready to eat, bake frozen at 350°F for 60 to 75 minutes OR thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes.

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Make-Ahead-Grands-Mini Beef Pot Pies

Make-Ahead Grands Mini Beef Pot Pies

Make it Now: Bake prepared muffin cups at 375°F for 20 to 24 minutes.

Make it Later: Wrap prepared muffin pan in foil, and freeze completely. Transfer frozen pies to labeled gallon-size resealable freezer bag. When you’re ready to eat, remove desired number of pies from bag and place in sprayed muffin cups or ramekins on cookie sheet. Loosely tent with foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray; bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Remove foil, and bake 8 to 12 minutes longer or until crust browns.

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Family-Style Chicken Broccoli Cheddar Calzone

Family-Style Chicken Broccoli Cheddar Calzones

Make it Now: Bake prepared calzones on sprayed cookie sheets at 375°F for 23 to 27 minutes.

Make it Later: Bake frozen prepared calzones wrapped in foil at 375°F for 1 hour; remove foil and broil for 1 minute or until golden brown.

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Freezer-Friendly Mix-and-Match Pizza

Freezer-Friendly Mix-and-Match Pizzas

Make it Now: Par bake dough at 425°F for 6 minutes. Pile on sauce and toppings and bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes.

Make it Later: Freeze par baked crust with toppings by wrapping in foil and storing in freezer plastic bags. When ready to eat, heat oven to 375°F and place unwrapped frozen pizza(s) on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

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Slow-Cooker Cheeseburger Soup

Slow-Cooker Cheeseburger Soup

Make it Now: Place all prepared ingredients except cheese, lettuce and waffle fries in the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Set slow cooker to the warm setting and stir in cheese. Serve with shredded lettuce and cooked waffle fries.

Make it Later: Store cooked soup in the freezer in quart-sized resealable plastic bags. When ready to eat, let soup defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Microwave 4 to 6 minutes and serve with freshly cooked waffle fries and shredded lettuce.

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Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Make it Now: Prep casserole and spray piece of foil large enough to cover baking dish with cooking spray. Cover baking dish with foil, sprayed side down. Bake 35 to 40 minutes at 350°F or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Make it Later: Wrap foil-covered casserole in double layer of plastic wrap; label and freeze up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw overnight or until completely thawed in refrigerator. Remove plastic wrap. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour to 1 hour, 10 minutes or until center is hot (165°F) and cheese is melted.

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Expert tips:

  • Stock up on disposable, aluminum 8x8-inch pans. They’re inexpensive, and you won’t lose all of your favorite casserole dishes to the freezer. 
  • For safety, in all versions—unfrozen, thawed or frozen—food must be steaming hot, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. For casseroles, test in several places (especially the center) to ensure food has reached a safe temperature throughout.

Need more simple dinners? From 30-minute meals to 5-ingredient recipes, we’re here to make your weeknights easier.


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