Pizza Pasta – Freezer Meal Friday

It’s Friday! Here’s another recipe for one of my family’s favorite freezer friendly meals. (Now say that 5 times fast.) 😉

freezer friendly pizza pasta
This one doesn’t look Instagram-worthy all dished up, but trust me. It’s tasty.

 

This Pizza Pasta is sure to be a hit with kids. My girls gobble it right up. And for me, as a 26-year-old kid, this recipe is a great way to hit a craving for pepperoni pizza in a fairly healthy way. Sure, there’s some fat in this recipe, but using mozzarella and turkey pepperoni keeps that in check. Plus, the whole-grain pasta, lean beef, and said cheese and pepperoni all come together to make this meal super high in protein. It’s filling and tasty and easy to throw together.

Ingredients

pizza pasta ingredients

  • 3 boxes whole wheat penne (I use whole wheat pasta in all freezer recipes both for the nutritional quality and because their hearty texture seems to help them do better after freezing, but you can use regular pasta too)
  • 2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 2 packages of turkey pepperoni (again, regular here is fine. I just find that I don’t notice a huge difference between regular vs. turkey and it keeps the fat content in this recipe down)
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef
  • 4 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Directions

  1. Cook your pasta. For any pasta you plan to freeze, always skew a bit to the al dente side (as overcooked pasta can come out mushy once it’s been frozen and thawed).freezer friendly meals pasta
  2. Brown and drain hamburger in a large pan or skillet. Mix together with both jars of spaghetti sauce to make a thick, meaty mixture.pasta sauce
  3. Line your foil pans with a light layer of cooking spray and then divide your pasta evenly into the sprayed pans.freezer friendly meals
  4. Next, evenly layer the meat sauce on top of the noodles.step 2 freezer friendly meals
  5. Spread grated mozzarella on top of the pasta and meat sauce. I do about 1/4 cup per serving.step 3 freezer friendly meals
  6. Last of all, top the whole thing with a liberal layer of pepperoni.pizza pasta
  7. If you’re planning to freeze this recipe, you’re done for now. Toss some foil on top and stack them in your freezer for later.
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  8. On the day you’re planning to eat this, pull it out of the freezer several hours in advance (or even the night before if you can think that far ahead). Pasta freezer meals do fine going straight from the freezer to oven, but I find that the texture is slightly better when I can thaw the noodles out first.
  9. Leave in oven about 60 minutes at 350, or until warmed through. For about 5 minutes at the end, remove the foil and turn your oven on broil to help the pepperoni get nice and toasty around the edges and for the cheese to get bubbly and blistery.

On the Side

This cheesy, meaty pasta is filling enough that I generally just eat a pile of it with a small side of broccoli or green salad. However, sometimes I cook up some freezer-section garlic bread to serve as a side for my husband and kids.

Nutritional Info

These numbers come from breaking the above recipe into 18 individual servings. I divvy mine into 6 pans and then have each pan serve me, my husband, and leave one more adult-sized serving to split between my kids.

Calories: 540 | Fat: 18g | Protein: 39g | Carbs: 58g

Freezer BBQ Chicken + Lemon Dill Rice

This is my go-to simple chicken freezer meal recipe. It’s about as easy as it gets, plus it’s a healthy, high-protein meal that my whole family enjoys. Winner winner chicken dinner! Because this one is so easy that it’s almost not a recipe, I am throwing in a bonus side dish recipe this week that pair well with this simple BBQ chicken.

Freezer BBQ Chicken

Ingredients

6 lbs chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups of your favorite BBQ Sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1/2 cup olive oil

 

chicken freezer meal

 

Directions

  1. Trim your chicken breasts of any unwanted skin, fat, or otherwise yucky spots.

2. Chop trimmed breasts into 12 separate pieces. I like to make mine nice and thin so that they grill or bake more quickly and evenly, but exactly how you do this is up to you.

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3. Put chicken into as many bags as desired. You could do individual servings in sandwich sized bags or put as many servings as your family will eat in one sitting into a larger quart or gallon freezer bag.

4. Mix together the BBQ sauce and olive oil in a small bowl. Divvy this marinade evenly between your bags of chicken.

5. Seal ’em up and toss them in the freezer! For now, at least, you are done.

 

chicken freezer meal

6. On the day you plan to cook these up, pull them out of the freezer to thaw several hours in advance (you can go straight from frozen, but I find that cooking chicken thoroughly without overdoing it is much easier when the chicken is thawed).

7. You can place your chicken on foil-lined cookie sheets and bake at 375 for 25—30 minutes or until cooked through. Or, if you have a little indoor grill (or an outdoor one, if you’re up for it), go ahead and grill your chicken instead. I love love LOVE my George Foreman and use it for this and several other recipes. I think the slightly charred outside makes this chicken especially yummy, but this chicken is great baked as well.

8. Enjoy!  🙂

 

chicken freezer meal

Nutritional Data

These numbers come from divvying up the above recipe into 12 individual servings.

Calories: 316 | Fat: 7g | Carbs: 48g | Protein: 21g


Favorites Lemon Dill Rice

Remember the out-of-print cookbook I raved about in my Chili X post? This rice recipe comes from that same awesome book. It’s simple and tasty and freezes well. This is one of the quickest and yummiest ways I’ve found to jazz up rice. It’s listed in the Favorites book as Lemon Rice with Pinenuts on page 128.

You’ll note that the recipe as I list it below doesn’t include pine nuts . . . haha. You can certainly add them in if you’d like, but I’ve found that (1) they don’t freeze well, (2) they’re pretty high in fat, and (3) they are PRICY! So in both the interest of budget and nutrition, I’m simplified this recipe a little from its original version in the Favorites book. I’ve also doubled it so that you can cook once and have 3–4 meals’ worth set to go in your freezer.

Ivory Favorites cookbook

Ingredients

6 cups chicken broth

3 cups uncooked white rice

4 TBS butter

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tsp dried dill

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat chicken broth and rice to boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. While rice is cooking, melt the butter in another saucepan and then add chopped onion. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the cooked rice and the cooked onions. Mix in lemon juice and dill.
  4. If you’re planning to freeze your rice, let it cool completely and then bag into as many portions as desired. On the day you plan to serve it, simply remove from freezer (unlike many other freezer items, I think rice does better straight from frozen rather than thawed beforehand) and heat through in the microwave until warm and steamy. Adding a small amount of water to the bottom of your dish and covering tightly with plastic wrap helps ensure soft, warm, evenly heated rice.

Nutritional Data

As with the recipe above, these numbers come from divvying up the above recipe into 12 individual servings.

Calories: 104  | Fat: 4g | Carbs: 14g | Protein: 2g

 


On the Side

I like to serve this chicken alongside the Lemon Dill Rice and round it out with veggies of some kind. I love to chop up whatever veggies are in season, toss them in a bit of olive oil, season them in salt and pepper or maybe even some garlic powder, and then roast them in my oven. Last week I did summer squash and zucchini. Yum! But if you’d rather do something quick, frozen peas or broccoli or other veggies are also an easy way to healthily round out this meal.

There you go! Enjoy. 🙂 Comment below if you get a chance to try this one out!