Today we are freezer banking! Lasagna is one of those meals that is kind of a big job so when I make it, I make a bunch! Using Rick’s “Irish Spaghetti” sauce that he made in a jumbo batch last week, I had planned to make lasagna. I saved one out for a meal and the rest went into the deep freeze for later when time is short and we need a great meal. All we have to do is make some garlic bread and a salad and dinner is on the way!
Freezer banking is an awesome way to prepare for future meals. I love to freezer bank dishes like lasagna and casseroles because you can easily whip up a bunch and bulk cook all in one afternoon and have a nice back stock of easy to cook/bake meals at your fingertips for those nights when time is short or just make it easier when planning your weekly menus. This is also a great way to use sale items and shop sales when meat is at a discount.
This lasagna is old school, just like my mom used to make. Not a traditional lasagna Bolognese because it lacks the bechamel sauce. This is meat sauce chock full of beef and pork and tons of mushrooms, along with a delicious creamy cheese mixture of ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan. I do not put cottage cheese in my lasagna because it does not belong in lasagna. Save the cottage cheese for the peaches please. The cheese mixture also contains eggs for binding as well as a mixture of seasonings and herbs to give this outstanding flavor.
I am using “oven ready” lasagna noodles because they take the fuss and a lot of the headache out of making this pasta dish. I remember my mom boiling oodles of noodles. They never seemed to stay whole, would stick together and just make a giant mess. Always too hot to handle! These oven ready variety make life super easy. Just use them right from the box and be sure to put in enough sauce to hydrate while baking.
While I am using meat sauce, as the meat portion you can also add a layer of browned ground meat mixed with enough sauce to bind together. My mother often would do this and would layer noodles with a layer of meat and a layer of noodles and a layer of cheese. This is too much meat for me and I prefer to use the meat sauce instead. You can always use sliced meatballs or sausages if you prefer. Those are also a lovely addition. You should make your lasagna your own. But remember when it comes to veggies, always cook them first because the watery-er they are, the watery-er your finished product is going to be and you will have a slippery sliding mess of a lasagna in the end.
I was able to build five casseroles out of the ingredients I had. I used 5 quarts of sauce, 5 pounds of ricotta, 5 pounds of mozzarella, 1 pound of Parmesan and almost three boxes of noodles. I used 1/3 sized steam table pans that would yield 6 servings each giving us one meal and two lunches from each casserole. You should make the size needed to feed your family. We are four, so I adjusted accordingly.
I prepped each pan for freezing by layering a piece of parchment, two layers of regular foil, but one heavy duty will do and then printed instructions for heating on the computer, place that on top and put these each into a 2 gallon zipper top bag that I wrapped around the pan so it would be secure before freezing.
Now I have four lasagnas ready to go in the freezer for when we want them. We eat this about once every six weeks and I love that this is my own version. It is easy to grab frozen lasagna. It is not a shameful thing to do so, but when you have the time, making your own is so much better!
I hope you give this freezer banking method for lasagna a try and I hope you love it!
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