Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less: Freezer Meals: Turkey and Vegetable Pasta Bake

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Freezer Meals: Turkey and Vegetable Pasta Bake

Morning lovelies!! Today I am so excited because I actually sat down this weekend and got a few of my freezer meals, which I've been sharing on instagram, typed up and scheduled for the blog. Sunday was a day of rain drizzles, watching movies, and staying in pajamas all day long. Don't you love those kind of days? I snagged an hour or so in the afternoon to sit down with my laptop and get a bit of blogging done. It always feels so good to sit down, enjoy the calm, and put my fingers to the typewriter....

wait I seriously just wrote typewriter...

I meant keyboard.....

Does anyone still use typewriters anymore? I use to love to type on my dad's typewriter when I was little. I would write all kinds of stories of dragons, princesses, lions, and far off places....

sorry I'm getting off track....

I do that sometimes:)

Ok back to freezer meals...

This recipe is one I based on a childhood comfort classic. My Mom was not really a huge cook. She knows how to cook, but my dad usually did the cooking. Every once in a while though, when Dad was working late, Mom would make her cheesy hot dogs and pasta. It was a kid favorite. It is still something that every once in a while I crave.

I decided to try to make a healthier version of this family classic. I substituted ground turkey for the hot dogs and tossed in some veggies.

I am currently obsessed with the bags of zucchini squash you can purchase from Costco. I pulled four zucchini out of my bag (a mix of green and yellow) and used those for this meal. I also buy my fresh mushrooms at Costco. They are usually $3.99 for a pound of whole mushrooms. I wash them all and place them in a ziplock bag...that way I always have fresh mushrooms ready to be tossed into different dishes.

The easiest thing to do, when freezer cooking, is to try to do as much prep work ahead of time. If you are making multiple meals that will call for ground turkey, cook all your ground turkey together. When I made this meal, I was making two lasagnas as well. I cooked all my ground turkey together. It made assembling so much easier. I season my ground turkey with a bit of Lawry's and cook it with chopped onions.

I allowed my turkey to cool, before assembling my dishes. I also do the same with my cooked pasta. After cooking, I drained it, tossed it with a bit of olive oil (to prevent sticking), divided it between baking trays, and allowed it to cool in the baking pans.

I purchase disposable baking pans from Costco. They come in packs of 30 and are about $5 a pack. That makes them about 16 cents each. That number makes me happy! I usually purchase these every few months. They are great to have when freezer cooking, making a meal for a friend, or when you just don't feel like cleaning up a casserole dish after dinner :)

Turkey and Vegetable Pasta Bake

1 lb of rigatoni pasta, cooked and drained
45 oz of pasta sauce
4 zucchini squash, washed & chopped
8 fresh mushrooms, washed and chopped
1 lb ground turkey, cooked
1 15 oz tub ricotta cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
2 9x13 baking dish

Divide cooked pasta between two greased baking trays. In a large bowl combine pasta sauce, veggies, meat, ricotta cheese, and half of both cheeses. Mix until combined. Divide sauce mixture between both baking trays. Stir pasta and sauce mixture together, so that each tray is well combined. Top baking dishes with remaining cheese. Use two sheets of foil to cover each baking dish. Be sure to label foil with name of dish, date made, and baking instructions - use a sharpie so it doesn't come off- Place in freezer. When ready to cook, allow dish to thaw all day or over night in the fridge. Bake according to the directions below.

Cooking Instructions: Bake at 350' for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through. Serve with french bread and a salad for a well rounded meal :)


XO Danielle

I am currently obsessed with Sam Hunt's song "break up in a small town". I've been listening to it on repeat, via spotify this week. It's my jam! What songs are you totally loving right now? :)

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