Million Dollar Casserole

Million Dollar Casserole

Sooo good!

We had one of our favorite freezer meals tonight:  Million Dollar Casserole!  It was another one of those nights where we were all going in different directions.  Mr. Keller and the Keller Kids ran up to the farm to help out and pick up the trailer while I ran a few errands and visited with friends and family.  It was a relief to not have to worry about dinner!  I knew that it was sitting on the counter thawing!

When I arrived home, I just stuck the thawed casserole in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, flipped the TV on and watched the rest of the Cubs/Cards play off game!  Talk about a relaxing evening!  When the 45 minutes were up, I added a little Italian Cheese and stuck the Million Dollar Casserole back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  Even with a stuffy nose, I could smell it, and it smelled delicious!

Mr. Keller and the Keller Kids arrived home just in time for dinner.  They sniffed appreciatively as they entered the door, and ate with gusto.  In fact, both of the kids ate everything on their plates (even the peas I served as a side!), and BK ate a large serving of seconds.  They raced their daddy to see who could finish their meal first, and I think MK even won!  It was a really relaxing, enjoyable meal with lots of laughter.  I think the only thing Mr. Keller might have changed about the night was the result of the baseball game.

I really cannot reiterate enough how freeing freezer meal cooking is.  During the week, when we’re all going different directions or just tired, I don’t have to worry about dinner.  I have the main dish already done!  Dinner does not have to be a chore!

The recipe for Million Dollar Casserole is below.  Try it out!  You may just have a new favorite!

Million Dollar Casserole
Million Dollar Casserole
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Million Dollar Casserole
Million Dollar Casserole
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Boil a pot full of water. Add your noodles as directed on the package. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While your noodles are boiling, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese. Make sure you mix it very well!
  2. Next place your meat in a skillet and cook until brown and cooked through. Drain it.
  3. Pour your spaghetti sauce over the meat and mix well.Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray
  4. Layer half of the noodles in the bottom of the dish. Pour the creamy mixture on top of the noodles and spread it all over.
  5. Then add the rest of your noodles. Then pour the red sauce and meat on top and again spread it all over. Place the casserole in your oven for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes take the dish out and add your cheese on top and cook it in the over for another 15 minutes.
Recipe Notes

To do as a freezer meal, prepare meal as instructed above, but refrain from cooking.  Cover assembled meal with a layer of plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for better freezer protection.  Put in freezer until the morning before you intend to bake it.  Best if thawed before baked

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Spaghetti Pie

It was definitely a freezer meal kind of night!  I still have a “To Do” list that is way too long for what time it is!  Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about what we were having for dinner!  This morning, I had pulled out the Spaghetti Pie waiting for us in the freezer.  In fact, remembering to thaw a freezer meal might just be the hardest part of making dinner!  That’s not too bad!

After work today, I picked up the kids from daycare.  They were in great moods, and I managed to convince them to help me pick apples.  Usually, they’re pretty worn out from daycare, and they have to decompress for half an hour or so in front of the television; I was determined that wasn’t going to happen today, and luckily they cooperated!  The weather was just gorgeous, and with it getting dark earlier now, it was absolutely necessary that we start picking apples right after we got home!

Picking apples lasted for about 2 minutes before MK decided to go swing and BK decided to go drive his truck.  That would have been great except MK will not swing by herself.  In her defense, she does not totally get the concept of pumping her legs to make the swing go.  We’re working on it; however, this meant that she was NOT HAPPY, and I think most of you know what a NOT HAPPY two year old looks like!  Normally, I would have been happy to push her on the swing, but tonight I was really determined to get more apples picked!  Luckily for all of us, one of Mr. Keller’s co-workers pulled into the driveway to visit, and he was soon pushing MK on the swing.  Mr. Keller wasn’t home yet, anyway, so it all worked out extremely well!  MK was able to swing, I was able to pick apples, BK was doing his thing, and Mr. Keller’s co-worker was occupied while he waited for Mr. Keller to arrive.

Spaghetti Pie

Delicious Spaghetti Pie!

Meanwhile, our spaghetti pie was cooking!  I really cannot say enough about how wonderful freezer cooking has worked out for our family.  I cook once every couple of months with my mother-in-law for a few hours, and we have several meals ready to go for busy nights like this one!  It’s so freeing, and it’s also very economical!  The meals are always prepared with items that are on sale, and on busy nights we don’t find ourselves going out to eat.

Oh!  And Mr. Keller loves Spaghetti Pie.  It’s one of his favorites as long as I use a good spaghetti sauce.  His favorite spaghetti sauce is Kroger’s Basic and Garlic sauce.

Spaghetti Pie
Print Recipe
This recipe will make 2 8x8 casserole dishes
Servings Prep Time
12 people 0 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 people 0 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Spaghetti Pie
Print Recipe
This recipe will make 2 8x8 casserole dishes
Servings Prep Time
12 people 0 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 people 0 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cook spaghetti and drain
  2. Mix in the butter, Parmesan cheese, and eggs and form into a crust that covers the bottom of 4 8x8 pans
  3. spread the cottage cheese over the noodles (1 cup on each)
  4. Add the spaghetti sauce to the browned beef
  5. Spread meat sauce mixture over the cottage cheese
  6. Top with Mozzarella cheese
  7. Cover with Foil and Freeze
  8. On Serving day, thaw meal. Then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes
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Chicken Crescent Rolls

In my last post, I talked about our freezer meal cooking bonanza this last Sunday.  I also promised that I would start posting recipes as time permitted.  Well, I just had to share this one with you!  It’s our Chicken Crescent Rolls recipe.  I believe that Carol (my mother-in-law) and I have made this recipe every single time that we have done freezer meals.  To say that it’s a favorite may be an understatement!

Chicken crescent rolls

Chicken Crescent Rolls Fresh from the oven

You can freeze it before or after you bake the chicken crescent rolls; however, I really suggest that you freeze them prior to baking.  If you do bake the rolls prior to freezer, just pop them in the microwave after they thaw for a couple of minutes.

 

The Keller family highly recommends this delicious recipe!

Chicken Rolls freezer meal
Chicken Crescent Rolls
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Chicken Rolls freezer meal
Chicken Crescent Rolls
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Mix cream cheese and butter; cream well. Add the green onion, pepper, mushrooms and chicken; stir well until everything is coated.
  2. Flatten crescent rolls slightly. Put cream cheese mixture on one side of crescent triangle, rollup, spray with butter flavored cooking spray. I then sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning, but that would be up to you!
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
Recipe Notes

To freeze:  follow all of the steps up until baking.  You can freeze the chicken crescent rolls in a tightly covered casserole dish or you can flash freeze them (place on cookie sheet so that none are touching and then put cookie sheet with chicken crescent rolls on it into the freezer for one hour--this will cause the chicken crescent rolls to freeze individually) and then store in a freezer gallon bag.

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Freezer Meal Cooking

Freezer meals make life easier! Hate planning dinner? Do you feel as though it takes away from your family time? Do you find yourself picking up dinner or dining out frequently? For me, the answer to those questions was a resounding “YES!” I have found that going to a freezer meal system has made meal planning simple and given me back time in the evenings.

I was initially inspired by onceamonthmeals.com. Their website and program is great! It really delivers on the idea that if you can dedicate just a few hours each month, you can make all of you family’s meals for that month. The website gives you the recipe lists, grocery lists, and the best order in which to make everything. Because my main goal in life is optimization, this is right up my alley. The only downside is that there is a monthly membership fee if you wish to follow their program, and, frankly, I did not want to pay for it so I follow my own system!

We find that freezer meal cooking works best when it’s done about every 2 months. I do this cooking session with my mother-in-law, and, in fact, we just had a freezer meal

freezer meal prep

MK helping Grandma Carol cut onions

cooking session on Sunday! We decided the Thursday before that we both desperately needed to restock our freezer meals. We came up with our list of favorites (after having done this a few times, we tend to have our rotation down), and divided the ingredients into lists for which each person would be responsible. This time we made:
Tater Tot Casserole
Chicken Rolls
Million Dollar Casserole
Cornbread Casserole
Round Up Casserole
Chicken and Biscuits
Baked Tortellini
Spaghetti Pie
Baked Mosticiolli
And BBQ

freezer meal ingredients

Gathering our ingredients

Sunday, our Freezer Meal Cooking Day, we gathered and organized our ingredients. Carol, my mother-in-law, had browned 20 lbs. of ground beef the day before. We find that browning the ground beef in advance for the freezer meals is a huge time saver! Then, we each tackle a recipe (usually doubling or quadrupling it) until we make it through our list!  Sunday, we made a total of 64 freezer meals, and we completed that in about 5 hours!

Other things to note:  we use a mixture of glass casserole (pyrex) dishes and aluminum containers.  The glass casserole dishes work best for the meals that you bake before you freeze as they can go straight into the microwave after freezing.  We also do a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the casserole dish and then a layer of heavy aluminum foil.  We write the name of the freezer meal and the heating instructions right on the aluminum with a Sharpe marker.  It works great!

I will post the recipes in future posts as time allows.