How to Freeze a Casserole (and how to reheat it!)
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If you are looking to freeze meals ahead of time then you may be wondering where to even begin. There are many reasons to start freezing meals ahead. It’s a great way to save money and ensures that you will always have a meal on hand. When it comes to the best meals to freeze, it’s always casseroles. Casseroles are easily frozen and easily thawed and they also are meant to be a meal in one dish that can feed a crowd. Turning your favorite recipe (casserole or not) into a freezer meal is really quite simple! Read below for some great tips on how to freeze a casserole!
Step 1. Look through all of the ingredients and make sure everything can be frozen.
Here is a quick list of foods that should NOT be frozen (this is a general guideline, results will vary based on preparation):
- Fresh vegetables with high water content: lettuce, and cucumbers, for example.
- Soft cheeses with high water content: examples include cottage cheese &ricotta.
- Food emulsions: Like mayonnaise and cream.
Step 2. Decide whether it is best to pre-cook or put it into the freezer raw. (Generally speaking, meats used in a casserole should be cooked first.)
Step 3. Write a note on the frozen dish/bag/etc. including:
- recipe title
- instructions on how to cook the casserole on the “big day!’
- date frozen
Casseroles that Freeze Well:
A note about freezing casseroles:
You may not wish to freeze your casserole in a pan as the pan will be out of use (and stuck in the freezer) until the day you decide to eat it. In that case, you can flash freeze the casserole in the shape of the pan and then freeze it in plastic wrap and foil. Here’s how:
Line your casserole dish with aluminum foil and then add a layer of plastic wrap. Leave extra hanging at the edges so that you can pull it over the top later. Put the food in the dish and then put the dish in the freezer. Once the food is frozen, pull the lined food out of the dish and wrap it up with the remaining wrap then put the pan-shaped food back into the freezer.
How to cook a Frozen Casserole
Remove the casserole from the freezer and into the fridge 24-36 hours before cooking. Preheat oven and bake casserole loosely covered with foil as directed (I usually allow an extra 20 minutes depending on the density of the casserole). The final temperature of a casserole should reach 160 degrees F.
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