Prepare Meals Ahead for Sickness – Freezer Cooking

Thank you to Handi-Foil for sponsoring this post.

Most of the time, I really enjoy cooking.  I look forward to spending time in the kitchen and trying new recipes.  I cook from scratch using healthy, whole ingredients for the most part.  There are nights that I really don’t want to be in the kitchen though, especially when I’m sick.  If I don’t plan ahead for sickness, I’m tempted on those nights to pick up a few frozen pizzas and call it an evening. Since that isn’t great for our health or my budget, I try hard to be prepared just in case.

Prepare meals ahead for sickness - Freezer Cooking Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Prepare Meals Ahead for Sickness

My kids are 16 and 20 and while they are old enough to cook, it’s not something that they do regularly enough to be able to put a meal together.  My husband’s cooking skills are better than theirs but he would still rather turn to frozen pizza or take out than make dinner.  When Marty and I are both sick (like now), I want to have something prepared  just in case. I’m fairly certain that neither kid would be impressed with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. When I prepare meals ahead for sickness, I try to pick meals that are the kids’ favorites.  That way, there is no added stress in case someone decides they absolutely will not eat mushrooms, tomatoes or who knows what.

My homemade baked macaroni and cheese recipe is by far one of the kids’ favorite meals.  They come back for seconds and thirds every time. Casseroles can be made ahead and then frozen for future use so it was the perfect choice to prepare meals ahead for sickness.

Prepare meals ahead for sickness - Freezer Cooking Baked Macaroni & Cheese

5.0 from 11 reviews
Freezer Cooking - Baked Macaroni & Cheese
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 6 tbsp organic butter (local if you can)
  • 1 lb (16 oz) organic pasta
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 5 cups organic, grass fed milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 block of grated organic extra sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (make sure it's fresh not from the can)
  • 1 cup seasoned Panko bread crumbs (or make your own)
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta 2 minutes less time than in the package directions. Drain & set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the flour and cook stirring for about 2 minutes until it thickens. This is called a roux.
  3. Add the milk, salt and pepper and stir constantly until it gets creamy. This takes about 10 minutes. You now have a bechamel sauce.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until it is melted.
  5. Put the pasta in a Handi-Foil 9x13 pan. Carefully add the cheese sauce and stir until well combined. It will seem to have extra sauce.
  6. Sprinkle the seasoned Panko bread crumbs over the top.
  7. You can now either cook the baked macaroni and cheese in a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes OR place the top on the Handi-Foil container and place it in the freezer for future use.
  8. When you want to cook it, remove it from the freezer in the morning and let thaw in the refrigerator all day. Remove the plastic top. Bake 350F for 60-75 minutes. You may need to cover the top part way through to prevent burning.

When I’m sick, the last thing I want to have to deal with is a sink full of dishes.  Handi-Foil containers are the perfect solution. Handi-Foil has an eco-friendly line of products called Eco-Foil. Eco-Foil is made from 100% recycled aluminum, but it is also 100% recyclable after use. They are very sturdy and go easily from freezer to oven with no hassles. The 13×9 size was the perfect size for two hungry teenagers to have seconds or thirds.

Eco-Foil offers a variety of products to choose from, including roasters, baking pans, and a broad line of favorites ranging from King Roaster® with handles (a Handi-Foil exclusive) to the Cook-N-Carry® line of pans with lids. All made from 100% recycled materials — even the plastic lids. Eco-Foil is the perfect eco-friendly choice for all your baking, roasting or grilling needs —and a great way for you to save natural resources and protect our earth, one pan at a time.

 

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media.

Comments

  1. I was not familiar with “freezer cooking”, learned something new today!

  2. Thank You so much for featuring our pans. Mac-n-Cheese looks delicious

  3. I need to try freezer cooking. I am so unprepared for weekly dinners!!! This looks SO GOOD, too!

  4. Yum looks delicious!!! 

  5. Thanks for sharing how to make it freezer-friendly!!! I am always looking for quick meals like this, and I don’t buy boxed stuff so this will help out on nights I don’t want to cook forever! 

  6. This is a great idea. I am lucky my 14 year old son loves to cook. He can make pasta,eggs, pizza and many other things

  7. Yum – looks great!! Added to SU!!

  8. I never thought of this. What a great idea not only for sick days but also for day when you need something quick.

  9. I love this and do this with soups!

  10. This looks so yummy and I love that you can prepare it ahead of time and freeze it… how cool! Thanks so much

  11. Ellen, we so needed this over the last week or so. We’ve not really been following our menu, dealing with this flu; neither of us have felt like cooking. This is a great idea, and I may spend some time creating some casserole freezer meals in the near future. Might even come in handy other times. This sounds so good right now, by the way. 

  12. i need a second freezer downstairs FOR Freezer cooking! i  saw this on pinterest. LOVE mac n cheese

  13. I should start “freezer cooking” it would come in very handy on days were I am either feeling bad or we are way too busy. Plus, who doesn’t LOVE mac ‘n cheese?!

  14. I actually do freezer cooking but I have never tried to freeze pasta before. I will have to try that out, thanks!

  15. Mac and Cheese is a perfect comfort food. My kids will only eat the homemade kind. I never thought about being able to make and freeze it ahead. Good to know! 

  16. I need to try this! It would make a perfect dinner!!

  17. Getting sick is EXACTLY why I make some freezer meals!! I mean… they would all just wither up and starve if not, right?? :)

  18. I really like this idea of making freezer meals just in case you get under the weather and need a meal. Everyone loves Mac & Cheese so this would also make a great meal for a sick friend or neighbor. Plus, with the Handi-Foil container I wouldn’t have to worry about getting my dish back.  I’ll have to get some of the containers to send food to college with my kids, too.

  19. Looks delicious.. I’m planning on making freezer meals this weekend, think this will be on my list..thanks for sharing, love the recipe and can’t wait to try it

  20. This is definitely something I need to work on.  I am always in a hurry and have no idea what to cook for supper.  Thanks for the recipe:)

  21. Looks super yummy! My kids would enjoy this, blows any box stuff out of the water! Pinning! 

  22. I love to freeze my meals. Makes perfect sense and very time efficient!

  23. I haven’t prepared for that specific reason, but I generally freeze TONS of food and sickness is one of the times when I’m most grateful I did.

  24. Oh my! Ellen that loos so good! I really need to start making freezer meals for us to eat on crazy busy days. We are depending too much on restaurant food. Even if it’s healthier take out it’s still better to be eating at home!

  25. I love being able to prepare a meal, eat it that night for dinner and then store the second half (separate dish) aside as a freezer meal. This recipe looks great!!

  26. YUM! That Mac N Cheese looks amazing!!! It’s always nice to be able to freeze things too and have them on hand for when you need them!

  27. I really should do more freezer cooking…it would make out lives much easier. We love mac and cheese!

  28. I’ve just begun freezer cooking to prep for the weeks ahead after baby arrives!

  29. I need to start freezer cooking. I always think about it but need to make plans to make it happen. It would be so nice to have ready made meals. 

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