For so long I’ve pinned and pined over posts featuring freezer meals. I don’t know a mother who wouldn’t want to approach every evening with an answer to that age old question, “What’s for dinner?” Many times I’ve decided I’m going to give it a try. I make out the grocery list and try to set aside an afternoon to do the prep work, but my plans fall through, something else comes up, or I just get lazy. Let’s face it, this level of organization isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes real effort and dedication.
This year we have a particularly heavy weekday schedule filled with extra curriculars. Looking at the calendar and realizing there was just one night every two weeks when we’d all be home I knew it was time to start revisiting the idea of freezer meals and meal planning. Now, I haven’t actually mapped out all our meals, but I have started to create recipes I think my family will enjoy, that can be frozen, and easily prepared. This is the first of what will hopefully become a regular thing.
There are only a few meals that get absolutely no complaints in our house and burrito night is one of them. I wasn’t ready to attempt making and freezing many burritos so instead I took the freezer classic, lasagna, and gave it a south of the border twist!
Mexican Lasagna (makes 2 trays)
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
- 1 green pepper
- 1 yellow/red/orange pepper
- 1 small onion, 1/4 cup diced
- 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 2 cups of Rotel, undrained
- 1 box No-boil lasagna noodles
- 2 cups Mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups of Cheddar cheese
- 2 jars of salsa, your choice, I prefer the less chucky variety
- 2 aluminum baking trays, I used ones similar to a 9”x13” cake pan
- shredded lettuce
To begin brown your ground beef, drain off excess fat and set aside. In same skillet sweat the peppers and onion until they have softened. It’s important to note, when you’re sweating peppers don’t put the heat too high, you want them softened so the sweetness comes out, not charred. Mix the meat, peppers and onion, and beans together and set aside.
Blend the cream cheese and sour cream together with the Rotel. The mixture will be soupy and look unappetizing, it’s okay. You’ll need that liquid later to cook the noodles while they bake.
Before you start layering be sure to spread a little bit of salsa into the bottom of each baking tray. Putting three noodles across I began layering noodles, meat mixture, noodles cheese mixture, noodles. Atop that last layer of noodles I generously spread salsa and topped each tray with a cup of each cheese.
Wrap everything up tightly with foil and put it in the freezer. YOU MUST THAW THE MEAL AT LEAST 24 HOURS BFORE BAKING. Is it sad to admit I was slightly annoyed I couldn’t just stick it straight into the oven? I mean, I guess you can try but it will take a lot longer to bake and according to a couple pasta company website the noodles won’t taste as good. So, take that one extra step and pop it into the fridge the night before.
Bake the thawed dish at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Go ahead and let it sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it. Serve with shredded lettuce (got to get some greens!) or a nice side salad.