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Life and Religion

Freezer-friendly dinner recipes
A homemade pre-cooked meal can save time in kitchen
Published Wednesday, November 13, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

Many times we miss out on home-cooked meals because we often don’t have enough time during the week to cook everyday. These freezer-friendly dishes make it easy to enjoy a home-cooked meal without having to carve a lot of time out your weekday schedule to spend prepping in the kitchen. These convenient recipes allow you to mix and fix a meal now to feast on later. Just take it out the freezer, pop it in the oven and enjoy.

Johnsonville Hot & Spicy Jambalaya 

Johnsonville Hot & Spicy Jambalaya


2 cups chopped green peppers

1-1/2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1-Tbsp. minced garlic

1-Tbsp. olive oil

2 cups beef broth

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies

1-tsp. Cajun seasoning

1 cup uncooked long grain rice

1 pack (22 oz.) Johnsonville Hot & Spicy Sausage slices

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley


1. In a large saucepan, sauté the peppers, onion, celery and garlic in oil for 5 minutes.

2. Add broth, tomatoes and Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil.

3. Stir in rice. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

4. Stir in sausage and parsley. Cook 5 minutes longer or until sausage is heated through.


Line bottom and sides of a 13x9-inch baking dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil, allowing 2-3 inches to extend over sides. Fill with jambalaya. Cover and freeze. To serve: Remove foil and return to casserole baking dish; cover and thaw in refrigerator 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Bake at 350 or until thoroughly heated.


Chicken, Broccoli & Cheddar Twice-baked potatoes


4 (10- to 12-oz.) russet potatoes

1/2 (8-oz.) package 1/3-less fat cream cheese (cubed and softened)

1/2-cup milk

Potato filling (recipe below)


1. Preheat oven to 400. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork, and bake directly on oven rack 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. (Baking directly on the rack keeps skins crisp and firm to hold the filling.) Cool 10 minutes.

2. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; carefully scoop pulp into a large bowl, leaving shells intact. Mash together potato pulp, cream cheese and milk; stir in desired potato filling. Spoon mixture into potato shells. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.


Bake at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.


Freeze potatoes on baking sheet 1 hour or until firm. Wrap each potato in plastic wrap, place in a zip-top plastic freezer bag, and freeze up to 1 month. To thaw: place in refrigerator overnight. To serve: unwrap potatoes and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until hot. Or microwave at HIGH five minutes or until hot, checking at 1-minute intervals.

To make filling: MELT 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. ADD 1 small onion (diced) and 1 (10-oz.)package frozen chopped broccoli (thawed and drained). SAUTE’ 5 minutes or until tender. STIR together broccoli mixture, 2 cups chicken (cooked and chopped), 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 3/4 tsp. table salt and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper.

Ground Beef Pot Pie

Ground Beef Pot Pie


5 pounds ground beef, browned and drained (or substitute chicken or turkey)

5 pounds frozen vegetables

5 pounds potatoes, cubed and cooked

5 jars Heinz Homestyle Gravy (or homemade)

1 tablespoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons salt

1-tsp. pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

5 double piecrusts (store bought or homemade)

Egg wash (recipe below)


1. In an extra large bowl, combine all ingredients (except the pie crusts).

2. Scoop mixture evenly into 5 unbaked piecrusts

3. Cover with top piecrust and brush egg wash over the top with a pastry brush.


Bake at 350 until gravy bubbles and piecrust tops are a nice golden brown (about 45 minutes to one hour). Cool slightly before serving.


Wrap in plastic wrap and then foil. Label and place in freezer.
To make egg wash: BEAT yolk of 1 large egg with 1 Tbsp. heavy cream (milk or half and half can be substituted). 


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