Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thank you meals

I am such a foodie that whenever I need to send a thank you gift, I naturally think of food first.  In this case, I wanted to leave a small thank you gift for some friends that allowed us to use their cabin for the weekend.  The homeowners were not at the cabin with us so as a small token of appreciation I prepared several small meals and left them in their freezer.  When the homeowners returned to the cabin, they were able to enjoy meals at their convenience. 

I wanted to make meals that could be easily defrosted and reheated and I wanted them to be large enough to serve 2 adults.  Lasagna was one of the first things that came to my mind.  (It freezes really well and most people like it.)  I divided my lasagna recipe between two disposable 4x6 containers and one 8x8 Pyrex dish.  I left the two smaller lasagnas in the freezer at the cabin and I froze the 8x8 lasagna for my family.

Lasagna (makes one 9x13)
1 T. oil                       
1 pound ground beef               
1 cup chopped onion             
3 cloves garlic            
½ cup chopped parsley         
6 ounces tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons basil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper
56 ounces crushed tomatoes

15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 boxes oven ready lasagna noodles

Heat oil in skillet and add ground beef.  Cook until browned.  Add onion, garlic and parsley.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Combine ricotta, egg and Parmesan cheese.

Pour 1 ½ cups sauce in baking dish.  Layer 1/3 of noodles and ½ of the ricotta mixture.  Top with 2 cups sauce and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.  Repeat.
Top with remaining noodles and sauce and mozzarella.

 Bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees OR cover and freeze for anther day.

I store my uncooked lasagna in the freezer for up to 6 months.  I covered the tops of the small aluminum containers with plastic wrap and then added the plastic lid.  I labelled each meal and also wrote the cooking instructions on the lids.

I defrosted the lasagna that I had frozen for my family last weekend.  It was a really busy weekend and there were 6 hungry people at my house for lunch on Saturday.  I cooked the lasagna, sliced some crusty Italian bread and lunch was served.  After lunch, all that was left was one small corner that I saved to eat for lunch later in week.  (I guess everyone liked it.)

This is a really basic lasagna recipe.  It's the perfect meal to keep in your freezer and pull out on a busy day when there is no time to cook.

Bon Appetit!


  1. Thanks. I enjoyed your pictures from your Africa trip that you posted on facebook. Very inspiring.