I’m not a huge fan of the cook and freeze. We have two refrigerators and I have a difficult time keeping track of what the hell is in any one at any give time. A recent inspection of the one in the basement revealed a paint brush and roller from when I painted a wall with chalkboard paint. Plastic bag wrapped brushes and rollers stay very supple in the freezer for continued painting at a later time. Whenever I make lasagna, I always make double and freeze one. It’s just as easy to make two at once and that way I’m sure I’m not wasting half a tub of ricotta cheese or other ingredients.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Spray 2 – 8″ x 8″ Pyrex baking dishes with cooking spray – any vegetable spray will work. Spray both the bottom and sides of the dishes.
2. Line one pan with a large piece of aluminum foil. It should go up the sides of the pan with enough hanging over the edges to fold over the top of the completed lasagna. This dish will be the one for the freezer.
3. Begin preparing the lasagna in both dishes. Start with a layer of lasagna noodles. I pay no mind to the oven ready v boil first noodles. I’ll use any kind that are on sale. They all cook up just fine in the oven without prior boiling.
4. Next add a layer of part skim ricotta cheese.
5. Next is the veggie layer. For our veggies I typically use a 1 lb bag of frozen spinach and a 1 lb bag of frozen broccoli. You need to thaw the veggies first. I typically thaw the veggies by placing them in a colander and running luke warm water over them. The veggies are going to be very soggy when thawed. It’s less than appealing, but you’ll need to squeeze the veggies within an inch of their lives to remove the excess moisture. You can also put the veggies on a clean dish towel and squeeze out the excess moisture that way. No matter the method, the veggies should be pretty dry. Wet veggies = lasagna soup.
6. After you have added a vegetable layer to both pans, cover with pasta sauce. I use a jar of decent pasta sauce with a 28 oz of partially drained can of diced tomatoes mixed in.
7. Cover the pasta sauce with shredded part skim low moisture mozzarella cheese.
8. Repeat all steps until the Pyrex baking dishes are full. The very top layer should be mozzarella cheese (sooooooo melty and gooey – yum!)
9. For the dish you are planning to bake same day, spray another piece of foil with some cooking spray and cover the dish (oil coated foil side down – against the cheese). Place it in the over for about 45 minutes at 350 or 375 degrees. Cooking times might vary depending on the oven so keep an eye on it. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, remove the foil so the cheese on top gets a little browned.
10. For the dish you plan to freeze, spray the foil hanging over the sides of the dish with cooking spray and fold over the top so the foil makes a neat little sealed package in the dish. Place this dish in the freezer. When well frozen, pop all of it out of the dish. The foil should slide right out thanks to the cooking spray. Slide the foil wrapped frozen chunk into a gallon sized freezer bag and label with date.
NOTES: You can salt and pepper the ricotta cheese to taste. Since Mac is going to try some of this yumminess, I didn’t add extras. Also, I chopped the thawed broccoli into smaller bits so it’s easier for him to chew with his 4 teeth!
When you are ready to enjoy the frozen lasagna, place the entire frozen chunk back in the same Pyrex dish, foil and all and thaw in the fridge. Cook as noted above.