This is a recipe that keeps on giving. Do you ever feel the need to give a friend a freezer meal? Maybe they just had a baby? Or, they're recovering from surgery? Or, they're just having a hard time?
Or, when you sense a busy season of life ahead, do you wish to stock up your freezer with a few extra meals, but struggle to find the time?
There is a reason this is the perfect recipe: it is two huge, family sized meals in one easy recipe!
Just toss the sauce in the crock pot over lunch, and you're only a couple of quick and easy steps away that evening from dinner for that night PLUS a bonus meal to stick in the freezer for later or share!
Even better, there's no chopping involved!
It's a wonderful recipe to have in your back pocket in preparation for the holidays!
I chose an Italian mixture for my frozen veggies. It contained zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli.
You can also easily use any fresh veggies that you may have in your refrigerator. I chose to use frozen to save time, but fresh would also be very tasty!
- 1 lb bag of frozen mixed Italian veggies
- 1 15.5 oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
- 2 oz cream cheese (1/4 block)
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 c water
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon concentrate (such as 'Better Than Bouillon' seasoned vegetable base)
- 2 lbs spaghetti (whole grain preferred)
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese (grated)
- 1 1/2 c swiss cheese (grated)
- 1 2.5 galleon freezer bag
These instructions are for 1 dinner to enjoy immediately and 1 dinner to freeze for later.
Add first 10 ingredients (veggies through bouillon) to a 3 quart or larger crockpot, and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
After veggie sauce has cooked 4-5 hours, prepare spaghetti per package instructions. Drain, and drizzle with parsley and olive oil. Mix well until parsley is distributed.
Combine mozzarella cheese and swiss cheese in a bowl. Set aside.
Line a 9x13 inch casserole dish with excess foil, to allow top of casserole to be completely covered in foil. (Or, you can use a 9x13 inch disposable foil pan and cover with foil.)
Place half of the spaghetti in a foil-lined 9x13 inch pan (or disposable foil pan). Cover spaghetti with half of the veggie sauce from crockpot. Top with half of cheese mixture (1 1/2 cups). Cover with foil, refrigerate overnight.
After removing half of sauce, stir the remaining pound cooked spaghetti into the remaining sauce in crockpot. Top with remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese mixture. Cook in crockpot on low until the cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately.
The next morning, transfer the foil package from the 9x13 inch pan (or entire disposable pan) into a large 2.5 galleon freezer bag. Write recipe name, date, and cooking instructions on bag. Store in freezer for up to 3 months.
To cook freezer meal: Remove from freezer bag. Carefully transfer foil package to 9x13 inch pan. Thaw casserole 24 hours, or overnight, in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove foil covering from the top, and bake another 5-10 minutes until cheese is turning golden brown. (Allow for additional 10-20 minutes of covered baking time if casserole is not completely thawed.)