Talk about a busy week!
Can you believe that I haven’t baked anything in a week. At LEAST! In fact, I don’t even remember the last time I got the stand mixer going. This is a problem that needs to be fixed ASAP.
But for now, getting through the week is my top priority. Which means that I need some quick meals I can make fast when I eventually come home at 8pm and am starving. Good thing I had the forethought to make a freezer meal on Sunday!
Growing up with a Filipino mother, there was always rice in the house. And you could bet that every day, at least one of our meals involved rice. Sometimes even for breakfast. But the weird thing was, no one in my family ever got bored of it. My after school ritual would be to take out my homework, make some tea and get the rice cooker going.
But as I have moved away and am now living with my fiance, my daily rice consumption has slowed to maybe once or twice a month. It was just never really part of his childhood, and I never have time to make anything that will go well with rice.
This freezer meal solves both my problems: it can be made days in advance, and it makes rice the star of the dinner. Just like old times.
But it wasn’t because of the rice that I made this casserole. I am one of those impulsive buyers at grocery stores. If I something that looks good and is at a reasonable price, I will snatch it up and throw it in my cart no questions asked. The majority of the time, I have no plan for it, and sadly, it will eventually go to waste if it is a perishable item. This time, my impulse buy was kale.
…I guess it could be worse.
So I look in the fridge on Sunday to see what I can whip up with what I have and notice this sad, shrivelled bunch of kale on the verge of going bad. Since I feel absolutely awful wasting food, I needed to think of a way to use it. Use all of it.
Problem solved. I think I should start buying kale more often! The inspiration it gives.
Here is a quick and easy freezer meal for those busy weeknights. Loaded with all of your favourite vegetables.
- 12 cups rice, cooked
- 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 5 cups kale, stems removed and chopped
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 5 cups milk of choice
- 2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 bag frozen vegetables
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Cook the onions and carrots until the onions are translucent and fragrant. Add in the kale and cook until wilted. Stir in the cornstarch. Add in the milk, and stir continuously until the mix until the mixture has thickened.
Add in the Parmesan and the Mozzarella cheese, and mix until the cheese has melted. Add in the frozen vegetables and the cooked chicken. Mix for a while, then turn off the heat. Mix in the rice.
Portion the mixture into two large freezer bags. Allow to cool before placing in the freezer.
When ready to use: Remove from the freezer in the morning and place in your fridge to defrost. (If you don’t pre-plan in the morning, you can run the bag under warm water for 5-10 minutes, or until defrosted). Dump the mixture in a medium baking dish. Bake at 375ºF for 30-40 minutes, or until warm.
Adapted from Make the Best of Everything.