I love having a freezer stocked with convenient, pre-made meals. But, I also try to avoid most “convenience foods” of the pre-made variety. So, I get pretty excited anytime I find yummy and healthy recipes that are easily adaptable to freezer cooking, or better yet, designed for stocking the freezer!! This is one of those recipes. It could easily be classified as a “family favorite” and has become a staple in our monthly menu. We always have at least one batch (usually more!) in the freezer at all times. I have had a few requests for the recipe recently, so I thought I would post it here. Hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!!
(I would love to give proper credit to whomever created created this, but I honestly have no idea where it came from. I may have found it online, it may have been part of an e-mail recipe swap, or from a good old fashioned cookbook. I will see what I can find, and I’ll be sure to update this post if I do find the source.)
Full Recipe (Makes 2 9X13 pans):
16 oz. pasta (We like penne or bow-tie. I prefer whole wheat pasta, but regular would work well.)
6 cups diced cooked chicken
1 stick (8 Tbs) butter
½ large onion, chopped
¾ cup flour (Again, I use whole wheat)
4 cups milk
3 Tbs chicken broth powder/bullion**
2 cups water**
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I usually use extra sharp.)
**Note: If you do not have chicken broth powder (bullion), omit the water, and use 2 cups of chicken broth instead.
Put diced, cooked chicken in a large mixing bowl.
Cook pasta (according to package directions, omitting salt), drain and add to chicken.
Make a sauce by melting butter in a cooking pot. Add chopped onion and cook until soft. Stir in flour until blended and add milk, whisking until the flour/butter mixture is incorporated. Add water and seasonings. Cook until thickened.
Add sauce to the mixing bowl with the chicken and pasta. Add cheese and stir to combine.
To Freeze: Divide mixture between 2 9×13 pans. Wrap in foil, label and freeze.
To Serve: Thaw in refrigerator. When completely thawed, bake uncovered at 350° for 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. If desired you can sprinkle extra cheese on top in the last few minutes of baking.
If two 9X13 pans sounds like too much for you or your family, or if you do not have enough of the ingredients on hand to make the full recipe, simply cut it in half:
½ Recipe (Makes 1 9X13 pan):
8 oz. (1/2 package) pasta
3 cups diced, cooked chicken
4 Tbs butter
¼ large onion, chopped
4 Tbs flour
2 cups milk
1 ½ Tbs chicken broth powder**
1 cup water**
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ tsp salt
½ tsp soy sauce
**Note: If you do not have chicken broth powder (bullion), omit the water, and use 1 cup of chicken broth instead.
Then, follow the above directions for making the sauce.
To bake, spread the mixture in one 9X13 pan (or divide between two 8X8 pans), and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350°, or until hot and bubbly.