Among the things I’ve been told to expect once the baby gets here is that I will stop having time to cook meals. Not that Kellen and I have a lot of time to cook now, but as going out to eat will not be as easy a solution once we have a baby in tow, we’ve decided we need to have some sort of back-up plan for getting food on the table while we’re adjusting to a new baby.
One of our ideas is to order our groceries online and have them delivered, particularly for fresh fruits and vegetables. One of our other ideas, though, is to prepare meals now and freeze them, so we have something we can thaw and heat up quickly in a few months. We’ve got a list of things we think might do well frozen and reheated and have decided to do one big meal a week that will be put in the freezer.
Last weekend, we did our first freezer meal. We made Miss Johnnie’s Chicken Spaghetti. For some background: Miss Johnnie was the receptionist at my high school for years and her husband officiated at my parents’ 3rd marriage to each other. (Remind me to tell that story another time.) She gave my mom her recipe for chicken spaghetti at some point, and it is seriously delicious. I’m not sure how it will freeze and reheat, but. Check back here in a few months, and I’ll be sure to let you know.
For now, the recipe:
- 1 whole fryer (a whole, uncooked chicken)
- 1 can rotel tomatoes
- 1 small can sweet peas
- 1 16 oz. package shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 32 oz. box chicken broth
- 2 pckgs. spaghetti
- 2 stalks celery (finely chopped)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 small can sliced olives
- Tony’s Creole seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Boil fryer in water until done. (~1-1.5 hrs) Remove from broth.
- Add spaghetti to broth along with additional box of chicken broth.
- While spaghetti is cooking, saute onion and celery in butter.
- When spaghetti is done, add cheese and stir until melted.
- Add onions, celery, rotel tomatoes, and peas. Mix well.
- Remove chicken meat from the bone.
- Add chicken back to the spaghetti and stir.
- Salt, pepper, and season with Tony’s to taste.
- Pour into a well-greased baking dish(es). Will fill 2 9×13 baking dishes.
- Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Some notes: as a shortcut, Kellen and I will just buy a rotisserie chicken, already cooked, from the grocery store and skip boiling the chicken. Instead of using the broth from the whole fryer, grab a couple of extra boxes of chicken broth. We start with cooking the spaghetti in the boxed chicken broth, cut the rotisserie chicken off the bone and add it in later at the same time you’d normally add the meat from the fryer. This is also a really versatile recipe that you can add a lot of different things to (my husband wants to try it out with broccoli) or season in different ways. If you like to cook, you can make this in about a hundred different ways just by changing up what kinds of veggies and seasoning you put into it.
Anyhow, after the chicken spaghetti was finished, we kept one out to eat. The other, after it had cooled a bit, we wrapped in foil and placed in the fridge to cool overnight. The next day, we transferred the second chicken spaghetti to freezer-safe dishes. I labeled them with the date we made them so we would know how long they’d been in our fridge. The unfrozen version was delicious. I’ll post a review of how the frozen version tastes in a few months when we crack it open.