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Make Now and Freeze for Later Recipes

Making a meal for tonight and having enough left over to freeze for another meal is a great way to save time and save money. Each of these recipes has make-ahead directions to ensure you have everything set for saving some for later.
  • Baked Ratatouille-Sausage Penne

    In the mood for Italian? Try this low-fat sausage-and-eggplant one-dish meal.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 3. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and then foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Bake as directed but add 10 to 20 minutes to the covered baking time. Sprinkle with cheese as directed. Serve as directed through Step 4.

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  • Turkey-Vegetable Bake

    Rice and vegetables win an encore for the last of the holiday turkey. This creamy main dish gives leftovers a good name.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 1 and part of Step 2. After sprinkling with remaining Parmesan cheese, cover baking dish with plastic wrap and then foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Bake as directed in Step 2 but add 10 to 20 minutes to the covered baking time.

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  • Zesty Sloppy Joes

    There's nothing ho-hum about this familiar favorite! A couple of sassy ingredients--hot-style tomato juice and jalapeno peppers--give it a lively twist.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 2 and part of 3 but do not assemble into sandwiches; cool quickly, stirring frequently. Transfer mixture to a freezer container. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw mixture in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan. Heat through, stirring frequently. Serve as directed by spooning meat mixture onto bun halves. If desired, sprinkle with cheese and serve with sweet pepper strips.

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  • Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

    You can make and chill this family favorite ahead. When thawed, spoon on the sour cream sauce and bake.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 4. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and then foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Freeze the sauce for the top in a separate container. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Bake as directed but add 10 to 20 minutes to the baking time. Sprinkle with cheese as directed. Serve as directed in Step 5.

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  • Versatile Saucy Meatballs

    You can give this hearty sauce an Italian, Mexican, or Cajun spin with the seasoning and type of tomatoes you use. Spooning the sauce over spaghetti squash instead of pasta helps keep the dish low in carbohydrate.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare meatballs as directed through Step 1 and partway through step 2. Assemble meatballs and cover with plastic wrap but do not microwave. Cover plastic layer with foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Microwave as directed in Step 2 but add 1 more minute to cooking time. Continue preparing through Step 3.

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  • Spicy Steak and Beans

    To top off this hearty dish, sprinkle on queso fresco (KAY-so FRESK-0), "fresh cheese" in Spanish. You can find it in large supermarkets and Mexican food stores.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 3 but do not stir in fresh oregano (if using); cool quickly, stirring frequently. Transfer mixture to a freezer-safe container. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw mixture in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan. Heat through, stirring frequently. Stir in oregano (if using) as directed and serve as directed in Step 4.

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  • Spaghetti Pie

    Making the crust with egg whites gives you all the cooking power of whole eggs without the cholesterol. In addition, using lean ground beef instead of the traditional sausage and low-fat cottage cheese lowers the fat in the filling.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 3. Cover pie plate with plastic wrap and then foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Prepare as directed through Step 4 but add 10 to 20 minutes to the baking time before adding the mozzarella cheese.

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  • Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

    To cut carbs, this homey favorite features a trio of potato, turnip, and sweet potato slices instead of all potatoes.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 2 and part of the way through Step 3. After sprinkling with paprika, cover baking dish with plastic wrap and then foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Bake as directed but add 10 to 20 minutes to the baking time.

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  • Pork-Lentil Cassoulet

    By using lentils instead of the white beans in a traditional French cassoulet, you can skip the step of soaking and precooking the beans. Unlike dried beans, lentils can be added to the slow cooker straight from the package.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 2 but do not top with fresh rosemary (if using); cool quickly, stirring frequently. Transfer mixture to a freezer-safe container. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw mixture in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan. Heat through, stirring frequently. Serve as directed with fresh rosemary (if using).

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  • Pepper Pork Tamales

    Using lean pork loin instead of pork shoulder helps cut the fat.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare tamales as directed. Cool slightly. Wrap tamales in plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat refrigerated or frozen tamales, steam them as directed in Step 12, allowing 8 to 10 minutes for refrigerated tamales or about 15 minutes for frozen tamales or until heated through. Tamales can also be reheated in the microwave still wrapped in the husks. Cook each refrigerated tamale on 100 percent power (high) about 1 minute or until heated through. Cook each frozen tamale on 70 percent power (medium-high) for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until heated through.

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  • Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

    This isn't that same old-fashioned chicken casserole. Reduced-fat soup and semisoft cheese as well as fat-free milk update it for today's concerns about fat and calories.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 1. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and then foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Prepare as directed through Step 2 but add 10 to 20 minutes to the covered baking time before adding the bread crumb mixture.

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  • Layers of Lasagna

    Layers of zesty-seasoned ground beef and tomatoes, tender pasta, and creamy ricotta cheese create a family-pleasing casserole. Only you need to know that this version is low-fat and provides generous amounts of both vitamin A and calcium.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 3. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and then foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Prepare as directed through Step 4 but add 10 to 20 minutes to the covered baking time.

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  • Feta-Stuffed Burgers

    Just a little bit of feta cheese adds a rich, tangy flavor to these stuffed burgers. Feta is sometimes referred to as pickled cheese because it is stored in salty picklelike brine.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare burgers as directed through Step 1. Arrange ungrilled burgers in a freezer container in a single layer; cover with plastic wrap. Cover plastic wrap with foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Grill as directed in Step 2 but add 1 to 2 more minutes to cooking time. Continue preparing through Step 3.

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  • Beef and Red Bean Chili

    This chunky Mexican-style stew owes its delightful flavor to an intriguing blend of chipotle pepper, oregano, cumin, and cilantro.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed but do not top with sweet pepper and cilantro; cool quickly, stirring frequently. Transfer chili to a freezer-safe container. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw chili in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Transfer chili to a large saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently. Serve as directed with sweet pepper and cilantro.

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  • Southwestern Shredded Beef Sandwiches

    Here's the top-ranked sandwich for tailgate picnics and other chilly-weather dining. Tote the spicy filling to the game in the slow cooker and assemble sandwiches on the spot.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 2 but do not stir in cilantro; cool quickly, stirring frequently. Transfer mixture to a freezer-safe container. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 3e months. To serve, thaw mixture in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan. Heat through, stirring frequently. Stir in cilantro as directed and serve as directed in Step 3. If transporting the mixture, reheat in a slow cooker.

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  • Texas-Style Chili

    Texans have strong opinions about their chili: The meat must be cubed, never ground. Beans may be served alongside but are never stirred into the mixture; neither are canned tomatoes.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through Step 3 but do not top with additional onion (if using); cool quickly, stirring frequently. Transfer mixture to a freezer-safe container. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw mixture in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan. Heat through, stirring frequently. Serve as directed with additional onion (if using).

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