Getting Ahead with Bulk Food Prep {plus Garlic White Lasagna recipe!}

 (While I’m enjoying my newborn, I’m delighted to share this guest post by Trina from trinaholden.com.)

When I’m facing a busy time (new baby, moving, full schedule, spring gardening season!) I love to prepare in advance. That’s why I was so excited to help Rebekah prepare for the arrival of her new baby by doing a guest post. And I’m going to talk about my favorite thing - getting ahead in the kitchen.

Recently we were enjoying a beautiful day and all my kids and I wanted to do was be outside.

But I had to make dinner.

I ran through my mental list of meal components in my freezer and pantry and thought of just the thing – Garlic White Lasagna. All the stuff to make this family favorite were in my freezer all ready to be thrown together. At lunch I pulled out to thaw on the counter:

  •  the second half of a double batch of Alfredo Sauce,
  •  just the right amount of seasoned sausage and chicken,
  •  steamed chard frozen from last summer

At 4 pm I came in from the yard and threw the layers together with homemade pasta from the pantry. I crimped on some tinfoil and slid the lasagna into the oven. I was back out with the kids in 10 minutes!

An hour later, dinner was bubbly and ready to be served.

Sound too good to be true? It can happen in your kitchen if you practice the simple concept of bulk food prep.

  • Whenever you have baked or roast chicken, make two! De-bone the leftovers from dinner, chop the meat, and freeze it in meal sized portions for casseroles or soups.
  • Make stock with those bones – a gallon at a time in your crockpot! Freeze it in ice cube trays and pint jars so you always have stock ready.
  • When you bake, double the batch. Muffins, waffles, bread and pancakes all freeze well and reheat nicely.
  • When you make a casserole, please make two! Stash the other in the freezer for a busy day
  • Shop in bulk so you can cook in bulk – buy the big package of meat, the bigger bag of flour, the bonus pack of veggies

Doubling your efforts in the kitchen doesn’t usually mean a whole lot of extra time. By just taking a few more minutes with a task today, you may eliminated that job completely from next week’s schedule!

Try it tonight – here’s my White Garlic Lasagna recipe, which is so easy to double. Make extra sauce and meat to freeze like I did, or go all out and make two whole casseroles, freezing one for a busy day next week when you’d rather be out in the sunshine!

Garlic White Lasagna

Brown together and drain:

  • 1 Lb. sausage
  • 1 Lb. chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion
  • 1 Tbsp. Cajun Seasoning

Set meat aside and make the sauce.  Melt in a sauce pot:

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

Add:

  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning

In a quart jar, mix:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 6 Tbsp. arrowroot powder

Shake to mix, then gradually add to your butter and garlic, stirring occasionally until thickened. Finally, add:

  • 1 c. Parmesan cheese

Cook your lasagna noodles al-dante (just a bit chewy) – this makes them easier to work with as you make the layers – they will get completely done when you reheat the finished casserole. Alternately, you may layer the noodles in uncooked, if you have time to let the lasagna bake for a whole hour.

This is a good place to sneak in some veggies like spinach or swiss chard – just steam them lightly and chop them fine. Some sauteed mushrooms would be yummy, too.

Layer your ingredients as follows: Sauce, Noodles, Meat, Veggies, Sauce, and then Noodles again. I try to divide my ingredients so I get three layers built. Finish with Noodles and then some more Sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 until heated through (or an hour if using uncooked pasta).

This recipe is one of 6 delicious casserole recipes in my e-book Real {Fast} Food, which is chock full of kitchen tips and bulk food prep secrets for serving your family nutrient-dense, nourishing meals without an overwhelming time commitment. It contains over 50 recipes from yogurt to bone broth, to breakfasts and even desserts! It’s available as an instant pdf download, or for your kindle or nook. Learn more HERE!

Trina is a wife and mother to three young children. She likes to get her work done in the kitchen quick so she can homeschool, write, sew, and play outside with her kids as much as possible. You can see what she’s up to this week at trinaholden.com.

Photo by Trina Holden

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Simply Rebekah!

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4 Responses to Getting Ahead with Bulk Food Prep {plus Garlic White Lasagna recipe!}

  1. I will have to try this one. It sounds so good!! Thanks for sharing.
    Sharon @ Parents of a Dozen recently posted..Tips to Healthier Living Series: Part Four, Nutritional Supplements

  2. Jenny says:

    I love doing this. One of my favorite make ahead components is ground beef. I cook and drain large batches and freeze it in small containers. This makes it very quick to pull together several meals such as spaghetti, chile, shepherd’s pie, or if my boyfriend is cooking, kraft dinner with ground beef.

    I don’t like freezing cooked chicken because it never seems to come out of the freezer as good as when it went in, but if I have boneless parts I will cut them up and freeze in meal sized portions for quick, low-prep cooking.

    • Rebekah says:

      I’m with you, Jenny. Ground beef is certainly my favorite food prep item to freeze. I always wish that I could I had cooked chicken on hand, but it just isn’t something I’ve gotten into the habit of making ahead.

  3. Pingback: In Real Life, You Bring A Casserole… | All That Is Good

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