Since my local, grass-fed organic beef was delivered a few weeks ago, I’ve been thumbing through some “oldies but goodies” beef recipes and came upon Beefy Baked Ravioli. This recipe is one that my freezer club–that’s my small group of friends who cook and swap healthy freezer meals for each other once a month–has been making for years. I don’t know a man, woman or child alive who wouldn’t like this lasagna of sorts.
There are several things I think you’ll love about this recipe, besides that it’s comfort food at its best…
1 – Using the cheese ravioli enables you to skip the ricotta cheese/egg mixture step which saves time and mess. I buy the fresh or dried cheese ravioli at Trader Joe’s because there are no additives or preservatives unlike many of the frozen varieties.
2 – You can easily transform Beefy Baked Ravioli into a cheaper, easier, and vegetarian meal by leaving out the meat and adding in some chopped spinach, thus making it similar to my Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups. You might need to rename it, though.
3 – It freezes beautifully! That means it’s easy to make in bulk for your own family or to share with a friend, neighbor, or new mom who could benefit from a meal.
Freezer Meal Tip: Be sure to double this recipe and freeze the second one before baking for later. It’s a perfect weeknight meal and even provides leftovers for another meal or two. When ready to bake, thaw in the fridge overnight. Baking time may take longer because it will be so cold, so factor in another 20-30 minutes to the cooking time.
Here’s a shot of our Beefy Baked Ravioli after we devoured most of it for dinner…
I think your family will thank you for this one…
- 1/2 medium-sized onion, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed, organic)
- 1/2 lb pork sausage (preferably local, organic)
- 2 jars spaghetti sauce (approximately 28 oz. each; I like Newman’s Own Marinara)
- 1 can (15 oz) crushed Italian tomatoes
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups shredded Italian mix cheese (Romano, Parm, Asiago, etc)
- 2 packages (10 oz.) fresh cheese ravioli, cooked al dente (I use Trader Joe’s)
- grated Parmesan cheese, optional for serving
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
2) In large skillet over medium heat saute onions until soft. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute but don’t let it burn. Next, add beef and sausage to onions and garlic and turn up heat to medium-high. Cook until browned and no longer pink. Drain grease, then stir in sauce and crushed tomatoes and remove from heat.
3) Spread thin layer of meat sauce into bottom of baking dish. Arrange a layer of cooked ravioli over the sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and Italian cheese over the ravioli. Repeat layers, ending with the last of the sauce on top. (Freezer Meal note: Freeze the casserole at this point.)
4) Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes until hot throughout. Take foil off and bake about 15 minutes more or until bubbly at edges.
5) Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.
Prepare the casserole through Step 4, but do not bake. Wrap the unbaked casserole tightly before putting in the freezer.
When ready to cook, thaw in the fridge (may take up to 48 hours) or thaw in the microwave on defrost setting. Bake according to instructions.
If cooking directly from frozen state, increase baking time by 1 to 1 ½ hours (total baking time of about 2-2 ½ hours).
What kind of containers do you store these type of freezer meals in?
We highly recommend using a BPA-free container or dish. While it may be easier to buy the disposable Glad ovenware containers, it really makes sense to stock up on some quality, safe dishes that you can bake AND store in. After searching long and hard, I highly recommend using these containers from MightyNest:
A few reasons I like these:
- Glass is a natural, non-porous material.
- Glass cookware doubles as food storageware.
- Glass is easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
- The clear lid allows easy visibility to your food.
- Because they are oven and microwave proof, you can cook, heat, and store your food all in one dish.
- Flat top allows for easy stacking.
- They are VERY affordable.
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