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Beefy Baked Ravioli: An Easy Fake-Out Lasagna

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This fake-out lasagna is a dinnertime favorite in my home. Beefy Baked Ravioli is very easy to make too! It’s super filling and makes a great beef freezer meal. My kids love it.

Beef baked ravioli

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Since my 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.

Beefy Baked Ravioli in a baking dish

What Makes Beefy Baked Ravioli a Winner Dinner

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. The ingredients are simple, pantry ingredients that you likely already have.

Ingredients for Beefy Baked Ravioli in  while bowls

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 makes a great freezer meal!! 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.

How to Make Beefy Baked Ravioli a Freezer Meal

Turning this recipe into a freezer meal is a cinch. Simple follow the cooking instructions right up until the point you bake it but STOP. DON’T BAKE IT! Wrap it tightly and freeze it for up to 6 months (even longer if you are able to package it correctly.) When you want to make it, use one of our safe thawing instructions to prepare it.

It may have to thaw in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Baking time may take longer because it will be so cold, so factor in another 20-30 minutes to the cooking timeBoom, you now have a fabulous ground beef freezer meal ready to roll on a busy night.

How to Assemble Beefy Baked Ravioli

Like to see things before you do them? Here is a layout of the steps you’ll be doing to make this yummy dinner.

Step by step images for beefy baked ravioli

Here’s a shot of our Beefy Baked Ravioli after we devoured most of it for dinner…

What Storage Container to Freeze Beefy Baked Ravioli In

We recommend using a freezer-friendly, resealable glass container or dish. While it may be easier to buy the disposable plastic 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, here are the freezer storage containers we recommend. We both have collected a huge stash of them over the years!

Freezer containers for beefy baked ravioli

A Short Video on How to Make Beefy Baked Ravioli

Make life simpler with this easy, fake-out lasagna tonight. Your family will thank you for this one.

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Baked Beef Ravioli Recipe: An Easy Fake-Out Lasagna

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 810 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This fake-out lasagna is a dinner time favorite in my home. Very easy to make, super filling and is freezer friendly. My kids love this meal!


Ingredients

  • 25 ounces fresh or frozen cheese ravioli
  • olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 23 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (preferably grass-fed, organic)
  • 1/2 lb pork sausage (here’s where we get ours from)
  • 2 (24-28 ounce) jars marinara sauce (or 6 cups Homemade Marinara Sauce)
  • 1 1/22 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/22 cups shredded Italian mix cheese (or more shredded mozzarella)
  • grated Parmesan cheese, optional for serving

*Note: Our original recipe called for 1 can (15 ounce) crushed Italian tomatoes, but in further tests we found it to be too saucy. We removed this ingredient.


Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. If using frozen ravioli, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the ravioli according to package instructions, just until al dente. (Note: If using fresh ravioli from the refrigerator section, skip this step. No need to cook it in advance.) 
  2. While the ravioli cooks, preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9×13 inch pan (or two 8×8 inch pans) with cooking spray.
  3. Drain the ravioli in a colander, gently toss with a little oil to keep from sticking, and set aside.
  4. In large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute but don’t let it burn. Next, add beef and sausage to the onion mixture and turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook until browned and no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Drain off the grease, then stir in the sauce and remove from heat.
  5. In the baking dish(es), spread a thin layer of the meat sauce into the bottom. Arrange a layer of half the ravioli over the sauce. Sprinkle about 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and about 1 cup of the Italian cheese over the ravioli. Pour half of the remaining sauce over the cheese and spread it with the back of a spoon. Repeat layers, ending with the rest of the sauce on top. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  6. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes until hot throughout. Take foil off and bake about 15 minutes more or until bubbly at edges.
  7. Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.

Freeze For Later:

Prepare the casserole through Step 5, but do not bake. Wrap the unbaked casserole(s) tightly with plastic wrap and foil before putting in the freezer, making sure to squeeze out any excess air.

Prepare From Frozen:

Thaw in the fridge (may take up to 48 hours) or thaw in the microwave on defrost setting. Bake according to instructions, beginning with Step 6.

If cooking directly from frozen state, baking time will increase.

A bite of beefy baked ravioli

Looking for more ground beef recipes?

Check out our Top 10 Ground Beef Freezer Meals!

Ground Beef Freezer Meals

*Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your costs will be the same but Thriving Home will receive a small commission. This helps cover some of the costs for this site. We appreciate your support!

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Chicken Parmesan Casserole is a family-favorite freezer meal that is super easy to make. This real food, healthy dinner recipe is a staple in our home.

Chicken parmesan casserole

(Looking for healthy freezer meal recipes? We have 70+ of our favorites HERE!)

Whenever I make my Roasted Whole Chicken and Vegetables (one my very favorite recipes) or Slow Cooker Whole Chicken, I sometimes have chicken leftover. So, I throw it in the freezer. When I’ve got a few cups of cooked chicken in the freezer, I’m ready to make this delicious chicken freezer meal: Chicken Parmesan Casserole.

Chicken parmesan casserole in a 8x8 glass dish

My family loves this simple chicken freezer meal recipe because it’s an old family favorite in a comfort-food form.

I bet you have most of these ingredients on hand:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Panko or whole wheat bread crumbs
  • A few fresh herbs.

That’s it. You can eat it by itself or serve it over pasta. It might be nice over a bed of rice, too.

Chicken parmesan casserole with a side salad

Here’s How Easy Chicken Parmesan Casserole Comes Together!

How to Freeze Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Chicken parmesan casserole in a freezer container

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here.

The easy-to-print Chicken Parmesan Casserole recipe is below, but I wanted to mention that, as with so many of our freezer-friendly recipes, this Chicken Parmesan Casserole freezes wonderfully. Simply assemble the casserole (with cooked chicken) and freeze it in an airtight container before baking.

When you want to make it, thaw it safely and bake it according to the recipe instructions.

We 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.

The Ultimate Chicken Freezer Meal: Chicken Parmesan Casserole

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Chicken Parmesan Casserole Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This family favorite is super easy to make, made with real food ingredients, and also freezer friendly.


Ingredients

  • 4 cups (about 1.5 pounds) fully-cooked chicken, shredded or cubed (where to find meat you can trust)
  • 1 jar (28 ounces) of marinara sauce (or make your own)
  • 1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Panko or whole wheat bread crumbs (Here is how to make your own) (Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond meal instead.)
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease an 8×8 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
  3. Layer the fully-cooked chicken in the bottom. Dump in the marinara sauce and mix with the chicken. Next, top with both cheeses until all the chicken is covered.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, olive oil, fresh herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper together.
  5. Sprinkle the seasoned breadcrumbs over the top. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden on top and bubbling on the sides.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-5. Cover the casserole tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap and/or foil, squeezing out as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw in the fridge over night and follow Step 6. Note: If it’s still slightly frozen in the middle, you’ll just have to cook it longer than the recipe calls for or defrost it a bit in the microwave before baking. Cover it with foil if the top gets too brown in the oven.


Notes

We get our meat from ButcherBox*. Their chicken is organic, curated from small, trusted farms, and absolutely delicious. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef–and have used it for years ourselves. *Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox.

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Try our SUPER POPULAR 1 Hour Freezer Prep sessions. We give you everything you need to throw together 6 delicious, family-sized freezer meals in just 1 hour! Anyone can do it with our simple instructions, organized shopping list, and pre-filled out freezer labels.

Chicken parmesan casserole being scooped out of a dish.

Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly. Since I was in charge of bringing some type of broccoli casserole to Thanksgiving this year, I searched high and low for a recipe that could be made in advance (since we had to drive 2 hours that day) and that most people would like.

I came across Pioneer Woman’s Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole recipe. I mean, a Pioneer Woman recipe has never served me wrong so I thought it was a no brainer. Well, I’m glad I gave it a trial run before making it for Thanksgiving because, well, I didn’t like it. (Please note-the pictures in this post are from when I made it the FIRST time. I have since tweaked it so if you make it, it may look a bit different).

I made quite a few changes to the recipe. First of all, the original recipe was WAY too much rice. I also felt like it needed more broccoli and veggies so I upped the amount of broccoli and added in some cauliflower.  With a few other tweaks, I got the recipe to be where I wanted it. I thought it was pretty dang good! I felt confident about the dish I was bringing (and that felt somewhat representative of my cooking abilities to my in-laws). Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Well, pride comes before the fall, my friends. I probably should have known that at a large Thanksgiving, people have LOTS of options and little space on their plate. When a broccoli and rice casserole is competing with cheesy twice baked potatoes, buttery rolls, three different types of turkey and so on, it pretty much doesn’t stand a chance. It just wasn’t fair to put the broccoli casserole to caramelized sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. Or maybe I’m making excuses. I don’t know. For one reason or not, the broccoli casserole was not a hit. Just being real here.

Despite the majority of the crowds turning their nose at it, I stand by my recipe. I liked it and think it is worth sharing. It was full of flavor, filled with seasoned veggies, and made a great side dish. If you’re a broccoli and rice lover like me, you’ll probably like it too.

Ready or not, here is how to make Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Preheat oven to 375.

Time to get that wild rice cooking. Combine rice with 4-5 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until rice begins to break open. Mine took about 35-40 minutes, but follow the instructions on the package. As I mentioned above, the pictures I have are not necessarily representative of what it should look like. I used half of the rice in the picture below AND this rice should have cooked a bit more. 

Once the rice is cooked, set it aside or go ahead and spread it out in a 9×13 casserole dish.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Meanwhile, get to chopping up all of those veggies. Cut the broccoli into small florets. Finely chop the other veggies up. This recipe does have a lot of chopping to do so use a food chopper if you have one! Otherwise, give your forearms a pep talk because they are about to get a workout.

To make sure your broccoli gets cooked, you’re going to need to give it a head start. This means cooking it in boiling water for a minute or two then blanching it (removing it from the boiling water and plunging it into icy water to stop the cooking process). After this step, spread it out evenly over your wild rice.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Now it’s time to make the good stuff. In a large pot, melt about 6 tablespoons of butter and then toss all the rest of your diced veggies in with it. Stir frequently for about 8 minutes until they are softening and turning a bit darker.

Sprinkle the flour on the vegetables and stir to incorporate it, then cook for about a minute. Pour in the remaining 5 cups of broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow it to thicken, about 3 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, stirring to combine. Let the mixture cook until it thickens. Season with the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Using a ladle, scoop out the vegetable/broth mixture and spoon it evenly all over the top. Continue with the rest of the sauce, totally covering the surface with vegetables.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine in separate bowl with the panko breadcrumbs. Toss the mixture together to coat the breadcrumbs in butter, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Cover with foil and bake your casserole for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes more until the breadcrumbs brown a bit.

Enjoy!Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

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Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy, fresh ingredients and freezer friendly. Take this to your next family gathering!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked Wild Rice
  • 10 cups Low-sodium Chicken Broth, more If needed for thinning
  • 1/2 cup (1 Stick) Butter
  • 4 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 package (8oz) white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cup cauliflower, finely chopped
  • 1 whole medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Start cooking your wild rice. Combine 4-5 cups chicken broth with wild rice. Bring to a boil (follow the cooking instructions that are on the wild rice package or cook the rice until it has just started to break open and is slightly tender). Mine took about 35 to 40 minutes. Drain and set it aside.
  2. Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli by throwing the florets into boiling water for 1½ to 2 minutes. Immediately drain and plunge it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove it from the ice water and set it aside.
  3. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, then melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add all of your vegetables and cook them, stirring frequently for about 7-8 minutes. When they start to soften and turn a bit brown, they are done.
  4. Sprinkle the flour on the vegetables and stir to incorporate. Then cook for about a minute. Pour in the remaining 5 cups of broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow it to thicken, about 3 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, stirring to combine. Let the mixture cook until it thickens. Season with the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  5. Add the cooked rice to the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, then layer on the broccoli. Using a ladle, scoop out the vegetable/broth mixture and spoon it evenly all over the top. Continue with the rest of the sauce, totally covering the surface with vegetables.
  6. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine in separate bowl with the panko breadcrumbs. Toss the mixture together to coat the breadcrumbs in butter, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top.
  7. Cover with foil and bake the casserole at 375 for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Optional: sprinkle on the parsley after you remove it from the oven.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Follow steps 1-6. Freeze before cooking.

To Prepare:
When ready to cook, let thaw completely and follow step 7.

Chicken, Brown Rice, and Veggie Casserole {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer
A fantastic, healthy way to use up some leftover broccoli and chicken. Try this casserole and win over your family!

Update on 8/5/14: I retested this recipe, simplified the instructions, and added more liquid to the original recipe. It’s pretty close to perfect if you ask me and my family. But feel free to tweak as you like or offer suggestions in the comments portion.

I was looking for a way to use up some leftover chicken and broccoli recently, and desperately wanted to find a recipe that didn’t include a canned soup, as do most standard Chicken and Rice Casseroles. I didn’t have much luck, so I decided to make my own version I’m calling Cheesy Chicken, Brown Rice, and Veggie Casserole using what I had on hand. Guys, this was a hit with my family!

A fantastic, healthy way to use up some leftover broccoli and chicken. Try this casserole and win over your family!

One of the things I’ve learned is that many canned soups can be loaded with sodium, MSG, trans fats, hidden sugars, and a ton of ingredients I’ve never heard of nor seen in my life.  For instance, Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup contains among a plethora of other things:  potassium chloride, guanylate, disodium inosinate, sodium phosphate, soy protein isolate.  What are those things and why would I ever want to eat them if I can help it?

Check out how easy my real food version is to put together…

A fantastic, healthy way to use up some leftover broccoli and chicken. Try this casserole and win over your family!

I served it with crusty whole wheat rolls, salad, and some fruit. Ready to give it a try?

A fantastic, healthy way to use up some leftover broccoli and chicken. Try this casserole and win over your family!
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Chicken, Brown Rice, and Veggie Casserole

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A fantastic, healthy way to use up some leftover broccoli and chicken. Try this casserole and win over your family!


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup finely chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup finely chopped cauliflower
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 11 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup sour cream (or whole plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Asiago or fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (finely shredded melts best)
  • 1 cup whole wheat or panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy non-stick pan and saute broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, celery, onion, and garlic for about 4-5 minutes, just until tender. Season with ground thyme, poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning, and lightly with salt and pepper while veggies cook. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add diced chicken and brown rice into pan with the veggie mixture, and stir to combine well. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, chicken stock, and chopped parsley. Then stir in Asiago cheese and cheddar cheese. Gently stir the sour cream mixture into the rice mixture.
  5. Spoon rice mixture into the 2-quart casserole dish and press down to evenly distribute. Top with bread crumbs.
  6. In a separate small bowl, combine bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until casserole is slightly bubbling around the edges and golden brown on top. Broil for 1-2 minutes at the end, if the top isn’t brown enough. Serve warm.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze: Put casserole together, tightly wrap with plastic wrap and a layer of foil, and freeze it before baking.

To Prepare: Thaw in the fridge over night. If it’s still slightly frozen in the middle, you’ll just have to cook it longer than the recipe calls for or defrost a bit in the microwave before baking. Cover it with foil if the top gets too brown in the oven.