Monday, March 5, 2012

Chicken Fettuccine

I came by this recipe while freezer cooking when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my last child.  I had concerns about how fettuccine would turn out after being in the freezer, but it turns out beautiful every time.  Whether you decide to make it now and enjoy it now or whether you decide to make it now and enjoy it later, it is an easy recipe to throw together.

Chicken Fettuccine
24 oz fettuccine noodles
3/4 cup margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups half & half
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
16 oz broccoli florets, cooked & drained
Coarse ground black pepper, to taste

Directions for freezer meal
Cook noodles for half to three-quarters of the recommended cooking time.  Drain noodles.  In dutch oven, toss noodles and butter until melted.  Add half & half, cheese, chicken, & broccoli.  Fill 1 gallon plastic freezer bags with Chicken Fettuccine and freeze.  This recipe should fill two 1 gallon freezer bags for two separate meals.  To thaw, take bag out of freezer and let thaw in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours.  When ready to prepare, empty the contents of the bag into a dutch oven and heat through.  Additional half & half or milk can be added to retain moisture.  Serve with a salad, bread, and top with grated parmesan cheese if you like.


Directions for a meal for now and a meals for later
This way of preparing the meal is a little more of a dance than the straight freezer meal preparation.  If you want to be able to eat the Chicken Fettuccine meal now, you cannot just cook the noodles for half of the recommended time that it says on the package.  Your noodles would be too hard to eat.  If you cook your noodles for the full recommended time, once the meal is frozen and reheated your noodles might be too mushy or soft.  Here is what I do.  I usually double this recipe.  It makes a meal for now and two sizable freezer meals for another day.  I cook the noodles for almost all of the recommended time, but not quite.  I wait until the noodles are just al dente.  That means they are not hard, are still firm and chewy, but not totally soft.  Then I drain my noodles and proceed as I did above.  However, I use a large roasting pan to pour all of my ingredients in, because a dutch oven is too small to hold this capacity.  I eat a portion for dinner and store enough for two more meals in the freezer.

Now that I am working some, it is nice to be able to have some freezer meals available when I know life is going to be hectic on a particular day.  It takes a lot less time for me to double a recipe to eat some now and store some for later than it takes for me to prepare another meal from scratch.  It's one of my goal to do some freezer meals a couple of times a month to make my life a little easier.  I could use easier that is for sure.

"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink;  nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns;  yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?"  Matthew 6:25-26, NKJV

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