Monday, June 13, 2011

Packing it all up. . .

Packing up the dinners was easy.  Saturday night we had Joe's favorite meal - Nachos.  After dinner I packed up some grilled chicken, black beans and cheese in a container and chips into a bag so he could repeat the meal Sunday night.  I put that container in the freezer with the two layered enfrijoladas.  Then because waiting until the last minute is often the way I roll I made another of Joe's favorites - lasagna pasta - which is an easy meal that I like to sneak extra veggies into.  We call it lasagna pasta because it's layered and has a cheesy filling like lasagna. I use inexpensive and easy to find rice pasta instead of gluten free lasagna noodles which I have to make a special trip for.

Here's what I do:

In an 11 cup rectangular Pyrex dish I pour one half of a 16 ounce bag of gluten free pasta.  Pour one half of a jar of pasta sauce over the pasta.  I usually puree a zucchini into the sauce.

In a blender container or bowl if using an immersion (stick) blender put 1 15 ounce container of ricotta cheese, two eggs, one yellow squash cut into large chunks, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon of oregano and a dash of garlic powder.  Blend until smooth.  The squash vanishes into the sauce and no one will be the wiser.  Pour over the pasta.

Slice 8 ounces of Mozzarella cheese and lay it on the cheese.

If your family enjoys more veggies, this is a good time to add a layer of thawed frozen spinach or any veggie you like. I want Joe to come home so I did not. =D

Pour the rest of the pasta and sauce over the top.  Fill the pasta jar about half full with water, put the lid on and give it a gentle shake.  Pour the diluted sauce carefully over the top.

Cover tightly with foil and set on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for approximately one hour.

Remove from oven, uncover and top with 8 ounces of shredded Mozzarella cheese and pop it back in the oven, uncovered until the cheese is melted and golden.

This time I just let the cheese melt onto the hot pasta since presentation was going to be a mute point once I piled it into the containers.

Once cooled, the containers were packed and put in the freezer overnight.

Here's how the cooler looked as we were packing it up - frozen water bottles supplemented the cool packs. The frozen meals were pulled out and packed up with dinners on the left, lunches in the middle and the breakfast bars on the right.  On top we the almost frozen yogurt.  On the very top was a note to the kitchen supervisor with my number.

As you can see, each large bag also has a sheet of information to keep things easy for the staff.  Keeping everything clearly marked and properly sealed may look like overkill but cross contamination is such a problem.

The cooler went into a hot trailer - which wasn't what I'd expected - and they had about six hours until they were at the camp site.  That should have worked just fine because the majority of the cooler was frozen solid.

Can't wait to have him home and hear all about it.


Anonymous said...

I love your sneaky ideas and will have to give them a try. Do you add the squash and zucchini uncooked, and then they just cook along with everything else?

I have less than two weeks to pack for the next trip...but since my son came home sick from his latest adventure after eating restaurant food, I know the extra time will be worth it. (The good part was, they didn't start using restaurants until the end of the trip.) This helps me know how to make things easy for the camp staff.

I hope Joe has a great time!! We know he will eat well. :)

chacha said...

Since I either grate or puree the squash and zucchini they cook right along and no one could taste them.

I was sorry to read he came home sick. Thankfully it was the end of the trip and I hope he's much better by now.

If I get any feedback from the camp or Joe that may come in handy for you I will be sure to let you know.