Photos by Aimee Broussard

Aimee’s Pretty Palate: Freezer Friendly

“It’s in the ‘freezes beautifully’ section of my cookbook and I want to make something that freezes beautifully” is one of my favorite lines from the movie Steel Magnolias. It’s when Annelle arrives home with a bag full of groceries and describes the meal she will take to welcome the birth of Shelby’s baby.

Anytime I am making something for someone following a new birth, a death in the family, or an illness, I pretty much recite those same words. I want to make something that freezes beautifully! You never know how many other people will be delivering meals, and it’s always best to provide something that doesn’t necessarily have to be eaten right away. But freezer-friendly meals don’t have to be solely for gifting others; they’re also a great way to get ahead when you know you’re heading into a season when you’ll be short on time. Having freezer meals available ensures you’ll always have something homemade ready to go when you are!

Pasta, my Pastalaya in particular, fits perfectly into that freezes-well category. It’s the ultimate comfort food, and pasta does well in the freezer if used within about a month or two. Any longer and the taste begins diminishing.

Another easy make-ahead meal is Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice, otherwise known as the “rainy day special” at my house. Since it’s just my husband and I, red beans are one of those recipes that just keep on giving long after your rainy day, though. Rather than tire of leftovers, the remainder goes into the freezer to be enjoyed later.

And what’s better than an impromptu fiesta? Ready-made Mexican Quesadilla Casserole and not having to slave over dinner, that’s what. Simply thaw, heat and eat! Feel free to substitute chicken if you’re not a fan of beef. Add a side salad and call it done.


1 lb. ground beef
½ cup chopped onion
15 oz. tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8¾ oz.) can Mexicorn, undrained
1 (4½ oz.) can green chilies, undrained
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. oregano
2 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese
6 (8-in.) flour tortillas
Garnish: sour cream, tomatoes, olives, cilantro (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef and onion. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn and green chilies. Mix well. Stir in spices. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Spray a 9 x 13-in. baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread ½ cup of beef mixture on bottom of pan, then top with cheese and 3 tortillas, overlapping as needed. Repeat with remaining beef, cheese and tortillas. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with sour cream, fresh cilantro, tomatoes and olives if desired.
For freezer meal, follow same instructions but use a freezer-friendly aluminum foil pan. Instead of baking, double wrap with heavy-duty foil and label. When ready to use, thaw and bake.
Makes 8 servings.


1 lb. pork, cubed
1 lb. andouille or smoked sausage, sliced into ½-in. rounds
2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (10-oz.) can Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained
1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. Creole seasoning
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 lb. pasta (linguine, spaghetti or penne), cooked per package directions
2 green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, brown pork and sausage in butter over medium-high heat. Remove from pot, and set aside. Add onion, celery and bell pepper to reserved drippings, and sauté until softened. Stir in garlic, Ro-Tel tomatoes, chicken broth, cream, Creole seasoning and Tabasco. Return meat to pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes or until pork is cooked through. Add cooked pasta and green onions; combine thoroughly. Season with salt and black pepper.
For freezer meal, follow same instructions but place in a freezer-friendly aluminum pan. Double wrap with heavy-duty foil and label. When ready to enjoy, remove foil, allow to thaw, stir and heat.
Makes 8-10 servings.


4 cups dried red beans
2½ tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Creole seasoning
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 links andouille sausage, chopped
1 pkg. pickled pork, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups white rice
Green onion, chopped, for garnish
Soak beans overnight in enough water to cover by an inch. Drain and rinse; set aside.
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet; sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic, Creole seasoning and oregano. Add sausage, and cook until edges begin to brown and are slightly crisping. Put sausage mixture into slow cooker. Add drained beans, pork, chicken broth, Tabasco, vinegar, salt and black pepper; stir to combine.
Cook on high for 6 to 8 hours or until beans are soft. After about 6 hours, stir, and using back of wooden spoon, gently mash some beans against side of cooker, allowing them to dissolve into liquid.
Serve with a scoop of white rice on top. Garnish with chopped green onions.
For freezer meal, follow same instructions but place in a freezer-friendly aluminum foil pan once cooled. Do not add rice or green onions. Double wrap with heavy-duty foil and label. When ready to enjoy, remove foil, allow to thaw completely, and heat.
Makes 6-8 servings.

Aimee Broussard is a Southern food blogger and award-winning cookbook author. Seen on QVC, Rachael Ray and more, she is a self-proclaimed accidental entrepreneur with a penchant for porches and sweet hospitality. Find her online at