Make Ahead Meals: Quesadilla Casserole

I am starting a series of blogs for Make Ahead Meals that I am preparing before Baby 2.0 arrives. Every night when I make dinner, I am doubling the recipe and putting the second in the freezer. I am hoping that the prepared meals will help on those totally exhausted days when cooking sounds like no fun. I am hoping many of the meals I will be preparing will be somewhat healthy and low calorie, but I know there will be some meals mixed in that aren’t. To prepare for the freezer meals, I purchased some slow cooker liners (for the crockpot meals), gallon freezer bags (for the freezer skillet meals), and Aluminum Foil Steam Table Pans with matching lids (for the freezer casseroles).

First of all, I like to buy meat in bulk when it’s on sale. When it comes to ground beef, I usually buy large quantity and brown it all at once. Usually I will end up with a giant container of browned ground beef in my freezer like this:
I was on the hunt for another ground beef recipe and I came across this recipe for Joyful Momma’s Kitchen for Quesadilla Casserole (Freezer Meal) and thought it sounded like a pretty easy and yummy meal to add to my deep freezer. (You can check out the full recipe here.)

To start this meal, dice the onion and caramelize over medium heat. 
Next I assembled the ingredients to make the inside of the casserole: chili powder, ground cumin, dried minced garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper, 16 oz tomato sauce, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of whole kernel corn, and 1 can of green chilies. 
 I added the ground beef to the cooked onions.

Then I mixed in all the ingredients and let simmer for 20 minutes.

To start the casserole, spray oil spray on the bottom of your foil pan and then spread 1/2 cup of the beef mixture on bottom. Top with 3 of the tortillas, overlapping as needed.

Layer with 1/2 of the remaining beef mixture and 1/2 of the cheese.

Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Top with remaining beef mixture and cheese.

Top the pan with foil and cover with pan lid. Label with the following instructions:
– Thaw and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. 
Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 
And just if you are wondering, here is the calories count on this meal. 
Not the lowest calorie meal, but I have a feeling it might end up feeling more like 10 people instead of 8.

Meals to date:

2 x Spaghetti and Meatballs (really just frozen meatball)

1 x Quesadilla Casserole

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