Our MOPS 4th Wednesday activity today was make ahead meals. We make one for that evening’s meal and one to put in the freezer (or fridge) and use another day. There’s more recipes of meals we’ve made in the past for this in the recipes tab.
The meal for tonight’s use is a broccoli, chicken, and cheese braid in crescent roll dough. Everyone made two braids to take home. One braid will just barely feed 4 with a side of salad. Note: I don’t know if this dish will freeze well. I’m trying it with an extra braid and will report back if it worked or didn’t work later!
ETA: We pulled it out of the freezer and baked it up. It worked fine and tasted about the same to me.
The freezer meal is Tatertot casserole.
Recipes are below.
A few details. For group logistics: We have no childcare on 4th wednesdays. We break into 2 groups, half do meals while the other half watches kids and we switch part way through. We figure the same time frame and day of the week as we usually meet for MOPS, since everyone should be free then.
We cook the meat ahead of time, since that takes a long time to do. We have a sign up list so we know how much to purchase for ingredients, and we ask for money to reimburse the cost of ingredients. We’ve done $10 for the two meals and that mostly covers it.
I printed off the recipes for everyone to follow and take home.
An explanation on the braids: There’s (at least) two ways to do this. Pics of the two methods are here, since this can be the confusing part from just written directions. NEITHER way will completely cover the filling. It will ooze a bit in baking.
Method 1: Lay the crescent roll dough as pictured. After the filling is in, pull the corners of the crescent rolls up over the filling. Overlap so they stick to each other.
Method 2: Lay the crescent rolls on your baking sheet as shown. Use your fingers and the palm of your hand to flatten and blend the edges of the crescent rolls together. I spread mine to fit my baking sheet (Note this is a smaller baking sheet, not a huge one! The rolls are straight from the tube in the first photo, so there’s not a huge distance for them to stretch.) Put your filling in the center as above, then cut slits in the edge of the dough. The paper has lines drawn in the same way that I cut slits in the dough. It’s the same way I do my Stromboli. Then fold them across the filling. Overlap so they stick to each other.
Substitutions: you can use bread dough instead of crescent rolls, corn instead of green beans, cream of celery soup instead of cream of mushroom, or mashed potatoes in place of tater tots. Make it flex to your tastes and ingredients.
Here’s the recipes- copy and paste to make your own printouts.
Chicken, broccoli, and cheese braid
1 8 oz tube crescent rolls-
4 oz velveeta/processed cheese, cubed
1 c cooked cubed chicken
2 c cooked broccoli
You are going to make 2 of these. Each braid gets the above ingredients.
Put a piece of foil on the cookie sheet.
Spread one tube of crescent rolls out on the foil. Flatten, stretch, and “fix” the seams. Place on the center line of the dough the cooked chicken, broccoli, and cubed cheese. Cut strips in the crescent roll base from both sides. Pull strips of crescent roll over the top of the filling- it will NOT fully enclose it.
Pull the braid off the sheet with the foil, repeat with a second braid.
Baking: 375 for 15-20 minutes- ’til golden brown crust and heated through.
Layer in a 9×13 pan:
1 lb cooked ground beef (approx. 3 cups)
1 can of green beans, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted. spread this over the top of the other ingredients, and use a bit of water to rinse the can, if desired.
onions/onion flakes if desired
6 pieces of sliced cheese, or sprinkle with shredded cheddar, your choice.
Top with 1 1/2 lb of tater tots (3/4 of a 2 lb bag)
Baking: 350 until heated through.
This dish is freezer friendly and can go directly from the freezer to the oven!