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My wife and I are prepping some meals ahead of time before Baby #2 arrives early next month.

She just made 3 small lasagnas (8"x8" pans) this afternoon and we are debating whether to bake them first and then freeze them down, or freezing them uncooked and bake when we are ready to eat.

What is the proper method to maintain the quality of the food as much as possible? Cooking and thawing times when we decide to serve it are less of a factor.

We used standard noodles (not the no-boil type) and it has canned sauce, pork sausage, ground beef, ricotta, and fresh mozzarella in case the ingredients impact is the best option.

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I wonder if uncooked would be more prone to freezer burn since the cooked lasagna may have less air pockets---where I assume freezer burn will take place (I could be wrong). I still vote for uncooked for similar reasons as MandoMando. –  Dolan Antenucci Jul 30 '13 at 18:07
    
@dolan interesting idea, I hadn't considered that. For my purposes, we don't plan on keeping them in the fridge that long to test the theory, but it is a good point for the general question. Thanks. –  psubsee2003 Jul 30 '13 at 18:46
    
Bake and when cooked, freeze smaller portions into individual servings. –  Max Apr 9 at 14:26

5 Answers 5

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I'd say freeze nearly all of them uncooked and bake when ready. That way they go through only one cooking and maintain the fresh lasagna taste/feel.

The sauce and and the cheese will freeze ok. Mozzarella is a pretty sensitive cheese and once it's been baked, it's not going to hold as well when thawed and re-warmed. In my experience it gets gummy and the fat runs off. You have much better chance of enjoying a good meal with the cheese frozen raw.

Unfortunately, your noodles will likely take the hardest hit, but will likely fare better than going through two heat cycles.

The ground beef and sausage will also fare better that way.

The reason I suggested freezing MOST and not all, is that there are times when you're behind the 8-ball, hungry, and don't have the time to bake the sucker, and even ponder settling for dog-food. At that point having a silver bullet in the freezer is a bonus ;) and you'll be ok with inferior lasagna.

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I have cooked Lasagna, cooled it overnight in the refrigerator, cut the Lasagna in portions, vacuum sealed and froze the portions. I have received all positive feedback on the Lasagna.

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In my personal opinion, lasagna is one of those rare dishes that only gets better after being cooked and then re-heated. But on the other hand my lasagna use regular cheese (like Gouda or similar hard cheese) and not mozzarella so it might not apply to you.

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I use the recipe on the Barilla no-boil lasagne package. I have successfully assembled extra pans of lasagne and frozen them prior to cooking. To cook, I put the pan in the oven then set the temp to the instructed temp 375degF (so the lasagne preheats with the oven), and bake until peeking under the foil reveals the lasagne is bubbly (i.e., at the same stage as the freshly prepared pan would be after the standard 25?50? min), then uncover and finish per the box instructions.

For our lasagne size and oven conditions, the total time it takes to cook from frozen in a cold oven is about 100 minutes (1 hour 40 min) covered with foil plus 5 uncovered. This may seem like a long time but I am pleased to report that it turned out just as perfect as the freshly prepared batch.

FYI, Regarding freezer burn on uncooked noodles: we did not see any freezer burn - but the longest one remained frozen was about 2 months.

I have not tried thawing the lasagne before cooking.

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When I make lasagne to put in the freezer, I do not bake it first.

For me, the best way to freeze it is using a sheet of Glad's Press-N-Seal over the top of the lasagna, pressing down to get all the air out if you can, between the top layer (sauce/cheese) and your press-n-seal. You want more or less a vacuum seal (the cheap way). I seal my press-n-seal to the top and then up the sides of the tin pan, all the way to the top. Now when you foil your pan, the gap that was 1-2" between the lasagna and your pan won't freezer burn your expensive and time consuming meal!

I use 2 layers of heavy duty foil to encompass the entire pan and label the lasagna: Lasagna, 02-04-14 Press-N-Seal on top layer, Remove before Baking!

This way I remember to take it off before tossing the frozen meal into the oven. I then lay it flat in freezer just until it's frozen, a day or so, then you can move it because it's then a hard solid block!

Hope this helps! Mel

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Hi Babyduck115 and welcome to the site! Thanks for your input here! As you can see, I edited your answer a bit. This was mainly because the wall of text was not easily readable and there was a lot of information not directly answering the question. But do not worry, it's normal for other users to edit each other's questions/answers. I hope you have a great time here! –  Mien Aug 4 at 9:22

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