Individual portion frozen shepherd's pies (or any kind of casserole dish)

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This is more of a tip than a recipe, but I've put it here because it's a handy way of building up your bento freezer stash. When I make something that is baked in a casserole for dinner such as shepherd's pie, I try to make a few individual portions in cupcake liners. In this case it's shepherd's pie, but it would work with fish pie, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, moussaka, or any kind of dinner main dish that you would normally bake in a casserole dish. It only adds a few minutes to your dinner making time.

Here is how I do it:

  • Line a regular size metal muffin tin with cupcake or muffin liners. You can use paper or silicon.
  • Fill the cups with whatever you are making. In this case, I filled the cups a bit more than halfway with the meat mixture, topped them with a swirl of mashed potatoes, then drizzled on a little Worcestershire sauce. You could get very fancy here and pipe on the mash if you like. The metal muffin tin provides support for the cups, which is good if you have something a bit difficult to pack into a small container like mac and cheese.
  • Bake these along with your main dish, but take out after 15-20 minutes, or half the time it takes to bake your main dish. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Put the whole tin in the freezer. The metal will help to freeze the cups very fast, so they'll be firm enough to take out of the tin after a couple of hours. Take the cups out and put them in a freeze bag to store.

The cups will defrost nicely in 5-6 minutes on the HIGH setting in a microwave.