Pesto Tortellini Bake Freezer Meal: Easy Make Ahead Camp Dinner
There are so many great ways to prepare a pasta dish the whole family will love. If you’re looking for an easy peasy meal with tons of flavor, try this Pesto Tortellini Bake Freezer Meal.
It’s one of my make ahead camping meals you just “dump and cook” to create an amazingly delicious, flavor-packed comfort food dinner in the great outdoors.
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Prepare In Advance
To prepare as one of our easy camping meals, do this:
- At Home: Combine ingredients in a freezer bag, freeze flat.
- At Camp: Defrost, dump and bake.
Cooking Methods & Equipment
If you’d like to make this as one of our camp stove recipes, you’ll need a Dutch oven dome and heat diffuser plate to direct the heat up the walls and over the top of the Dutch oven for baking.
If you are making this as one of our easy campfire recipes, you’ll need to get your fire going with hardwood that produces nice coals for cooking. Or, you can use charcoal briquettes.
Step 1. Prepare the chicken. I like using boneless skinless chicken breasts that have been grilled and cubed, but, you can also just shred chicken you’ve cooked in a slow cooker or instant pot.
Step 2. Label a gallon-sized freezer bag.
Label a 1 gallon freezer bag with the:
- recipe name
- cooking instructions
Step 3. Pack the freezer bag. Place meat, uncooked tortellini, Alfredo sauce, basil pesto sauce, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, black pepper and salt into the labeled container.
I like using plastic freezer bag holders for this task. They hold the bag open so you can easily add ingredients to the bag without making a mess.
Step 4. Seal & Freeze. Work as much air from the bag as possible and seal tightly. Use your hands to gently squeeze the bag to mix the liquids, creamy pesto sauce and other ingredients. (If you don’t mind washing more dishes, in a large bowl combine tortellini and other ingredients, mix well then transfer to a freezer bag.) Lay the bag flat in your freezer for up to 3 months.
Step 5. Thaw the bag. Thaw the chicken tortellini mixture in its freezer bag in a refrigerator or cooler overnight. If you’re thawing on cooking day you can place the sealed frozen meal in cold water to quick thaw.
Step 6. Preheat oven. Let the bag sit out at room temperature while the oven is being preheated.
Preheat 12-inch Dutch oven to 350 F degrees (25 total coals = 17 on top of the lid/8 below the bottom of the oven). If you are using a different oven size, check our Dutch oven temperature chart to see how many coals you will need.
For conventional or RV oven baking, use a 9×13 baking dish and cover pan with foil to bake.
Step 7. Dump, bake and serve. Pour the defrosted mixture into the preheated oven (or baking dish). Cover and bake until the tortellini is fully cooked and the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 45-50 minutes. Turn the Dutch oven and the lid 1/4 turns in opposite directions every 15 minutes to ensure even baking.
Let the dish cool for a few minutes before serving.
If you prefer using homemade pesto, try my recipe that uses fresh basil leaves, fresh garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, salt and olive oil. My Easy Basil Pesto can be made in advance and frozen too.
What To Serve With This Recipe
With over 1 lb cheese tortellini, several cheeses and rich sauces, this meal is on the heavy side so it is nice to balance it with a fresh side salad. I serve a simple chopped spinach salad because that is the best sturdy leafy green that holds up well in coolers.
A crusty bread with butter is also a nice addition.
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Store leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container and reheat for another meal or snack later in your trip. You can also place in plastic wrap and freeze for eating much later.
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Pesto Tortellini Bake Freezer Meal
- 2 cups cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed (or shredded rotisserie chicken )
- 1 (20 oz) package cheese tortellini frozen or fresh tortellini
- 1 (16 oz) jar Alfredo sauce
- 1 (8 oz) jar basil pesto use your favorite store-bought pesto or try my easy Basil Homemade Pesto
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 (10 oz) carton grape tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Label a gallon-sized large plastic freezer bag with the recipe name, date and cooking instructions.
- Into the freezer bag, add the cooked cubed or shredded chicken, uncooked tortellini, Alfredo sauce, basil pesto sauce, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, black pepper and salt. (see * Note)
- Work as much air from the bag as possible and seal tightly.
- Use your hands to gently squeeze the bag to mix all the ingredients together.
- Freeze the bag flat for up to 3 months.
- To cook, thaw the chicken tortellini mixture in a refrigerator or cooler overnight. (Or, quick thaw by placing the sealed bag in cold water.)
- Let bag sit out at room temperature while the oven is being preheated.
- Preheat 12-inch Dutch oven to 350 F degrees (25 total coals = 17 on top of the lid/8 below the bottom of the oven). (see ** Note)
- Pour the defrosted mixture into the preheated oven. Flatten into an even layer.
- Cover pot and bake 45-50 minutes, or until the tortellini is fully cooked and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Turn the oven and the lid 1/4 turns in opposite directions every 15 minutes to ensure even baking.
- Let the dish cool for a few minutes before serving.
More Yummy Meal Ideas
If you’re looking for awesome ideas for yummy camping food, you’re in the right place! Here’s our entire camping recipes list.