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.

Pesto Tortellini Bake Freezer Meal by CampingForFoodies features a black cast iron Dutch oven filled with cubed chicken, red cherry tomatoes and cheese-filled tortellini pasta in a creamy pesto and alfredo sauce. The family-style meal has been baked and is ready to be served.

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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.

Dutch Oven Dome & Heat Diffuser PlateDutch Oven Dome & Heat Diffuser PlateDutch Oven Dome & Heat Diffuser Plate

 

YouTube video

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.


Recipe Steps

At Home:

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:

  • date
  • 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.

Plastic Freezer Bag HoldersPlastic Freezer Bag HoldersPlastic Freezer Bag Holders

 

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.

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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.

At Camp:

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.


Substitutions

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

Chicken Pesto Tortellini Make Ahead Camping Meal by CampingForFoodies features a blue camping plate filled with a serving of creamy Pesto Tortellini Bake with red cherry tomatoes, a green chopped spinach salad with all the fixins and a slice of crusty bread topped with butter. The plate is sitting on a campfire log with rocks, green tall grasses and a sparkling river in the background.

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.

Use my camping menu planner to stay organized when planning meals for your next trip. It’s FREE and you’ll get it delivered instantly to your inbox!

Camping Menu Template Meal Planner Free Printable by CampingForFoodies features a collage of free camping printables including a camping menu planner template, a campfire stew recipe card and a healthy no cook camping salad with text over the image that reads free camping menu template, tips and recipe ideas.

Leftovers

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.


Similar Recipes

When you’re looking for delicious camping dinner recipes, I think you’ll agree, it’s amazing what a cup pesto and a few jars alfredo sauce can create! This Pesto Steak Pasta combines flank steak with 4 cloves garlic, farfalle pasta, basil pesto sauce and grape tomatoes to make a tasty meal. It is one of my camping pasta recipes where you don’t have to boil the pasta separately, it cooks directly in the sauce!

This Pesto Ricotta Pasta Bake layers hot Italian sausage, oven-ready lasagna noodles, pesto sauce and 3 types of cheeses to make a Lazy Man’s Lasagna. It makes a cozy, easy dinner that’s perfect when you need warm winter camping recipes for cold weather trips.

Instead of using store-bought alfredo sauce, this Garlicky Shrimp Alfredo Bake is made with a simple homemade version. You’ll bake shrimp with penne pasta in chicken broth and heavy cream to easily make a luxurious meal in the great outdoors. I like serving a fresh spinach salad on the side with this rich dish. This is just one of my Dutch oven camping recipes that features seafood made in an affordable way.


Watch How To Make It

Recipe

Pesto Tortellini Bake Freezer Meal by CampingForFoodies features a black cast iron Dutch oven filled with cubed chicken, red cherry tomatoes and cheese-filled tortellini pasta in a creamy pesto and alfredo sauce. The family-style meal has been baked and is ready to be served.

Pesto Tortellini Bake Freezer Meal

Camping For Foodies Dinner Camping Recipes: This Pesto Tortellini Bake is the perfect make-ahead freezer meal you just “dump and bake” at camp.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner Camping Recipes
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Defrost Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories: 180kcal
Author: Kim Hanna

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

At Home:

  • 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 #1)
  • 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.

At Camp:

  • 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 #2)
  • 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.

Notes

  1. If you’d like to use a homemade Easy Basil Pesto, try this one. https://www.campingforfoodies.com/basil-pesto-fresh-and-freezable-camp-recipe/
  2.  For conventional or RV oven baking, use 9×13 baking dish and cover pan with foil to bake.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 401mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 245IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 196mg | Iron: 1mg

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