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During the busy holiday season, it's difficult to whip up dinner in a flash. Here are four favorite baked pastas, to enjoy right away or freeze for later. Plus,

get tips on preparing pasta and how to freeze these dishes.

Pastitsio

Macaroni and Cheese

Pumpkin Pasta

Ricotta Manicotti with Tomato Sauce

Freezing and Reheating Pasta

These pasta recipes hold up very well in the freezer. If reheating without dividing into two pans, oven times will increase slightly.

Freezing

Always cool food first. Divide into two 8-inch square freezer-to-oven baking dishes. To avoid freezer burn, wrap tightly in plastic. Label and date, and freeze up to three months.

Handy Freezer Storage

If you don't want to tie up your baking pans in the freezer, line them with plastic wrap before filling. Once food has frozen, lift out, remove plastic wrap, and transfer to resealable freezer bags (label and date); place in freezer. When ready to bake, remove from plastic bag and place in pan to reheat.

Reheating Frozen

You can put baked pasta dishes in the oven directly from the freezer. Remove plastic; cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees until hot in center, about 1 hour; remove foil. Ricotta Manicotti is ready to serve at this point. For the other three dishes, continue baking until a golden crust forms, about 15 minutes.

Reheating Defrosted

Defrost dishes in the refrigerator overnight. Bake at 375 degrees until hot in the center, about 45 minutes.

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