One thing I’ve never tried but always wanted to attempt is a big prep of freezer meals! Baby #2 on the way seems like a perfect time! With family in and out, it will be nice to have a stock of food on hand that is ready to cook at any time.
I did a bit of research online for recipe ideas and how-to’s before I got started – you can refer to the links listed below if this is something you are considering too! Basically, I made a big trip to the grocery store, bought everything at once, and then dedicated an evening to knocking out the cooking and packing. I made 2-3 meals at a time by cooking the meats in bulk, preparing the associated ingredients, and loading up my freezer bags.
(Some people cook all their meat at once, chop all the vegetables at once, and then do a massive packing session. I wasn’t sure how long that would take and I wanted to be able to stop at any point, so I broke the process down into smaller pieces. And let’s be honest…I’m not nearly organized or focused enough to do it like that 🙂 )
Fair warning: It makes a heckuva mess. It requires a ton of dishes. But, the end product is worth it! I would recommend taking the time to label and note cooking instructions on each package. If family is helping, it will be great to say “grab and start” whatever looks good.
After about 2 hours, I ended up with:
- Chicken and Vegetable Soup
- Beef and Vegetable Soup (2)
- Chicken Taco Soup
- Beef and Veggie Burritos (10)
- Dijon Chicken
- Penne Pasta Bake
- Creamy Chicken Alfredo
- BBQ Pork Tenderloin
- Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
I’m a “dumper” and I have about a million pseudo-recipes floating around in my head, so I won’t take the time to guestimate here what went in each bag. A few notes about prep, though:
- I browned ~4 lbs. of ground beef for the soups, burritos, and pasta bake. Season after you drain so that you can customize to each dish.
- I boiled and shredded ~3 lbs. chicken breast, seasoned, and then added it to each soup and the alfredo dish.
- Let all of the ingredients cool before putting them in containers.
- While the meat is cooking, chop the vegetables, combine seasonings, and cook pasta.
- I didn’t cook the pork tenderloin or the thin chicken breasts in the Dijon chicken prior – just dumped all the ingredients into the freezer bag. These three dishes can be thawed overnight in the fridge and then cooked in the crockpot.
I usually cook a bit healthier than some of these meals represent. We eat a lot of soup in the winter, but burritos and pasta don’t make it to the table often. From what I have read the meals above freeze well and are crowd pleasers, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I also stocked up on frozen dinner rolls and garlic bread. The Dijon chicken and pork tenderloins can easily be served with roasted vegetables and/or a simple salad.
For more recipe ideas/ packing advice/how-to’s, you can check out a few of the resources I used:
I’m almost done with the exception of a few breakfast meals. I am also planning to throw together some of the lactation blender packs and frozen lactation snacks from Diary of a Fit Mommy . Breastfeeding didn’t go well with my son, but I’m gearing up to give it another shot this time. I’ve been gathering info online and from friends about things I can do to be more successful this time. “Hopefully optimistic with a healthy dose of realistic” best describes my attitude, I think!
Forgive the blurry picture, but I had to share. See those two tiny feet poking out?! Being kicked in the ribs constantly is a lot more tolerable when you can see the sweet culprits 🙂
I went to the OB on Monday. Natalie is sitting head-down, right on top of my cervix. I am having contractions, but nothing regular at this point. I finally gave into my husband’s pleas and packed a hospital bag! But, fingers crossed that Little Miss stays put until February 1st like she is supposed to.
In other news, I made a (totally hormonal, spur of the moment) decision and chopped my hair off! This will be interesting with a newborn, but what the heck…
Thanks for reading! Any questions you have about the freezer meals – just let me know!