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Feeding the Freezer

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 
Is anyone else planning on stocking their freezer before baby arrives? I thought it would be nice to have a place to share our plans, recipes, and tips. This thread in the meal planning forum has a lot of great recipes and ideas, but it's super long!

With DS, we lived in a tiny apartment and didn't have the room to cook OAMC-style, so we just got a couple months worth of meals from Dream Dinners. This time, I'd like to have about six months worth of breakfasts and dinners put away by the time baby arrives and we just can't afford to get that much from Dream Dinners (and they don't do breakfasts anyway). I'm new to freezer cooking, but excited about the prospect of having very little meal planning/prep to do for the first 4-6 months of baby's life. I'm still in the planning stages now, but hoping to get started cooking after the holidays.

Anyone here do this with previous babies or do freezer cooking outside of prepping for the postpartum period? I would love to hear your tips and tricks and see some of your favorite recipes!
post #2 of 71

Oooh! I froze a ton of meals before DD was born, and it made those first few months postpartum SO much easier!!!! I know if I hadn't of done this, we would have eaten a ton of take-out. BLECH! Bad for the wallet and the body!

I had a few big marathon cooking days when I was about 36 weeks pregnant where I made several batches of dinners to freeze.  I made chicken enchiladas, lasagna, lentil stew (awesome when heated in the crockpot), pot pies, and a few others.  I really like the idea of freezing breakfast as well (especially this time since I'll have a toddler to feed as well).  I have a recipe for whole wheat banana nut flax muffins that freeze and reheat well.  The Sue Gregg blender batter waffle/pancake recipe is also a great freezer recipe.  I'll post recipes/links later.  

I'm trying to get dinner on the table now, but I'll be back to add my tips/hints and to see what others have added...

post #3 of 71

Oh, I am so planning on doing this. Only, I know nothing about freezer cooking.  We're more of eat fresh people.  I think I have two freezer recipies...one for quiche and the other for a pasta dish.  I'll dig those out when I'm back from my business trip. So I'm here to learn!

post #4 of 71

i'm planning on a freezer full of soups, a few lasagnas, pizza dough, tomato sauce, precooked rice and soaked and precooked beans to make hummus, stirfries, salads, etc. we do the healthy bread in five minutes a day thing, so we'll have bread whenever and i figure that should get us to the summer, when our CSA starts up again and we'll have loads of fresh things that barely need cooking. my eldest was born in april, and that's what happened way back when--as soon as i exhausted my freezer stash, i was only in the mood for fresh and raw.

 

post #5 of 71

I want to do this, and did do it with first DC, but the meals only lasted about 2-3 weeks PP. I can't imagine doing 4-6 months! I was working full time with DS pregnancy though so I didn't have as much time as I do now to cook. I have to eat gluten free and DS is gluten and dairy free, so that makes things a bit more complicated. during this pregnancy I can't eat grain at all or I get heartburny and throw up, so I'm hoping that goes away before birth becuase it will be much easier to plan meals if I can eat grain again. But then I wonder, what if new baby has a food sensitivity and I can't eat half of what I make? I guess at least then the hubby and DS will be fed. Anyone think about this? DS didn't have a food sensitivity when I was BFing, but he was sensitive to my caffeine intake. I don't know why I'm so worried about that! :)

post #6 of 71

Great idea, but so unlikely to happen with me. :bag  I don't have the freezer space, and I really don't even have the motivation to cook now.  Maybe the cooking bug will hit me in the 3rd trimester.

post #7 of 71
i'm totally planning to do this... orngbiggrin.gif

lasagne
quiche
pot pie
shepards pie
mac & cheese
soup, soup, and more soup

i'm excited to hear more ideas and recipes...
post #8 of 71

After DS2 I had some friends who brought me about 10 meals. It was wonderful having that food. I don't think I'll get that this time (long story) but I want to do some freezer cooking.

 

I don't have a whole lot of ideas...

soups

pasta dishes (cooked pasta, sauce, chicken or ground beef, then we'll top with cheese after reheating)

rice, chicken, pineapple, cooked onion and green pepper, sweet and sour sauce

 

I would love some more suggestions!

 

post #9 of 71

I plan to do some though I should probably read up on some ideas. I do plan to get some fresh chicken breasts, add a marinade then stick in the freezer. Then, when you thaw it in the fridge, the marinade is already on it and working.

 

I'd be interested in anyone who does Traditional Foods for ideas you have for doing meals ahead. We do not eat a lot of pasta or rice and we'd of course make some exceptions (esp if someone brought us a meal!) so a lot of what we make is fresh food. I could easily do a rice casserole having soaked the brown rice.

 

One favorite comfort food I froze last time (not TF!) was chicken puffs, do you know those? Crescent rolls stuffed with a creamy chicken mixture, made into little pouches and baked. So, so good!

 

Our church family will provide a couple weeks of meals, and each mom will spend about a week with us, but after that, I will want to ease back into cooking esp with two LOs around.

 

Soups - great idea.

 

How does it work to cut up veggies to freeze for later roasting? Do they get soggy? I'm thinking peppers, mushrooms, and onions.

post #10 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookAMH View Post

How does it work to cut up veggies to freeze for later roasting? Do they get soggy? I'm thinking peppers, mushrooms, and onions.


peppers get soggy for sure... greensad.gif
post #11 of 71

I will be following what you guys come up with. I'm a novice cook and know very little. No way I have the freezer space for months of food but I suppose I could squeeze a couple weeks in there probably. 

post #12 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsBone View Post

I have to eat gluten free and DS is gluten and dairy free, so that makes things a bit more complicated. during this pregnancy I can't eat grain at all or I get heartburny and throw up, so I'm hoping that goes away before birth becuase it will be much easier to plan meals if I can eat grain again. But then I wonder, what if new baby has a food sensitivity and I can't eat half of what I make? I guess at least then the hubby and DS will be fed. Anyone think about this? DS didn't have a food sensitivity when I was BFing, but he was sensitive to my caffeine intake. I don't know why I'm so worried about that! smile.gif

I'm a little concerned about the new baby having allergies or sensitivities, too. The only thing I can think of is to list likely allergens in each dish right on the storage container alongside the reheating instructions so you don't have to dig up all the recipes if baby ends up being sensitive/allergic. You still have to figure out what to do with the dishes you can't eat, but at least you'll know what dishes are okay.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyFrog View Post

Great idea, but so unlikely to happen with me. bag.gif  I don't have the freezer space, and I really don't even have the motivation to cook now.  Maybe the cooking bug will hit me in the 3rd trimester.

A month's worth of meals can fit in a normal-sized fridge freezer if you don't have much else in there. I'm personally considering getting a second deep freeze but we have the space for one and between buying meat in bulk, storing breast milk, and continuing to freezer cook in the future, I'm sure a second one wouldn't go to waste. As far as motivation, I'm feeling the opposite! I know towards the end with DS I either didn't have the motivation or just physically couldn't do a ton of stuff (especially cooking, which is not my favorite activity), so I'm hoping to take advantage of the second-trimester burst of energy this time around.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookAMH View Post

I'd be interested in anyone who does Traditional Foods for ideas you have for doing meals ahead. We do not eat a lot of pasta or rice and we'd of course make some exceptions (esp if someone brought us a meal!) so a lot of what we make is fresh food. I could easily do a rice casserole having soaked the brown rice.

We are a TF family, though during my first trimester we veered far away from it and haven't quite made it back just yet. For this postpartum period, it's more important to me to have meals than to be strictly TF. Unlike a pp, if we don't have the meals, we won't eat out - we just won't eat. This happened with DS and I ended up with low milk supply and DS was FTT. That's why I'm so motivated to have so much food made ahead of time for #2.

I did find this blog to be a great resource for TF recipes that can be frozen. She had a plan for every meal for 40 days postpartum and many of those meals were frozen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookAMH View Post

How does it work to cut up veggies to freeze for later roasting? Do they get soggy? I'm thinking peppers, mushrooms, and onions.

Peppers and mushrooms are both on my list of veggies that don't freeze well, along with tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, and potatoes. Many of those, it's just that they come out mushy or otherwise yucky-textured, so they'd be fine in a soup, stir-fry, or casserole (or mashed, for potatoes), but not for use raw or in anything where they would need to preserve their shape.


I have never done this before, so I can't vouch for most of my recipes, but I plan on posting all the recipes I've collected and the list of foods that aren't good frozen here in the next day or two.
post #13 of 71


I fed the freezer mostly TF last time with the exception of my MIL and parents bringing me meals (except my parents are TF too, so they mostly fed me TF too). I made pork fried rice (soaked brown rice)..but that's all I can remember making! ha ha..I remembered having enough meals for the first 2-3 weeks though, which was nice, especially since I birthed at a birthing center and went home that night, no meals brought to me by the hospital staff! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by CookAMH View Post

I plan to do some though I should probably read up on some ideas. I do plan to get some fresh chicken breasts, add a marinade then stick in the freezer. Then, when you thaw it in the fridge, the marinade is already on it and working.

 

I'd be interested in anyone who does Traditional Foods for ideas you have for doing meals ahead. We do not eat a lot of pasta or rice and we'd of course make some exceptions (esp if someone brought us a meal!) so a lot of what we make is fresh food. I could easily do a rice casserole having soaked the brown rice.

 

One favorite comfort food I froze last time (not TF!) was chicken puffs, do you know those? Crescent rolls stuffed with a creamy chicken mixture, made into little pouches and baked. So, so good!

 

Our church family will provide a couple weeks of meals, and each mom will spend about a week with us, but after that, I will want to ease back into cooking esp with two LOs around.

 

Soups - great idea.

 

How does it work to cut up veggies to freeze for later roasting? Do they get soggy? I'm thinking peppers, mushrooms, and onions.

post #14 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookAMH View Post

I plan to do some though I should probably read up on some ideas. I do plan to get some fresh chicken breasts, add a marinade then stick in the freezer. Then, when you thaw it in the fridge, the marinade is already on it and working.

 

I'd be interested in anyone who does Traditional Foods for ideas you have for doing meals ahead. We do not eat a lot of pasta or rice and we'd of course make some exceptions (esp if someone brought us a meal!) so a lot of what we make is fresh food. I could easily do a rice casserole having soaked the brown rice.

 

One favorite comfort food I froze last time (not TF!) was chicken puffs, do you know those? Crescent rolls stuffed with a creamy chicken mixture, made into little pouches and baked. So, so good!

 

Our church family will provide a couple weeks of meals, and each mom will spend about a week with us, but after that, I will want to ease back into cooking esp with two LOs around.

 

Soups - great idea.

 

How does it work to cut up veggies to freeze for later roasting? Do they get soggy? I'm thinking peppers, mushrooms, and onions.



Peppers are OK if you blanch them, though they still leave quite a bit to be desired in the texture department. I am also hoping to get a few days or maybe a week's worth of meals from our church (small congregation) plus I know family will help out. I try to cook TF and I love reading http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/ because she is mostly TF and does a lot of freezer cooking. She has a ton of recipes on her website and they are all good and almost all freeze well.



Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsBone View Post

I want to do this, and did do it with first DC, but the meals only lasted about 2-3 weeks PP. I can't imagine doing 4-6 months! I was working full time with DS pregnancy though so I didn't have as much time as I do now to cook. I have to eat gluten free and DS is gluten and dairy free, so that makes things a bit more complicated. during this pregnancy I can't eat grain at all or I get heartburny and throw up, so I'm hoping that goes away before birth becuase it will be much easier to plan meals if I can eat grain again. But then I wonder, what if new baby has a food sensitivity and I can't eat half of what I make? I guess at least then the hubby and DS will be fed. Anyone think about this? DS didn't have a food sensitivity when I was BFing, but he was sensitive to my caffeine intake. I don't know why I'm so worried about that! :)


My motto is don't borrow trouble from tomorrow, there is enough to deal with today. You might have a baby with allergies, but at least, as you say, DH and DS will have food, which will mean less work for you either way.

 

 

Someone else posted a blog and I wanted to thank that person for that. I thought I quoted you but I guess not. It looks like a good one that I need to keep my eye on!

 

I am planning on doing a lot of freezer cooking. We try to eat TF, but like others here I've fallen out of practice thanks to morning sickness. Now I'm also finding myself tired (thanks anemia) and lazy about cooking so we're not quite back on track but at least I am cooking again! I love freezer cooking, I've done a bit of it for friends who were expecting. I am going to make pizza pockets, some casseroles, chicken chimichangas, presoaked and cooked beans, bread, and some more recipes from heavenlyhomemakers.com.
 

post #15 of 71

Thanks so much for those links, I'll check them out for sure.  My parents are TF too so when my mom is here, we'll have good meals!

 

Like others, we fell off with the first tri, and then also some of our supplies just ran out over the summer (gf beef, leaf lard) so I need to make some purchases again to get some staples in the fridge or freezer.  My dairy kefir grains went funny a while back and I just got some of my dad's extra. And I made some chicken stock a couple weeks ago so I have a good stash of that for pregnancy.

 

I'll probably need to budget ahead in late winter to stock up better from Azure Standard for a few months. I get pasture butter, olive oil, flour, coconut milk, raw honey, pickles, etc.

post #16 of 71

Thanks for posting the links to the recipe pages.  I have never done this before. (and to be honest DH does most of the cooking in our house!) but with 3 LO's I am just expecting to be thrown for a loop.  Not to mention I really WANT to be more organized about mealtimes- I just can't seem to get it together.  Our biggest prob is 1) I am vegetarian and the rest of the family is NOT (yes, capital letters NOT- they love meat!) 2) my kiddos are really picky (sometimes!) we don't have allergies to contend with but the veg/non veg thing throws us for a loop. 

 

So....can I ask you guys to give some BASIC info on freezing meals?  We have a deep freeze so plenty of space. but what is the best way to wrap and store things.  how do you know how long it lasts and how to reheat.  (like I said basics)

 

I think that we could do some things like baked ziti, enchilada casserole. that I know the whole family eats. 

 

Thanks for this thread- gives me lots to think about!

post #17 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookAMH View Post

 

One favorite comfort food I froze last time (not TF!) was chicken puffs, do you know those? Crescent rolls stuffed with a creamy chicken mixture, made into little pouches and baked. So, so good!

 



 

Do you bake these before freezing?  And then, how do you heat them up afterwards? Thaw first?

Thanks, they sound yummy!

post #18 of 71

I am pretty sure I baked them all then just reheated the frozen ones in the oven until thawed and warmed through, probably around 300 degrees.  I bet they could easily be frozen (uncooked) on some parchment then placed in a freezer bag or container, then baked straight from the freezer. You'd have to play with the baking times though, maybe lower than 350 and for 30-35 min?

 

Here's the recipe:

 

Chicken Puffs

 

1 canister crescent rolls

 

3oz cream cheese

3T melted butter

¼ t salt

1/8 t pepper

2T milk

1T chopped onions

1T chopped pimientos

 

2c cooked chicken, cubed

 

1T melted butter for brushing

_____

 

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine cream cheese through pimientos. Fold in chicken.

 

Match up two crescent roll segments to form a square and pinch seams together. Place 3/4c chicken mixture onto center of squares. Pull up corners to the center and pinch to seal the seams.

 

Brush puffs with 1T melted butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned. Makes 4 puffs.

post #19 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarCat View Post

Thanks for posting the links to the recipe pages.  I have never done this before. (and to be honest DH does most of the cooking in our house!) but with 3 LO's I am just expecting to be thrown for a loop.  Not to mention I really WANT to be more organized about mealtimes- I just can't seem to get it together.  Our biggest prob is 1) I am vegetarian and the rest of the family is NOT (yes, capital letters NOT- they love meat!) 2) my kiddos are really picky (sometimes!) we don't have allergies to contend with but the veg/non veg thing throws us for a loop. 

 

So....can I ask you guys to give some BASIC info on freezing meals?  We have a deep freeze so plenty of space. but what is the best way to wrap and store things.  how do you know how long it lasts and how to reheat.  (like I said basics)

 

I think that we could do some things like baked ziti, enchilada casserole. that I know the whole family eats. 

 

Thanks for this thread- gives me lots to think about!


 

I'd say the food is good for 3-4 months if stored properly.  For casseroles I would either use disposable dishes or metal. I know there are women who use their glass pyrex but I'm afraid of mine cracking and I can't afford to replace my few casserole dishes if that happens. I use the cheap aluminum ones from the dollar tree. I do a layer or two of plastic wrap plus a top layer of foil. On the foil I write a description, the date, and reheating instructions generally for casseroles since the ingredients are already cooked through you just need to heat it up. So I typically pop a frozen casserole in a 350-400 degree oven for an hour or so, until it is bubbly. Remove the plastic wrap but keep the foil over it for all but the last 15 minutes  or so, to prevent the top from over-browning. For other things like pizza pockets, bread and etc, plastic zipper bags (Alton Brown says special freezer bags are not needed, but just the same I don't buy cheap bags, because I notice the pricier ones hold up bettter.) or a combination of plastic wrap and freezer paper work well. Remember ALWAYS mark the contents and date on the package. You might think that you will remember what it is but things tend to look all the same when they are frozen. I remember a story of a husband thawing his wife's placenta, thinking it was a roast.

 

For things like chicken puffs or pizza pockets, freeze them on a cookie sheet for several hours til frozen solid. Then toss them in a bag and you won't have a solid mass of food, and you can pull out as many as you need.

post #20 of 71

I'm going to start making my freezer list here, so that I can keep track of it.

 

Breakfast and bread

-pancakes

-pumpkin muffins

-egg casseroles

-bread

 

Supper

-chicken chimichangas

-chilli

-chicken pot pie

-pizza pockets

-chicken and rice

-lazy lasagna

-bean and rice burritos

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