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Feeding Your Freezer?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

Is anyone else preparing and freezing meals for after the baby is born? eat.gif Share your ideas, tips, and even tribulations with all of us. notes.gif

 

We are an omnivorous family (my DH is practically carnivorous) so I may include items that others would not. My DH is a calm, brilliant man but an unsure and nervous cook. So, I have the following items planned to help take the pressure off:

 

  • meatballs; tomato sauce/pasta, swedish sauce/egg noodles, bechamel sauce/brown rice, gravy/potatoes
  • chicken breasts; ranch chicken (herbed bread crumbs, baked), parmesan, sun-dried tomato, honey mustard, tangy pineapple, crazy chicken (mild jerk), enchiladas
  • fish; teriyaki salmon, orange salmon, lemon dill flounder, lime cumin tilapia, 
  • pizza crusts (4)
  • strombolis (2)
  • shepherd's pie
  • prepared beans: black, pinto, garbanzos (rinsed, soaked, partially cooked)
  • soups; veggie (kale, onions, garlic, carrots, sweet potatoes, crookneck, zucchini, tomatoes), chicken, chili
  • frozen veggies (peas, corn, spinach, broccoli, collard greens, okra, limas, carrots)
  • salad dressings
  • muffin, pancake, waffle, tortilla mixes

 

I plan on working in batches (meatballs one day, chicken breasts another, etc...) so that it is not overwhelming. I am going to have to buy some storage dishes, I guess. I use only glass or stone typically but only have so many. I do not have $$ to buy glass for all of this freezing (on top of the initial food costs). Would you buy/use ziploc bags and foil pans?

 

post #2 of 41

Wow, you're fancier than me. :) I'm a farm gal that uses what's in the pantry to make up whatever is edible. So far I've made some bigger batches of soups/stews and have frozen them in quart jars. My MIL usually stays with us for a week after baby is born, so we end up with what ever she cooks. I try to have easy ingredients on hand for hot dishes (I'm from MN, can you tell?), roasts and things she knows how to make. After that, it's back to normal days of me doing it all. Oh, and we have some pretty sweet friends that have always brought meals over during the early baby days.

post #3 of 41

I'm too tired and uncomfortable in the 3rd tri to do meals.  I learned in my last pregnancy when I thought I'd do that the last few weeks that I just didn't feel up to it.  So, I started in the 2nd tri this time.  I've made up Spinach and cheese stuffed lasagna rolls, lasagna, stuffed jumbo shells, pizza spaghetti casserole, chicken and rice casserole, chicken noodle soup, santa fe soup, chili, zucchini bread, chicken enchiladas and french toast....that I can think of off the top of my head.  They are frozen and labeled with what it is, on how long and what temp to cook them on.  I'm in Wisconsin, so I'm not sure if my choices are influenced by where we live.  :)

post #4 of 41

I have been thinking about this too but since I still have 8-10 weeks to go in my pregnancy I am not sure if I want things to sit in the freezer that long - basically wondering how long everything will keep if it's cooked and then frozen? I was mainly going to do soups, stews and some pasta dishes.

post #5 of 41

Dh always makes 5-6 GIANT lasagnas... he cooks them up, then cuts them into generous single portions, and freezes them (in freezer bags).  That way we don't have to thaw out a whole lasagna at once, and we can mix and match a meal to suit everyone (usually one lasagna will have meat, another more squash, a third different kinds of cheese, and so on).  He hasn't started those yet, but he'll probably make one or two a week during August.

 

We're gluten free since dd1 has celiac disease, but we have 10 home made pizzas in the freezer (cooked gfree crust, wrapped with a bag of sauce, cheese, toppings so it takes just 15 minutes or so to go from freezer to table).

 

We have a lot of cooked, shredded chicken frozen up... I LOVE chicken salad postpartum and with the chicken all ready to go the salad takes very little time/effort to assemble.  And the chicken can also be used in wrap sandwiches (we make our own gfree wraps every week, but they don't freeze really well so we can make those ahead) or on rice or in soup.

 

We have our regular pantry stuff... canned sauces, stews, soups, veggies, meatballs,stock and so on.  And my mom went a little nuts and started canning all sorts of unusual stuff... like, she gave us 6 jars full of meatloaf!  LOL  So that's on the shelf waiting for us.

 

Other than that... we haven't done much and probably wont.  Postpartum I love yogurt smoothies (plain yogurt + frozen fruit + flax + honey or tofu if desired + blender= yummy and can be eaten/drunk with only one hand while nursing!), huge bowls of oatmeal swimming in fruit and cream, sliced chicken or beef wraps with lots and lots of fresh veggies, that crazy good chicken salad, miso soup with either tofu or chicken, scrambled eggs wrapped up with salsa and cheese... all things that are kind of best made in the moment.

 

But getting some of the prep out of the way rocks.  Have you checked the once a month mom page for ideas?  You could do one of her months on top of your regular cooking and be good to go!  (and she offers variations for different food needs, like GF/CF or vegetarian or whole foods)

 

 

post #6 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gracecody View Post

I have been thinking about this too but since I still have 8-10 weeks to go in my pregnancy I am not sure if I want things to sit in the freezer that long - basically wondering how long everything will keep if it's cooked and then frozen? I was mainly going to do soups, stews and some pasta dishes.



3-6 months is a pretty good estimate for how long things keep.  I would say 3 months for a freezer on your refrigerator, and 6 months for a deep freezer.  A deep freezer gets opened less often and things stay at a steady temp better and will keep longer.

post #7 of 41

Wombatclay, Do you have a brand of GF lasagna noodles?  I haven't been to Whole Foods yet to look but was thinking (as I was cooking for a PP friend) about trying to find some.

 

Also, is your pizza crust home made?  Is it by chance dairy and egg free?

post #8 of 41

Thanks for reminding me. While im technically due in september, due to my high risk pregnancy, they dont tihnk Ill make it far past 35 and most likely a c-section as this baby wants to be breech (extreme excess of amnio fluid, baby is enjoying his big swimming pool :) So it is time to feed my deep freezer in the garage (and dig out the really old stuff). I prefer to make vegan veggie bean soups, like pinto bean and yam soup, split pea, maybe a quinoa soup too. Going to start digging through recipes and figure out stuff. Maybe ill get saucy and toss in a yam enchilladas or eggplant lasagna (using eggplant instead of pasta..  I have some ready in my garden).

 

On the GF noodle note, I dont remember if they have lasagna noodles, but my favorite GF pasta is Tinkyada! Hands down. I have fed it to people to had no idea it was GF and had many compliments.

post #9 of 41

Oh, and ill probably make some soy free vegan burgers from scratch and bust out the food saver!

post #10 of 41

Lasagna noodles- we don't have a Whole Foods nearby, but we do have Wegmans.  :)  Tinkyada and DeBoles both make decent gluten free lasagna noodles (not sure if they contain egg however).  They're not as cheap as regular lasagna noodles, so lasagna is a "special meal" now, but that's ok.  Just make sure you experiment a bit with the gfree noodles if you're making this as a gift... they can be tricky to get "right".

 

Pizza Crust- we do sometimes buy a pack of the gfree crusts at Wegmans, but we have a recipe we prefer.  It's from the cookbook Cooking for Isaiah, which is gf/cf (so no dairy of any kind).  The recipe does contain egg however... eggs are sort of a key componant in gluten free baked goods unfortunately.  Gluten holds baked goods together, so once it's gone you have to find another binder and egg is the most common option.  My best friend has one child with a wheat allergy and another with an egg allergy and she has found a way to bake that doesn't send one or both of them to the ER.... I'll drop her a line ans see if she has a pizza crust recipes. 

 

For anyone who wonders, our recipe is:

 

2 cups Silvana flour*

1 pack dry yeast

1tsp sugar

1tsp salt

2 egg whites

2tbls olive oil

3/4cup warm water

 

mix the dry ingredients, and the wet ingredients, beat till the dough pulls away from the bowl

divide dough into two pieces on a floured piece of baking paper/baking sheet

press dough out into a circle (gluten free doughs are REALLY gummy/sticky, more like brownie batter than bread dough)

preheat to 450, bake one at a time for 8-10 minutes (it'll be kind of puffy)

 

*the flour is a homemade blend of several flours, salt, startch, and xantham gum

post #11 of 41

Funny you should ask. I was just gathering up recipes for freezer meals! We are Gluten, dairy, soy and corn free so it's hard to find good freezer recipes.

 

I also agree with Earthylady, I'm 33 weeks now and I'm exhausted. I can barely get dinner on the table -nevermind making extra meals.

 

Love Tinkyada here too, but I've never found the lasagna noodles. Ooh! just did a quick search and they do make them!

 

http://www.glutenfree.com/index.cfm?dsp=public.products.detail&keyID=74402&gdftrk=gdfV22677_a_7c1014_a_7c3797_a_7c74402

post #12 of 41

list of ingredients for tinkyada pastas....

 

http://www.tinkyada.com/ProList.htm

 

Their lasagna is brown rice, rice bran and water.

post #13 of 41

I must have posted at the same time as you, wombatclay, because I didn't see your post about the lasagna noodles!

post #14 of 41

Cool.  I am thinking of making several lasagna roll ups for the kids sans dairy and all the allergens.  Then I can make a few 8x8's for for DH and I.  I looked the other day at our locak grocery fro a GF lasagna noodle and they didn't have them. I'll see if WF's has them or Amazon maybe.

 

Thanks!

post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by cparkly View PostI use only glass or stone typically but only have so many. I do not have $$ to buy glass for all of this freezing (on top of the initial food costs). Would you buy/use ziploc bags and foil pans?

 


Peeking in from the October DDC to say that I line one of my regular glass pans with foil then add in the ingredients (build a lasagna in that pan or whatever). Then I freeze. When frozen solid I take it out of the freezer, pop it out of the pan (really easy to do since the pan is lined with foil) then wrap the whole thing in foil (or put in a ziploc bag if it's small enough) and place in the freezer. Then when I go to make it I just take it out of the freezer, unwrap the foil and put the food in the same pan I originally froze it in. It saves room in my freezer that way, and I don't have to buy tons of foil pans or whatever. HTH!

 

post #16 of 41

ddcc crashing from october....nice to see you again wombat....from Aug '09 :)

that link rocks!!!!

just what I needed-you are the goodsjoy.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post

Dh always makes 5-6 GIANT lasagnas... he cooks them up, then cuts them into generous single portions, and freezes them (in freezer bags).  That way we don't have to thaw out a whole lasagna at once, and we can mix and match a meal to suit everyone (usually one lasagna will have meat, another more squash, a third different kinds of cheese, and so on).  He hasn't started those yet, but he'll probably make one or two a week during August.

 

We're gluten free since dd1 has celiac disease, but we have 10 home made pizzas in the freezer (cooked gfree crust, wrapped with a bag of sauce, cheese, toppings so it takes just 15 minutes or so to go from freezer to table).

 

We have a lot of cooked, shredded chicken frozen up... I LOVE chicken salad postpartum and with the chicken all ready to go the salad takes very little time/effort to assemble.  And the chicken can also be used in wrap sandwiches (we make our own gfree wraps every week, but they don't freeze really well so we can make those ahead) or on rice or in soup.

 

We have our regular pantry stuff... canned sauces, stews, soups, veggies, meatballs,stock and so on.  And my mom went a little nuts and started canning all sorts of unusual stuff... like, she gave us 6 jars full of meatloaf!  LOL  So that's on the shelf waiting for us.

 

Other than that... we haven't done much and probably wont.  Postpartum I love yogurt smoothies (plain yogurt + frozen fruit + flax + honey or tofu if desired + blender= yummy and can be eaten/drunk with only one hand while nursing!), huge bowls of oatmeal swimming in fruit and cream, sliced chicken or beef wraps with lots and lots of fresh veggies, that crazy good chicken salad, miso soup with either tofu or chicken, scrambled eggs wrapped up with salsa and cheese... all things that are kind of best made in the moment.

 

But getting some of the prep out of the way rocks.  Have you checked the once a month mom page for ideas?  You could do one of her months on top of your regular cooking and be good to go!  (and she offers variations for different food needs, like GF/CF or vegetarian or whole foods)

 

 



 

post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by cparkly View Post

 

I plan on working in batches (meatballs one day, chicken breasts another, etc...) so that it is not overwhelming. I am going to have to buy some storage dishes, I guess. I use only glass or stone typically but only have so many. I do not have $$ to buy glass for all of this freezing (on top of the initial food costs). Would you buy/use ziploc bags and foil pans?

 



I didn't see your question earlier...sorry.  I NORMALLY attempt to stay all natural and all that stuff, but for the purpose of making up meals for after the baby, I DO use the foil pans!  It makes for quick easy clean up, no extra dishes and they are cheap and store well.  I bought a 15 pack for like $5 or something and had been working on doubling and storing one meal a week until I have about 2 weeks worth of meals stored up now.  Even if I didn't go this route and we ended up having people bring us meals, it would still be those foil pans cause most people won't deliver a meal and expect the mom to wash and return their dish anytime soon.  I don't know....maybe it's some unspoken social etiquette or what....but it seems to be the trend and the train of thought of not wanting to bother the new momma with work and to make clean up as easy as possible with no worries on getting their dish back.  smile.gif  Most of my soups are stored in Glad or whatever brand of plastic containers.

post #18 of 41

I don't cook but I think I might encourage my husband to do this seeing that he's the main cook and he's going back to work right around the time the baby is due plus we have three small children at home already. I didn't know you could freeze shepherd's pie, that'll definitely be one of the meals I ask him to do then! I'm thinking shepherd's pie, chili, lasagna, these delicious sweet potato burritos...

post #19 of 41

I am having a Freezer Stocking party with a few of my girlfriends.


I'll provide ground beef, marinara sauce and chicken stock along with containers.  Each of them will bring ingredients for a freezer meal to share.  We'll cook together, catch up and stock each other freezers, even though they aren't expecting.

 

I plan on making:

Stuffed Shells

Lasagna

Chicken Stock for soups like - Chicken Noodle, Corn Chowder, Pumpkin Soup

Enchiladas (either meat or cheese)

Marinara Sauce

Whatever else they bring :)

post #20 of 41


Congrats!  October is a fun month for a babe... I once saw a mom with her belly painted to show the babe sitting next to a pumpkin carved to look like a belly filled with baby too.  I'm just going to assume she was living with or knew an amazing artist because the amount of energy that would take boggles my mind,  :)

 

My SIL turned me on to the OAMM site and yeah... it's amazing!  Especially since she started the huge overhaul to add speciality menus.  I mean, she provides everything from the shopping lists to the labels that go in the freezer for when you're ready to eat.  I'd love to move more towards a OAMC routine... I've managed to do a "two-week" version several times and it really did make life easier.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by saoirse2007 View Post

ddcc crashing from october....nice to see you again wombat....from Aug '09 :)

that link rocks!!!!

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