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Prepping for Postpartum: Freezer Meals?

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 

I had a prenatal appointment today, and my midwife sent me home with homework, including working on arranging 2 weeks worth of care for me, meals, laundry, child care, etc.  Up till now I've just had a vague idea that it will all work out, between DH working 12hr shifts for half a week (and being home the other half), having MIL and 2 SIL's within 5 minutes of home, and a decent amount of church support.  MW wants it a little more firm than that, however, with a spreadsheet of who does what on which days.  I don't know that I'll fill it out completely (my older kids can mostly take care of themselves and help each other, it's not like I have to be completely bedridden for 2 weeks... I can help find a shirt or a quick packaged snack or something, right?!?), but I wanted to start to get a firmer idea of what's going to happen.  And I thought it might be nice to do maybe a week's worth - maybe more?- of freezer meals just in case things don't work out exactly as I hope.  Or even just to keep on hand for after those first 2 weeks PP. 

 

Problem is, I've never really done freezer meals before.  I don't have a good idea of what freezes well and what doesn't, you know?  I'd like something that's pretty much a complete meal, with greens, proteins, etc. all included.  I know soups can easily take care of that, but I'd like things more like casseroles, too. 

 

Anyone have any ideas, or favorite freezer meal recipes?  Or is anyone else planning on doing something like this at all?

post #2 of 72

http://onceamonthmom.com/menus/whole-foods/

 

 

this is what we are doing ;)

 

got the info from another ddc

post #3 of 72

For me, it's a lot easier to make up bags of ingredients and freeze them, than entire meals. Most the prep work for making meals for me is chopping up vegetables, and the actual "planning".

So rather than freezing whole meals, I've chopped up several months worth of carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peppers, broccoli, green onions, turnip, corn etc. And i'll be canning tomatoes and green beans soon.

 

I've also bought a lot of meat (ground turkey, beef, steaks, chicken etc) and either bagged it in smaller bags (we buy bulk) or pre cooked it or grilled it, and then put it back in the freezer.  Same with stocks/broths, and fresh pasta.

 

This way, I can just decide what meat to thaw out and then add the frozen veggies and make whatever I want, with noodles, rice, potatoes etc. Soup, casserole, whatever suits my fancy.

It's easier for me to store smaller bags of frozen veggies and meats than whole trays of food. (I think i'd run out of freezer space!)  And i'm really not sure what will "sound good" when the time comes. I dont want to make a bunch of lasagna and then decide that it doesn't sound appealing on the day I need it.

post #4 of 72

I made a ton of freezer meals when I had my first...a January baby

Shepards Pie, meatloves, lasagnas' soup, aplle crisp...etc

for my second....nothing- she was an August baby and we just bbq'd alot

 

I will be doing the 1 month cooking for before the baby comes becuase we may be moving just before baby comes or just after

 

I just froze a ton of homemade spaghetti sauce and cooked ground beef as well as a ton of homemade burgers and muffins

post #5 of 72

I like to freeze soups and sauces and beans, and when I cook some I plan extra and freeze 1-2 meals worth. I also freeze muffins and stuff like that (usually more for the kids than for me). When I ate more grains, I would freeze a couple of rolled out crusts (can go straight from freezer into oven with a savory pie/quiche) and homemade mac-and-cheese. Lazagna. But my biggest problem is that I live in a small apartment with a small freezer! So as much as I like the idea, I don't freeze a whole lot. I instead I will be sure to have easy-to-prepare stuff around (like the idea of the prepped veggies and whatnot, but I might just lazily buy that!), and will accept all offers of food from friends.

post #6 of 72

casseroles are great, especially for us because we have a large family. Also have plenty of freezer space too. (baked ziti, shepherds pie, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, etc.) I usually just make double+ batches starting  about a month before.

I have also found that stocking the pantry is crucial. Plenty of pasta, canned veggies (you could stock frozen in your freezer too/instead if you  prefer that), snacks, etc. You should have easy go to meals on hand. We keep tortillas in the freezer than can grab a can of refried beans, some shredded cheese and serve canned corn on the side and wala a meal. No brainers are the best:)

post #7 of 72

We are currently looking for a good deal on a freezer so that I can start making freezer meals. Can't wait!

post #8 of 72

I've been hearing really good things about oatmeal "lactation" cookies...I want to make a few batches of those and freeze. Apparently they work really well too.

post #9 of 72

Thanks for starting this thread, Leiahs! I am planning on making a lot of freezer foods (and hoping I'll have time!) since we have tons of freezer space, but I am in need of good ideas and recipes too.

 

Corrabelle I really like your idea of freezing bags of ingredients rather than whole meals. I have been meaning to start doing the freezer thing, but like the OP I don't really know what meals will freeze well and what won't...plus my brain is sort of short-circuiting on me and I just cannot even come up with any ideas for what to freeze. I tried to make a list the other day, and came up with a grand total of two items: veggie empanada hand-pie things and zucchini blueberry muffins. But with your method, I can just make whatever sounds good at the time, with all the prepwork already done...brilliant!

 

Oatmeal lactation cookies sounds awesome...do you have a good recipe for them that you'd be willing to share?

 

 

post #10 of 72
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the ideas so far.  :)

I wish I could just stock stuff / freeze ingredients and run with it, but honestly, 90% of my meal-time stress comes from trying to think of what to eat, or decide on what to eat.  So even if I have a list full of options, I'll still stress out about it.  My personality needs me to have a good amount of ready-made meals, I think, so I can say, "I need a meal tonight, so let's just pull something out and heat it up!" 

Do enchiladas (covered in sauce) freeze well, anyone know?  I know I can do a bunch of soups and stuff, but I want to do more meals that DH likes, too!

post #11 of 72
One thing that I use, that may help, is saymmm.com. It's a meal planning site. So I plan the whole months meals at once. Then I know exactly what we are having for dinner that day (and I can shop at the beginning of the week for that weeks ingredients). I don't meal plan for weekends. I also only plan dinners (but you can do breakfast and lunch on that site, I believe). Once we get our freezer, I plan on just double/tripling the dinnes I make and freezing as I go. Then i'll make a master list of what is frozen and use that to do my meal plans once baby is born.

There is a big thread in the meal planning forum about freezer meals (with recipes). I'm on my phone now , but will try to find it later.
post #12 of 72

I looove crockpot 365. Not necessarily freezer, but handy.

post #13 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by flightgoddess View Post

I looove crockpot 365. Not necessarily freezer, but handy.


You could probably take some of these recipes and freeze the meat, veggies, sauce all in a freezer bag, then just throw in the crockpot. I've done that before and it works really well (thaw in fridge overnight then turn on crockpot in morning).
post #14 of 72

Another really fast kitchen tool that sounds really outdated, but is incredibly awesome is a pressure cooker.

No word of a lie, you can cook an entire roast (or chicken) for a family of 4, with veggies and gravy in half an hour. What I really like about it is that you can even throw frozen meat in it. (takes slightly longer, but no big deal.) And it doesn't heat up your entire house in the summer like an oven. ooh, makes really good pulled pork too. You cant tell it apart from the slow roasted variety. ( I'm not a huge fan of pulled pork, but my family is in love with it.)


I use the thing probably 3 times a week-for beans, lentils, barley soups etc.  Pressure cookers aren't near as scary as they're made out to be and there are a lot of really good books out there with recipes specifically for pressure cooking. My grandma gave me one before my first son was born and showed me how to use it. I think I use it more than anything else in the kitchen, especially in the winter, when it's soup/stew season! Just throw in the meat/veggies, add a bit of liquid and put the lid on it. In about 20 minutes you have stew. It keeps all the moisture retained, so it often elimintates the need for adding broth/bouillon. You can season before or after it's cooked.

 

 

Oh, almost forgot... are some of the lactation "snackies" that I want to make. I haven't made any of them, but a friend made some not long ago and they were really good!

A quick note about flax seeds: If you're going to use them, go for the untoasted, raw flax seeds. If they're cooked, they taste good, but they don't have near the nutrients that the raw ones have!

 

Lactation Banana Bread

 

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup oil
1 cup honey (more if you have a super sweet tooth)
2 eggs
2 cups mashed banana
4 cups flour
1 cup oats
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons brewers yeast
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup freshly chopped nuts

 

Preheat oven to 350 (baking time varies from oven to oven.)
Combine PB, oil, honey, eggs, and banana in a medium bowl. In a seperate bowl mix flour, oats, baking powder, flax seed meal, yeast, salt, and nuts. Mix wet ingredients into dry a cup at a time. When well combined pour into bread loaf pans (lightly greased if non stick). Bake until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out moist but clean. Turn bread out of pans and cool until you can't stand waiting any longer. Wrap any unused loafs in foil or paper and seal in plastic freezer bag and freeze for later use.
 

 

 

Banana chocolate chip lactation cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tbs softened butter
1 very ripe, very brown banana
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups All perpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup "quick and easy" steal cut oats
3 cup old fashioned oats
1 bag milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
* preheat oven to 350 F
* In a large bowl, beat butter, banana, sugars on medium speed until creamy
* Add eggs and vanilla, beat til creamy
* Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, add in 3 batches, mixing well.
* Add oats, chocolate chips, nuts mix well
* Drop dough by rounded tablespoon full onto ungreased cookie sheet
* Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool on pan 1 minute, move to wire rack.
For Bar cookies bake 30-35 minutes in ungreased 13x9 inch metal baking pan
 

Chocolate chip oatmeal Lactation cookies

 

1 1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 3/4 c. Steel cut oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. Flaxseed
3 T Brewer's Yeast
1/3 c. water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
2 c. Choc Chips
1 c. nuts (of your choic)
1 c. raisins

Preheat Oven to 375

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl.
In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar , vanilla, brewer's yeast and flax and water until creamy.
mix in eggs.
Gradually mix in flour mixture.
Mix nuts, oats and choc.cips and raisin in.
Grease cookie sheet.

Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheets and bake 15 min at 375 degrees.

Cool and store in a zip lock or air-tight container

Refrigerate or freeze for longer storage

 


 

post #15 of 72

a friend gave me enchiladas last time I had a baby- one dish she popped in the oven, and one dish she popped in the freezer. They were fine!

 

I *really* want a pressure cooker, thanks for reminding me about that! (I am the one with no freezer space, and I'd love to be able to make beans, soups, etc in 15 minutes)

post #16 of 72



I see them at yard sales all the time (and kijiji etc.) The cheapest place to buy them new though is usually hardware and farm supply stores. I think they have them at walmart though too;)

Quote:
Originally Posted by emmaegbert View Post

a friend gave me enchiladas last time I had a baby- one dish she popped in the oven, and one dish she popped in the freezer. They were fine!

 

I *really* want a pressure cooker, thanks for reminding me about that! (I am the one with no freezer space, and I'd love to be able to make beans, soups, etc in 15 minutes)



 

post #17 of 72

I have no room in my freezer for ANYTHING!

post #18 of 72

canadian tire seems to have them on sale a few times a year....I should get one for sure!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by corrabelle View Post



I see them at yard sales all the time (and kijiji etc.) The cheapest place to buy them new though is usually hardware and farm supply stores. I think they have them at walmart though too;)



 



 

post #19 of 72

They do! I actually bought a larger one there about a year ago. I keep forgetting that im not the only canadian mama on here.haha

Home Hardware has them too.

post #20 of 72

Here is the GIANT feed the freezer thread in meal planning. It's a long thread, but there are so many good ideas I've found in here!

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