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Freezer Meals for after the baby is born? Post your ideas and plans here!

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I always cook doubles of favorite meals and then freeze one and eat the other.  BUT, by the end of the semester, our freezer is totally depleted!  I think I'll be doing lots of cooking in the next few weeks.  What do you love to cook and freeze? 

 

Here's my plan:

Vegetarian Shephard's Pie (1) - DONE

Cauliflower Gratin (1) - DONE

Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower (3) - DONE

Enchiladas (2) - DONE.  With black beans, zucinni, mushrooms, corn spinach and goat cheese!

Lasagna (3) - DONE

Black Bean Soup (3) - DONE

Black Eyed Pea Soup

Chili

Tomato Sauce - DONE

Saag (to add potatos or cheese into when reheating) (1) - DONE

Assorted Cookies - DONE

Brown Bread

Calzones (5) - DONE

Quiche - (2, one crustless) - DONE

Chickpea couscous - thanks Ramzubo

Individual Burrittos - thanks Blueheron!

Chana Masala (1) -DONE

 

What are you planning?  What has worked well for you? 

 

 


Edited by parsley - 1/8/12 at 1:41pm
post #2 of 29

DDCC, sorry. I am thinking about this already, and I am due in April. Can you freeze homemade bread? I have never tried it, but I love it and may consider. Does it come out as nice as it is fresh?

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

I find that freezing baked goods is really great for keeping them fresh.  We also buy extra baguettes from a great bakery, freeze, and then reheat in the oven to make them fresh.  I usually do a whole loaf at a time rather than by the piece.  The bread I'm making (today I hope!) is mealy and crumbly.  I'll underbake it slightly, wrap and freeze it and then put it the oven to warm and finish baking when we want to eat it. 

 

Yum.  I'm tempted to make 4 loaves instead of two as I write this!

post #4 of 29

It sounds delicious. Any chance you want to share your recipe? I am fairly new to baking bread and haven't tried many.

post #5 of 29

Last time I had a baby, I made a bunch of lasagna, shepherd's pie, turkey pot pie, etc...but I was most grateful for the many individually wrapped homemade burritos.  Just the right size for one meal, easy to reheat and eat with only one hand free, so even on a rough day I had something homemade for myself.

 

I also had some individually frozen slices of pumpkin bread, and I recall a couple of rolls of oatmeal cookie dough that I could slice and bake when people dropped by to visit.  I'm so excited to cook for the freezer again!

post #6 of 29

Yay for freezer meals! eat.gif I've got 3 weeks worth. We eat fresh fish and a big salad of some sort each week so the freezer meals should last about a month for us. Each meal makes enough for dinner and lunch the next day, so I'm really hoping to just be able to send Dh to the store to pick up the weekly staples.

 

For breakfast we've got:

Breakfast Burritos

Blueberry Muffins

Almond Poppy-seed Muffins

Pecan Waffles

Blueberry Pancakes

Pumpkin Bread

 

Main meals:

Red Pasta Sauce

Homestyle Mac-N-Cheese

Black Bean Enchiladas

Leek & Potato Chowder

Pea Soup

Broccoli and Cheese Quiche

Red Beans and Rice

Chickpea Couscous

Shepard's Pie

Chili Con Carne

Pot Roast

Chicken Chili

Chicken Broccoli Bake

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Curry

Cassoulet

Tomato Pork Chops

BBQ Pulled Pork

Tuna Croquettes

Tuna Noodles

 

 

post #7 of 29

Wow, you ladies are right on top of this freezer meal planning!  Way to go!  I'd better get to work.

post #8 of 29

I didn't do this with my other two but I really want to this time because I hate resorting to takeout for DH and I and spending all of the money just because we're exhausted. I've never cooked for the freezer though so I don't know where to begin. But man, you ladies are prepared! LOL. I am definitely going to be stealing some of your ideas winky.gif

post #9 of 29

Does anyone have a small deep freezer? I'm considering getting one. I feel like my regular freezer is always packed to the gills with frozen veggies, maybe a chicken, and veggie burgers, and I don't have any more room! I think I'd have to put it in my garage... any recommendations? 

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by laura1982 View Post

Does anyone have a small deep freezer? I'm considering getting one. I feel like my regular freezer is always packed to the gills with frozen veggies, maybe a chicken, and veggie burgers, and I don't have any more room! I think I'd have to put it in my garage... any recommendations? 



http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Frigidaire+-+5.0+Cu.+Ft.+Chest+Freezer+-+White/9756985.p?id=1218202122611&skuId=9756985

 

We just bought this freezer

post #11 of 29

Ramzubo, that is an impressive list!

 

I haven't started making any of my planned freezer meals yet.  I'm thinking I will probably wait until early January - hopefully I won't be too lazy by then! 

 

So far I am planning to make:

 

-chicken pot pies

-chili

-black bean burritos

-mac and cheese

-pasta sauce

-lasagna

-a few different soups for lunches

-big batch of waffles for breakfasts

 

 

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by laura1982 View Post

Does anyone have a small deep freezer? I'm considering getting one. I feel like my regular freezer is always packed to the gills with frozen veggies, maybe a chicken, and veggie burgers, and I don't have any more room! I think I'd have to put it in my garage... any recommendations? 



This is ours. http://www.homedepot.com/Appliances-Kitchen-Appliances-Freezers-Chest-Freezers/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbv40/R-100598963/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053 No complaints so far.

 

post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

I think we bought the same one as Ramzubo! 

 

We bought it last Fall and I've loved having a chest freezer to store up lots of food.  The regular freezer is filled with single serving Amy's stuff, breakfast stuff (frozen waffles, muffins, breakfast burritos, etc..) and bags of frozen fruit for smoothies.  (And some ice cream too!) 

 

The brown bread recipe I was talking about Dealic is an Irish Brown bread and I like the recipe found here:

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/07/grammys-irish-brown-bread/

 

I know there is also a bread thread on mothering somewhere.  Those ladies have tons of good bread recipes!

 

Blueheron - great idea about the individual burritos.  I've been thinking only about dinner so far but having something for lunch is super important if I'm going to make it until dinner.  What's your favorite burritto combo? 

 

Ramzubo- how do you make your quiche.  How does it hold up?  I love quiche but haven't made it in awhile and don't have a recipe off-hand.  Any advice?  I'm curious about your chickpea couscous too.  Do you cook it all the way and then freeze it in bags or a cassarole?

 

 

post #14 of 29

Well, parsley, my fave burrito is based on a big slow-cooked pork shoulder so I'm guessing you don't want my exact recipe.  :)  But I also roast onions, sweet potatoes, and kale, throw in some chipotles.  Sometimes cheese.  Lots of cumin and garlic.

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by laura1982 View Post

Does anyone have a small deep freezer? I'm considering getting one. I feel like my regular freezer is always packed to the gills with frozen veggies, maybe a chicken, and veggie burgers, and I don't have any more room! I think I'd have to put it in my garage... any recommendations? 



if you can possibly put it somewhere other than your garage, you'll have a much, much longer life expectancy from it.  putting them in an outdoor location makes them work overly hard in the summer time :( 

but then again, somebody once made a joke about us having a "freezer in every room..."  (we have unused upstairs space.  and livestock..)

 

i find we do pretty well to just cook more meat than we need at the time for whatever recipe and freeze that.  it helps.  if i make soup, i'll try to stash some of that too, and if our friend has a shower for us, i had requested a feed the freezer shower... we'll see :) 

 

pizza dough is something i usually manage to get into the freezer.  lasagna or manicotti, too.  over the holiday break i'll probably try to do more.  we seem to eat our leftovers before i can get them frozen.

post #16 of 29
Quote:


Oooh, thanks for the link! That's a pretty great price, too!

 

And hildare-- yes, I would love to have the freezer somewhere else besides a garage, but unfortunately, that can't happen unless it's in a bedroom or something! (We have a ranch house that doesn't have a basement.)

post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by parsley View Post

Ramzubo- how do you make your quiche.  How does it hold up?  I love quiche but haven't made it in awhile and don't have a recipe off-hand.  Any advice?  I'm curious about your chickpea couscous too.  Do you cook it all the way and then freeze it in bags or a cassarole?

 

 


I just use a basic quiche recipe (something like 3-4 eggs plus 2 cups cheese, I like to mix cheddar and swiss, throw in some pepper, mustard, and the main ingredient I'm using then fill 'er up with milk or 1/2 and 1/2). I just make sure that it is really cooked through for the freezer. I'll leave it in the oven after I've turned the heat off to keep kind of cooking. I think it holds up really well in the freezer and have no complaints from my French DH .

For the Chickpea Curry Couscous, I cook the peas all the way with my spices, maybe some zucchini and tomatoes then freeze the whole batch. Just reheat and add couscous. I'm sure this could be done really easy fresh, but I like it better as a freezer meal because the spices get to marinade for a long time.

 

post #18 of 29

Love this thread! I was about to start one!

I have NO idea how to go about freezing food. I've never made freezer meals and neither has my DH nor mum. Do you saran wrap/foil whatever dish you use to cook it in or do you put it in containers? I have several glass containers that are pretty large with sealable lids, would those work better? Do you have to defrost before you cook/reheat? How do you reheat them, oven or microwave? Follow the cooking instructions? Anything that absolutely doesn't work to freeze?

 

I usually make some type of meat, wild rice (or quinoa or potatoes etc), and a veggie (usually salad) for dinner. Making extra rice or quinoa and then sticking the extra in the fridge for the next night works well and with a rice maker, super easy to make. Cooking and freezing meat doesn't sound like it would work? I don't make complicated salads, usually dark leafy greens, nuts, and dressing; maybe cranberries if we have them. I've never made a casserole or chili or a pot roast or lasagna or chicken pot pies or enchiladas, but I can always try to.

My DH has a severe dairy allergy, so we cook from scratch most of the time, and eating out can be very difficult since to some people dairy does not equal butter duh.gif.

 

I'm a baker and only a decent cook, not creative with cooking at all. My DH is an excellent cook. I follow recipes to the letter and expect it to come out exactly like the photo next to the recipe ;). That only works a quarter of the time. Cooking is SO different than baking! I've been cooking regularly for about 2 years or less, so I've learned a few things and gotten better. Definitely a newbie. Starting in January, I'll be home fulltime so I want to stock up on freezer meals.

 

post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaydove View Post

Love this thread! I was about to start one!

I have NO idea how to go about freezing food. I've never made freezer meals and neither has my DH nor mum. Do you saran wrap/foil whatever dish you use to cook it in or do you put it in containers? I have several glass containers that are pretty large with sealable lids, would those work better? Do you have to defrost before you cook/reheat? How do you reheat them, oven or microwave? Follow the cooking instructions? Anything that absolutely doesn't work to freeze?

 

I usually make some type of meat, wild rice (or quinoa or potatoes etc), and a veggie (usually salad) for dinner. Making extra rice or quinoa and then sticking the extra in the fridge for the next night works well and with a rice maker, super easy to make. Cooking and freezing meat doesn't sound like it would work? I don't make complicated salads, usually dark leafy greens, nuts, and dressing; maybe cranberries if we have them. I've never made a casserole or chili or a pot roast or lasagna or chicken pot pies or enchiladas, but I can always try to.

My DH has a severe dairy allergy, so we cook from scratch most of the time, and eating out can be very difficult since to some people dairy does not equal butter duh.gif.

 

I'm a baker and only a decent cook, not creative with cooking at all. My DH is an excellent cook. I follow recipes to the letter and expect it to come out exactly like the photo next to the recipe ;). That only works a quarter of the time. Cooking is SO different than baking! I've been cooking regularly for about 2 years or less, so I've learned a few things and gotten better. Definitely a newbie. Starting in January, I'll be home fulltime so I want to stock up on freezer meals.

 


cooking and freezing meat is the best thing ever.  it works quite well.  we use zipl)Ik freezer bags, they don't have bpa or so they say. 

 

for the other stuff, i'll freeze in a glass dish and wrap a bunch with plastic wrap then aluminum foil.  i don't think the lids for the glass dishes would keep stuff from freezer burn.  we usually freeze pasta dishes and we pull them out and put them in the fridge the day before we want them then put them in the oven...  if you're careful when cooking, you can also not have them all the way super brown ( i like brown bubbly cheeze on top of mine, tyvm, so i under do that a little with a mind to baking it to heat it up later).

they say stuff that's got a high fat content won't freeze so well, but really i have not ever noticed a difference.. i found a blog that has some good links about the whole deal-e-o here...

 

post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 

Kaydove, there are a few things that I think freezing changes the texture too much so I'll withhold them and add them in when reheating.  The main culprits for me are cubed potatos (mashed always seem fine) and cubed tofu.  Other than that, I find that most things do pretty well.   You may want to try putting your baking prowess to work and make things like calzones, pasties, pot-pies etc...  Those are always terrific when I reheat and I just use basic homemade pizza or pie dough. 

 

Since we're doing our cooking on a large scale these days, I actually bought a huge stack of disposable aluminum pans.  I make the cassarole in the pans, cover tightly with saran wrap, cover again with aluminum foil.  When reheating, I take the saran wrap off, replace the aluminum foil and cook slowly to warm up.  I then remove the aluminum foil at the end to let everything get brown, crispy and bubbly.   I usually put the cassarole on the counter to thaw the day I'm going to make it-- we keep our house cold and everything is vegetarian so I don't worry  about thawing more slowly or carefully.

 

Rambuzo- thanks for the great ideas to add to my list.  Quiche sounds delicious.  Maybe I'll make one for tonight and freeze a few as well!  I also like your idea for the chickpeas.  I usually just cook them and then freeze them plain to add the seasoning when ready.  But that means I need to pay attention to seasoning and making a dinner plan when I defrost them.  Usually ends up being chickpea curry.  A moroccan inspired chickpea couscous sounds great!!!!  I'm thinking I might try adding some peppers and carrots too to get some veggies in there. 

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