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post-partum meal planning ahead of time

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Is anybody going to freeze meals ahead of time so they're ready for the first few weeks after baby is born?  I would like to do something, but not exactly sure of the logistics. 

How far in advance to start prepping meals?

We only have freezer space in our fridge/freezer.  (No chest freezer.)  It's decent sized, but is there a good way to fit everything in there plus the stuff we usually eat?

 

I know it will be hot weather, so I'm not even sure if the usual freezer stuff (soup, casseroles) will work or sound good!  Any suggestions for types of food to store?

 

Last time, after DS was born, we had no meal plan in place & DP took over the cooking.  He did a good job, but there were a lot of last minute grocery store runs & the fridge wasn't always stocked.  I remember eating a lot of frozen pizza & ice cream. orngtongue.gif 

 

I actually make up a monthly meal plan now & get a lot of groceries at once, so I'm all set to do that as due date approaches.  (I just hope I get it all timed right!)  I'm just wondering if anyone else is doing anything similar & wants to chat about it!

post #2 of 29

I want to do something similar this time.

I want to have some things frozen ready for DH to just heat and us to eat for dinner.

I want to have at least a weeks worth, 2 would be great.

I don't know what or when yet though.

 

I was thinking I would do it in June maybe. IDK maybe I should do a little in May and a little in June.

Also was going to make sure the fridge and pantry were stocked with things the kids like to eat.

So maybe in early labor or right before due, do a  grocery trip?

I usually go once a week to the grocery store.

IDK

 

Is there anything that does not freeze well?

 

 

 

post #3 of 29

This is a great idea. Eagerly awaiting all of you guys's awesome ideas... Sheepish.gif we freeze a lot of leftovers but I'm not a great "freezer cook." I have done the freezer shepherd's pie and chicken pot pies from Cook's Country in the past, so I may try to put a couple of those together (I'm going to make one recipe of each anyway either today or tomorrow for my brother and SIL who just had a baby), and I have also added 6 home-cooked freezer meals to our myregistry.com list in case someone wants to cook us something instead of giving a regular gift.

 

I guess the other good news is, at the time of year the babies will be arriving, it will be good weather to do simple stuff like grilling. So maybe part of the prep can be just adding marinades to frozen meat or tofu in bags, and then these can be easily thawed and grilled. The vegetable prep is always the biggest pain for me in the summer. I like to throw just about anything in a foil packet and grill it alongside the meat, but there's all the cleaning, scrubbing, peeling, chopping, etc.... I know myself and I'm probably not going to have a great tolerance for soil, beet juice, or little broccoli bits all over the kitchen when I'm trying to take care of a newborn.

post #4 of 29

I froze some meals before DS was born in January. It kind of backfired, though, my in-laws came to help us out for a week and they cooked the frozen meals for us to eat together because MIL was afraid to cook and we went through it way before I intended. Did not freeze anything before DD was born (Sept). My mother stays with us and does cooking for ~week and MIL came back and since there was nothing for her to defrost, she did cooking for us.

 

This time, I agree with PP, good for grilling. Might pre-make hamburgers or something, but otherwise, DH is pretty independent in this department. (I have never actually ignited the grill myself.) It would be good planning to have marinades available. While I enjoy managing the foodshopping, DH is totally capable of taking over with little disruption.

post #5 of 29

Yeah DH can cook and shop at the store but he would need a list of what to get and what dinners to cook. He doesn't cook the same sort of things I do but that is ok. It would just be easier on DH to have premade meals.

 

Would probably be good to have some different bags of ground beef already browned maybe already seasoned and frozen and just waiting to be turned into chili or stroganof or taco salad, etc.

 

Basically I plan to hang in the bed for a week and expect DH to take over care of the bigs and the household stuff.

We don't have family that comes and helps.

Week 2 DH goes back to work. I plan to surf the couch and my mom is planning on taking the bigs home with her for a week as a sort of summer camp with grandma.

 

If friends come to visit during week 2 hopefully they will bring food with them, even if its just pizza or something.:)

post #6 of 29

DH has been really busy with work over the last couple of months, so I've had alot of late nights home with the kids + really aching/sore legs, and have, therefore, taken up mostly make-ahead meals (trying to do kind of a once-every-few-weeks sort of cooking, but still working out the kinks).  I'm really into the make-ahead crockpot dinners like this: http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/02/freezer-cooking.html  , where you put together all the ingredients that go into a crockpot meal at once & freeze them in gallon ziplocks.  When you're ready to cook it, you just dump the contents of the ziplock into your crockpot.  I'm hoping to have a few of these made up for after the baby is born- no hot oven, weee!

 

I'm already trying to make double batches of things- one for now, one for the freezer.  Chicken and wild rice casserole, beef stew starter (add potatoes after thawing), gnocchi, pasta sauce, soups, pulled pork, baked oatmeal, pancakes, etc- it's not alot of work to make an extra batch, and is really nice to have the freezer constantly have easy (but homemade, whole food) dinner options available all the time.  Stocking up on grill-friendly foods is an awesome idea. Totally looking forward to more responses in this thread!

post #7 of 29

I'm a huge freezer cook already. It's a bit trickier for with summer time cooking (soups and stews seem out of season), but I love @tolovemercy's idea about using the slow cooker more than the oven. I also agree with @scowgirl that grillling will be best in summer. I'lll be seeking otu recipes for chicken/fish that you freeze with sauce so it marinates while it defrosts & then you BBQ.

 

I love the Don't Panic Dinner's in the Freezer books http://www.amazon.ca/Dont-Panic-More-Dinners-Freezer-Helping/dp/0800733177/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b/188-6710231-3214549. I've also referenced the archives in the Freezer Chicks Blog http://freezerchicks.blogspot.ca/ a lot. I've got this site bookmarked, but haven't used it much yet. http://mamaandbabylove.com/real-food/. I've also found good freezer cooking cookbooks at the library.

 

For just freezer space in the fridge/freezer, I'd recommend freezing things in small ziploc bags. To keep things organized I squeeze as many ziploc bags as possible into a rectangular storage container.

post #8 of 29

Yay, thanks; great discussion, and awesome ideas and links shared here! thumb.gif

 

I started thinking about this months ago but knew it wasn't time to do it yet, so i forgot. lol.gif SO Thanks for pointing out that yeah, i won't want to use the oven for reheating of frozen casseroles or such.  It will be simple to be sure the freezer is stocked with plenty of grillable meats for dh, though, good thinking, mamas!  I guess I shouldn't freeze accompaniments like premade mac and cheese or potato salad, though!  SO I LOVE the idea to freeze together things to throw into the crockpot instead.  I am going to check out those links and start building a plan over the next month and then start prepping and stocking meals throughout June.  Like I said, thanks for helping me to think of this!

 

And YES on using ziplocs for optimizing freezer storage; that works much better than trying to store plastic or other containers stacked up in a small space!

post #9 of 29

Got some good-quality roasts in the manager's special clearance last night-- making several batches of Pepper Steak for the crockpot and Italian Beef for  the freezer today!  

post #10 of 29

Our play group does a monthly meal exchange and we all use these containers so that they can stack easily and be reused each month.  They work great!  They can be put directly in the oven, microwave, dishwasher, etc.  http://www.bing.com/shopping/glad-simplycooking-ovenware-8-x-8-3-ea/p/1E535DCB7E36F4DB21AE?q=glad+ovenware&lpq=glad%20ovenware&FORM=HURE  And I am a huge fan of placing soups and crock pot meals in freezer bags to maximize space.  And as for cooking in the summer, I still tend to like eating casseroles and hot meals, I just don't want the oven on!  If I precook a lasagna, freeze it, it warms up perfect in the microwave in about 10 minutes. 

 

Does anyone have any great freezer recipes they can share?  I have quite a few since we do the monthly meal exchange, but I could use a little extra variety!   

post #11 of 29

I used to do this pretty regularly and not sure why I stopped. What a great idea to get ready for baby. Seems like it might also be something that would make a nice gift for a friend who's expecting- easy enough to make a double batch! If you use ground beef, it's pretty easy to cook up a large amount of it with different base seasonings that can be used for a variety of recipes. Meatballs are also really great to freeze and offer a lot of variety.  I like the variety in these Martha Stewart recipes http://www.marthastewart.com/274277/freezer-friendly-foods but also if you go to pinterest and search "freezer" there are a LOT of great links and suggestions for freezer organization, etc.

post #12 of 29

I really need to do this!  Whoever came up with the idea of freezing ingredients to dump in a crock pot is a genius.  I don't have very much freezer space, though.  We keep a lot in there already (I make my own pet food in bulk, etc...).  I'd love to have a chest freezer but I don't know where I'd put it in this already full 500 square foot apartment.

post #13 of 29

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by inkandpaper View Post

I really need to do this!  Whoever came up with the idea of freezing ingredients to dump in a crock pot is a genius.  I don't have very much freezer space, though.  We keep a lot in there already (I make my own pet food in bulk, etc...).  I'd love to have a chest freezer but I don't know where I'd put it in this already full 500 square foot apartment.

 

I'm pretty short on freezer space, too, but the ziplock bags make up for alot, really.  You can flat-freeze things and stack, stack, stack.    Things like taco meat, pulled pork, soups, etc, all stack well.  :)

post #14 of 29

I made a freezer meal board on Pinterest (PIN ALL THE THINGS! MWHAHAHA!!). I have found some great ideas. Also, the hubby does the big two week shopping stock up at Trader Joes, so I told him to start grabbing a few freezer items he sees so we can have a few on hand for lunches . 

 

I really love the crock pot freezer meal idea. Idiot proof :)

post #15 of 29

Here are the sites I have pinned (some may be repeats from above)

 

http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/02/freezer-cooking.html

http://joelens.blogspot.com/2007/01/freezer-friendlymake-ahead.html

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2011/12/fresh-food-friday-20-tried-and-true.html

http://onceamonthmom.com/whole-foods-april-2012-menu/

 

I have been copying my favorite recipes from these sites and putting them into a Freezer Meal google doc along with other ideas mommas have passed my way.

 

Here are meal ideas that arent on those sites:

 

Ham and egg cups- put ham in muffin tins and fill them with beaten eggs (add spices if you want..cheese..etc), and bake till egg is cooked. Ta da! Breakfast Cupcakes! Then just bag and freeze them and pop them in the microwave!

 

Pancakes- make up some pancakes and freeze..again just microwave when ready

 

Muffins- pumpkin muffins, banana muffins, any kind you want :) These freeze well. Also, if you are having a homebirth, take a few out of teh freezer when labor starts. your midwives will thank you ..and you will be grateful for the yummy muffin treat after baby is born (or while in labor...but i cant eat during labor..the thought makes me want to vomit lol)

 

 

Stuffed pasta shells- find a recipe for stuffed shells. This freezes well and all you have to do is pop in the oven and reheat!

 

Also, this time around I plan on having a list of snack ideas on the fridge for hubby. After my homebirth with Lina, I was bed bound for three days. Hubby and family did wonderful with meals, but i would have liked more snacks. Here is my list so far:

 

cheese
crackers
fruit (grapes, strawberries, blueberries)
toast with peanut butter
hummus
baby carrots
hard boiled eggs with a little sea salt

post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for all the responses & ideas!

 

I'll definitely be doing the flat zip-locks for storage to minimize space.  I agree, too, that the time of year will be great - DP likes to grill, so I count on him for that.  We'll have stuff from the garden, too.

 

My plan is to make a meal plan calendar for June/July & make a grocery list from that.  (That's what I usually do month-to-month anyway.)  I'll get the pantry stuff/non-perishables towards the end of May & then get the ingredients I need to fill the freezer in June & do some meal prep then.  Hopefully, I can make it to the store for the rest of the perishables at beginning of July before baby arrives.  I want there to be stuff in the fridge for when my Mom is here watching DS, too!

 

Thanks for the reminder about snacks, too!  I remember snacking a lot after DS was born.  BFing makes you hungry all the time!!
 

post #17 of 29

I just thought of something else, too, and thought I would post it here.  With my last baby, we had plenty of food on hand to eat, but I HAD to go out to the store (with kids, including the new baby) just a couple of days after birth on the day dh went back to work because we ran completely out of toilet paper and dish soap!  So this time, I will be sure to also stock up on those things and everything else I can think of that we could run out of, because I won't want to leave my house for at least a couple of weeks after the birth.

post #18 of 29

Since so many of us mentioned grilling, I just wanted to point out that charcoal is on sale this weekend ;)

 

of course, ya'll might have gas grills!  But we don't and with lots of grilling the charcoal seems to run out fast.  My grocery store has 18 lb bags for 2.99 this weekend; this is a great deal and I got two, which was the limit, and I am thinking of going back for more- we have plenty of room in the garage to store them.

 

but then, i guess it will go on sale again for the 4th of July...

post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ms.shell View Post

Since so many of us mentioned grilling, I just wanted to point out that charcoal is on sale this weekend ;)

 

of course, ya'll might have gas grills!  But we don't and with lots of grilling the charcoal seems to run out fast.  My grocery store has 18 lb bags for 2.99 this weekend; this is a great deal and I got two, which was the limit, and I am thinking of going back for more- we have plenty of room in the garage to store them.

 

but then, i guess it will go on sale again for the 4th of July...


Yep, I did the same thing. Bought 5 bags as well as several packages of brats and hot dogs (the good natural kinds) that were on sale.

post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 

I've made some progress for the July meals!  I made a dinner plan for the entire month & made a grocery list based off of that - included lunch, breakfast, & snack stuff, too.  I've bought all the pantry stuff & the meat.  I've also pre-cooked some of the meat (sloppy joes, taco meat, meatballs) and made some pizza wraps, too.  I trimmed the chicken I bought so it is grill-ready.  I even made some cookie dough & froze it in little balls, so it is all ready to bake.  Our freezer is packed!!

Still to-do is make some bread dough for garlic bread & buy the perishable stuff.  Probably wait a few weeks to get the perishables.

 

The freezer ziplocks work perfectly!!  Everything can lay flat & stacks nicely.

 

We do need to stock up on charcoal, too.  Hopefully it goes on sale for the Fourth of July & we can get a few bags then.

 

I did get lots of toilet paper & dishsoap is on my list - thanks, ms.shell! :)

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