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Mothering › Groups › September 2012 Due Date Club › Discussions › Awesome recipes for freezing meals?

Awesome recipes for freezing meals?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

Hi, I want to start collecting kick-butt recipes to freeze for postpartum. The only thing is, I'm not the cook. My husband is, and he's very...foodie. So I'm looking for awesome-tasting meals that will freeze well, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I've never had a baby before, so not sure what I'll need.

 

Already he's going to make his amazing braised short-rib stew. 

And I saw this awesome recipe for peach-ginger pockets: http://www.thekitchn.com/individual-peach-hand-pies-you-93997

 

We don't have any special requirements, although I'm not a huge pasta fan.

 

If anyone has any links to recipes that would be awesome! Thanks!

post #2 of 33

This is great!  I had my freezer stocked with DD and I really need to get on top of this with this birth as well.  The difference is DD was a winter baby, so I actually wanted to cook!  I will be watching this closely and hopingg it gives me some motivation to get cooking!

post #3 of 33

Not sure about the recipies because I kind of "wing-it" every time I make them.. but I'm planning making:

 

-Turkey Chili

-Lentil Soup

-Empanadas, they're turnovers like the peach pie you linked.  I fill them with potatoes & veggies or potatoes & meat. 

-Mashed potatoes

-Stir Fry

-Spaghetti sauce

-Red beans

-Meatloaves

-Pulled Pork

-Lactation/Oatmeal cookies

-Chilaquiles (homemade tortilla chips smothered in a tomatillo-jalapeno green salsa).  Serve with sour cream, cheese, and scrambled eggs.  Easy!

-Enchiladas- my husband's favorite.

-Various doughs... pizza dough (pizza sauce too, likely), bread dough, cookie dough...

-Albondigas (meatball soup)

-Taco meat with potatoes mixed in... maybe.  Probably do some chicken too.

-Macaroni and cheese.  My kids adore it, and I do keep boxed annie's kind in the pantry for those emergencies (hey, it's better than McDs!) but they really do like my homemade.

-Tinga- it's shredded chicken smothered in a tomato-chipotle sauce.  I make spicy and non-spicy.  You put it on top of a tostada, add sour cream and cheese, done.  We also make Empanadas out of them, and tacos too.

 

And I'd also like to freeze bags of pre-cut veggies for soups and stir fry and such. 

 

 

I'm looking into getting a small chest freezer.  I'll need it to store my milk in.. I was just a leaky mess last time and so much went to waste.  That'll help me store more meals in it.  We use our refrigerator's freezer for ice and frozen veggies, really.  We are terrible about defrosting meat so we try to just buy fresh meat the day we plan on cooking it.   

 

This is making me hungry.. going to stop!

post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 

yum!!

post #5 of 33

Yay! finals are over so I actually have time to look on here and participate!

 

I baked pizza last pregnancy and froze them and that worked really well... I am also planning on making and freezing several trays of mac n cheese (Luby's recipe - a restaurant in Houston that I miss soooo much!) because I love it so much. I also like to make and freeze chilli and cooked beans. I have not had success with freezing potatoes because it makes them gritty, does anyone have a way to avoid this? I was also thinking about making up some breakfast sandwiches and freezing those for a quick yummy breakfast or lunch. My MIL made some great pizza pockets last pg for me and hubby and I was going to ask her to make those again, she mad some BBQ and some plain pizza. I also am going to have chicken broth frozen in small bags for soups and veggies.

 

If any body has ideas on vegetarian main dishes that freeze well, I would be very interested.

 

DS #1 had bad colic from dairy and tomatoes so I try to make non-dairy recipes also like meatballs and hamburgers or black bean burgers. I do try to stock up and get my fill of pizza and my other favorite dairy recipes in the first few weeks before colic sets in... Maybe I won't have that issue this time *fingers crossed*

 

I have been waiting for summer classes to be over to really get into nesting and prepping for baby #2 and my last final was Thursday, so next week I plan on hitting the ground running with cooking and cleaning, if my 10 month old will allow it wink1.gif
 

post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 

All these foods are making me hungry! I just wish I knew how to make them! I know every recipe is different. It's so hard to just pick a random recipe and hope it'll taste good!

post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascher21 View Post

All these foods are making me hungry! I just wish I knew how to make them! I know every recipe is different. It's so hard to just pick a random recipe and hope it'll taste good!


I know! I always get hungry in any conversation about food!eat.gif

 

It can be very tricky to pick out freezer recipes. If you find recipes you like you can always test them before you freeze them or make the meal a day ahead of time and freeze it then take it out the next day to see how it tastes after being frozen. It might seem a little involved but it's better than getting a gross dinner surprise after baby is here...smile.gif

post #8 of 33

Ascher, one way that I scout recipes is by going on allrecipes.com or epicurious.com, then doing a search for say 'brownies' and sorting the results by 'rating' instead of whatever they have it sorted by.  Then you can look for recipes that have a ton of 4 star ratings and know that they should be at least decent. I won't make anything that is 3 stars or less ;)  Then I go into the reviews for that recipe and see what people are changing up and what they are leaving alone . . . for example, the brownies we love are 'Brooke's Bombshell Brownies' from Allrecipes.  They get an insane number of reviews that average like 4 or almost 4.   But when you go into the reviews, lots of people say that they are great but very sweet, or that they reduce the sugar by x amount and they are still great.  That's exactly the kind of thing I want to know - so I always reduce the sugar when I make them.  Enough reviewers saying the same thing tend to be onto something! The one thing I've learned on these sites is ALWAYS read a bunch of the reviews.

 

Here are the recipes that I have saved in my 'recipe box' on Allrecipes that I know are good:
 

Buttermilk Pancakes - one warning, this makes a huge amount . . . great with fresh fruit pieces thrown on top of pancakes once you pour the batter into pan

One Bowl Chocolate Cake - fail safe chocolate cake, looks like a liquid wreck when you put it in the oven but has never let me down

Hummus

Sesame Noodles - I only use 2 tbs oil instead of 6, and add a ton of fresh steamed broccoli, green beans, or snow peas- very good if you kick up the spice too

Cream Cheese Penguins - quick and easy instant winner for pot lucks, family get-togethers, etc

Turkey Chili - my mom also makes this, we both love it.  you can easily double the spices (except salt, salt to taste)

 

From my Epicurious 'recipe box' that I know are good:

Mascarpone Cheesecake - could eat this unbaked, all day, every day

Roasted Garbanzo Beans w Garlic & Swiss Chard - can make with kale instead of swiss chard if you want

Spicy Black Bean Soup - so good next day

lamb meatballs - can be made with twice the herbs, and with pork or beef - so good with hummus on pita, you don't really need to add the sandwich bread it comes out ok w/out

 

A few other recipe links that I frequently reference:

Beef & Broccoli

Martha's freezer granola bars - I make tweeked versions of this all the time, little less honey, add flax seeds (or whatever seeds) and use dried unsweetened cherries, keep in freezer because they're melty - dang son those dried cherries with the hint of peanut butter and honey, SO GOOD

Basic salad dressing - I will mess with this depending on what's in the salad . . . grated ginger is nice or a little peanut butter is nice, chives, cilantro, basil, parsley, yogurt, milk kefir, goats cheese, etc (separately!)

 

HTH! 

post #9 of 33
I lived off beef barely soup (just stew beef browned a bit in onions, carrots/celery, barely and I used either broth or V8 as a base or both) for my first...worked b/c I was trying to keep caesin out and was filling. I imagine this would freeze very easily. French toast freezes well too if you are okay w/ the dairy in it.
post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 

wow, mirandam, thanks for the advice and links! I will def. check them all out! It's about time I started making things myself :)

post #11 of 33

MirandaM, the roasted garbanzo bean recipe sounds amazing! I had the cream cheese penguins at a party once, they tasted great and the kids LOVED them! Those all look like great recipes!! Thanks!
 

post #12 of 33

I'm going to try these blue corn pancakes because they sound delicious and like they would freeze beautifully: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/blue-cornmeal-pancakes/

post #13 of 33
Thread Starter 

I've had blue corn pancakes in santa fe: yum!!

post #14 of 33

bumping!

post #15 of 33
When our menus didn't revolve around allergy issues, I really loved America's Test Kitchen cookbooks. For freezing, there are a few recipes in The Best Make Ahead Recipes that I really love, especially the baked mac and cheese.

As it stands, I'm just waiting for a cool enough weekend to spend in front of the stove and oven. I've never run into trouble freezing baked muffins/scones or raw cookie dough balls (sized for baking straight out of the freezer).
post #16 of 33

Question.. does anyone have a good resource or link to the actual process of freezing?

 

For example.. I plan on using Ziploc containers for things like soups and chili.  But if I put meatballs in a freezer container, won't they get freezerburn or ice crystals on them?  Is there a way to prevent that?

 

And what kinds of things should be prepped and then frozen uncooked to be pulled out later and put in the oven?  I plan on making Enchiladas, but I'm not sure of the steps put into it.

 

 

I know that things like chili and soup can just be fully cooked and thawed and re-heated no problem.

 

Oh, and say it needs to be prepped and then taken out to freeze.. if it's something like say, shepherd's pie, and I prep the ingredients (meat, mashed potatoes, etc) and put them individually into ziploc bags (so that I can just thaw, prep, and put in oven later)... how do I keep the bags from getting lost in the freezer?  Is there an easy organization method that I'm missing?

 

Going to post this in another forum as well.. but I was just wondering if any of you all had any ideas :)

post #17 of 33
I don't have any links, but I can offer my two cents smile.gif

With my meatballs, I brown them on all sides in a skillet and then finish cooking them in sauce. To freeze them, I'd go ahead and brown them, then put them on a cookie sheet to freeze individually, then put them in a sturdy ziplock to store in the freezer. You could double-bag them. I don't think freezer crystals would be a problem -- just squeeze the air out smile.gif They won't be in there forever -- the nice thing about postpartum meals is that they get eaten up.

With something like shepard's pie or enchiladas, I'd get them totally ready except for baking (so assembled and all and totally ready to bake in a cheapie aluminum tin) double-wrapped in foil so that I could just pull it out and put it in the oven when the time comes. The nice thing about an end of September baby is that I won't feel bad about baking a bunch of stuff in the oven.

I agree that any of the soups/chili can be fully cooked and then just thawed/reheated.
post #18 of 33
So, here's a great meatball recipe, from Alton Brown:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/baked-meatballs-recipe/index.html

I subbed almond flour 1:1 for the bread crumbs to make it grain free, used ground beef and pork 2:1, and they came out great. I'm going to make a double or triple batch next weekend to freeze for easy lunches and dinners.
post #19 of 33
Thread Starter 

Great idea! I have really got to get going with the cooking. It's just a matter of what days I want to hike up the AC to do it. ;)

post #20 of 33

I have a bit of a hate affair with my freezer, but we're going to have to make a truce in the coming weeks. ;) Think there's already a recipe or two for this in here, but I thought I'd share the link to the turkey chili I make. It thaws well and has some really rich flavors (I do a tsp cocoa instead of a tbsp, fwiw).

 

I kind of improvise on the manicotti- 15oz tub of ricotta, 8oz bag of mozz, 4oz cream cheese (trust me!), some parmesan, 2 eggs, spinach, salt, and pepper.. you can play with the cheeses but the nice thing is that if you toss that into a bag and pipe it into the shells, you can freeze them without cooking the noodles first. Thaw and toss them in a baking dish with sauce over and under, maybe a little bit of added water, cover with foil and bake at 350-375 for 40-45 minutes.

 

I would love to have a vacuum sealer but make do with sucking the air out of the bags myself.. if you have a straw you can stick it in a corner and do it that way, works pretty well.

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