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Freezer Meals

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 

I'm pretty sure that it's too early to start cooking+freezing right now but it's something I should probably be thinking about. I've never been big into freezing things so I'm not sure how things last. I usually just stick to croc pot meals if I am feeling lazy (which is often.)

 

Things that I think would freeze well:

homemade veggie burgers (tested out and works)

Mac and Cashew chz.

Most soups, probably.

 

Beyond that I'm at a loss. LO hates dairy I think considering whenever I eat it lately I feel like death. Also vegetarian... so Ovo-Veg, technically. I rarely eat fish. 

 

What's on your list? Doesn't have to have dietary restrictions. When are you planning on starting? Are you worried about freezer space? 

 

I have a tiny freezer that is usually around 1/3 filled with breads and stuff from my once every few months Whole Foods runs. I'm hoping to get a months worth of freezer meals in there but we will see. 

post #2 of 82

I like to make frozen pizzas.You can put just about anything on a pizza, I usually cut them in half so they will fit in the gallon size freezer bags.
 

I'll probably make some burritos, lasagna for my guys, ready to grill marinated meats and I'm not sure what else.

 

I made a list in March but looking it over it's mostly food that you need to turn the oven on for a long time. It'll be too hot for that so I 'm revising my list and hopefully will utilize the crock pot more.

 

Also, once a month mom has a lot of freezer cooking recipes and a variety of menu plans, gluten and dairy free, vegetarian, whole foods and paleo. I'll probably make a list from there too.

post #3 of 82
Slightly tangential, but what kind of freezers do you all have? Mine is the kind on top of the fridge, and there'a barely room in there now since I keep a moderate stock of ingredients in there on the regular.

I wish we had room for a chest freezer, but in a small-ish apartment idk where it would go.
post #4 of 82

When we lived in a smallish apartment (2 bedrooms for 4 people) we bought a 5 cubic foot freezer. It fit in a corner easy enough. We still have that same freezer and I'm looking to buy another one, so that we have 2 since the 5 cubic footer is full of just our regular stuff. No room for meals or anything. 

post #5 of 82

I don't think it's too early. I've been sporadically making and freezing extra of whatever freezer-friendly dinners we're having for about a month now. I've got a few soups/stews, some frittata muffins, some baked goods. Most things should keep for 6 months or so, I think? 

 

DH can't do gluten and I'm newly ovo-veg after 10+ years of veganism (my pet ducks started laying in February, though now I think either the baby or I can't handle eggs after all :-/). I wish there was a once a month mom menu option for that dietary combo!

 

I'm planning to make a gigantic baked ziti with tofu "ricotta" tomorrow and freeze a bunch of it. I hope the GF noodles freeze well. 

post #6 of 82
We have a pull out drawer freezer below the fridge. My DH hates food from the freezer and likes to cook so not sure how much we'll put away. Probably some soups and stews that I like, and some meatballs, sausage and frozen veggies, so we have some backup and then if cooking seems too much we'll rely on my mom and MIL to stock it for us after the baby arrives ☺
post #7 of 82
This is very inspiring. I also wonder what you freeze things in? I've used freezer-safe plastic bags in the past, but I find certain foods get freezer burn anyway.
post #8 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by cynthiamoon View Post

This is very inspiring. I also wonder what you freeze things in? I've used freezer-safe plastic bags in the past, but I find certain foods get freezer burn anyway.

 

Food will freezer burn pretty quickly in a refrigerator freezer. A chest freezer will keep things much longer. I'd be interested in what others may suggest for freezing things in as well.

post #9 of 82

We had a HUGE chest freezer in our old house but we moved in December and didn't bring it with us.

 

Right now, we just have a side by side freezer/fridge so I don't freeze anything for too long and don't have room for very much in there at a time. I will prepare a few freezer meals but not many, being July, I am hoping we will BBQ a lot and eat a lot of easily prepared meals like raw veggies, wraps, sandwiches, etc...

 

We plan on butchering chickens and a steer in the fall so we will need to get a new chest freezer at some point but probably won't have it before baby comes.

post #10 of 82
Thread Starter 

We have a side by side fridge/freezer which makes freezing large things difficult because the space isn't very wide. I froze a pizza that I got bogo and in order to make it work we had to rearrange all the shelves so it can awkardly stand on it's side. It also gets freezer burn pretty quickly but I would think some things it wouldn't matter that much and I've never really taken the time to store things super properly. I think my MIL has one of those vaccuum seal things that she got suckered into buying. If so I might try those and get things set up for a few months post partum rather than just a few weeks. 

post #11 of 82
I have a chest freezer in the basement. We just got it in January so I don't have much experience with long term freezing in one of them. For the top of the fridge freezer I usually use freezer baggies, wax paper, and foil pans. I reuse any of those that do not contain raw meat. When I freeze pizzas or burritos I usually wrap with wax paper and put it in a freezer baggie. If I make a meal I use a foil pan covered with wax paper and place in a baggie. Ive had food last a couple of months this way. When I freeze fruit from summer pickings I double bag everything., suck all the air out with a straw and have had it last for almost a year (my family picks a lot of fruit). I also have a friend that freezes meat in baggies and then wraps it in newspaper. Hope this helps a little.
post #12 of 82

I usually do soups and liquidy stuff frozen flat in a freezer bag then stuck in the chest freezer, and I've never had freezer burn with those.

 

Raw/blanched vegetables just seem to have a shelf life no matter what I've tried, though I admit I have not done Mavis's double bag method for veggies, so maybe that's the key!

 

Something else I haven't seen mentioned is freezing in glass jars. I know there's the scary breakage factor, but I have actually had a lot of success just making sure to leave plenty of head room. Last time I moved I found a jar of soup that must have been 18 months old hiding in the back of the top-of-the-fridge freezer in a glass jar, and it had no signs of freezer burn at all. I don't do this anymore only because I never have enough jars for everything I use them for and don't have a problem with stuff keeping for a long time the chest freezer, but it might be something to try?

 

I'm going to try doing some stuff in foil pans, too. Is the wax paper for clean-up or does it add another layer of protection?

post #13 of 82
I put the wax paper on top as an added layer of protection. I have some mason jars that are freezers safe but I still worry about breakage and I always run out because of canning.
post #14 of 82

I have already started freezing meals. I am the family cook, so if I don't prepare now we won't eat after baby comes, and then no one is happy. :) We got a free deep freezer off Craigslist a few months ago, yippee!!! I had never had experience freezing meals until about a year ago- I found a cookbook by "Mama Baby Love" that's been a lifesaver for me. The cookbook lists recipes (as well as shopping lists) for meals you prep then freeze in freezer bags and then put in the slow cooker the morning when you want it. I don't really go off of her recipes anymore because now I know what to freeze, what my family likes, etc. but it was a great start for a mom that didn't know. Most of the meals are real food, GF, and you can make them vegetarian. I don't even bother putting meat in the freezer bag with the vegetables and spices- I just buy the meat, put it next the appropriate bag in the freezer, and add a note on the bag that says how much/what type of meat to add (just in case things get jumbled around in the freezer.) This way, hubby looks in freezer, sees bags clearly marked "Thai Chicken Curry- 4 hours high or 6-8 hours on high- Add 5 pounds chicken thighs" and voila! mommy gets dinner cooked.

 

I have had really good success (before the deep freezer) blanching veggies and "double bagging" them to freeze. I also do fruit this way (summer blueberries in the middle of winter...yum!)

post #15 of 82
I wonder whats the minimum # of meals I could get away with freezing ahead of time? At least 2weeks worth? Or not at all? I cant seem to get enough done but dont want to add stress by being too exhausted to cook. This feels so hard squeezing things in, I feel like I am not cut out for all this multitasking. I am thinking paperplates , unrefriderated precooked polenta from trader joes, and cooking pots of chili with meat/veggies ti freeze to go with that, but i know nothing about good/bad foods for breastfeeding.?
post #16 of 82

You can eat whatever you want for breastfeeding in my experience. Unless food allergies run in the family or if you notice baby have problems. I've always just had anything I wanted and no issues here. Except of course avoid caffeine and alcohol. And with teas you do need to look out for herbs that you shouldn't have. Marshmallow root is a no no for example. kellymom.com has lots of good info. And you can just internet search for herbs not recommended for breastfeeding and foods not recommended for breastfeeding.

post #17 of 82

I don't avoid caffeine while nursing, and I even have an occasional alcoholic drink while nursing.  I don't indulge in alcohol and I never have more than 1 cup of coffee, but I don't see a problem with it at all.  With our last few babies they've had severe reflux and even food sensitivities with dairy so I end up eliminating things from my diet to help baby out.
 

post #18 of 82

Well, I don't really drink coffee or alcohol, so I was just going by what I heard. :)

post #19 of 82

My husband's sister had to eliminate dairy while breast feeding. There are no food allergies on my side of the family, what are the chances that our baby will also be sensitive to dairy? 

I think I read to watch out for spicy foods, and high acidic foods like oranges and pineapple. I remember my friend's baby would get terrible diaper rashes if she ate really spicy food. But that may be different for every baby too and how sensitive they are. 

 

I haven't started freezer cooking yet... I will do it like 4 weeks before my due date I think. I am still trying to eat up some of the freezer meals I made August (which, by the way, non of them have freezer burn). I freeze them flat in freezer zip lock bags. We just finished up the rest of last years strawberries and blueberries, so we will have plenty of room for new stuff. Most of my freezer meals are for the crock pot because I don't like turning on the oven in the summer. It is just too hot! 

post #20 of 82

I'm so glad someone started this thread, I love food and have been thinking about this for months, hehe. I was thinking this week about making a bunch of kabobs for the grill, veggie, meat and maybe some fruit. Then hubby can throw it on the grill and hopefully will cook up fast too. We have dairy and wheat allergies so It is a little more difficult to come up with stuff. Love any suggestions, especially those that don't require the oven in July.

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