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Feeding the Freezer

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
I saw this thread on the December DDC and given that I'm an obsessive planner and love to think about these things way in advance, I thought we should start our own. I hope my eager beaver approach doesn't stress anyone out!

Are you going to cook and freeze meals ahead of time? If so, what are you going to make? I'd love to share recipes!

: Here's a few that I'm planning on making:
Artichoke, Spinach, and Feta Stuffed Shells
White Bean and Turkey Chili
Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
Chili & cornbread
Spaghetti sauce & garlic bread
Taco meat (will freeze with beans, shredded cheese, & tortillas)
Sweet & Spicy Veggie Chili
Chicken pot pies (looking for a good freezable recipe if anyone wants to share)
Teriyaki burgers (will freeze uncooked premade patties, buns, & sliced cheese)
Lasagna & garlic bread
post #2 of 63
London Broils- so yummy feel free to pm for the recipe

Unbaked lasagne

philly steak sandwiches
post #3 of 63
papschmitty -

Okay - I am quite the nerd when it comes to this. I create a spreadsheet for postpartum meals. It was really, really helpful to my DH when DS#2 was born.

The columns are:
1. Meal description
2. Servings
3. Cooking Details (like thaw, bake on 350* etc)
4. Anything that it needs with it (serve with brown rice etc)
5. Date Frozen
6. Check off for when removed from freezer and cooked (so one could tell what was left in the freezer).

There was also a column that was optional if the meal was prepared by somebody (like at a blessingway) - that way we could say - "Oh Susan made this pot pie! Yum).

Here is what we have traditionally done...and will continue to do.

1. Lots of Ground Meat already seasoned and ready to go to pasta dish, or chili dish.
2. Brunswick Stew
3. Beef Stew
4. Chili's of all sorts
5. Chicken Florentine
6. Lasagna
7. Enchilada's
8. Meat loaf (if I can figure out a way to freeze)
9. Potato Soup
10. Mac and Cheese

A couple of my friends made Chicken pot Pie for us and ohhh...YUMMY.

Will you just cook this meal and then double/triple for the freezer - or do you have cooking weekends where you make a bunch of food and put in the freezer. Some days it is hard enough to even make dinner. LOL.

Thanks Papschmitty for this thread!

post #4 of 63
Oh I love obsessive planning! With my second DS I made a lot of smashed pea soup with barley (the recipe from California Pizza Kitchen) and froze it. It's so good (and healthy) heated up on a cold January day!
post #5 of 63
Soups, Chili, quiche, bread, freezing individual servings of leftovers. We stocked up on blueberries and strawberry jam when those were in season. Also stocking up in general, so we will have backups of everything when the time comes!

I am going to make some Middle Eastern Rice with Black Beans & Chickpeas tomorrow and try freezing some to see how it reheats. Here is the recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked basmati rice (brown is tasty here!)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 quart chicken stock (or veggie broth for vegetarian version)
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (skip for vegetarian version)
2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 bunch chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Stir in rice, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, then pour in chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

Place the turkey in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown.

Gently mix cooked turkey, garbanzo beans, black beans, cilantro, parsley, and pine nuts into the cooked rice. Season with salt and pepper.

I love it plain, but you can also fill a pita with this and plain yogurt......mmmmmmm........

I would also like to start getting ahead on loaves of bread, rolls, buns, etc once the weather cools. Maybe get some muffins made up.

This is all assuming I am not on bedrest come Novemberish, but I am still optimistic on that one!

Have a good afternoon!

post #6 of 63
Thread Starter 
I create a spreadsheet for postpartum meals.
Traci, will you marry me? If I PM you my email address, would you be willing to share your spreadsheet?

I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only dork who loves obsessively planning in our DDC! Man, I'm hungry now!
post #7 of 63
post #8 of 63
Wow, I love you guys, too! I'm a total planner but I'm new to freezer meals. I was calculating in my head how many friends I think will bring dinners (we do food trees for new babies), how much I can freeze, how many times we'll order out, etc. I figure I'll want about two months worth of flexibility, if I remember right from dd's birth and early nursing days.

I'd love more links on recipes...that London Broil sounds great. Any tips for freezing stews or chili? Do potatoes freeze well? What about sweet potatoes? beans?
post #9 of 63
These freeze well and are SO yummy and filling. A veggie dish that works well for people used to eating meat IMO. Avocado Enchiladas:

post #10 of 63
I'm amazed at how organized everyone is! I can't even contemplate tomorrow's dinner, let along post-baby dinners! I'm very lucky - I have a strong mom's group who will provide me with probably 3 weeks worth of food, plus my mom lives in town in the winter, and we eat with them every night anyway, so I'm sure she'll just cook. (Yes, I am extremely spoiled. Every night!)
post #11 of 63

Vegetarian Lasanga Rolls

Alright, I finally got around to writing down my very favorite recipe... I've never written out a recipe from in my head before, so feel free to ask for clarification if this doesn't cover everything:

Too-Good-For-Meat Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls!

Pretty much everything in this recipe is approximate and can be experimented with to find a taste and system that works best for you. (You could even add meat if you really wanted to... I just think it's waaaay too good this way!) I haven't had a written copy of this for years, so I have no clue where it originally came from or to whom credit is due.

32 oz. ricotta cheese
1 ball mozarella cheese
1 package fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach
1 jar marinara sauce
1 package lasagna noodles
Italian spices to taste (fresh or dried is up to you): garlic, basil, oregano, parsley

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil lasagna noodles according to directions on the package. I usually use the bigger package (~16 noodles) and use two per roll, but you can use 8 noodles if you prefer. Lay cooked noodles flat on a countertop or other surface they wont' stick to.

Shred entire ball of mozarella. Defrost and drain spinach, then make a ball of it and squeeze out additional moisture. Combine ricotta, mozarella, parmesan, spinach, and spices (to taste) in a large bowl. I generally mix by squeezing the ingredients through my fingers until it looks well-combined. You can also add a splash of marinara to the mix if you'd like.

Take the filling mix and spread it equally on 8 of the lasagna noodles. (If you're using 16 noodles, take the "empty" noodles and place them on top of the ones with mix, sandwiching the mix in the middle.) Roll up the noodles and place them noodle-side-down in a non-stick (or sprayed with non-stick spray) casserole pan (don't put them on end, or the filling may run out as it heats). I like to use a glass pan. Pour the remaining marinara sauce evenly over all the rolls.

Cover with aluminum foil and cook for about 35 minutes at 350. Remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes.

These are great hot OR cold from the fridge, in my opinion. The best way to re-heat refrigerated or frozen rolls is by steaming for about 10-15 minutes. They can be microwaved, too.

These are great to make and freeze individually, so they're already divvied up into one-serving sizes. I've found the two-noodle rolls to be filling for adults. If you're cooking for kids, the one-noodle roll may be a friendlier portion. Sometimes I'll make a batch with both - it's easy to mix-and-match.

post #12 of 63
I SOOO need an extra freezer because I've been thinking about the same thing!!

Someone suggested 'dream dinners' to me but I don't know if it's worth the money...
post #13 of 63
papchmitty - I'd be glad to!

Dizzy - We do have a deep freezer but we bought 1/4 of a cow last month so it is VERY full right now.

Or fridge freezer is better. I remember some friends bringing meals in ziplocs (like rice and sausage dishes) - and they fit really really well!

Ohhh I would love the smashed pea soup with barley recipe! Sounds soothing...
post #14 of 63
Thread Starter 
Traci, I just PM'd you.

These recipes sound so yummy. Keep 'em coming! DH is the world's pickiest eater so I really struggle with finding healthy recipes that we'll all eat.
post #15 of 63
Ok- London Broils

2-3 # hamburger
1 package bacon
worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper
finely diced tomato/red pepper/green pepper (whatever?)
finely diced onion
finely diced mushrooms
shredded cheese (I like chedder)

Take a big jelly roll pan and line it with foil (I use the nonstick kind)- pat down your hamburger really well. Salt pepper and worchestershire sauce your hamburger. Sprinkle with your chioce of veggies and cheese. Pop in the freezer for just a few minutes. Roll up jelly roll style- peeling back the foil as you go. Then pop back in the freezer for a few more minutes. Slice in approximately 1" slices and wrap with bacon secureing with toothpicks. I freeze them in pyrex 9x13s- I think this will fill up 2 pans. And then I pull out however many I need for that meal. You can fry them on the stove, broil or grill- they are awesome....

Ya know what else freezes really good- the bean and kale soup from Peggy's kitchen- totally vegetarian and so unbelievably good for nursing moms- well for anyone! I freeze it is quart bags and my family goes nuts over it.
post #16 of 63
Im sooo jealous...We got a small deepfreeze included in the house, and dh gave it away cause we never used it...i BEGGED him to let me keep it until after this baby came but it was one of those things that drove him nuts...im DYING for a deep freeze
post #17 of 63
great thread!! I have already started preparing post-baby meals...So far I have a spaghetti pie and a lasagna in the freezer. I am planning on making some chicken divan this week. I also found a loaf of Italian bread on the "oops we over baked rack" at Giant for $1 and I bought it and wrapped it and froze it to go with one of the meals. I am thinking I'll make some chili and corn bread too. We probably won't eat all that balanced for the first few weeks, but at leas we'll have home cooked food!!
post #18 of 63
I'm totally jealous! Our freezer holds popsicles and a couple of frozen meals for work and that's about it. I'm not sure what my plan is going to be for post baby.
post #19 of 63
Here's one I plan to freeze a few casseroles of. It is very yummy!

Poppy Seed Chicken

3-4 cooked chicken breast, diced up
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz sour cream
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 cups cooked white rice
1 cup water
1 roll of Ritz Crackers
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Line 9x13 casserole dish with rice. Combine chicken, soup, sour cream, cheese, water, and poppy seeds in a bowl. Pour soup mixture over rice.

Crush crackers.

For freezing, I'd just crush the crackers and put them in a ziplock baggie on top of the casserole. Then I'd thaw the casserole in the fridge, put the crackers on top, and heat in the oven at 325 until hot (about 30 minutes.)
post #20 of 63
Originally Posted by DizzyMissLizzy View Post
I SOOO need an extra freezer because I've been thinking about the same thing!!

Someone suggested 'dream dinners' to me but I don't know if it's worth the money...
Oh yes, it is! Until they started doing vegetarian substitutes i only used them to make babymoon meals for my meat eating friends. I spent ~$50 and got enough food for a week for a couple that had a 3 year old who ate smaller portions. No kidding. The 3 entrees lasted an entire week at their house. They loved it. I may go over there myself in December to stock up my own freezer.
I will also be freezing broccoli potato and cheese soup, and pea soup because they are my favorites in winter. I will be inheriting all of my parents tomato crop as well, so any suggestions on canning your own sauce would be appreciated. My DH's method is too messy and inconsistent for me to trust it for this. lol!
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