Prepping for Postpartum: Freezer Meals? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 72 Old 08-05-2011, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a prenatal appointment today, and my midwife sent me home with homework, including working on arranging 2 weeks worth of care for me, meals, laundry, child care, etc.  Up till now I've just had a vague idea that it will all work out, between DH working 12hr shifts for half a week (and being home the other half), having MIL and 2 SIL's within 5 minutes of home, and a decent amount of church support.  MW wants it a little more firm than that, however, with a spreadsheet of who does what on which days.  I don't know that I'll fill it out completely (my older kids can mostly take care of themselves and help each other, it's not like I have to be completely bedridden for 2 weeks... I can help find a shirt or a quick packaged snack or something, right?!?), but I wanted to start to get a firmer idea of what's going to happen.  And I thought it might be nice to do maybe a week's worth - maybe more?- of freezer meals just in case things don't work out exactly as I hope.  Or even just to keep on hand for after those first 2 weeks PP. 

 

Problem is, I've never really done freezer meals before.  I don't have a good idea of what freezes well and what doesn't, you know?  I'd like something that's pretty much a complete meal, with greens, proteins, etc. all included.  I know soups can easily take care of that, but I'd like things more like casseroles, too. 

 

Anyone have any ideas, or favorite freezer meal recipes?  Or is anyone else planning on doing something like this at all?


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#2 of 72 Old 08-06-2011, 09:20 AM
 
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http://onceamonthmom.com/menus/whole-foods/

 

 

this is what we are doing ;)

 

got the info from another ddc


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#3 of 72 Old 08-06-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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For me, it's a lot easier to make up bags of ingredients and freeze them, than entire meals. Most the prep work for making meals for me is chopping up vegetables, and the actual "planning".

So rather than freezing whole meals, I've chopped up several months worth of carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peppers, broccoli, green onions, turnip, corn etc. And i'll be canning tomatoes and green beans soon.

 

I've also bought a lot of meat (ground turkey, beef, steaks, chicken etc) and either bagged it in smaller bags (we buy bulk) or pre cooked it or grilled it, and then put it back in the freezer.  Same with stocks/broths, and fresh pasta.

 

This way, I can just decide what meat to thaw out and then add the frozen veggies and make whatever I want, with noodles, rice, potatoes etc. Soup, casserole, whatever suits my fancy.

It's easier for me to store smaller bags of frozen veggies and meats than whole trays of food. (I think i'd run out of freezer space!)  And i'm really not sure what will "sound good" when the time comes. I dont want to make a bunch of lasagna and then decide that it doesn't sound appealing on the day I need it.


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#4 of 72 Old 08-06-2011, 05:37 PM
 
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I made a ton of freezer meals when I had my first...a January baby

Shepards Pie, meatloves, lasagnas' soup, aplle crisp...etc

for my second....nothing- she was an August baby and we just bbq'd alot

 

I will be doing the 1 month cooking for before the baby comes becuase we may be moving just before baby comes or just after

 

I just froze a ton of homemade spaghetti sauce and cooked ground beef as well as a ton of homemade burgers and muffins


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#5 of 72 Old 08-06-2011, 07:19 PM
 
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I like to freeze soups and sauces and beans, and when I cook some I plan extra and freeze 1-2 meals worth. I also freeze muffins and stuff like that (usually more for the kids than for me). When I ate more grains, I would freeze a couple of rolled out crusts (can go straight from freezer into oven with a savory pie/quiche) and homemade mac-and-cheese. Lazagna. But my biggest problem is that I live in a small apartment with a small freezer! So as much as I like the idea, I don't freeze a whole lot. I instead I will be sure to have easy-to-prepare stuff around (like the idea of the prepped veggies and whatnot, but I might just lazily buy that!), and will accept all offers of food from friends.


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#6 of 72 Old 08-08-2011, 05:54 AM
 
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casseroles are great, especially for us because we have a large family. Also have plenty of freezer space too. (baked ziti, shepherds pie, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, etc.) I usually just make double+ batches starting  about a month before.

I have also found that stocking the pantry is crucial. Plenty of pasta, canned veggies (you could stock frozen in your freezer too/instead if you  prefer that), snacks, etc. You should have easy go to meals on hand. We keep tortillas in the freezer than can grab a can of refried beans, some shredded cheese and serve canned corn on the side and wala a meal. No brainers are the best:)


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#7 of 72 Old 08-08-2011, 06:58 AM
 
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We are currently looking for a good deal on a freezer so that I can start making freezer meals. Can't wait!


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#8 of 72 Old 08-08-2011, 08:22 AM
 
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I've been hearing really good things about oatmeal "lactation" cookies...I want to make a few batches of those and freeze. Apparently they work really well too.


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#9 of 72 Old 08-08-2011, 12:03 PM
 
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Thanks for starting this thread, Leiahs! I am planning on making a lot of freezer foods (and hoping I'll have time!) since we have tons of freezer space, but I am in need of good ideas and recipes too.

 

Corrabelle I really like your idea of freezing bags of ingredients rather than whole meals. I have been meaning to start doing the freezer thing, but like the OP I don't really know what meals will freeze well and what won't...plus my brain is sort of short-circuiting on me and I just cannot even come up with any ideas for what to freeze. I tried to make a list the other day, and came up with a grand total of two items: veggie empanada hand-pie things and zucchini blueberry muffins. But with your method, I can just make whatever sounds good at the time, with all the prepwork already done...brilliant!

 

Oatmeal lactation cookies sounds awesome...do you have a good recipe for them that you'd be willing to share?

 

 


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#10 of 72 Old 08-08-2011, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the ideas so far.  :)

I wish I could just stock stuff / freeze ingredients and run with it, but honestly, 90% of my meal-time stress comes from trying to think of what to eat, or decide on what to eat.  So even if I have a list full of options, I'll still stress out about it.  My personality needs me to have a good amount of ready-made meals, I think, so I can say, "I need a meal tonight, so let's just pull something out and heat it up!" 

Do enchiladas (covered in sauce) freeze well, anyone know?  I know I can do a bunch of soups and stuff, but I want to do more meals that DH likes, too!


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#11 of 72 Old 08-08-2011, 01:31 PM
 
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One thing that I use, that may help, is saymmm.com. It's a meal planning site. So I plan the whole months meals at once. Then I know exactly what we are having for dinner that day (and I can shop at the beginning of the week for that weeks ingredients). I don't meal plan for weekends. I also only plan dinners (but you can do breakfast and lunch on that site, I believe). Once we get our freezer, I plan on just double/tripling the dinnes I make and freezing as I go. Then i'll make a master list of what is frozen and use that to do my meal plans once baby is born.

There is a big thread in the meal planning forum about freezer meals (with recipes). I'm on my phone now , but will try to find it later.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#12 of 72 Old 08-08-2011, 01:54 PM
 
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I looove crockpot 365. Not necessarily freezer, but handy.

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#13 of 72 Old 08-08-2011, 03:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flightgoddess View Post

I looove crockpot 365. Not necessarily freezer, but handy.


You could probably take some of these recipes and freeze the meat, veggies, sauce all in a freezer bag, then just throw in the crockpot. I've done that before and it works really well (thaw in fridge overnight then turn on crockpot in morning).

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#14 of 72 Old 08-08-2011, 05:44 PM
 
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Another really fast kitchen tool that sounds really outdated, but is incredibly awesome is a pressure cooker.

No word of a lie, you can cook an entire roast (or chicken) for a family of 4, with veggies and gravy in half an hour. What I really like about it is that you can even throw frozen meat in it. (takes slightly longer, but no big deal.) And it doesn't heat up your entire house in the summer like an oven. ooh, makes really good pulled pork too. You cant tell it apart from the slow roasted variety. ( I'm not a huge fan of pulled pork, but my family is in love with it.)


I use the thing probably 3 times a week-for beans, lentils, barley soups etc.  Pressure cookers aren't near as scary as they're made out to be and there are a lot of really good books out there with recipes specifically for pressure cooking. My grandma gave me one before my first son was born and showed me how to use it. I think I use it more than anything else in the kitchen, especially in the winter, when it's soup/stew season! Just throw in the meat/veggies, add a bit of liquid and put the lid on it. In about 20 minutes you have stew. It keeps all the moisture retained, so it often elimintates the need for adding broth/bouillon. You can season before or after it's cooked.

 

 

Oh, almost forgot... are some of the lactation "snackies" that I want to make. I haven't made any of them, but a friend made some not long ago and they were really good!

A quick note about flax seeds: If you're going to use them, go for the untoasted, raw flax seeds. If they're cooked, they taste good, but they don't have near the nutrients that the raw ones have!

 

Lactation Banana Bread

 

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup oil
1 cup honey (more if you have a super sweet tooth)
2 eggs
2 cups mashed banana
4 cups flour
1 cup oats
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons brewers yeast
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup freshly chopped nuts

 

Preheat oven to 350 (baking time varies from oven to oven.)
Combine PB, oil, honey, eggs, and banana in a medium bowl. In a seperate bowl mix flour, oats, baking powder, flax seed meal, yeast, salt, and nuts. Mix wet ingredients into dry a cup at a time. When well combined pour into bread loaf pans (lightly greased if non stick). Bake until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out moist but clean. Turn bread out of pans and cool until you can't stand waiting any longer. Wrap any unused loafs in foil or paper and seal in plastic freezer bag and freeze for later use.
 

 

 

Banana chocolate chip lactation cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tbs softened butter
1 very ripe, very brown banana
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups All perpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup "quick and easy" steal cut oats
3 cup old fashioned oats
1 bag milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
* preheat oven to 350 F
* In a large bowl, beat butter, banana, sugars on medium speed until creamy
* Add eggs and vanilla, beat til creamy
* Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, add in 3 batches, mixing well.
* Add oats, chocolate chips, nuts mix well
* Drop dough by rounded tablespoon full onto ungreased cookie sheet
* Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool on pan 1 minute, move to wire rack.
For Bar cookies bake 30-35 minutes in ungreased 13x9 inch metal baking pan
 

Chocolate chip oatmeal Lactation cookies

 

1 1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 3/4 c. Steel cut oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. Flaxseed
3 T Brewer's Yeast
1/3 c. water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
2 c. Choc Chips
1 c. nuts (of your choic)
1 c. raisins

Preheat Oven to 375

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl.
In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar , vanilla, brewer's yeast and flax and water until creamy.
mix in eggs.
Gradually mix in flour mixture.
Mix nuts, oats and choc.cips and raisin in.
Grease cookie sheet.

Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheets and bake 15 min at 375 degrees.

Cool and store in a zip lock or air-tight container

Refrigerate or freeze for longer storage

 


 


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#15 of 72 Old 08-08-2011, 07:45 PM
 
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a friend gave me enchiladas last time I had a baby- one dish she popped in the oven, and one dish she popped in the freezer. They were fine!

 

I *really* want a pressure cooker, thanks for reminding me about that! (I am the one with no freezer space, and I'd love to be able to make beans, soups, etc in 15 minutes)


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#16 of 72 Old 08-08-2011, 07:59 PM
 
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I see them at yard sales all the time (and kijiji etc.) The cheapest place to buy them new though is usually hardware and farm supply stores. I think they have them at walmart though too;)

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a friend gave me enchiladas last time I had a baby- one dish she popped in the oven, and one dish she popped in the freezer. They were fine!

 

I *really* want a pressure cooker, thanks for reminding me about that! (I am the one with no freezer space, and I'd love to be able to make beans, soups, etc in 15 minutes)



 


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#17 of 72 Old 08-09-2011, 05:24 AM
 
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I have no room in my freezer for ANYTHING!


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#18 of 72 Old 08-09-2011, 06:17 AM
 
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canadian tire seems to have them on sale a few times a year....I should get one for sure!

 

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I see them at yard sales all the time (and kijiji etc.) The cheapest place to buy them new though is usually hardware and farm supply stores. I think they have them at walmart though too;)



 



 


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#19 of 72 Old 08-09-2011, 11:09 AM
 
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They do! I actually bought a larger one there about a year ago. I keep forgetting that im not the only canadian mama on here.haha

Home Hardware has them too.


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#20 of 72 Old 08-09-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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Here is the GIANT feed the freezer thread in meal planning. It's a long thread, but there are so many good ideas I've found in here!


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#21 of 72 Old 08-09-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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Alright. Here's my master list so far of what I want to get in the freezer in the next month or two. DH and I are still on the hunt for a good deal on a freezer, so once we find one I'll be able to start cooking!

 

Lasagna

Spaghetti sauce (with and without meat)

Taco Meat

Chicken Parmesean

Chili

Stir Fry meat and veggies (cut up and in a marinade, but not cooked)

Meatballs (I freeze them raw)

Meatloaf (again, I freeze it raw)

Sloppy Joes

Chicken Tortilla Soup (without the rice, I've frozen it with the rice before and didn't like how it turned out so I'll add the rice after it's defrosted)

Chicken Alfredo

Fried Apples (for dessert or topping for pancakes/waffles)

Pizza Sauce

Baked Ziti

Beef Stroganoff

Beef tips and gravy (raw, ready to throw in crockpot)

Balsamic Chicken (raw, marinaded)

Pork BBQ and Beef BBQ

 


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#22 of 72 Old 08-09-2011, 03:11 PM
 
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Steph thanks so much for posting the link to the "Feed The Freezer" thread...I just spent waaay too much time reading it but I got so many recipes and ideas, and now I'm totally inspired to get my butt in gear and start cooking.

 

And Corrabelle thanks for the lactation cookie recipes! They sound yummy, but I have a totally dumb question...what is brewer's yeast? I'm assuming it's not the same thing as bread yeast or nutritional yeast...it sounds like it's the same stuff you use when making beer???


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#23 of 72 Old 08-09-2011, 08:48 PM
 
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OK, question:  How do you package meals/ingredients for freezing?  I feel like if I put some prepared dish in the freezer now, wrapped in plastic or something, it might be a little freezerburny by October.  Are Ziplocs sufficient?  Do you use a food sealer thingie?


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#24 of 72 Old 08-09-2011, 10:02 PM
 
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DDCC,

My little one is due any day now and I just got finished with my freezer stocking. I wasn't plan on making quite so much, but once I got started I got a little carried away. Usually we would have more of a variety of meals- but it was easier just to make large batches of several things. We only had a little space to work with, but still managed to fit in almost 60 meals
500

The large majority of this is meat since I don't like casseroles (or really any other type of mixed food). We tend to be the sort of people who eat meat, with a side of rice, and a side of veggies (usually raw). I figure the veggies won't be too hard to slice up the night of the meals.

Stuff Already cooked, just have to defrost and warm:
Chili- 3 meals
Spaghetti Sauce w/ ground beef- 8 meals
Seasoned meat for Tacos- 4 meals
Hot Lime Chicken for quesadillas- 3 meals
Shredded BBQ chicken- 3 meals
Pulled spice bbq pork- 3 meals

Prepped but not cooked (basically stuff I can thaw overnight then throw in the oven or on the Foreman):
Boneless Wings- 4 meals
Middle Eastern Chicken Tenders- 1 meal
Easy Grilled Lime Chicken- 4 meals
Cheesy Chicken Bundles (these are soooooo yummy)- 4 meals
Personal sized cheddar meatloaves- 4 meals
Pesto Burgers- 3 meals
Lemon Chili Chicken- 3 meals
Cut up seasoned chicken - 8 meals (we cook it in a pan for a few minutes with olive oil then add noodles and either alfredo sauce, or just plain parmesan cheese and a little spinach for a great pasta. We also use it to top our Chicken Pesto pizzas)

I also have 8 meals worth of brown rice cooked and frozen.

My favorite site for recipes is http://www.food.com/recipes/oamc-freezer-make-ahead but there are plenty of other sites out there, just search OAMC.

Here's a site with fairly good basics on it. http://www.oneshetwoshe.com/2010/10/freezer-meals-tips-for-dummies.html

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#25 of 72 Old 08-10-2011, 10:20 AM
 
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Yes, same as beer brewing yeast! I've heard that you can use regualr breadmakers yeast, but I haven't tried it myself, so I don't want to promise anything;)

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Steph thanks so much for posting the link to the "Feed The Freezer" thread...I just spent waaay too much time reading it but I got so many recipes and ideas, and now I'm totally inspired to get my butt in gear and start cooking.

 

And Corrabelle thanks for the lactation cookie recipes! They sound yummy, but I have a totally dumb question...what is brewer's yeast? I'm assuming it's not the same thing as bread yeast or nutritional yeast...it sounds like it's the same stuff you use when making beer???



I was wondering the same thing, yellowdart. I use ziplocks and glass freezer containers for all my chopped veggies, cooked meats etc, and they're fine. But i'd like to make up a few days worth of trays/one dish meals, a little closer to my due date.

I was thinking about getting those disposable foil trays with the lids that fold over the tops. I wonder if those would be sufficient for keeping out the freezer fuzzies for a month or two?



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OK, question:  How do you package meals/ingredients for freezing?  I feel like if I put some prepared dish in the freezer now, wrapped in plastic or something, it might be a little freezerburny by October.  Are Ziplocs sufficient?  Do you use a food sealer thingie?



 


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#26 of 72 Old 08-10-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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Holy moly stormy, you've been busy! Great meal ideas too!


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#27 of 72 Old 08-10-2011, 03:42 PM
 
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I'm double cooking starting from this week.  I think we have another 5 or 6 weeks to go before Baby arrives so I should get at least 3 or 4 weeks worth of meal together.

 

I've done some prawns and bacon for a salad.

2 meals worth of soup (Zucchini and Lentil)

1 meal Roast Beef on Rice (easy enough to make veggies on the side)

1 meal meatballs (easy enough to chop some veggies for on the side and to make mashed potato or something)

 

I also want to make some bags of bread mix (for the breadmaker) so it is easier for dh or one of the kids to just put in the water and oil and add the dry ingredient in the morning.

 

 

 

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#28 of 72 Old 08-10-2011, 06:37 PM
 
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Re: Lactation cookies:

 

This is an awesome recipe for baked oatmeal.  It. is.so.good. I usually make it in muffins and dried cranberries are a nice alternative to the raisins

http://imaginationinparenting.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/a-recipe-apple-cinnamon-raisin-baked-oatmeal/

 

Re:what to freeze everything in:

 

I use a lot of ziplocks.  For casserole type things, I either freeze them in those foil pans or I line a baking dish with plastic wrap, fill it, freeze, then pop it out and store in a ziplock.  When time comes to eat, I put the frozen casserole "puck" back into the original dish it fits!

 

The things I'm going to focus on:

 

enchiladas (they freeze REALLY well)

chicken hand pies  http://3191.visualblogging.com/archives/11518_1443007713/337632

spaghetti sauce

taco meat

meatloaf

muffins, cookies, fruit crisps

soups

marinated meats, i.e. lemon chicken 

stuffed peppers (with hamburger, quinoa, tomatoes, zucchini, corn, etc)

quiche

pizza dough

chili

baked pasta

biscuits and bread

summer fruit, i.e. strawberries for smoothies

 

I`ll also throw in some store bought pizzas and skillet meals and egg rolls, etc - things DH is comfortable cooking 

 

Also, I`ll try to have lots of pantry staples - stock up on sugar, flour, honey, condiments, canned and tetra pak milk, beans, pasta, snacks for DD, canned fruit, etc.

 

I think I`ll make up a loose meal plan for a month or two, to remind me of what is in the freezer and create little shopping lists of any fresh food we`ll need to fill out the meals for the week.

 

I was so happy to have a freezer full when DD was born, it`s a must this time around!

 

 

 


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#29 of 72 Old 08-10-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katico View Post

 

 

Ichicken hand pies  http://3191.visualblogging.com/archives/11518_1443007713/337632

Two questions about these really YUMMY looking little pies...do you bake them then freeze them? Or do you freeze them with raw dough and bake them out of the freezer? Second...have you ever made them  with whole wheat flour? I'm wondering how that might be...


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#30 of 72 Old 08-10-2011, 10:11 PM
 
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wow stormy i can't believe you can get 60 meals out of that. You really stuffed it in there.

 

We have a larger family so our meals take up quite a bit of space.

I use the foil pans for my casseroles and they stack great. I haven't had a problem with freezer burn. They have them at dollar tree in various sizes.

soups, stews, and sauces go in gallon ziplocs. I have a chest freezer and an upright freezer (but no freezer in teh house) so I put a cookie tray in the chest freezer (right on the top) and lay the bags flat on that. When they are frozen then I stack them nicely in the upright. This keeps them from freazing together or to the shelves and keeps everything organized.

 

I find that a stocked pantry is just as important if not more so than a stocked freezer.

With my dd I went to cosco on my due date (went into labor with her that night). Not something I recommend as my extreme nesting urge was hard on the checkbook BUT I had one really really stocked pantry and it made meals soooooo much easier.

 

 


nicole wild.gif,  mom to 3 boys here on earth jumpers.gif 9, 7 and 4.5 and 2 girl's fly-by-nursing2.gif2.5 and 10/16/11. Always remembering my babies in heaven:  Sam (9/7/05) at 12.5 wks  angel1.gif, Morgan (2/13/06) at 6 wks angel1.gif , Emeric angel2.gif (8/9/10 at 17 wks) and Pepper angel1.gif (11/26/10) at 8wks. 

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