I need post-partum freezer meal ideas - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 04-18-2006, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

I'm new here and have been checking out these forums over the past week or so. I figured now would be good time to jump in and start posting I am due with my third child on June 1st, and I would really like to start making some whole foods type meals that I can freeze for after baby's birth. I am not good at this! The only thing that comes to mind readily for me is pasta dishes LOL We are not vegetarian, and I try to serve my family foods made from whole foods. Any ideas? Has this allready been discussed? Thanks!

Kirsten
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#2 of 12 Old 04-18-2006, 11:19 AM
 
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This is an awesome recipe that freezes well http://mothering.com/sections/recipe...nchiladas.html
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#3 of 12 Old 04-18-2006, 11:28 AM
 
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Hi Kirsten,

Welcome to MDC and congratulations on your baby!

I just had a new baby in January, and spent much of last fall nesting and cooking meals for our freezer. So let's see how much my addled Mommy Brain can remember!

chicken dijon
beef stroganoff
chili
minestrone
calzones
black bean burritoes
enchilada casserole
lasagna
chicken pot pie filling
beef stew
sweet potato and black bean stew
cheesy scalloped potatoes and ham

I also froze a lot of meal constituents, like pizza dough, browned ground beef, cooked chicken, sauteed vegetables, hash browns, homemade muffins, bread, waffles, pancakes, cornbread, etc. -- so that some of the work was done for me. You could even freeze meal "kits" -- like pizza dough, some sauteed vegs, homemade sauce, and grated cheese, all frozen separately.

And yup, it has been discussed before, so do a search (maybe "freezer cooking" or "OAMC") or just browse through the threads for many more ideas.

HTH!
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#4 of 12 Old 04-18-2006, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! That's a great list to work from I think I might even have all the ingredients for the sweet potato enchiladas too. I'm currently cooking some chicken and hoping to turn it into chicken enchiladas, or fahitas...

So now, when you make all these freezer dishes that all require probably the same 9x13 glass dish, how do you geta round going out and buying 10 of these? LOL I think I have 2, and a few 8x8s.
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#5 of 12 Old 04-18-2006, 07:02 PM
 
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If it doesn't need baking afterwards (that is, if it's fully cooked when you freeze it, as many of mine are) you can put it in a Gladware or Tupperware and then microwave. OR you can line the glass pan (whatever size it is) w/foil, then pop the whole caboodle out of the pan when it's frozen. Then you can use the pan in the meantime. When it comes time to cook your casserole, just pop it back into the pan for baking.

HTH!
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#6 of 12 Old 04-18-2006, 11:36 PM
 
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Buy a bunch of stir fry veges and chop and freeze a variety of combinations: Asian, Indian, Italian, Mexican. Then you can just saute up and serve with rice, couscous, pasta, tortillas, whatever you have. You can always add meat while cooking if you want. And if you discover any sensitivities that the baby has, you don't already have dairy or garlic or whatever it is mixed in. (I made a creamy casserole w/ green beans and discovered my baby couldn't handle it when I ate dairy and the green beans were deadly for us. Ugh.)

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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#7 of 12 Old 04-25-2006, 02:42 PM
 
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I buy meat when it's on sale (you'll need to do this after the baby, anyway, if you're not already, so it's good practice ). Then, I'll, let's say, roast a big turkey. Make pan gravey. Slice some of it up into enough for a meal and freeze it in some gravey(Gallon sized ziplocks work GREAT...freeze it flat on a cookie sheet, then stack...saves TONS of room over tupperware/gladware). When it comes out, it'll probably be eaten with instant type stuffing, frozen corn from wholefoods, and microwave-baked sweet potatoes.

Then I'll take some more of the meat and pan gravey and make it into stew/filling for a pot pie (saute carrots, onions, celery, and garlic in a pan, and then throw the gravey into that to get up the brown bits, mix with meat, microwave oven bake some skin on potatoes, chop them up and throw them in, too), and freeze that. When it comes out, you can put it in a ready made crust or even put stuffing on top to bake it.

Then I'll take the meat that's LEFT, and the carcass, and make soup with it. I'll most likely use wild rice, as it doesn't have the propensity to get "over puffed" like brown rice...or put brown rice in JUST a little undercooked, so that when you heat it up, it is perfect. THis I might freeze for a dinner and have with salad, but I might also just put it in quart sized bags and freeze for quick, yummy, and totally inexpensive lunches (as opposed to cans of soup that come in from 2-5 dollars a pop now(!) with all the additives).

I also do what pp said, and make up already cooked batches of ground meat, and freeze. I usually brown it with onions, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Then I make sloppy joe sauce, taco mix (powdered, it's simply a third the cost to make up your own, and again, without the additives...my kids can't have soy, and many of the taco mixes now use soy in some form in the mix), homemade bolognese sauce and pizza sauce, enchilada sauce, and freeze or store them.

The breakfast ideas were great and again, can be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I make waffles, pancakes of all kinds (buttermilk, blueberry, multigrain), french toast, quiche. It all just has to be TOASTED ('cept the quiche) to eat. Muffins, pizza dough, bread dough at the beginning of the final rise (it'll do the final rise as it thaws) is a good one, too. Again, I like this because of my kids' allergies. I am now hard pressed to find bread on the store shelves that doesn't have either or both milk/soy products in it. BREAD! Corn bread and rolls, biscuts, stuff you'd use as sides. Mashed potatoes freeze well, too. Just warm them up in a non-stick frying pan.

Cookies, lots of cookies and brownies, too. Not for you, but for all those people who'll come to see the baby. You can take 'm out of the freezer, warm them for a few minutes in the oven and VOILA! They can make their own coffee, you will be post partum after all.

I also stock up on simple roasts that you just have to thaw and throw in the crock pot. Then I get together the rest of the ingredients that go with it in the crock pot and store it right alongside the roast, so all I have to do is thaw and throw in the pot. Beef, chicken, whatever's on sale when you see it in the fliers. Crock pot and the foreman grill were our dear friends during our prenatal and post partum periods (esp. the first who was born in February...).

Again, chili, soups of all kinds, as you come across the ingredients to make them (I make navy bean and ham when I make the ham roast, beef stew or beef and barley when I either come across a good deal on stew meat or have some left over from a roast), stews.

Have fun, and good for you for being prepared! It makes recovery so much easier and much lower stress.

Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!

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#8 of 12 Old 04-25-2006, 07:31 PM
 
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Courtenay_e

This is all so great! We are currently doing a pantry challenge and working on really EATING all the food we buy. (eating to live, more or less) These are great suggestions for anyone!

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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#9 of 12 Old 04-25-2006, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Holy Cow Courtenay_e!!

I wish I were as organized as you!! So far I've made a pasta dish, and I've frozen some turkey (I cooked a whole one last week), and some chicken. Not sure what I'll do with them when they come out of the freezer, but at least they're there. I'm planning on making some extra loaves of bread for the freezer, but lately my boys have been gobbling up bread at a fast pace so I haven't gotten to making extra yet. Pancakes and french toast are also a great idea. Muffins are annoying for me to make LOL too much finnicky work. I prefer the loaf approach Youve inspired me to get into more cooking - thanks for all the ideas!
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#10 of 12 Old 04-26-2006, 10:57 AM
 
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*blush* gee, thanks, mamas! Really, I have grown into this kind of cooking. When we got married, dh made more money than I had ever imagined I'd have access to...then we bought a new house and had two babies. Life changed drastically! Instead of carryout once a week, I bought a freezer! Also, my kids have more allergies than any human being deserves (do we really deserve any?...), and I have to cook almost everything from scratch because otherwise they'd pretty much be able to eat rice. plain rice. plain non-GMO rice. So, I grew into being a neurotic meal planner, money saving, scratch cooker. Good thing I'm a good cook and come from a long line (on my mom's side, thank GOD I got my Mom's cooking genes...) of good cooks!

The upsides of all this change are: first, I am pretty happy that I get three meals out of one roast. This is so much less wasteful than we used to be. On top of feeling good that we're not being wasteful, I feel less stressed 'cause it's saving probably ten bucks in other meal costs per roast. That's potentially forty bucks a month. That amounts to two pair of Stride Right shoes at the outlet for my ridiculously hard to fit kids.
Second: I've discovered that I'm not only good at growing pretty to look at plants, but veggies and fruits, on my tiny suburban lot...and I love it! And it saves more money. And heirlooms taste better than most of the others. This one's kind of off topic, but not really. It's a cost saver and saves us SO many trips to the store in the summer and autumn, 'cause we can just go outside and pick what we want. Kinda like a growing pantry that costs us like a third (including start up supplies and water, but we use drip irrigation that dh installed, so that's a cost savings, too) of grocery store produce bills in the harvesting season.
Third: when we DO have a little more money hanging around again, I will be in the habit of cooking/living this way already, and won't go off and start buying carry-out again. Then we'll have money to go on VACATION again (okay, vacation that doesn't include a rustic campsite and a tent...)!

A lot of money saving books suggest that you buy food on sale and then plan your menu around that. I do it a little different. I still shop the loss leaders, but I just freeze everything that I can, and then I have it for when I FEEL like eating it, not when the stores feel like "serving" it, kwim? I buy a bunch of turkey during the winter holidays. I buy a bunch of ham during the spring holidays. I recently bought a quarter of a cow (wow, holy meat, may I just say?) when other family went in on one. Buy it when you can, and then plan for what you feel like. The trick, though, is to PLAN!

I have microsoft calendar on my computer, and I use that to plan six weeks of meals. Every day has its assigned category, which makes planning easier, and rotating food is easier, too, as there are many available foods within each category (ie: roasts, breakfast, veggie, etc.). I found a couple of books (Miserly Moms and Frugal Families) that gave me a lot of ideas for meal planning, shopping, and ways to save major cash on how we eat, while still eating normal, healthy, yummy, big enough meals. Plus she has good ideas for other things (play dough, finger paints, etc.) that save money without being "cheap."

Anyway, thanks again. It's hard earned knowlege, and I hope you can use some of it. BTW, I have posted some of the last four or five postings on the Pantry Challenge with recipes and stuff. Check them out, the jello ones are truely good (I just about gagged when I read the lemon/onion one! Ick!) .

Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!

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#11 of 12 Old 04-26-2006, 11:33 AM
 
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I've been using your suggestions on the pantry challenge thread. I have been working on getting several meals out of one major cooking challenge, but I don't have a large freezer, so it's amounted to 3 different ways to eat chicken in one week. However, the way you've lined this up here somehow it clicked. Plus, I have more room in my freezer now that I'm shopping differently, so I can start thinking about how to do this.

Today I'm putting a pork shoulder in the crock pot with onions and potatoes. Very basic. So we have roast pork and potatoes tonight (with salad for me and peas for DS1 and DH). Then I was going to put together a pot pie/shepherd's pie filling and freeze. I am also going to shred and spice a few cups for burritos. Finally (cuz it's like a 4-5 lb roast!), I'm going to cube and freeze a bunch for soup later.

Tomorrow, I'm going to boil down all the chicken bones in my freezer (I have 2 carcasses!!) with the dying celery and radish greens in my fridge and make a boatload of broth. The nice thing is that I have enough bones to do two deep pots and really let it cook down and get savory.

Thanks for the inspiration, mamas!

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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#12 of 12 Old 04-26-2006, 11:45 AM
 
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I've found that it really helps when you're stocking the freezer with cooked meals to put them in ziplock bags and freeze them flat (on a cookie sheet so they don't droop 'tween the wire rungs of the shelf). Gives you a lot more room for more meals.

Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!

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