If you are not going to have much help after baby..are you making frozen dinners? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

 

I am not sure how much help I will be getting. As right now DH job is a temp to hire so he has no paid leave, vacation nothing. We are thinking he will take off the day the baby is born and like two Wednesdays after that. Not sure if MIL will be comming to help but I can't expect her to cook all our foods.

 

So I was thinking to buy some and make some. I just need to figure out how long certain food can last in the freezer and when should I start. DS came at 41 1/2 weeks, DD at 38 1/2 weeks so I am thinking to start having frozen foods around 37 1/2 weeks and keep replenishing.

 

I was thinking stuff like baked dishes would be great (macaroni, spinach pie, eggplant parmasion).

 

And then what is the best thing to store them in. Maybe about 4 servings per container.

 

Any one experience in this field?

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#2 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 07:39 AM
 
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I didn't make meals and freeze them last time, but I have begun doing it to a limited degree this time.  I've been making fauxtisserie chicken, and meatballs in the crock pot for future meals (like chicken soft tacos, chicken pot pie, spaghetti & meatballs, and other things easy to throw together), as well as making whole frozen meals (a lot of curries and baked pasta dishes).

 

I find cooking to be therapeutic, not so much a chore, so I find that just starting the ingredients (like cooking the chicken, but not prepping the whole meal) to be the right amount for me.

 

As far as storage - I buy the meal-sized Ziploc/Glad plastic containers and label them with masking tape with the item and the date I made it.  I think most things are good for 3 months or so.


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#3 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 07:43 AM
 
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We don't have a freezer big enough to really freeze anything.  It would be nice to have plenty on hand to make quick dinners, and of course the crock pot, etc.  Luckily my DH likes to cook so he'll be helping out more than normal I hope.  And there is always take out.  Sigh.


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#4 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finnegansmom View Post

We don't have a freezer big enough to really freeze anything.  It would be nice to have plenty on hand to make quick dinners, and of course the crock pot, etc.  Luckily my DH likes to cook so he'll be helping out more than normal I hope.  And there is always take out.  Sigh.


I am basically with you. We just live in an apartment with the regular small freezer on top and fridge combined. But I am going to try and see how much I can actually put in it. I am hoping at least 2/3 weeks. Also using canned things and those dry quick meals and simple sides I can whip up quick. I don't want anything to be more than 15minutes of cooking time during the first month at least.

 

My DH also is a cook, but he will be gone for about 11-12 hours a day. On the weekends I wouldn't have a problem and he can even make a few things to freeze when our stack starts to get low.

 

I also would like to get a crock pot, I am starting to look into it.

 

I already have some Eggplant Parmesan that I am going to start with.

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#5 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 08:14 AM
 
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we are planning to make a few things to freeze, we happen to have a deep freeze so we are good to go on space. the only thing i've thought of to make and freeze is stroganauff, lasagna and taco bake. im sure we will do some take out as well. we also like a few of the stouffers meals, mostly the meatloaf and harvest lasagna i think it's called. we also have a few meals that come together in less than an hour like meatballs with brown rice with gravy and broccoli, or even spaghetti. if i were to make an whole extra lasagna to freeze i would make it in a cheap aluminum lasagna dish i could just throw away, same with taco bake that way it can just be cooked/warmed in the oven and any left overs from that could be portioned into smaller containers.


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#6 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What about using paper/disposible plates..will anybody be doing that so they don't have too much to clean. Right now we use zero disposible plates/utensils but that means I always have a pile of dishes. It would be nice not to have to worry about washing or as soon as DH gets home him needing to wash as he is already gone 11-12 hours.

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#7 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 08:37 AM
 
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We'll use paper plates.  It just helps a little bit, maybe for breakfast or for snacks.  I hate using them but we got uncoated, thicker white paper ones we can at least toss in the fireplace.

Soups and Annie's meals (my kids love the 4 cheese rotini one).  I wish SOMEONE in my family would offer help. It's so frustrating, my inlaws live next door to us and haven't said anything about offering any help or sitting with our kids.  We won't ask them to sit, the last time we did was for my father's funeral in 2009 and my MIL threw a tantrum about it and was really annoyed.  Ugh.


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#8 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 08:53 AM
 
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I would really like to make some freezer meals, but I'm so unmotivated given our circumstances. We're dairy free, my kids are really picky, and we have a big family to feed. All of that together makes me want to just feed them spaghetti every night (with jarred sauce and store-bought meatballs, lol).  Most of them like soups (broth based), but I would have to make and freeze so much of it that it would take up a ton of space. Blah. i've to plan something...


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#9 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 09:45 AM
 
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We do have a deep freeze and I started making meals in November. I buy those foil disposable lasagna pans and use those for casseroles (scalloped potatoes, lasagna, shepherd's pie etc.) but I also use large freezer ziploc bags. I've also done pasta sauces and chili and soup that I freeze in the ziploc bags. I've done a bunch of different pasta sauces so that all we have to do is heat up the sauce and boil noodles.

 

The hardest part for us is going to be remembering to take something out of the freezer in the morning (or the night before) rather than not thinking about dinner until 5:00pm!

 

I was also thinking of making a bunch of loaves of banana bread and a double batch of waffles to freeze so the kids would have easy breakfast stuff too.


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#10 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 09:59 AM
 
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What I've done so far is line my pans with foil (enough to wrap over food as well) then after cooking freeze. The food then lifts out of the pan I put another wrap of foil then when I want to cook I can just drop back into my pan.

 

I know its a lot of foil, but foil is cheaper than pans...

 

Chili I froze in large tupperware containers (left over yogurt ones)


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#11 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 10:05 AM
 
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When my big nesting craze kicked in around 32-33 weeks I made a ton of frozen dinners and meals. I have a whole freezer full now. I made chili, burritos, muffins, soups, stir fry, and lasagna. I will probably start using them about 2 weeks before I am due and hopefully they will last around 2-3 weeks after LO is born. I am glad I took advantage of the nesting energy when it kicked in because now I feel too lazy to even make anything more than reheating supper or making toast now. I bought those aluminum foil style, toss away casserole/brownie dishes that they were selling around thanksgiving time, if that makes sense. They come with a clear plastic top and they can be thrown away/recycled after one use. We live 10-ish miles out of town and have been having an extremely snowy year so running to get pizza or take out doesn't really happen.


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#12 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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I would love to cook and freeze meals but I feel like I have so much else to do right now (finish baby mobile, get laundry done, etc) that we decided to stock up on prepackaged frozen foods.  I know they aren't the best but we bought a bunch of stream fresh vegetables, frozen lasagna, etc.  I figure if people come over to visit, they or I can pop it in the oven easily.


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#13 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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I started making meals in November as well. I made a few then and then as time went on I just made twice as much supper once in a while & froze the rest for later.

I have to take stock of what I have but I think there's lasagna, shepherd's pie, chicken stew, beef stew, chili, sweeet & sour pork, mac & cheese, chicken broth with some chicken pieces (easy to throw some frozen veggies & noodles or rice and make soup), meatballs, bolognese sauce. My MIL brought some freezer meals too, more chili, chicken pot pie, soups, cooked squash/turnip/sweet potatoes/carrots all together. I don't even know what's all in there LOL. They're all stored differently- I have big ziploc bags, aluminum pans, casserole dishes & tupperware type containers. I'll probably get some store bought frozen meals as well when I grocery shop the next couple wks.

 

I will have help- dh will probably be off for about a wk around my due date & my MIL will be here for as long as I need her, and my mom will be in and out as well but since I have 2 other kids I want whoever is here helping to concentrate more on them and not so much on cooking. Plus there will be laundry & dishes & stuff like that anyway.


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#14 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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I wasn't sure on the grocery shopping situation at my house although I'm pretty sure we will have help if we want it. So I've been making and freezing things since the fall. We use mainly the large size, wide mouth mason jars because they stack, can just go into a pan of hot water to defrost if we forget, and are reuseable. We have a master freezer list with quantities beside each item and we just cross something off as we eat it or we add something to the list as we store it. We have several kinds of soup, some side dishes, some casseroles. It has been really great so far! Now our freezer is full and if I don't feel like cooking viola! We have lots of choices! smile.gif For us, the list of what is in the freezer is *really* important (along with labeling everything that goes in!) otherwise DH is just confused and makes pizza...

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#15 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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oh my gosh some of yall are making me feel like I am late in starting this process. I still have a lot to do. But I just plan on making bigger portions of food when I cook and freezing them..I am hoping in 2/3 weeks I will the little space I section out for frozen foods all filled up.

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#16 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 06:25 PM
 
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I really wish I had the freezer space to store a bunch of frozen meals. We have a side by side fridge (we rent and it came with the house) and I just hate hate hate it! There's not enough room in the darn freezer for family size frozen meals, we can't even buy a frozen pizza! I've got a little room for a few containers of soup and I froze some choc chip pancakes and a loaf of pumpkin bread. Those are mostly for when the birth team is here, though, and immediately postpartum. I'm *hoping* family will help out more this time then they did last go around, but not really holding my breath.

 

I think I'll try to reorg the freezer tomorrow and see if I can slip anything else in there. I'd like to have a few casseroles on hand for immediately after DH goes back to work.


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#17 of 24 Old 01-18-2011, 06:51 PM
 
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I don't know if anyone mentioned it but if you are low on space you can freeze chilis and stews in freezer ziplock bags that just lay flat. I've made chili and some meatballs and stored them like that. Would love to cook more but my hemorrhoid has returned and I can't stand for any amount of time right now greensad.gifgreensad.gifgreensad.gif

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#18 of 24 Old 01-19-2011, 12:43 PM
 
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I just started freezing stuff. I hope to have 2-3 weeks of dinners in the chest freezer, plus frozen veggies, muffins and pancakes, etc. stored away. DH is taking 7-10 off plus he can work from home but that is all the help I will be getting. MIL offered but I don't fine her really helpful and my mom lives in Canada which is too far away.

 

I have two meals, a dozen muffins and a breakfast of pancakes frozen already. I will add more tomorrow and this weekend when I do some big cooking batches. This weekend I am tackling:

 

spaghetti sauce (2-3 meals)

tomato chili (2 meals)

baked ziti (2 meals)

mac and cheese (2 meals)

bean and cheese enchiladas (2 meals)

3 dozen muffins

french toast


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#19 of 24 Old 01-20-2011, 10:01 AM
 
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I've made some progress on feeding the freezer this week yummy.gif

 

Zuppa toscana (donated from a friend)

Burritos (donated from a friend)

Pizza kit - homemade crust, homemade sauce, and toppings ready to assemble and bake

Twice baked potatoes - 2 meals worth

Meatloaf

Meatballs for spaghetti - 2 meals worth

Chicken nuggets

Parmesan chicken tenders for chicken parmesan

Rolls - freezing two pans (14 each), cooking one today

 

I have a chicken thawing today that I will cook in the crockpot overnight and make brunswick stew tomorrow.  If I have enough leftover from the brunswick stew and tomorrow night's dinner, I will make/freeze a chicken/pasta/cheese casserole that my DH's family calls "goop".

 

I am thinking of freezing waffles and banana muffins so that we can have something healthy for breakfast.


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#20 of 24 Old 01-20-2011, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so wow..I have only frozen two pieces of leftover eggplant parmesan so far. I do have some chicken defrosting and should get at least 4 servings from it. I am trying to concentrate on more vegetarian stuff as we are raising the kids vegetarian. But between this week and next I should have

 

spinach pie

macaroni pie

pancakes

mash potatoes

beans

provision soup

chicken

 

If freezing things comes out good..I think I will continue it for a while..it is nice to have "frozen diners" that I know are healthy and I know all the ingrediants.

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#21 of 24 Old 01-20-2011, 12:37 PM
 
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Me too!  A friend of mine does this regularly and swears by it.  If you think about it, making twice as much of something really doesn't take twice as much work.  You're doing the work anyway, just using more ingredients.  I'd love to be able to rely on frozen dinners a few times a week.
 

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If freezing things comes out good..I think I will continue it for a while..it is nice to have "frozen diners" that I know are healthy and I know all the ingrediants.




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#22 of 24 Old 01-20-2011, 01:29 PM
 
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I really like to flash freeze soup and some entrees in muffin tins then defrost a bit and put them in baggies.  Perfect for grabbing one or seven for lunch or dinner.  I need to do this more.  I was doing it a lot until DH came home.  Now I can send him out for things.  orngtongue.gif


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#23 of 24 Old 01-20-2011, 03:59 PM
 
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So after cleaning out my freezer yesterday, I have a ton of room. I emptied out over half of it!! So we've got some room for a few meals. Still not a lot, but four or five things. And if I use the Ziploc bag suggestion for some thing, I should be able to shove a few extra things in there. So we'll see how much I get done in the next couple of weeks.


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#24 of 24 Old 01-20-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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Good luck and have fun with it!  I'm actually enjoying the process :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3xMama View Post

So after cleaning out my freezer yesterday, I have a ton of room. I emptied out over half of it!! So we've got some room for a few meals. Still not a lot, but four or five things. And if I use the Ziploc bag suggestion for some thing, I should be able to shove a few extra things in there. So we'll see how much I get done in the next couple of weeks.




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