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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>Right now I work nights, so I often get dinner ready before I go to work - then either my husband cooks or or it's in the crockpot ready to be served.</p>
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<p>I do a lot of canning and have a HUGE stand up freezer. I normally use it just for freezing meats, garden/market excess like fresh fruits and veggies and stocks.</p>
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<p>I know it's still 6 months off, but I'm thinking of starting in the next 3-4 months on stocking up for easy meals after the baby. My first thoughts are lasagnas and casseroles - but it's going to be July! In some ways that's easier -  because we'll be able to throw something on the grill and just steam or grill fresh veggies for a side. Meal planning and prep should be pretty minimal anyway.</p>
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<p>But I'd like to have several things canned or jarred or frozen to keep things simple and streamlined after baby.</p>
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<p>Any ideas or good book recommendations? I'm a cookbook addict, so this may just be me feeding my habit! <span><img alt="ROTFLMAO.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif"></span></p>
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<p><span>I buy almost all my meat at the market, where it's already frozen - so the idea of cutting and prepping and/or marinating is sort of out because I can't thaw, then refreeze raw.</span></p>
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<p><span>I could make some marinade mixes or things though to have on hand. Maybe some seasoning mixes (for rice, veggies, rubs etc . . .) bases for desserts - snacks in the freezer like cookies/brownies etc . . . for the kids.</span></p>
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<p><span>Anyone else looking ahead for this sort of stuff, or am I just a little insane?</span> :)</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
<p>ooh! This looks like a good resource. Am I allowed to link things like this?</p>
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<p><a href="http://traditionalfoodsmama.blogspot.com/2008/10/postpartum-40-day-meal-plan.html" target="_blank">http://traditionalfoodsmama.blogspot.com/2008/10/postpartum-40-day-meal-plan.html</a></p>
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<p>I have a stash of food I made in the fall that have been a lifesaver for those nights when I feel sick or don't have the energy to cook.   In the spring and early summer when the local vegetables start coming back in season I'm going to try and stock our freezer with caserols, pastas, and soups for those first couple months after baby is born.  I may take some stuff to our neighbor who has a big chest freezer to keep for me since our freezer is already stuffed.  </p>
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<p>Also cooked beans and rice keep really well in the freezer. </p>
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<p>We made a dinner for our friends the other day and it hit me, this would be an alternative to a lasagna or chili etc. We got a new cookbook (Michael Smith's Chef at Home) and we had the sweet potato chickpea curry. We served it over some brown rice (for the extra fibre a pregnant lady needs) but it was simple to make and quite tasty. I am going to be scouring our cookbooks for other ideas. I want to have some diversity in there and realizing like it was said...July will likely be warm.</p>
 

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<p>I still need professional help with weekly meal planning! haha.  But I was wondering the same thing.  And how do you know how to cook them properly after they've been frozen?  I put a lasagna in the freezer a bit ago, it was cooked.  How do I know how long to cook it for and what temp? </p>
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<p>I do remember finding a good website once when I was trying to cook and freeze a couple dinners for a coworker who has cancer.  I'm sure I"ll never be able to find it again but maybe I'll go googleing.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<p>if the lasagna was already cooked I'd just put it in at 350 till it's warm. Maybe a half hour?</p>
 

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<p>Real Simple: Meals Made Easy has a lot of really good make ahead meal ideas as well as recipes that specifically cater to freezing. With my first pregnancy I made a bunch of specific freezer meals for afterward and we ended up getting tired of them because we wanted something different than what I had made. With #2 I intended to do some prep work with different meats and produce that I could add to a variety of different meals, but my MIL ended up coming and making me a bunch of different freezer food like lasagna, several different soups, and chicken parm. We ended up eating all of it and I didn't mind the lack of variety since I hadn't yet figured out the task of juggling two kids while cooking meals. This time around I'll probably do some more shortcuts, since my DH will be here he can help with cooking. </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<p>So, I'm just thinking too - this will be my 3rd child but the first one I've nursed - and I came across this while searching for make ahead meals:</p>
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<p><em>The most common foods to avoid during breastfeeding are spices such as garlic, chili, cinnamon, and pepper; chocolate; vegetables such as cabbage, onion, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumber; fruits such as prunes, cherries, orange, lemon, strawberry, grapefruit, pineapple, and kiwi.</em></p>
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<p>Right. Yikes. I certainly don't want a freezer or pantry full of foods I won't be able to eat either! Certainly the kids and the husband could still eat them, but I better go light on preparing any foods with possible allergens, including milk(?!). I won't rule them out totally, but definitely keep it on the lighter side - just in case!</p>
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<p>I still plan on doing most of my regular food preserving this summer (everyone laughs when I say that!) but I figure if I keep meals/meal planning/cooking etc . . . to a minimum then when I DO have time I can spend it preparing for the winter, you know? I'll probably freeze more than can this summer, but we'll see how it works out.</p>
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
<p>I'm thinking of prepping a mix of ingredients and meals.</p>
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<p>So far the ideas I have are:</p>
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<p>granola (you could freeze that, right?)</p>
<p>breads and muffins (for breakfasts and snacks)</p>
<p>quiches (breakfast and easy dinners)</p>
<p>some cooked then frozen meats like chicken and beef to make quick stirfry's, add to pizzas, use in fajitas etc . . .</p>
<p>frozen pizza dough</p>
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<p>I have a pressure canner, but for July I don't think I'll need a ton of chilis and soups and things. Though maybe I could do that sort of stuff for early winter next year and just get that out of the way early.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<p>The nice thing, like I said, is that it is summer - so in many ways it will be easier to make dinners, because everything is fresh and simple. Also - the really awesome thing is since my husband will be a teacher (he finishes school in May) we'll both be off all summer. That will help a ton!</p>
 

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<p>I did alot of frozen ahead meals when pregnant with my last dc.  Planning to do it again this time, it was such a huge help.  Some ideas I have are</p>
<p>-frozen bread and rolls (we make our own)</p>
<p>-cookie dough</p>
<p>-pancakes</p>
<p>-lasanga</p>
<p>-shepard's pie</p>
<p>-lemon chicken bake</p>
<p>-homemade pizzas</p>
<p>-chicken enchiladas</p>
<p>-some crockpot meals that are ready to dump into the pot</p>
<p>-soup</p>
<p>Last dc was born in May and I was worried that the warm weather would make us not want to eat the baked stuff as much, but it was fine.  I'll be watching this thread for more ideas:)</p>
 

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<p>As far as potential allergens I wouldn't limit yourself in the beginning unless there's a history of food allergies. You really won't know something is an issue until you try it. Both of my kids have dairy allergies so I do avoid things made with dairy but everything else is fair game and so far no problems with it. You can either store granola in an air tight container and it'll keep for several months in your pantry or you can freeze it. </p>
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<p>Summer definitely makes it easier, especially if you like to grill things. You can check out the meal planning sub-forum for a lot of really good ideas as well <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"></p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
<p>good to know. We don't have any (known) allergens in our family, though my 7 year old is going to see a GI specialist this week so we'll see how that works out.</p>
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<p>It's been a long time since I've had a baby - with my first I lived with my parents and with my second I didn't have the issues with pre-packaged foods like I do now. I just want to make sure I'm prepared so the transition goes smoothly - it's been a long time since there's been a baby in the house! :D<br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>~Katie~</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1290561/anyone-thinking-ahead-re-meals-planning#post_16175139"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>As far as potential allergens I wouldn't limit yourself in the beginning unless there's a history of food allergies. You really won't know something is an issue until you try it. Both of my kids have dairy allergies so I do avoid things made with dairy but everything else is fair game and so far no problems with it. You can either store granola in an air tight container and it'll keep for several months in your pantry or you can freeze it. </p>
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<p>Summer definitely makes it easier, especially if you like to grill things. You can check out the meal planning sub-forum for a lot of really good ideas as well <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"></p>
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</div>
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
<p>I guess it would also help if I started thinking about what will be in season the 2-3 months before.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
<p>this looks like a pretty good resource and specifically designed for summer :)</p>
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<p><a href="http://onceamonthmom.com/summer-2010-oamm-menu/" target="_blank">http://onceamonthmom.com/summer-2010-oamm-menu/</a></p>
 

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<p>Wow! That 40 day meal plan is insane! Looks good. I wonder how big that woman's freezer is.  How long do you think it would take to make that whole plan?? I love that it's gluten free too. Do you think you could actually eat all that food and not gain weight though? I guess the idea of dessert everyday seems like a big no, no to me...</p>
 

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<p>We had my MIL watch DS last time I was pregnant with DD (one of the few times she HAS watched him, by the way) and DH and I spent the day cooking things and prepping meals for feeding the freezer. Well, for us it TOTALLY backfired-DD ended up being allergic to dairy and by the time she was 2 weeks old I was off dairy completely, and soon after that I was also off soy as she was allergic to that too. My Ds was also allergic to dairy until about 15 months old, but we had a short-lived bfing relationship, so I didn't really think about the fact that *I* would not be able to eat the stuff either.</p>
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<p>I will probably make a lot of plans and may do some stuff like chopping and freezing stuff ahead of time, and depending on how ambitious I get I may make a few things ahead, but we were both really frustrated by having to throw out so much of the stuff that we don't want to do it again. I did however save those links and will check them out again when we get closer to July.</p>
 

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<p>Oh I am thinking about this too! I want to buy a freezer this month for meals and breast milk storage. I have a few '20 for the freezer' menus from saving dinner.com, I've used those before and really like the way she lays out the shopping list and recipes and I just reserved a library book called 'Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer' We live in a big farming community and I saw some ads for local, organic, grain fed beef and chicken, so we may try that after we get the freezer. Rather than buying bulk meat from the grocery store. Once the baby comes, we'll be a family of 6, yikes!</p>
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<p>I love love canning too, I think the nesting instinct is kicking in early this time around, because I want to stock up! I've only done fruits & jams with my water bath canning supplies, but I'm thinking of moving up to a canning pressure cooker to do veggies and stuff. I'd love to hear about what mama's can in the pressure canner, if you have recipes! I can't wait to check out that once a month cooking link a few posts back too!</p>
 

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<p><a href="http://www.cookingtf.com/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.cookingtf.com/index.html</a><span style="display:none;"> </span></p>
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<p>This looks great too. She does weekly mailer. Not so much a freeze ahead kind of thing but weekly meal plans with in season foods.</p>
 

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<p>So, this will sound stupid, but what do you freeze everything in? I've never frozen meals before, maybe some leftover pasta sauce occasionally or pancakes. I'm wanting to try this!</p>
 
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