I'm in your boat.
We don't like store bought ready made meals so this time around I think I'll put something together ahead of time and freeze it but like you, I haven't done that much before.
I know I'll make
and a meatloaf might be worth it. I'll leave the meatloaf raw so that all I will have to do will be to let it thaw a little and then stick it in the oven. Better yet, I'll just tell my husband to do that, I think he should be able to manage that. Lol
I'm going to wait at least 2 weeks before making it. I don't want it sitting in the freezer too long before it gets eaten.
My mother made a big lasagne and a tray of enchiladas to put in my freezer. She bought those basic foil trays you can get in the grocery store for BBQs and partys so that her frozen stuff was oven ready but not taking up any useful dishes.
Last time I also had a friend come over to make a bunch of burritos and they were individully foil wrapped and labelled and frozen. Mostly for bedrest mini meals for me. Also had batches of soup frozen in big ziploc bags.
I'm trying to order extra bags of tortellini and tomato sauce jars when I put in the grocery orders so I can build up that buffer a bit too.
So far we have enough in the freezer for 15 meals for both of us. :grin: So far we have veggie lasagna, soups/gumbo, mac and cheese, chicken pot pie, fish pie, risotto, and a few others. I also have 2 dozen lactation cookies, two types of muffins, and a loaf of banana bread frozen. I have a few more meals and snacks on my list, but we'd be set if I went into labor at this point.
I'm also planning to just order a whole thanksgiving dinner through Whole Foods since it's totally possible I might be in labor over the holiday. It's just not worth the risk of having to put a whole thanksgiving dinner half made on hold!
So in planning for this cook-a-thon, all of these things you'd cook first then freeze right? How long do they hold? I'm due dec 20 and was thinking to wait towards the end of this month to start this food prep, but if they hold well for 6+ weeks maybe a good tactic would be to commit to cooking 2+ freezer meals every Saturday for the next few weeks? Also most casserole type dishes (including lasagna) are off the table because I've got a 3 year old who doesn't like foods touching/mixed up (although soups are ok).
My family did major farm-to-table food production as a kid. We grew and froze darned near everything you can think of. The key to avoiding freezer burn is to remove air from every bag you put in. Just suck air out with a straw and seal it up!
For casseroles my mother suggests baking everything for most of the usual cooking time but don't let edges or the top brown. She baked her lasagne till the huge steaks of eggplant were cooked but didn't add the cheese for the top untill she cooled it.