Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Baby Prep: Freezer Cooking

Recently, I've been cooking with an eye towards what I can add to the freezer to save for quick meals once Baby Dos comes along.  I said before that I wasn't really nesting, but maybe I nest by cooking?  Because suddenly I feel this immense pressure to make sure that we have enough food to eat for after baby's arrival!

I've always been a huge fan of stashing things in the freezer for later and through some trial and error (and common sense) I've come up with a working knowledge of what freezes and reheats well and I'm definitely going to utilize freezer meals to keep us fed while we're trying to adjust to life with a new family member!

We are incredibly lucky to have a hand-me-down stand-up freezer from my mother-in-law and we get SO much use out of it.  Even when I'm not in baby prep mode I often split casseroles and bake half right away and freeze the other half for a later meal so that we're not eating leftovers all week long.  It works really well for us because typically an 8x8 casserole will give us enough food for dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day.  I do the same thing when I make a big pot of soup and we have tons of leftovers.  I just freeze some in individual portions.  Makes for a great quick lunch later on.  I like leftovers and that's pretty much where all of our lunches come from, but no one likes to eat the same thing all week long!  This way, not only do we get multiple meals, but it takes no additional work, and we don't waste any food.  Win-win-win!

Between my bake half now, freeze half for later method and some specifically-for-the-freezer cooking sessions we have a good head start on post-baby meals.  Right now, we have:

8x8 Pans

1- Macaroni and Cheese
1- Cheese Stuffed Shells
1- Turkey Tetrazzini
2 - Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole


3 - Turkey Pot Pies
1 - Homemade Frozen Pizza
3 - Individual-size Homemade Frozen Pizzas (for quick lunches or dinners for Jack)
12 - Breakfast Sandwiches (Sausage, Egg, and Cheese on Whole-Wheat English Muffins)
1 - Loaf of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
18 - Individually portioned soups (Butternut Squash, Sausage and Lentil, Chipotle Sweet Potato Corn Chowder, Corn Chowder)
Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Dough Balls

I also have a small portion of chili that I can easily make into Chili Mac or serve over baked potatoes or something, 2 cups of cooked chicken leftover from making the Chicken Broccoli Rice casseroles that should come in handy, and 2 portions of "Refried" Beans that can become an easy side or bean burritos!

Tonight I'll be adding a pan of Pasta with Six Cheeses and later this week I'm hoping to add 2-8x8 pans of Chicken Enchiladas.

Between meals I have stocked in the freezer, Crock Pot meals, and quick-fix meals we should manage to remain fed during the craziness that will surely be the first few weeks adjusting to life as a family of four!

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