Being a working mom doesn’t leave me with much time to spend in my kitchen. On top of that, being pregnant doesn’t leave me much energy for being in the kitchen! When I got online today and saw my “pregnancy ticker” was down to 111 days before Baby Monkey is due, though, the thought entered my head again about how very important it is that I get into my kitchen–and SOON!
When LoveBug was born, a friend from church organized hot meals to be brought to us for the first 5 days after we were home. It was awesome and a tremendous help for a new mama who wasn’t up to juggling a newborn and a newly post-partum body while cooking! After that, I had a few meals in the freezer that I had previously put together and also some that my Mom had made for us. This experience with ready-to-go homemade meals has been heavy on my mind since getting pregnant again and realizing that not only will I have all of the normal “new mom and baby” things to deal with in July, but an active 20-month-old on top of it! Like it or not, I need to get my freezer stocked with meals within the next 16 weeks.
Freezing meals is an easy thing to do if you’re already cooking and can save any mom a lot of time. Once you’re actually in the kitchen, it’s easy!
- Double or triple whatever you’re making for dinner, and freeze the extra
- Freeze food in tin pans, covered in plastic wrap and foil
- Don’t want to use tin pans? Line your casserole dishes with foil before putting the food into it. Once the food is frozen, lift it all out by way of the foil and place it in a gallon freezer bag instead. When you’re ready to use, just put the foiled food back into the casserole dish and bake!
- Label everything with the name of the food, date it was made, and any special instructions
- Stack by food type in the freezer (main dishes, side dishes, breads…or “chicken,” “vegetarian,” and “beef”!)
- If you freeze in a glass dish, be sure to not place the cold glass in a hot oven when baking. You might end up with a broken dish!
- Consider freezing meals in individual portion sizes so that you aren’t stuck with a lot of leftovers when you use it.
Two other things that I do is always use ground turkey instead of ground beef and leave the frozen food as uncooked as possible so it is as fresh as possible when we thaw it.
- Macaroni and cheese
- Baked Ziti
- Meatloaf (mixed and frozen; cook through before serving)
- 3 Bean Casserole
- Chicken (stuffed with a cheese mixture, left in a marinade, etc.)
- Quick breads (banana, apple, pumpkin, etc.)
To use, I just put it in my fridge to thaw for a day and then pop it in the oven to warm up or cook! Frozen veggies are a staple in our house and are cooked by steaming over a saucepan for a few minutes before seasoning and serving.
What are your tips and recipes for freezing meals? Leave them below and help me get some food in my freezer before this baby comes!