Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Freezer Cooking Baby Prep

One of my biggest goals for this pregnancy has been to stock my deep freezer for post-birth. I did a little bit of freezer cooking before Victoria, but not a lot, and boy did I regret it. Combine that with the fact that I need to consume roughly 1,000 extra calories per day to breastfeed twins (more extra calories than pregnancy requires), and I really wanted to make sure I had all my ducks in a row.

I am fortunate enough to belong to an amazing church and MOPS group, who will provide me with some meals post-baby, as well as the on-hand help I'll have from relatives who will cook for me, I'm sure, but I figured there could never be too much preparation! Eventually the help from others will run out and it will all be on my shoulders again. 

So in August my sister came to visit, and we sat down and planned out easy meals to keep in the freezer. We then went to Costco and bought lots of food in bulk to make multiples of everything. The result is that my deep freezer is quite packed with goodies.  

My sister helped by making 4 lasagnas, all in smaller tins so it isn't an overwhelming amount of food at one time for us. 
While she made her lasagnas, I made 3 meatloafs.

I actually never liked meatloaf, but last year a friend and I decided to modify her mom's meatloaf recipe to create what we thought was "the perfect meatloaf". The result is very tasty, and something my husband and I both love. I'll post the recipe at the bottom of this post if you are interested :)

The next day we made breakfast burritos. This is the only freezer meal I made for Victoria's birth, and it was a lifesaver. When you are a busy new mom who is still getting it all figured out, having a quick, high-protein food at your fingertips is so helpful!
We made 67 of these breakfast burritos, which I am SO excited about. My husband also loves these, so between the two of us, I'm sure we will polish these off in an embarrassingly short amount of time.

A quick recipe for yummy breakfast burritos:
Eggs (budget 1 egg minimum per burrito), breakfast sausage (this provides a lot of flavor, so make sure the one you choose is well seasoned), finely chopped onion and sweet peppers, and 1 large package of shredded hash browns. Cook it all and mix it together. Spread into soft tortillas (Costco has amazing super soft tortillas that fold well without cracking), top with some shredded cheese, and roll. When we eat them we sometimes add salsa or guacamole to them to add some variety.

After that, we made Kielbasa and Pepper Hash. This is Victoria's favorite meal, and one of mine too, but it can take some time to make because of all the cutting and chopping prep-work. So my sister and I made 3 meals of this, all pre-chopped, and ready to be thrown into skillets for cooking. We separated the sweet potatoes from the rest of the ingredients because I like to cook them separately, as they tend to take a little longer to become fully tender.
Another thing I have stocked the freezer with is waffles. One of my favorite breakfast items is homemade waffles with organic berries on it. So every time I've made waffles in the last few months, I've made some extra and put them in the freezer for when the babies are here. Now I have about 30 waffles frozen for us, and a few bags of this berry blend from Costco, which is BY FAR my favorite ever for putting on waffles. I just put some of the berries in a covered pot over med-low heat on the stove and it thaws and turns into the perfect topping in just 5-10 minutes.
I also have a couple other items waiting in the freezer for us:
-a dozen tenderized pork chops from my mother-in-law
-2 dozen banana and zucchini muffins
-2 packs of stir-fry veggies and pre-cut steak (with bags of steamable rice to make quickly).
-3 pints of soup, which were all "extra" from soups I made in the last few months

I am also planning to make some smoothie packs this week with fruit, spinach, protein powder, and greek yogurt :)

As we are just about out of room for freezer food, I am going to have to call it good at this point, but I am feeling much better prepared than I was for Victoria. And I am nearly confident that the 5 of us won't starve after the twins arrive!

What are some of your favorite freezer meals? Honestly, I am not a huge fan of most freezer meals, but I am happy to have stored away many of my favorites.

Amy's Meatloaf
-2 lbs low fat ground beef (90% or higher)
-2 eggs
-3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
-1/2 tsp Oregano
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1 tsp Onion powder or flakes
-1 clove minced garlic
-1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
-8 slices of mozzarella cheese
-1/4-1/2 cup finely shredded carrots

-In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except mozzarella
-Flatten mixture onto a piece of wax paper into a roughly 12x12 square
-Cover the surface of the square with mozzarella, and roll it up until it looks like this
-Place on a baking dish seam-side down and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50-60 minutes.

You can choose to make the traditional sauce for it or not, but either way I add it after it is baked: 3 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 2 tsp mustard

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that looks like a good amount of meals to have on hand for later! How awesome that your sister and other relatives contributed!

    I did a few freezer meals last time. I didn't anticipate relatives coming and expecting us to prepare meals for them during their stay. (I perhaps assumed too much in thinking they would be there to help us, including preparing meals). I ended up spending so much time cooking and cleaning for even more people than just our family directly after giving birth. I didn't get a recovery time, and that made the postpartum time so much more difficult. This time, I'm preparing plenty of freezer meals for our family and the parents when they stay. Lesson learned. Haha.

    I'm currently waiting to prepare the meals until closer to when needed to preserve freshness. In the meantime,I'm assembling a list of meals options. Your post gives me several good ideas to add to my list! Thanks for sharing! :)


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