Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stocking the freezer

I have been a busy little beaver today! Since I will be having a c-section next Friday - yes folks, I'll have THREE children in 10 short days! And to tell you the truth, I haven't freaked out yet! Probably because I have no time to freak out and that's probably a good thing. I'm not even really nervous. My head does swirl occasionally when I think about schedules and Michael only gets 10 days off work and Jacob goes to preschool 2 days a week and I only have 1 week of practice before I have to get him there on time (along with feeding and dressing everyone!!).... But, all-in-all I'd say I'm doing well.

I sat down a few days ago and made a list of meals that I wanted to go ahead and prepare and get in my freezer for those first few weeks (we'll also be getting a few meals from my MOPS group) and today I made the first batch of meals.

Here's what I made today:

This is chicken enchiladas!! I bought these disposable pans because I didn't want to tie up all of mine in the freezer and they have lids that are handy to write with a permanent marker what's in them! On this one I wrote what it is and the thawed bake time/temp. I think I went back and added the frozen time also.

This is not the healthiest meal - I used store bought flour tortillas and sauce - but the chicken is left over from a whole chicken I made recently.

I also made a smaller pan of these for our neighbor's friend because her son is in the NICU - he was born at 28 weeks nearly 2 weeks ago and I'm betting figuring out what to eat (AND take care of their toddler) just isn't a fun thing right now.

This lovely meal is zucchini parmesean. And it's a tad healthier than the enchiladas. I used fresh zucchini and battered (using spelt crumbs) and sauteed it in coconut oil. Cooked some whole wheat pasta and sadly used a jarred sauce. I layered it in the same way I would layer it on my plate if I were eating it immediately (pasta, zucchini, sauce and cheese).

This is just a quick pizza-ish thing. It's store bought hoagie rolls, sliced in half, topped with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni's on some. I froze them on these cookie sheets then transferred them into 2 of the same size disposable pans. I put 2 layers in each pan and separated the layers with foil.

I made all 3 of these while the boys were napping today and even got the dishes done and the counters cleaned up before they woke up! However, all of that meant I was standing for a solid 2 hours and at 37 weeks pregnant that's not great for the back. So, the kids are outside playing and I'm sitting down typing this post (yes, I can see them!!).

I also already had navy bean soup, 3 servings of meatloaf and chicken and quinoa stew in the freezer from making extra when I made those meals the last time. And there are 2 frozen pizzas.

Here's what I still have planned for the freezer:

* Brown a batch of taco meat
* Zucchini/carrot muffins (the boys and I LOVE these, Michael doesn't really care for them - he's strange!)
* Shepherd's pie

Also, I'm asking for suggestions on other meals (preferrably ones that incorporate more veggies) that work well as freezer meals to pull out and heat in the oven.

Hop on over to Rocks in My Dryer for more people who need help solving life's conundrums!


amysfinerthings said...

Laura -- I posted some freezer meal ideas on my blog yesterday if you want to check them out. Also, you don't have to purchase a bunch of disposable pans. Just line your baking dishes with foil, freeze the food, then take the frozen block of food out of your pan (to use the pan for something else) and wrap it good to keep in the freezer. Then put it back in the baking dish when it's time to thaw. Enjoy your new baby! Amy

Sab Mad said...

There are some great recipe books for freezer cooking - Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer and Trim and Terrific Freezer Friendly Meals are 2 books that I have used. The meals are very yummy!!

Good luck and congrats on your new baby! Girl hair is so fun!!

Sarah Rose said...

I'm also planning ahead for our new arrival in a few weeks... I've got a chicken pot pie already in the freezer, and a lasagna on its way. Your ideas look great, too!

Aunt LoLo said...

Oh, SAD! I mean...congrats on your baby, but I was really hoping there would be more ideas here. :-) I'm expecting my second baby in a few months, and have BIG plans for an empty freezer. (Well, I'm still looking for the new freezer...but I have big plans, anyhow!)

Let's see...I know there are cookbooks out there that are nothing but recipes that can be frozen now, cooked later. They would probably have lots of casserole-type things. Quite honestly, I'm planning on just prepping a lot of meat. We eat a lot of Chinese here...but it's not a bad way to fix dinner! I figure, after the baby is born, I ought to at least be able to turn a rice cooker on and pan fry some pre-seasoned meat! I'm going to marinate chicken...and rub some whole fryers down with a dry rub. I also want to make some "soup packs" - chop and prep all the ingredients for soup and put them in a big Ziploc bag so all I have to do is dump them in a pot of water and boil them for a few hours.

Aunt LoLo said...

I had to come back. After I commented here, my cousin-in-law (??!) commented on my blog with the address for a blog that SHE reads that specializes in what to freeze (and what NOT to freeze). (Yeah...don't show that sentence to my English professor.) It's not huge, but apparently this girl really knows her stuff, and you can e-mail her with questions. (For example - I hear freezing mashed potatoes is a bad idea. Who knew?)


Becca said...

I know Chinese was suggested, but if your kids will stirfry, thats a great way to go. Slice the meat and throw it in a zip lock bag with marinade (store bought or homemade, whatever) then freeze it. You can even get a gallon size bag and put the meat and a bag of the frozen stir fry veggies together with instructions. You can get the veggies with rice already in the bag, or just cook up some rice and freeze it as well. I know its not an oven food, but once the prep work is done its 8 minutes from freezer to table. Even my husband could do it (of course he hates stir fry and would opt for Mac&Cheese in a box)

And do lots of frozen sandwiches! They can be used for lunches or when you are hungry but have no energy to make something. PB&J works great if you use PB on both pieces, and for meat and cheese ones make sure to not use Mayo (miraclewhip is ok) and you should be good.

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