Cooking and Baking, Pregnancy

Eating with a Newborn: Freeze Ahead Meals

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One of the best blessings after G was born was having a group of friends who took turns bringing us dinner. For about 5 weeks we didn’t have to worry about at least one dinner and I had things to eat and snack on the rest of the week.

When I found out we were expecting L, I knew that friends bringing meals was not going to happen. I didn’t even think my friends would visit since we moved at least 1.5 hours away from them. I knew I needed to be prepared for the beginning, when Hubby returned to work and I found myself not wanting or not having time to make dinner. So I started looking into freeze ahead meals and experimenting with freezing leftovers for another day.

A couple weeks before L was born I bought what I needed to start stock piling food. I think this was my form of nesting because I became slightly obsessed. Knowing I couldn’t be dependent on anyone to feed us made food a higher priority than cleaning and organizing. I was pinning recipes from Pinterest every night. We also had to buy a separate freezer as there was no room in our fridge. (Little did we know our fridge would break a couple months later so the extra freezer was a lifesaver.) At one of our birthing classes Hubby hinted that if he was in charge of dinners for a while, Chipotle was going to be eaten a lot. After doing the math I realized we could buy a freezer for at least as much as eating there (or anywhere, for that matter) for two weeks. Plus, I wanted more room for frozen breast milk.

Hubby thought I was going overboard. The Sunday before L was born I asked him to brown 2lbs of meat for chili. I didn’t need to be doubling recipes he said. We had plenty of time before the baby arrived he said. I told him if I didn’t start now we wouldn’t have extra food when the baby arrived.

My water broke two days later.

If I’d had those three extra weeks I would have prepped more meals. I wanted enough for at least a month of dinners. I managed to prep enough for about two weeks worth since L was early. We did have a couple people bring food for us, so I was able to stretch what I had for about a month.

make-ahead-freezer meals © www.muddybootsanddiamonds.comLemme tell you, it made all the difference! Some of these meals simply involved putting ingredients into a freezer bag, freezing it, thawing overnight and dumping everything into the crock pot. Some of them I doubled and froze the leftovers and reheated them on the stove. So easy! I loved not having to think too hard about what we’d eat for dinner every night or how I was going to accomplish making it with a toddler and a newborn demanding my attention. Most of these have actually become part of my monthly dinner rotation.

Chicken Taco Chili

Black Bean Chicken (FYI, this one seemed bland to me so I added a small can of green chilies)

Chili (from a mix)

White Chili (from a mix)

Honey Rosemary Chicken

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Chicken Pot Pie Turnovers (I froze the chicken and vegetables then assembled the turnovers when I was ready to eat them)

Quinoa Chili

I also browned up a pound of ground chicken (plain) to have on hand and cooked a pork tenderloin with taco seasoning and froze both we’d have meat for tacos.

I began stock-piling sides to go with these meals (tortilla chips, taco kits, frozen vegetables). I was lucky enough to feel up to go grocery shopping the week after L was born so I was able to get the fresh produce (like avocados and lettuce for salads) that I like eating with some of these meals myself.

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