Who doesn’t love being extra prepared? With all the stress of welcoming a new baby into our lives and our family growing from 3 to the big 4, I wanted to be as prepared as possible. Sometimes being a mom that’s not always possible but I made sure to make time for something special: Prepping freezer meals before baby so we had something to fall back on.
Plus, I planned on breastfeeding and with that comes being hungry every second of every day. Seriously. I knew I was going to need to have food made and ready to go. With my first pregnancy, we didn’t prep anything. I was too busy breastfeeding and exhausted from it that my husband was working long days then coming home to cook dinner.
I wanted to make this transition as easy as possible for the entire family.
So, I made a list of some of our favorite meals and planned to make them ahead and freeze. That way, if I was too busy (or tired) to make lunch for myself all I had to do was toss a meal into the microwave.
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Here are the freezer meals I made:
The first on my list of freezer meals was more for him than me. Along with making sure I had food to eat, I wanted quick options for him too if need be. We buy the Cherrybrook Kitchen pancake and waffle mix for him. So, I made a box and a half and added different toppings into the mix. I made plain, chocolate chip/blueberry, and strawberry banana so he would have options.
Come breakfast time, he’d have one extra option that normally would take me 20-30 minutes to make ready in a matter of seconds.
Chili is something that we make a lot during the fall/winter months so I wanted to include it on my list of freezer meals. It’s one of our comfort foods, and there’s nothing like enjoying a bowl of chili when it’s chilly outside. And it freezes very well. I don’t follow a specific recipe. Basically, I combine ground beef (you can use ground chicken too), beans (mostly kidney but sometimes I’ll add in black beans), diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce (the taste of the chili will vary depending on this), chili powder and other seasonings, and sweet peppers. You can also add in extras like garlic or onion.
I let the pot of chili simmer on top of the stove for a while. You can make it in the crockpot, too. If I do this then I like to make sure the meat is fully cooked before dumping it in the crockpot. Simmering it allows the flavors to come out more and the beans get a little softer.
Lazy Stuffed Peppers
I’m not a fan of stuffed peppers at all. But, we love lazy stuffed peppers around here and again, they freeze well. If you’re not a huge fan of peppers you actually might like this one.
You combine ground beef, rice, tomato soup, seasonings, and diced tomato. Then, you cut up some peppers. You can use red, green, orange, etc. I’ve noticed that the yellow and orange work the best for our liking. They’re not as strong and you don’t end up burping them up later. You can get the small sweet peppers or the larger ones. Either way, cut them up fine. I like them as small as I can get them and add them to the mix.
Note: You have to cook the rice according to the box instructions before adding it to everything else!
You can serve this with cheese or sour cream on top. I’ll even put it in a soft taco shell and eat it that way.
I realize that just about half the dishes on my freezer meals list is saucy. But, this was a must-have for us because our son loves noodles. Spaghetti is probably one of his favorite meals and is one I can count on him eating all of whenever he’s offered it.
This one is self-explanatory. It’s noodles and spaghetti sauce. If you’re feeling really adventurous then you can add ground beef to your sauce.
You can freeze this with the noodles separate or mixed with the sauce. I have never had an issue with combining them. In fact, it works perfectly for us that way. Less work and it turns out just as good. Pop it in the microwave and you have an easy cleanup.
This was a staple when growing up. I remember my parents making this when I was little. I wasn’t a big fan of it then but I don’t mind it now so I decided to include it in my list of freezer meals.
I made homemade mashed potatoes for them instead of using the instant. I was never a fan of instant potatoes, to begin with, but I’m sure you can use these just as well. After the potatoes are done, you cook ground beef and season it. Then, you layer it with vegetables in between.
Growing up, my mom always made it with peas, which is probably why I didn’t like it too much. Not a huge fan of peas, either. Instead, I make it with corn. This time around I decided to try it with mixed vegetables. You lay the meat out in the pan first. Then, add the vegetables and top with the potatoes. Place it in the oven for about half an hour at 350 and it should be ready to eat.
Or in my case, ready to freeze, but only after it cools off. Serve it with gravy.
I wanted to make oatmeal granola bars to have on hand for late night feedings. I remember always eating something in the middle of the night when I had my first son. I knew this time would be no different and I wanted something healthy. Bonus: Oatmeal is good for milk production.
After searching Pinterest, I found this great base granola bar recipe. Because it’s just a plain base recipe you can add whatever you want to them. With my first batch, I added blueberries, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips. They turned out SO good.
Personally, I think they’re good to eat frozen too. I didn’t pack them hard enough before I froze them so they crumbled a bit when I bagged them for the freezer, but I don’t mind.
You can get really creative with these. Next time I make a batch, I plan on adding some peanut butter and maybe more chocolate chips.
These are really easy to make. I follow Kraft’s Easy Pleasing Meatloaf recipe, but instead of putting it into a loaf, I roll out meatballs. When I make them, I cut the beef in half. For example, the recipe calls for 2lbs of ground beef. I’ll use 1 instead of 2 unless I’m doubling then I’ll use 2lbs instead of 4lbs. Another thing I do is replace the eggs with applesauce because of my son’s food allergies. Using the applesauce makes them a little moister and crumbly since it doesn’t bind all the ingredients together as well as the eggs.
We love them like this so I knew I wanted to have them on hand in the freezer. And you can eat them differently. You can add them to spaghetti, have meatball sandwiches, or eat them plain with a side of veggies or noodles.
Note: The recipe calls for Kraft BBQ sauce. I make my own homemade barbeque sauce.
Last but not least, I wanted to include some kind of soup in my freezer meals stash. Soups aren’t something that we typically eat a lot. However, if there is one that we absolutely love its cauliflower soup. If you’ve never had it before then I suggest trying it. This is one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten and I thought it would be a good lunch or snack for busy days in the beginning.
I used a simple and easy family recipe. It involves frying some onions and celery while the cauliflower boils down in a pot of water with chicken bullion added. Optional: You can fry bacon to add as a topping. Once the cauliflower is about halfway done, you can add the onions, celery, and bacon. Then, add milk to the desired consistency.
If you really want, you can roast some cauliflower and toss it in too. I’m sure you can add whatever veggies into this soup that you want but you really want the cauliflower to be the star of the soup. The only other veggie I’ll add to it is carrots. They usually make a nice addition.
This wasn’t really a requirement, but I wanted to have something sweet on hand as well. When I was breastfeeding my first-born, I was always hungry. Having chocolate chip cookies would be a reward.
This is the recipe for the chocolate chip cookies. You’ll love these! I have made them multiple times and even for the holidays and they were a hit.
You have to be really disciplined with this one though, because if you’re not careful you’ll end up wanting or actually eating all of the cookies before you get to freeze any. My advice? As soon as they cool down separate some to freeze. Don’t forget why you’re making them!
I know this list of freezer meals will keep us in check during the first month of having our second newborn. I’m more confident in knowing that I’ll be able to balance things since I’ll have food pre-made for lunches and dinners.
What freezer meals have you made before expecting your baby?