Cooking & Freezing Meals Before Baby Arrives

Jennifer - posted on 06/01/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I am about 5 weeks away from having my 2nd baby and I am starting to think about freezing meals to have onhand after I give birth. I'm having trouble brainstorming and coming up with options other than spaghetti or meatloaf. Can anyone suggest different ideas for things that freeze well besides TV dinners :-)?

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Chris - posted on 06/02/2010

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Jennifer,

Here's a collection from Pampered Chef that has you bag certain ingredients separately, but they are super easy and done in no time.

Enjoy. . .
Make-Ahead-Chicken
1 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Cut chicken into ½-in. cubes using Chef’s Knife. Heat oil in 12-in Skillet over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until shimmering. Add chicken and cook 7-10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Drain chicken, if necessary.

Greek Chicken and Orzo Skillet
To Prepare and Freeze:
1 portion “Make-Ahead-Chicken”
2 medium zucchini, cut into ¼-in pieces
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz) garlic and onion flavored diced tomatoes
3 tbsp Greek Rub
In Bag 1, combine chicken and zucchini In Bag 2, combine beans, tomatoes, and rub.
To Finish and Serve:
2 cans (14 oz) each chicken broth
½ cup water
1 lb uncooked orzo

To cook and serve immediately:
Add contents of Bag 2, broth and water to 12-in Skillet; cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add orzo. Cover and cook 5 minutes (or halfway through cooking time according to package directions), stirring occasionally.
Add contents of Bag 1. Cover and cook 5-7 minutes or until orzo is tender and zucchini begins to soften. Remove from heat and serve.

To cook and serve from freezer:
Add contents of Bag 2, broth and water to 12-in Skillet; cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook 8-10 minutes, breaking contents apart as necessary. Proceed as directed above.

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup
To Prepare and Freeze:
1 portion “Make-Ahead-Chicken
3 cups tortilla chips, finely crushed
2 cups frozen corn
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
2 tbsp Chipolte rub
In Bag 1, combine chicken, chips and corn. In Bag 2, combine cheese spread, tomatoes and rub.
To Finish and Serve:
2 cups chicken broth

To finish and cook immediately:
Add contents of Bag 2 and broth to (4-qt.) Casserole.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook 12-14 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally.
Add contents of Bag 1 to Casserole; simmer 4-6 minutes or until soup is thickened. Serve soup with optional toppings, if desired.

To cook and serve from freezer:
Cook contents of Bag 2 and broth as directed above, whisking occasionally using Silicone Sauce Whisk.
Add contents of Bag 1 and cook as directed above, breaking chicken apart as necessary using Bamboo Spatula.

Chicken Dijon Chicken Noodle Toss
To Prepare and Freeze:
1 portion “Make-Ahead Chicken”
2 cups frozen peas
¼ lb deli ham, diced into ¼-in. pieces
1 can (10¾ oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
In Bag 1, combine chicken and peas. In Bag 2, combine ham, soup and mustard.
To finish and serve:
12 oz uncooked rotini pasta
½ cup water
8 oz sour cream
1 oz grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)
¼ cup snipped fresh parsley

To cook and serve immediately:
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Meanwhile, place water and contents of Bag 2 in (12-in.) Skillet; cover. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add sour cream to Skillet. Reduce heat to medium; add contents of Bag 1. Cover and cook 4-6 minutes or until chicken is hot, stirring occasionally.

Toss cooked pasta with parsley. Spoon chicken mixture over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

To cook and serve from freeze:
Cook and drain pasta as directed above.

Meanwhile, place water and contents of Bag 2 in (12-in.) Skillet; cover. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking contents apart as necessary using Bamboo Spatula. Proceed as directed above.
Smoky Black Bean Chicken Wraps
To Prepare and Freeze:
1 portion “Make-Ahead Chicken”
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 tablespoons Smoky BBQ rub
2 cups cooked rice

In Bag 1, combine chicken, beans and 1-2 tbs rub In Bag 2, combine rice and 1 tbs rub

To finish and serve:
½ cup water
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
6 11-in flour tortillas
Extra toppings: onion, lettuce, tomatoes, hot sauce, extra BBQ sauce

To cook and serve immediately:
Omit water. Place contents of Bags 1and 2 in Large Skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Assemble wraps as deisired.

To cook and serve from freezer:
Add contents of Bag 1 and water to Large Skillet; cover and cook over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until hot, breaking chicken apart as necessary.
Add contents of Bag 2 to skillet; cook 4-6 minutes or until heated through.

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Cottage pie
(Filling, healthy and cheap!)

Grate or finely chop 5 medium carrots
Dice 2-3 onions (red or white)
500-1000 grams ground beef (just get regular as you'll need your strenght and if you're breastfeeding you need some fats)
10 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
2-3 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup beef stock or gravy

Add all potatoes to a big pot and boil.
On medium high heat, add onions and carrots to a pan (add small amount of sunflower or rapeseed oil if not non-stick pan). Sautee for 4-5 mins then add ground beef and cook until done, making sure to "chop" into small bits (as if making chili) as it's cooking. Once done, add to casserole dish and stir in gravy or beef stock.
Drain potatoes and mash (for extra flavour add crushed and garlic or pre-chopped garlic from a jar, and/or any other spices/herbs you'd like). Add potatoes to casserole dish, spreading on top of the beef mixture. Pop in freezer when cool.
When the time comes to cook, pop in microwave or the oven.

You could also bake up a batch of chicken, either chicken quarters (legs and breasts) or legs, breasts, thighs... or all three. Bone on for best results. Use paprika, lemons and a tablespoon of honey, drizzle over and bake until done, basting every 10 mins. Freeze and when time comes to eat them, use boil in a bag rice and frozen veg (takes like 10 mins or so) and re-heat in microwave to keep chicken moist.

Also, frozen salmon works a treat, just pop in a bakiong dish with some cherry tomatoes and drizzle of oil, boil some small potatoes in their skins and open a bag of lettuce (rinse of course) and voila, healthy meal!

Hope this helps!

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