Stocking the freezer?
Is anyone else hoping to stock the freezer before baby arrives? We just inherited a deep freeze when my mom downsized so I finally have the freezer space to stock up! I'm just not sure I have the energy. Should I do it all at once? Should I prep and freeze a couple of meals a week? Breakfasts and dinners?
I've done this a few times in a few different ways.
For breakfast, I made several batches of different pancakes, muffins, and waffles. I did those about a month before my due date and they lasted 3-4 months in the freezer in ziploc bags. Banana muffins, zucchini muffins, blueberry muffins, etc. Muffin cup quiche is also good frozen. I also relied on frozen convenience food for my hubby for a while. We have did big batches of breakfast tacos for the freezer before but I just didnt have the energy to do all that.
For dinners: I plan 1-2 weeks of meals at a time, then grocery shop once per week. When I'm planning my weeks, starting a couple months out from the baby, I plan meals I can easily double or that I can easily make two of. Things like King Ranch Chicken, enchiladas, pinto beans and sausage, etc. Whenever I prep those for dinner during the week, I make the second one and freeze. I do one or two meals per week this way. I've also done an all-day prep for the freezer and put about 20 meals in the freezer in one day. Both ways work equally well for me, it just depends on if I can get a full day without kids underfoot to quickly prep and cook.
For the freezer, I use throw away foil pans. Terrible I know, but it's not worth it to me to have to wash dishes if I just had the easiest dinner.. I sometimes wash them and re-use but often don't and feel no guilt. I wrap each pan in a layer of foil (and sometimes wax paper if I don't want it to stick, like lasagna). I then put the food name, date cooked/prepped/frozen, instructions, and any other needed ingredients on a notecard on top of the pan. Then all that goes in a freezer bag. I do re-use the freezer bags as they don't get dirty 99% of the time. Instructions stay with the meal and anyone can easily cook. Most foods I take out to defrost the night before and they are ready after a day in the fridge. I try to use all the same size (or two) of pans to make stacking easier. Plus, if I use mainly 8x8 pans, that's generally enough for dinner for all of us and then my lunch the next day which works out well.
I also keep a list of what I have in the freezer taped to the top or side of the freezer. As I freeze meals I add to the list, then try to remember to scratch off as I use them. Helps keep a fresher rotation. If anyone brings us large platters of food, I freeze half for later. If people offer to help or ask what I need, I'm not shy to say "your favorite ---" (whatever food/meal I'm in need of).
I also baked dozens of cookies before the baby was born and froze. My hubby likes sweets most nights anyway so it's good for that, plus it's nice to have a little something to offer when company stops by.
Whew, long post, sorry.. HTH!
Re: Stocking the freezer?
Yeah, what she said...;)
The only thing I have to add is that I've been trying to cook a huge lunch one day a week, most of which is for freezing. I haven't kept up with it much, but I've got a good number of dinners frozen. I also watch and when things like Steuffer's meals go on sale, I'll buy a couple to stick in there.
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