Over the course of the last month, whenever I could, I would make a double batch of breakfast or dinner and freeze the extra food to have on hand for after baby. My goal was to have three weeks' worth of both. For lunch, we always have dinner leftovers, so this plan really would take care of most of our food needs for at least three weeks post-baby.
Up until yesterday, I had managed to freeze about a week's worth of food that way. It seemed that many times, the kids decided that a double batch of pancakes meant they should eat twice as much, so not all the extra food actually made it to the freezer. One morning this week, I literally made crepes using 2 lbs of flour, 10 eggs, a quart of milk, and a stick of butter - all to have them shovel it down their little throats faster than I was able to cook them up!
Well, yesterday had been set aside as a day dedicated to precooking and freezing as many of the remaining meals on my list as possible. To this end, I had asked three ladies from church, as well as another friend, to come over and help (my kitchen is very small and can only fit a handful of people), while my husband was going to take all six kids out of the house for the entire day so they wouldn't be underfoot.
Full to the brim - literally!
The day could not have gone better! For one, the annual monsoon just moved in last week, and we actually had a cool, rainy day. Believe me, it makes a big difference whether it is 85, or 115 degrees outside when the oven, stove, crockpot, and dehydrator are all running at the same time for 12+ hours in the same day! It also made it much easier on my husband and the kids, who were able to go play at the park and in the rain.
It was a long, but fun day. I literally was in the kitchen for a full 14 hours, with few breaks, but it was slow and steady work and not too strenuous. The kids had fun with Dad, so it was a great day for them, too.
Because some have asked, below is a list of the foods on my "post-baby freezer meal" list.
Granola over yogurt with fresh fruit
Cinnamon raisin bread w/ jelly or honey
Toast and eggs, fresh fruit
Bacon and cheese quiche
English muffins w/ ham and eggs
Granola w/ milk
Toasted multigrain rolls w/ ham and eggs
Chocolate chip orange scones
Bagels and cream cheese w/ ham
Cream of Wheat
Chocolate chip banana muffins
Lemon poppy seed muffins
Meatballs, pasta, garlic bread & salad
Sloppy Joes, baby carrots
Fish sticks w/ mashed potatoes and mixed veggies
Meatloaf, steamed potatoes, carrots and peas, gravy
Chicken soup w/ French bread
Chicken pot pie
Chicken and dumplings
Beef goulash & spaetzle, tomato salad
Ham and split pea soup, buttered bread
BBQ shredded pork sandwiches, corn
Chicken baked w/ pesto, brown rice
Shredded Beef Enchiladas
Mandarin Chicken w/ Chow Mein
Lasagna, garlic bread, green beans
Leek and Potato Soup w/ saltines
Between what I had already precooked, and yesterday, about 90% of these foods are now done and in our freezer. All the ones in italics are the ones we made yesterday.
As far as freezer space, we were blessed a couple of weeks ago to be given a chest freezer by a friend who was moving out of state and could not take it. At first, I thought I should not take it because we have limited space for another freezer. Then I realized that we are not using the school room right now, so the freezer could stay in there until we were done with the meals, and then would pass it on to someone else in need of a freezer. Otherwise, I doubt I could have stocked more than a week's worth of food in our existing freezer space.
Less than 20 days left until my "due date"!