Saturday, March 22, 2014

Freezer meals for after Baby comes

Today marks 33 weeks of pregnancy for me. Yay! Only three more weeks and I will be considered "full term." I cannot begin to tell you how weird it is to have made it this far, and have no complications whatsoever at this point, after all we went through in November and December. TWO fetal surgeries, first to fix twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and to separate the fates of the boys should one die (as he, sadly, did three weeks later), and then a second surgery to patch my ruptured membranes.

I have held off getting ready for the baby's birth for a  number of reasons. First, I was worried he was going to pass away like his brother, not an unlikely scenario. I still worry about that - for no known reason, absent of any medical or scientific explanations, even perfectly healthy surviving twins have a much greater chance of suddenly and inexplicably passing away in the womb. Personally, I think losing their other half is just too much for their little hearts to handle. 

Secondly, I figured that if I held off preparing for birth until it was actually safe to go into labor, it would mentally help keep me from going into premature labor. This was a very real concern when my water broke at 18 weeks, and didn't stop leaking for almost a month, even after surgery to patch the membrane. At this point, this really is no longer a concern, and less and less so as time goes on. In fact, I have a feeling I may go overdue with this little one, something I certainly want even less than any other time. Once he is full term, I'd rather he came as soon as possible, so I can stop worrying, and we can just close this chapter and move on.

This past week, with the temperatures rising, my fatigue increasing, and time running out on the remainder of this pregnancy, I started preparing for the inevitable arrival of this little one. Part of that is planning, and then precooking and freezing meals for after the birth. I absolutely LOVE having about 4-6 weeks worth of meals fully cooked and ready to go, which will not only cut down on time spent in the kitchen, but also on trips to the grocery store. 

In fact, my "Spend Zero in March" challenge was largely motivated by the fact that my freezers are bursting, and I realized I did not have enough room to spare to freeze hardly any ready meals.

I should add here that my husband and mother-in-law are both incredibly helpful whenever I have a baby, and would gladly cook for the family. But it's just easier for everyone involved when we can simply shelve that chore for a few weeks. I have a hard time sitting back and doing nothing while everyone around me is doing my work for me. And let's be honest - they just don't cook the way I do! ;) Likewise, the ladies in our church are wonderful about bringing meals to families that just added a new baby, or are going through a hardship such as illness, etc. With this pregnancy alone, they have already brought meals to our family for at least 3 weeks. I don't want to take advantage of their generosity and time any more if I can help it by pre-freezing meals. Plus, our family eats as much at one meal as others eat in several days, making it quite expensive to take dinner to us. 

Here is a list of the items I am hoping to cook ahead of time. The list is not complete, yet - I would like to find a few new recipes that my family will love, and that are freezer-friendly. But there is enough here to keep me busy until I come up with more meal ideas.


cinnamon raisin bread
chocolate chip orange scones
ready-to-bake biscuits
French toast
Breakfast burritos
Oatmeal cake
Lemon poppy seed muffins
cinnamon crumb coffee cake
topping for fruit crumble (use canned peaches or cherries)
German apple cake w/ yogurt glaze
croissants (ham & cheese, plain, chocolate)
cream cheese danishes

not frozen:
oatmeal mixes

not premade, but easy to throw together:
toast (w/ butter, honey, or PB)
yogurt parfaits w/ fruit and granola

Easy lunches (if there are no dinner leftovers):

PB&J sandwiches
ready-to-grill cheese sandwiches
meat, bean & cheese burritos
shredded cheeses (for omelettes, quesadillas, pizza)
ham and cheese pinwheels

not premade, but easy to throw together:
wraps, sandwiches
salad (w/ ham, eggs, cheese)
tuna salad


spaghetti sauce (make spaghetti fresh)
sloppy Joes
meatballs in sauce (make ziti fresh)
taco meat
salmon burgers
meatloaf, gravy, mixed veggies (make potatoes fresh)
chicken and dumplings (ready to cook in crock pot)
taco pasta bake
orange chicken (ready to cook in crock pot)
mandarin chicken


cookie dough balls (ready to bake)
pecan tassies


oatmeal cookies for lactation
pizza dough and sauce (for pizza, bread sticks, calzones, mozzarella sticks)
hamburger buns
corn muffins
tortillas (corn & flour)
breaded mozzarella sticks
chow mein
garlic bread

Yesterday, I was able to bake French bread and turn it into garlic bread, pre-make and freeze the dough for about 6 dozen cookies, bake a double batch of pecan tassies and freeze most of those, and assemble 5 quiches, four of which went into the freezer.

Note on changes I made to the recipes: Cookies: cut the sugar and chocolate chips in half, use white and dark chocolate chips, and use whole wheat pastry flour in place of white. Quiche: use smoked mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and creamy jack for the cheeses, add smoked turkey breast and broccoli to the filling; make my own pie crust. French Bread: use 3 cups all-purpose white flour plus 1/4 cup gluten in place of bread flour, and also omitted the whole wheat flour since my starter is 100% whole wheat and I wanted the crispy crust and fluffy crumb that only white flour can provide. My sourdough starter is very active, and some of the kids don't like the sourdough taste to be too strong, so I only let my dough rise for 6 hours.

Today so far, I have made a huge batch of spaghetti sauce, most of which will be frozen, as well as several family-size servings of chow mein. In my big crockpot, about 5 lbs of chicken breasts and thighs are simmering away, covered in salsa and cilantro pesto. Tonight, when it is cooked, I will shred the meat to use in a couple of different dinners such as tacos, enchiladas, etc.

By making double batches of meals we are currently eating, and combining recipes that use similar ingredients so I can chop and dice everything at once, cooking extra really does not take much longer than my daily cooking.

What are your favorite meals to precook and freeze? Please share in the comments below! I am still looking to bulk up my meal list, and welcome any good suggestions. 


  1. I don't have a recipe to share right now but would love to have your chow mein recipe

  2. Wow, you are awesome! Your list looks great. I have always had good outcomes with freezing lasagnas, pot pies, taco cassarole, and some soups. Looks like you have a good start on your meals. I do continue praying for you and your precious family. I look forward to the post announcing a healthy delivery of your dear baby. Tiffany F.

  3. Some day when you have time, would consider sharing your recipes for Mandarin chicken and orange chicken? It looks like you'll have a well stocked freezer before baby gets here. All the best to you for a healthy delivery.

  4. Your so busy what s wounderful thoughtful person you sound like a fun mother and wife. I like to make soup and freeze it like broccoli soup, stew, I also make a lot of curry dishes so I sometimes make a lot so I can freeze a meal for another day. Like chicken curry, egg plant curry, hamburger curry ect. Just don't put potatoes in freezer cause I don't know why but they don't freeze well, at least not for me maybe you can give me advice if you know how to keep potatoes in the freezer and them not get all weird.

  5. I like a really easy chicken casserole. I just put precooked chicken in with rice broth and veg, bake till rice is done. You could cook it and freeze to just reheat. Though simple it's hearty and the kids like it, husband too. Congratulations and I pray for you regularly. Thanks for sharing.

  6. We have done post-baby freezer meals this time too! This is the first time for us. I used to always *say* I would do it, but never did...and lived to regret it!

    We have about two weeks worth of dinners in the freezer. We stopped at two weeks worth, as I simply cannot cram anything else in there, on top of half a cow, plus the remainder of her bones for stock making! My favourite meal to look forward to is "cowboy supper"; it is a dish our eldest daughter makes, and is just delicious!

  7. I make Hot mess as we call it, easy meal, lots of minced garlic, curry, and any combo of meat and veggies you have on hand with rice, all fried up in a skillet in a little oil and water. It freezes pretty well reheating well in crockpot. :)

  8. I've frozen homemade cream of mushroom soup, and it thawed out just fine. It's really simple to make too. I just make a roux by melting in a saucepan 2tbs butter then mix in 2tbs flour. Once butter and flour are mixed, add about 2-3 cups milk (all depending on how thick or thin you want your soup to be). At the same time you are making your roux, sauté your mushrooms in some butter ( I just eyeball how much mushrooms I want instead of actually measuring them). Once the roux is thickened to your liking, add the sautéed mushrooms. Then just salt it according to your taste. Add the soup to a jar and store in your freezer when your ready for it. This recipe is for two people though, so you're gonna want to quadruple it or more for your family. I hope this helped.

  9. Lasagna (the mixed variety, i.e. meat AND vegetables) makes a very nutritious dish that freezes well.

    Gazpacho ( also freezes well and is an excellent idea for the summer months.

  10. I need a potluck idea for Sunday at my church I always have trouble thinking of what is good to bring help need ideas!!!! Please :)

  11. I like to make sure I'm not forgetting side dishes where appropriate (although this is easier in summer when throwing a salad together is so extremely simple). But I like to make big bags of pre-roasted vegetables to have on hand, since it is easy to do while you're busy but a huge time investment if there's a new baby. Enchiladas freeze well. Pastitsio is delicious in the first few weeks after birth. Turkey chili. Burgundy Beef. Pre-chopped and pre-boiled potatoes for quick hashbrowns. Lots of different kinds of vegetable soup. But also things like chicken breasts and thighs seasoned in different ways, to add on top of salads.

  12. Do you have a stand alone freezer for all these meals? I never seem to have enough space in our fridge to house more than a week's worth of meals for my family. Thanks for sharing and god bless. -Molly B.


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