Freezer Meals — The Bump
September 2018 Moms

Freezer Meals

We're coming into the final stretch!

Anyone planning on doing freezer meals?
Tips on how to do this well?
STMs, did you find some freezer meals to be easier than others during the newborn period?
Favorite freezer meal recipes?

Me: 31   H:32
TTC #1 Since 5/17
BFP 7/14/17 - CP
RE Dx: MFI, Unilateral Tubal Blockage
12/17 - Clomid + TI
BFP 12/22/17 - EDD 9/3/18
BFP 9/5/20 - EDD 5/17/21
treeofcheemtpeci

Re: Freezer Meals

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  • @skilledsailor I was thinking of making a couple of pasta dishes like stuffed shells, lasagna and baked penne. I’m also thinking a couple things of soup and chili because they tend to freeze pretty well. I’m not overly worried about the first week or so because I think people will bring us food. I mostly worried about week 2 and beyond when the food stops coming and we live too far from much to make take out an easy option.
    southernlady07treeofcheemjumpy57nlc8424
  • This might be a silly question but how do you know how to re-heat it? Do you defrost it in the fridge first? Man I feel like such a newb 

    Me: 31   H:32
    TTC #1 Since 5/17
    BFP 7/14/17 - CP
    RE Dx: MFI, Unilateral Tubal Blockage
    12/17 - Clomid + TI
    BFP 12/22/17 - EDD 9/3/18
    BFP 9/5/20 - EDD 5/17/21
    knottiebefa3966f8faa585tpeci
  • @SkilledSailor I usually defrost things like soups, beans, etc. in the fridge overnight and bread products in the microwave for a bit. I believe lasagnas, etc. can go straight in the oven from frozen but may depend on the recipe. 
    Me: 32   DH: 32
    BFP #1: 1/23/2012  DD: Born 9/20/2012  <3
    BFP #2: 12/30/2017  DS: Due 9/10/2018  <3


    SkilledSailor
  • stothistothi member
    This might be a silly question but how do you know how to re-heat it? Do you defrost it in the fridge first? Man I feel like such a newb 
    This is my biggest question too.
    SkilledSailor
  • stothi said:
    This might be a silly question but how do you know how to re-heat it? Do you defrost it in the fridge first? Man I feel like such a newb 
    This is my biggest question too.
    It depends on the meal. Some can go straight to the oven or crock pot, but many do better if they are thawed overnight in the fridge. 
    stothijumpy57nlc8424
  • For reheating I put my pasta dishes in aluminum pans so I just heat them from frozen in the oven. Typically around 350 for an hour-ish. I just check them to make sure they are warm all the way through. 

    For soup I sometimes freeze it in individual size glass containers so I either thaw in the fridge first or I reheat from frozen in the microwave. If it is soup in a ziplock bag (food for 2 or more) I thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat in a pot. 
    stothiSkilledSailornlc8424
  • stothi said:
    I'm an Instant Pot junkie. Anyone have good freezer meal prep ideas for the Instant Pot? I feel like that something my husband could handle being in charge of.
    I’m planning on buying an IP and putting meals into freezer bags and whatever I decide on “cooking” just throwing it in the IP and it being done 30 min later. There are a lot of FB groups (if you are on SM) that have IP recipes too. 


    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

    BFP#1: 11/15/2010 * Missed M/C 12/28 * D&C 12/29/2010
    BFP#2: 3/31/2011 * IT'S A GIRL! * Born 11/17/2011
    BFP#3 CP 11/15/2014 
    BFP#4 9/3/2015 * Team Green turned PINK * Born 05/16/2016
    BFP#5 12/26/2017 *SURPRISE* Due 09/02/2018
    stothiSkilledSailortreeofcheem
  • iba34iba34 member
    We bought a small chest freezer from Home Depot and have been working on filling it. So far we have: gumbo, jambalaya, pesto (just the sauce), lentil soup, banana blueberry muffins, and veggie lasagna. We don't eat very much meat and finding vegetarian freezer meals to make has been a little bit more of a challenge. But I also decided not to worry too much about whether the meals we're making are the BEST EVER frozen, as long as they don't turn totally gross. A lot of what we're still planning to make are things that we normally eat for dinner. 
    jumpy57SkilledSailortreeofcheem
  • Last time around I made a bunch and it was wicked helpful! It was nice to not have to worry about what we were eating because it was the last thing on my mind. Plan for this time:

    muffins
    buy a big pack of waffles and French toast sticks

    taco meat
    meatballs
    lasagna
    stuffed shella
    chilli
    Then crockpot meals to freeze; chicken, a sauce, veggies
    mauishaySkilledSailor
  • @stothi @SkilledSailor depends on timing for us. All our freezer meals (exception of meatballs) are made in the slow cooker first, so if I have time then I just put the frozen meal in the slow cooker. If I need it faster then it goes on the stove. 

    Allrecipes.com has a whole slow cooker section and we use that site a lot.
    on my list to make:
    buffalo chilli
    Chicken chilli
    mexican beef
    pulled pork
    chicken and dumplings 
    another batch of baked meatballs 

    The proteins like pulled pork are great on tacos, sandwiches, nachos, etc..
    stothiSkilledSailortreeofcheem
  • I know Pioneer Woman has a lot of freezer-friendly options. I’m going to look up some of those recipes. 

    I didnt think it was too much of a pain to simply pull out a meal to thaw the day before and then cook it the following evening. A lot of meals do well going straight to the oven from freezer as well. 

    I’m going to take a day off work in August and make a ton of freezer meals that day. Some things that generally freeze well include:

    shepherds pie
    stuffed shells 
    lasagna (all kinds)
    enchiladas
    shredded preseasoned meats for tacos
    french bread pizzas
    a lot of soups and chili
    pulled pork
    goulash
    Some pasta sauces

    We will definitely be partaking in lots of takeout, as well, I’m sure!

    SkilledSailornlc8424spottedginger
  • My plan is to menu plan as usual and do Sandi Richards cookbooks as they are step by step and my husband can theoretically follow them.    Also, our church MAY provide us some freezer meals and I MAY do a freezer cooking meal thing with a friend.

    With my first (and I think subsequent) I found the time right before birth the time I least felt like cooking, even more so than after the birth.  
    Daughter #1 - Feb 2012
    Daughter #2 - Oct 2014
    Daughter #3 - Nov 2016
    Baby #4 - Sept 2018
    treeofcheem
  • Thank you everyone for sharing your freezer meal tips! I'm feeling much more confident about it all! I'm almost looking forward to tackling freezer meals this weekend.



    Me: 31   H:32
    TTC #1 Since 5/17
    BFP 7/14/17 - CP
    RE Dx: MFI, Unilateral Tubal Blockage
    12/17 - Clomid + TI
    BFP 12/22/17 - EDD 9/3/18
    BFP 9/5/20 - EDD 5/17/21
    nlc8424spottedgingerWishilivedinflorida
  • treeofcheemtreeofcheem member
    edited July 2018
    @iba34 We try to eat meatless once a week (although I've been slipping on that a lot lately because meatless meals that MH and daughter won't complain about are harder to figure out!) and I was just thinking that those are harder to figure out as freezer meals! Veggies get mushy so easily. Beans and certain grains hold up pretty well to the freezing/thawing/reheating, though, and sometimes the vegetable texture doesn't really matter, like anywhere I'd feel fine using frozen veggies anyways.

    These are some I'm looking at:

    https://iowagirleats.com/2015/02/23/cheesy-mushroom-broccoli-quinoa-casserole/ - we've had this but never frozen it
    https://www.africanbites.com/curry-chana-aloo/ - I know this freezes and reheats fine, because it wasn't a dinnertime hit but I really liked it so I froze extra for lunches
    https://www.girlsgonechild.net/2013/04/eat-well-gigandes-plaki-insert-pun-here.html - I would prep this up until right before the final bake and freeze at that point. I've frozen it after it's totally cooked and it worked out OK, it's just a little hard to handle.
    https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/recipe/smoky-black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chili-1/5626a64542366570049980d4 - Another one I've actually frozen, works out fine
    https://drizzleanddip.com/2015/09/21/easy-pork-pies-with-sage-and-apple - These aren't vegetarian, but I want to try them with seasoned lentils instead of the pork
    And cauliflower fried "rice" - I don't have a good recipe for that one, but I think if I rice the cauliflower, then throw it in a container with the veggies and just season and add eggs when we cook it on the stove it would work pretty well
    2/13 Blighted ovum, D&C -- 6/13 MC -- 8/14 DD born -- 3/17 MC -- 9/18 DD2 born
    Expecting again -- EDD 7/27/20
  • adiratadirat member
    @spottedginger Yep that's my plan! It's also easy to sneak spinach or another veggie into the egg to make it a little healthier. 


    nlc8424southernlady07spottedgingerWishilivedinflorida
  • Last time around I made some freezer meals, but then figured out frozen Trader Joe’s meals were way yummier than anything I could cook, and I didn’t have to make them. Plus they were super cheap, and healthier than like casseroles. I haven’t thought about what I am doing this time around. I’m not quite at the point in this pregnancy to be planning stuff like that.. it hasn’t hit me yet. 
    dexnie
  • @adirat Frozen breakfast sandwiches were the only way I survived mornings at first. I used turkey sausage to make it healthier (and used reduced fat cheese) and they were delish. I’m seriously planning on making at least 15-20 this time. 
    adirattreeofcheem
  • iba34iba34 member
    @treeofcheem Thanks for those suggestions! I have a similar issue where I like a lot of vegetarian dishes more than my husband does. He has been thrilled that I've been eating more meat during my pregnancy, and is hoping the trend will continue postpartum...
    treeofcheem
  • I have been working on freezer meals! When I had DS1, my biggest struggle when he was a newborn  was breakfast food. I hate cereal and didn't have the time or desire to cook anything first thing in the morning. I could usually get my ish together to plan something out and cook for dinner but breakfast was a struggle the first few weeks so I have made, cut,  and individually froze 4 different quiches. I also made and froze some baked oatmeal cups and then stocked up on Jimmy Dean Delight breakfast sandwiches and pre-cooked sausage patties. All this I can pull out of the freezer and microwave for me and DS1 while feeding baby and making ALL THE COFFEE!  I will also make a few dinner meals but like I said, breakfast is my focus this time! 
    southernlady07treeofcheemSkilledSailor
  • We’ve been slowly working on getting our freezer stocked. So far we have a big batch of chili and some barbocoa. Working on shredded chicken today and hoping to put together some individual smoothie packs as well. I remember feeling really really low energy last time (understandably!) but I know now how much better I feel starting my day with fruits and vegetables, so I’m hopeful the smoothie packs will help with that.
    treeofcheemSkilledSailor
  • Last time DH was useless even with freezer meals. I think this time I will just make a lasagna and a big batch of meat sauce to freeze. To be honest I was all that hungry the weeks following my CS. I liked breakfast foods like cereal, oatmeal, muffins and pancakes. Last time I froze pancakes and muffins, so I will do that this time as well.  
  • My biggest struggle with a lot of freezer meals is that we don't have a microwave. That's right kiddos, we don't have a microwave. We haven't had one in probably 8 years and it has never been a concern, but now I am thinking we might want/need one? I really don't want one.

     I'm OK heating up the oven which is why we do the following: 

    As for vegetarian meals - 
    Sloppy Lenny's - https://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-sloppy-lentils/ the filling freezes really well. 
    Walnut Lentil Beet Burgers - https://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/250341/lentil-burgers/?socsrc=ewpin_lentilburgers&crlt.pid=camp.tKL5TkprSr59

    We also freeze chili and soups. I make this amazing Indian garlicky dal stew that takes some time to prep but freezes really well. Same with the aloo gobi that we make, it freezes well and we heat it in the oven. 

    We freeze stuff that goes into the oven in these: https://smile.amazon.com/Luxcathy-Disposable-Aluminum-Containers-60-Counts/dp/B077XDND4N/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1535303508&sr=8-7&keywords=disposable+oven+containers

    I like to buy that pack because it has 3 different sizes. I do lasagna, enchiladas and baked macaroni & cheese pretty frequently. 
    treeofcheem
  • @samd6 we mostly do slow cooker freezer meals. You prep everything and stick it in the freezer in a ziplock bag before cooking. Then just defrost over night, dump in the slow cooker come morning and by dinner it’s ready. No microwave required and no trying to time things to be ready at dinner timer. 
    SkilledSailor
  • @samd6 We don't really use the microwave for freezer meals, except maybe individually portioned things that I would eat for lunch. And for leftovers. We either heat/cook in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the slow-cooker.
    2/13 Blighted ovum, D&C -- 6/13 MC -- 8/14 DD born -- 3/17 MC -- 9/18 DD2 born
    Expecting again -- EDD 7/27/20
  • I found a Black Bean Taco Soup recipe that is amazing and some chicken recipes that were real easy to make and throw in a bag to freeze. Unfortunately H and I have eaten half of what we had frozen for when our girl gets here
    klj0228
  • lpq0309 said:
    I found a Black Bean Taco Soup recipe that is amazing and some chicken recipes that were real easy to make and throw in a bag to freeze. Unfortunately H and I have eaten half of what we had frozen for when our girl gets here
    I did this with my first (and subsequent I think).  I find that I feel less like cooking before baby arrives than after... I wouldn't feel too bad.
    Daughter #1 - Feb 2012
    Daughter #2 - Oct 2014
    Daughter #3 - Nov 2016
    Baby #4 - Sept 2018
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