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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Freezable Meals for Life with a Newborn

by Tonya

I'm expecting my second baby in the next couple weeks, and I am in full-on nesting mode. I want to clean and organize the entire house and prepare in every way I can before the little guy is born. I always read about pregnant women scrubbing their baseboards, which is something that does not occur to me, but there are plenty of things I do want to accomplish. 

Things that are on my list, and some that we've recently crossed off include:

  • Finish making curtains for the Baby Boy's room
  • Finish making a quilt for each kid
  • Make some snuggly fleece blankets for the kids
  • Convince the Little Girl to move out of the nursery and into her toddler room
  • Move all her toys, clothes and books into her new room
  • Install the baby carseat in my car
  • Wash the dust out of the baby bathtub
  • Finish packing my hospital bag and put it in the car, along with a trash bag and towel to sit on 
  • Wash baby clothes, burp cloths, bedding


and


  • Stock the freezer with homemade food so we don't have to eat cereal or takeout every night 


I've already made some chicken enchiladas, but even though I love them, I won't want to eat them every day. So I forced myself to choose some other recipes to make in bulk and freeze in reasonably sized portions. I'm sure we will still eat our share of pizza, takeout and cereal, but at least we'll have some homemade options, too. I intend to add salads or other veggies on the side.

Here's what I've made over the past couple weekends. 

Beef Empanadas from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn
Chicken hand pies from Mad Hungry
Spinach-feta pockets from Mad Hungry

Chicken soft tacos 
~ I just wrapped up cooked, shredded chicken with salsa and cheese in tortillas

Beef soft tacos
~ I made a double batch of the empanada filling from above and rolled it up with cheese in tortillas

Chocolate chip cookies (some with pecans)
Peanut butter cookies
~ To freeze cookie dough, make it as you normally do. Then roll the dough into balls, place them on a cookie sheet and freeze them for an hour. This way, they won't stick together in the freezer bag. Transfer the dough balls to a freezer bag or container (write or tape the baking instructions on the bag so you don't have to find the recipe later). When baking, you should only have to add a minute or two to the baking time. 


And I might still make meatballs, though my energy is seriously flagging these days. 

I'm no expert on freezer meals, but I have a couple tips to share:
1. Freezer bags really do work better than regular zipper bags to prevent freezer burn.

2. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing the bag. You can even zip it most of the way, insert a straw and suck out the extra air. 

3. Mashed potatoes have not frozen well for me.

4. Meat will be best if you only freeze it once (so use fresh meat to make freezer meals for best results).

Do you have any favorite freezer recipes? 

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