Help! Tasty dishes that freeze well for after baby is born
I am due to have a baby in a few weeks and I want to stock my freezer with tasty dishes to eat when I'm too busy to cook. Does anyone have any ideas for tasty stews, braises, casseroles, etc. that freeze well? The more veggies/beans/whole grains the dish contains, the better, but we are not vegitarian and like chicken and beef and lamb, as well. I've made a big batch of each of my old standbys-- chicken cacciatore, chicken country captain, beef and been chili, caribbean rice and beans, etc.-- but I would love some new ideas.
Thanks in advance!!
I like to make soups for the freezer. One of our favorites is Southwestern Chicken. First, I simmer some chicken breasts in chicken broth with garlic, onions, cumin and ground oregano. When cooked through, remove the chicken to cool, then shred. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid.
Saute some minced garlic, chopped onions and chopped red pepper in olive oil. When onion is transparent, add reserved chicken broth. Add a can (or two) of crushed tomatoes, a can of (rinsed) black beans, a couple of handsful of frozen corn, a diced zucchini, and the shredded chicken. Add a sliced jalapeno (or two), cumin and ground oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer just until zucchini is cooked through. Cool & freeze. Freeze in a single-meal size microwavable container---no extra dishes needed when you're ready to eat this. Serve with corn muffins (which can also be made and frozen ahead of time).
I did a big cook/freeze for my best friend when she was having her baby because I couldn't be there after the birth. I made:
1) lentil soup/minestrone/beef barly soup frozen in muffin tins, then tossed into ziplock bags so they could heat up one, 2, 6 however many they needed
2) vegie pot pies (no potatoes in the filling--because they don't freeze well) in fairly large individual aluminium pie tins--after the filling in the tins was frozen I topped them with little squares of puff pastry and stowed them in a large flat tupperware container
3) lasagnes for two that I assembled and froze in bread pans (lined with that no-stick aluminium foil)--after they were frozen I removed the lasagne from the tins and wrapped for the freezer--told them to defrost/bake them in the original bread pans.
I am a student at the moment so I like to stock up on dishes pre-exam time.
How about some old classics like Beef Bourgounge (sp? sorry) or coq au vin.
Also, I freeze steaks, chicken etc. in a marinade to just be tossed on the grill when defrosted.
Another freezer item I make is fresh ravioli. It might be a little to involved for you at the moment if you have other kids etc. but I will take an afternoon and make a bunch of ravioli. I freeze them on cookie sheets and then bad in zip locks to just be boiled from frozen later on.
Last, what about some savoury pie fillings for chicken pot pie etc. When defrosted it is as easy as whipping up a biscut like topping, or using puff pastry and baking to reheat and cook the biscuits.
Not a particular one. I believe the last one I made was pretty simple...start with a roux, add chiken stock, veggies, and chicken pieces. I do remember though it called for a smidge of nutmeg which was quite good.
Youcould of course do this for beef pies as well which are nice comfort food to hole you up through the fall and winter.
how about quiches? If you're lazy you could even start with
premade pastry crusts.
Another stew I'm fond of is some lamb, veal, or pork stew meat
with root vegetables - primarily carrots and parsnips - and
some sherry. It's a little odd to make now, but you'll love it in the slightly chillier fall if you're a fan of parsnips.
beans or lentils with onion and kale - and meat if you want - is another simple one.