The baby will be here in May, what should I be cooking?
I don't want to resort to mac and cheese and pizza everynight, but with the arrival of my first child I don't think I'll be spending much time at the stove. So far I am planning on making some ravioli, maybe rilletttes, a couple of long simmered pasta sauces. I need other ideas to stuff the freezer!
Hi Merkin! Congrats on the baby first of all. Secondly, in addition to what the previous poster suggested, make a couple big batches of stock and freeze em into cubes or cups and then you're not using boxed stock when you do get a chance to cook! Good luck with rest of the pregnancy! -aecs
Fun! I had a baby in August. Actually, I found I had more inclination to cook than expected-- not complicated things though. So we used fewer of our pre-made meals than I expected. Next time I'll do more short cut things, like freezing stock, roasted chicken, dough for pie/quiche crusts. Frozen pesto was also good, though we had access to lots of basil since it was summer. An all-purpose tomato sauce would be good. And some trail mix would also be good to have on-hand for the nursing appetite! Breads would also be good if you make your own-- they freeze well and you will likely not have time for that level of baking. Enjoy the final months of your pregnancy-- you have some exciting times ahead!
I have to say that I felt that I wanted to cook a lot, too. My mind went numb just looking after my baby all day, so in addition to caring for her, I did a lot of other tasks to make the day fly by. I cooked a lot, actually. And sorted my dresser drawers and other stuff. I think those frozen meals are useful only those first 10 days or so when you feel like you've been hit by a truck after giving birth (my whole body ached from all the straining and pushing)---longer than 10 days if you have a C-section, I suppose. I also second the pasta sauces. I make and freeze bolognaise, meatballs, stuff like that. I also make and freeze lentil dishes to eat with rice, stuff like that. If you like BBQ, you can order or make some and stick it in the freezer for that time, too. Oh, one last thing, right after giving birth for the first week or so, you should try to eat soft, less seasoned foods cuz hard stools, especially spicy, could be painful, especially if you end up having an episiotomy. I ate a lot of veggies in broth, oatmeal, and dried fruit for those first few days. Does your partner cook?
Many congratulations and may you have an easy delivery!
Congratulations- I had to wait all thru the hot summer being huge- glad this is not your fate...
I agree with the other poster who said they used less than they planned on- once you have the baby- you'll be suprised how much "Super Mom" hormone comes crashing thru- I thought I'd need so much help, in all areas, and it wasn't true. I took pride in cooking simple meals with my baby in the bassinet in the kitchen.
I found having pasta and sauces, lots of fresh veggies, and sirlion kebabs kept me happy and nursing like a tropper thru the first 6 months- then you start making food for you and the baby- so then you go veggie/puree stage.
What I'd be doing, is making suggestions to your friends and family on what you'd like brought to you once the baby is here- my friend just had her 4th (bless her) and I was emailed a request list of WE ARE HUNGRY-PLEASE SEND FOOD!! I sent over a meatloaf and roasted potatoes- devoured lickity split I am told.
Again- congrats and good luck. It is such a rewarding experience!
Congratulations, merkin. You might want to do a search on this board for some other threads on this subject.
Unlike some of the other posters, I did not have the hormonal power surge after birth. I was drained and, despite being overjoyed at having a long-awaited child, had a bit of baby blues. Cooking did not interest me. This is all by way of saying that you should be prepared to NOT want to cook for a while. If I may make another suggestion, then that would be to have the food ready a couple of weeks before the due date, because you never know...
We had pasta sauces, chili, various marinated chicken recipes (defrost and bake), and plenty of home-baked pies and cookies (more for the stream of visitors than for us). The "Once-a-Month Cooking" websites might have some useful recipes for you, if you're inclined to make larger batches. You might want to dig out the slow-cooker and the rice-cooker too - both great tools for the busy mom. Also, make sure you have things around that you can eat with one hand - good-quality granola bars, for instance. I'm not going to lie to you, merkin, I even drank those awful tasting meal replacement drinks for a while too. Nursing makes you really hungry.
I also heartily second the advice from the poster who suggested asking friends for food. You will have plenty of people calling you to ask what you need. Suggest food, and don't be shy about it.
All the best with your birth experience and as a new mom.
Actually, having cookies and such on-hand for visitors is a great suggestion. It's nice to be able to just pull something out when folks come over. And sometimes it's nice to be able to invite people over for dinner when you need adult contact, rather than going to them. Your pre-made meals might make it possible for you to socialize a bit with friends at your place which will make you feel more normal--it's not quite like dinner parties pre-baby, but it works. Of course, even better would be having friends bring dinner to you and then stay to share! I must agree with fatima that you want to be careful with your system those first few weeks. Lots of water and mild, fiber-rich foods. I got really into doing steel-cut oatmeal in the crock pot. It's so easy and oatmeal is really good for your milk supply. Here' s a recipe link:
For the slow cooker (all models are different, so experiment a bit with yours to see what amount of liquid/time works):
One for the stovetop, good but takes more watching:
I had the inclination, but not the time (baby wouldn't sleep) to cook. Very jealous of those of you who did. I had made a lot of stews, braised mains, soups and stuck them in the freezer, then pulled out one every week so that we'd be sure to have at least one homey meal. I did a lot of those quick meals from gourmet and bon ap. for the first couple of months - those often really do work well.
Congratulations! Before my 2nd baby was born in December, I made and froze lasagna (frozen in single serving squares), meatloaf (frozen in slices), turkey stew, lamb stew, meatballs and I also froze some cubed, uncooked turkey - mostly because i had just gotten some turkey thighs at the farmers market. That was all I could fit in my freezer, and it lasted us a few weeks untul i was ready to start cooking again. I put pureed spinach and eggplant in my lasagna and meatloaf so that if i couldn't manage a vegetable, we were at least getting a little...
How exciting, best of luck! I am one of those who thought I'd cook often after the baby arrives, but my little one had other plans for my time. I think a lot depends on your baby's temperment. Since mine wanted to be carried at all times, and became rather fussy weeks 6-12, I was very grateful to have lots stored in the freezer. (he's a doll now, lots of fun, but still likes to be carried.) Here's what I was happy to have:
muffins are great for one-handed eating. I love the Morning Glories, Great Grains, and Pumpkin muffins from Dorie Greenspan's baking books.
Meat stews: Loved the rich flavors of Beef Daube, as well as a beef w/ dried fruits.
Veggie Chili--Great for those days when I wanted a break from stewed meats.
White Chicken Chili
Koftes, Indian Chickpeas, Indian Spinach and Potatoes dish. Great for change of tastes.
Lasagna--nice to have on hand, but was given lots
Minestrone soup, Pistou soup--froze w/o pasta, added later
Bread--wonderful to have nice homemade bread
Bean soups w/ veggies--it was hard to get those veggies in the first few months
Congrats, and good luck!
My first is due in April and have saved several threads referring to this specific topic. Here they are:
I'll be honest, I haven't frozen anything yet! Most of the suggestions are for freezing comfort foods, casseroles, stews, soups. Come April I'll be sick of stews and braised meats, and wanting to take advantage of great fresh produce. So I'm struggling with that. Good luck to you - and to me!
Congrats on the baby on the way! I would second the posters who said they didn't have the time or energy to cook. My son had his days and nights TOTALLY reversed for the first 4 months, so I didn't cook much of anything - I was just too tired. In addition to the stews, soups, sauces, etc... I really recommend having baked good that you can thaw and eat without ANY cooking - muffins, breakfast breads, etc... And some mini quiches are easy to re-heat. And stock up on nuts and dried fruit they you can eat by the handful!
I would suggest that you make whatever are your personal favourites. In my view anyone taking care of a new baby gets to eat what they want. So make single sized portions of your favourites so you can have good food when you are home alone with the baby.
But if you are breastfeeding, avoid spicy foods and too much onions. I think every nursing mom learned the hard way when they ate something spicy or gassy and had a sleepless baby about 24 - 30 hours later.
I would also suggest avoiding anything with nuts because there is substantial evidence that both pregnant and nursing moms should avoid nuts to lower the risk of nut allergies in baby.
I ate spicey and onions with both my kids and never had an issue. My first had a milk protein allergy, so I couldn't have dairy. Every baby is different, so I wouldn't stress too much. But, if you have a strong family history of food allergies, nuts are now considered a no-no, but only if you have a strong family history of any food allergies (as in hives or anaphalaxis).
I second the idea of muffins and such, because breakfast was really tough with my first. I was so hungry by the morning and he wanted to nurse right away. I just ate toast for months in the morning - and prunes, but that is a different story...
I would suggest freezing parts to things, for instance sauces in individual serving (freeze in muffin tins), so you can quickly top pasta, or a mole for mexican food, etc. Brown rice is also something nice to freeze so you don't have to wait for dinner.
But I found that I could cook, just nothing too complicated. I just needed something to get me through the first couple of weeks, and then super quick meals worked for me.
when my sister had her baby, my mother and i stocked her freezer full of double servings of steamed rice, double servings of mashed potatoes, and double servings of noodles. this allowed her to just concentrate on making a stir-fry, a steak, or a pasta sauce without worrying about having to make an entire meal for her and her husband.
also, my mother swears by the korean cure-all seaweed soup, especially for women who have just given birth. both my mother and my sister had c-sections and healed much more quickly by eating this soup everyday. her husband liked it too mixed w/ a little rice.
and a recipe closer to the one my mom uses:
I was lucky -- my best friend gave birth two weeks before I did. We spent almost every M-F together that first year, much of that time cooking. One of us would watch the kids while the other shopped. (I found marketing more difficult than cooking after the baby's arrival.) Since my friend's son was colicky and my daughter didn't sleep through the night for the first nine months, the support we were able to give each other was priceless. Cooked some damned good food, too.
My baby is currently six weeks old. I had a c-section, so I am only now really starting to have energy to cook again. We're actually just running out of stuff I froze beforehand. If you're breastfeeding, stock up on things you can eat one-handed and that don't drip. I highly, HIGHLY suggest baking a lot of nutritious muffins and homemade granola bars or turnovers. Sandwiches. Stew and casseroles and mild curry. Pasta sauce in two serving containers.Don't assume you'll be using a knife and fork together a lot, and I find thin soups slosh too much.
Meat sauce with lots of veggies
Black bean soup
I wish I'd made:
Focaccia and pizza
Good luck, safe delivery, and enjoy. Having a baby is a huge amount of fun!