Dinners that freeze well
DH and I are expecting our first baby in 5 weeks. I want to start freezing some dinners so we don't have to worry about cooking when we first get home. I know lasagna and soups/stews/chilis all freeze well. But what else can I make?? Please include recipes!!
If you have an outdoor grill, grilled cuts of beef like flank steak, round steak, chuck, etc. can be sliced after resting and cooling in the refrigerator. Wrap amounts of the sliced meat that the 2 of you will eat at a single meal and freeze the packs. I have stopped buying cold cuts due to the added ingredients and fat. When the aforementioned cuts of meat go on sale, I buy about 6 pounds (3 steaks) and grill them. They are used in sandwiches.
Another possibility is pulled pork. My wife and I are empty nesters. We buy a picnic shoulder, roast it in a covered roasting pan for about 7 hours at 250-275 degrees, let it cool, and then shred the meat. We get rid of the fat. Again, the pulled pork can be frozen in meal-sized packs. When you wish to serve the meat, make a thin BBQ sauce in which the defrosted meat is to be reheated. Serve on crusty rolls.
Look up BBQ sauce recipes on the internet. There are loads of them to be found.
There are tons of discussions about this topic on Chow. If you search for "new mom," you'll have quite a list.
The only thing I will warn you against freezing is potatoes, especially if they are in soup or stews. They get very spongy and soggy when thawed. Make your stew and freeze, but boil or micro a potato, chop and add to the reheated dish before serving.
I love to freeze stuffed peppers. I cut them in half and blanche for about three minutes~ let them cool slightly, stuff them, ( I use chicken, spanish rice and black beans) put them on a tray in the freezer to completely chill, and then wrap them.
When my mom had back surgery last year, I filled her freezer with these, mini lasagnas, and even some burritos~ I did some breakfast ones (egg, sausage, mushroom, or egg, ham, peppers) and also some using basically the same filling I do for peppers.
You can also pound out some chix breasts or buy them already thin and roll up ham and cheese (or something else creative, skys the limit on this), roll it up and freeze them individually. You can take them out and bake them frozen (I think it was 40 min, 350).
Make mini meatloafs (enough for two) or my favorite salmon loafs.
Buy a frozen bag of sea scallops and just take out what you'll eat and just broil with minimal herbs, roast vegies at the same time - not much prep time for roasting and you've got a nice dinner without the effort.
Congrats and enjoy, there are no do overs with kids - enjoy every moment.
meatloaf is a great idea.
casseroles in general do well frozen.
i'd freeze preportioned baggies of pasta sauce (marinara, pesto, etc.), so that you can just defrost and heat, and cook up some pasta in the meantime.
you'll probably want to have some stuff that can be eaten one-handed... freeze some muffins, preportioned batches of oatmeal, some empanadas or some sort of stuffed pastry pocket, etc.
stuffed chicken breasts
enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos
chicken marbella or marsala
get the TJ's boxes of jasmine or brown rice (also couscous is really easy to make - hot water, 5 minutes, voila!)
sure you'll get much more!