Maternity Leave - Make Now, Freeze, & Later Defrost & Eat
I am planning to go on maternity leave in the fall - and I thought I might start compiling a list of things I can cook before the baby and then easily defrost for dinner post-baby.
The criteria is doesn't take too much space in the freezer (since we have a bucket type freezer...and hence not alot of space) and reheats beautifully. Just because we'll be busy and tired doesn't mean we don't want tasty, nutritious food...
Some of the easy things I thought of already are:
Spaghetti sauce (made with summer's end tomatoes!)
Taco seasoned beef for a taco/burrito type bar
Minestrone soup contents (then just add stock)
Tourtiere (Quebec style meat pie)
(the problem is - do you see a theme - ground meat!)
Any other suggestions?
How about some stews. I like the mahogany beef stew on the epicurious site. Good in the fall months and nice over some noodles.
I was thinking soups and stews too, like homemade won ton soup. Make your wontons and freeze them individually, then drop into freezer bags. Freeze homemade Asian chicken broth. The day you want your soup, just add your fresh vegetables and dried herbs, and veggies. Scallions, dried mushrooms/clouds ear, julienne carrots, and you can add small strips of pork to the broth either before or after, ginger root coins, spinach or bok choy, whatever you like in your wonton soup. Add a bit of toasted sesame seed oil, soy sauce, and heat and eat. Made this for a good friend that traveled, she would put it together when she got in and had a craving for won ton soup. It's really good, and hits the spot!
Good ideas so far. Keep in mind, you don't necessarily need a large quanity if you supplement with a rice or fresh veg side. Only a few things don't freeze well--potatoes come to mind because they get mushy/grainy. I bet Trader Joe's frozen rices could help too--the brown rice (unseasoned) and jasmine rice would support any of the dishes mentioned. I have been in grad school so one dish meals out of the freezer have been a god send. It is worth buying a second fridge (second-hand-cheap) just for this reason...
- Chicken Paprikash
- Chicken Stews
- Lamb stews (curry or otherwise)
- Spanikopita (you can make it as a pie or as a roll/log type setting; freeze before cooking; bake it from a partial frozen state
- Chowders (seafood, fish, etc.)
- Sauces: puttanesca, curry, pesto, etc. (or just stock up from TJs--many are organic and preservative-free)
- Carnitas/Pulled Porks (Asian Char Siu, Cuban Roast, Carnitas)
- Legume/Vegetable stews (with lentils, for example)
Let others support you, too. Add directions to the container so someone else can prepare the food while you are napping.
I saw some cook now and freeze recipes that I'd actually eat in Clean Eating magazine a month ago. You might want to try that. Also Cook's Country has a make and freeze recipe every month and they are usually good (i.e. no condensed soup as ingredient).