Baby due in March- veg. dishes and baked goods to freeze? Ideas?
Our second kid is due mid-March, and I'm starting to mentally gear up for the cook-and-freeze-a-thon beforehand. I've been remembering what I liked last time and scanning old threads here for inspiration, and I've got a pretty meat-heavy list. I'm looking for veggie or low-meat mains that freeze well. I particularly remember not being able to use a knife or eat with two hands for at least two months, so anything liquidy is right out.
I'm also looking for freezable baked goods ideas- I do most of our bread baking, and have a couple of fallback quick bread recipes, but I'd like to expand my repetoire.
Our first kid has just been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, so I want to be as organised as possible about meals after the baby arrives- we're going to need a much stricter meal plan and meal schedule than last time (no eating the same chocolate cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this time round).
I admire you for your forethought! I freeze veggie chili, soups of all kinds -- beans, lentils, split peas, mushroom, minestrone -- ooh, that's my favorite, the Marcella Hazan recipe! -- etc. Spaghetti sauces, veggie stuffed cabbage (or with meat, it's pretty meat-light). Indian food often freezes well, and saag, with or without meat, is great. Also daal, chickpea stuff (channa masala, I think), etc., all stuff that's pretty liquid and can be eaten with a spoon but is hearty.
Oh, and congratulations!!!
Oops, whoops, I mis-read the liquidy part! But yanno, you can pour a lot of soups into a cup and sip/swill it down... is that too gross? Sorry, I thought you said liquidy was good.... I think I'd better go to bed. :)
In mugs might work, since the little one's got the hang of, "No! Hot!".
I'd like to do a bunch of veg curries, but I'm not sure how they'd freeze.
I'll probably do pumpkin, corn and cheese, and mixed berry muffins, and lots of the Dependable Coffee Cake recipe I've got that has silken tofu and whole wheat flour in it- delcious and high-protein. And stock up on granola.
Veg curries would be great -- in my experience they freeze really well as long as there is NO dairy in them. Dry curries, even biryanis freeze well, as well as wet/tomato-based curries. I've successfully frozen a really good navrataan korma without the cream, and ShowMeTheCurry.com has a massive bulk recipe for masala that you can freeze in zip-top bags and then use to make a variety of veg or non-veg dishes.
WRT your original question, I'd definitely do winter veg/bean combos. There's a great low-meat or meatless recipe I've done for stuffed acorn squash -- pre-steamed, then stuffed with a bit of sausage, black beans, caramelized onions, tomatoes, cumin, and garlic, topped with parmigiano and baked. BUT I think you could do it as a casserole with cubed squash, mixed with all those other things. It would be delicious over rice and all of those ingredients freeze really nicely.
Fresh homemade bread, especially whole wheat, freezes perfectly -- just be sure to seal it really well so it doesn't dry out. If you had ten loaves made before the baby came, you'd be able to take one out a week for over two months and have lovely toast with your tea or brekkie. Mm.
If you're looking for smooth soups you can sip from a mug, tomato bisque is all veg and super simple (as in 8 ingredients including seasonings simple!), and freezes well. I can post my recipe if you're interested.
1 medium onion, chopped
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
2-3 medium carrots, chopped or shredded
2 cans whole tomatoes in juice
2 T. fresh dill or 1 T. dried dill weed
Salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired
1/4-1/2 cup cream, if desired
Saute onions until translucent. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add carrots, tomatoes, dill, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Blend using hand blender or blend in batches in a regular blender. Return to pan and add cream. Adjust seasoning and serve. If it seems too bitey, you can add a pinch or two of sugar.
Stuffed acorn squash
3 medium acorn squash, halved and cleaned
1/4-1/2 pound sausage, any variety
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 t. cumin seed or 1/2 t. ground cumin
hot pepper sauce to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1- 1.5 cups shredded cheese (I use parmigiano or a mix of parm and gruyere)
Cook acorn squash by your preferred method. They steam in the microwave in about ten minutes. Meanwhile, brown sausage. Drain fat, reserving one tablespoon. Add reserved fat back to pan and saute onions until browned around the edges. Turn off heat and mix sausage, onions, beans, tomatoes and seasonings in pan. Place acorn squash cut side up in a casserole. Fill each squash half with stuffing, pressing it together firmly. Top with cheese and bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.
I just made and froze gallons of white bean soup w/ kale and (a little) sausage (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo..., but I brown the sausage first in the pan used for the rest of the soup)--it's more like a thick stew than a soup, especially once you re-heat. I also up the kale to make it a balanced meal in one bowl.
Pasta sauces are great--I have quantities of pesto frozen along w/ red sauces.
Seasoned black beans and salsas (at least tomatillo salsa) also freeze well and can be dumped in a bowl w/ a fried egg for a whole meal or combined w/ other things.
Quiches and similar tarts also freeze amazingly well. And I suspect a casserole/bake like this would, too, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo....
The best recipe has a great whole wheat bread recipe and the oatmeal variation on their white sandwich bread is delicious and freezes beautifully, including pre-sliced. I also make muffin recipes and quickbreads in loaf pans, pre-slice thickly, and freeze and find that these are easier to reheat/toast for breakfast than muffins.
Should you want some dessert, I also make cookies and freeze them raw on sheets of plastic wrap (eventually in ziploc bags) and then make "toaster cookies" to order over the next several months.
I'll be in your shoes in a few months and so thanks for starting this thread. And good luck--I hope you have a big freezer.
I have had a couple of issues with this. I generally round the baking temp down by about 25 degrees and up the baking time according to the size of the loaf pan. This usually results in 325-350 degree ovens and 40-60 min. bake time with a good bit of testing toward the end. That said, I also lean toward the recipes that incorporate carrots or apples/apple sauce, which may be closer to the moistness of quickbreads to start, and so they seem amenable to the adjustment. My worst case resulted in a slightly hearty crust on the bottom of a carrot/raisin/walnut loaf.
Baked pasta dishes can be prepped to the point of baking then frozen. Stuffed shells, lasagna, zitti caseroles... even mac-n-cheese all freeze well. Ravioli also freezes well and they're so easy to cook. Red sauces and pesto also freeze well.