Preparing for a baby!
I am expecting soon and I am looking for some delicious recipes that freeze well for long periods of time. Soups, baked dishes, basics that can be heated and spiced up. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :) My hope is to be able to eat yummy homecooked meals as long as possible after delivering without having to work too many hours in the kitchen.
I know many soups freeze well, but some just freeze better than others... Only restrictions are no pineapple, shellfish or mushrooms (yes, I have annoying allergies!).
I've been freezing meals for dinners lately, here are some I've enjoyed (that froze well):
*Chicken Chili (I doubled this recipe one time with 2 chickens, and then one time I doubled the recipe but used one chicken and twice as many beans. This is my favorite!!):
*Beef and Barley soup (my bf's favorite):
*Lean Lasagna (ok):
*Curried Lentil Soup:
*Pea and Barley Soup (This one I cooked the barley in the soup, so I added 3-4 C more broth):
*Shells and Cheese (I've made this one with the turkey, and I've also made it without the turkey but with double the artichokes and more ricotta...delicious either way! This is another family favorite):
In my experience (3x) it depends on the kids. #1 seemed to have issues with peppers of any kind, #2 wasn't bothered by a thing and #3 had an on again off again issue with curry. It's hard to say if it really was the food. I think if Mum eats like she did while carrying the little one she should be fine.
When I last cooked for an expectant Mom I made things that could be eaten out of hand/mug - pureed soups, empanaditas, muffins, and granola bars. The muffins and granola bars I brought fresh, the empanaditas and soups were frozen with the instructions on how to reheat taped to the container.
congrats to start!
you may also consider some breakfast things too... like pre-portioned steel-cut oats, muffins, waffles, etc. that can be tossed in the toaster or microwave and eaten one handed...
i might also suggest freezing some chicken/meats in marinade if you feel like broiling, you can.
some homemade burger patties (chicken, turkey, beef, veggie, whatever you prefer!)
the fix-ins/deconstructed for pizza -- dough, sauce, prepped veggies then you can easily bake
Congratulations! How exciting for you, and smart advance-planning will be such a boon to you because you're going to be tired as hell. My suggestions, without knowing exact preferences, is that you make and freeze two meatloaves. At the same time you're making those, you could double up on the amount of mixture that you'd make for that and make meatballs which you can either freeze separately and then throw into some jarred pasta sauce or freeze in a wine gravy or sweet/sour sauce or make meatball subs out of. You can make a tomato sauce base and a white or cheese sauce base and freeze it so that you have instant pasta options; thaw sauce, heat, throw in hot pasta and maybe some chicken or vegies; dinner's done. Teriyaki chicken, fried chicken and potpie all freeze well; make a double portion of potpie filling and freeze one container to thin w/ broth for potpie soup; you can serve it in a bread bowl. Chile con carne and in fact most bean and grain dishes taste good; you could make some baked beans to freeze and serve them w/ seared sausages for dinner or just mix sausage, bacon or ham into it for a one-dish meal. Briskets, roasts and the like that you've pre-pared and sliced will freeze very successfully. All cream soups freeze well, but it makes more sense to make the bases for them (everything but the milk or cream) and then use it to reconstitute. A taco soup would also freeze well (ground beef, black beans, tomatoes, onions, garlic, beef broth and taco seasoning mix; serve it with shredded cheese and sour cream and slice up some onions and avocadoes and you're good to go. One thing that helped me a lot (because you will find that mornings are crazy) was to make several breakfast sandwiches or burritos and freeze them (english muffin, scrambled egg, bacon crumbles and cheese. If you freeze these they will reheat in the microwave in less than a minute. It would be good for you to keep some low-salt nuts around for protien snacking; also string cheese, yogurts, maybe a bowl of cut vegies and a bowl of cut fruit to just have on the fly. A few more casseroles that will work, and you'll hear this again and again, are: Tamale Pie, mac and cheese, Shepard's Pie filling that you add potatoes to when you are ready to bake it; Lasagne, chicken enchiladas. Since vegies have a high water content it is best to cook them before freezing; ratatouille and plain garlic-roasted vegetables would work out. The most important thing will be to package everything properly, label and date it; anything you make with meat or poultry or cream should be eaten within 3-4 months. Don't skimp on container quality or wrapping goods; buy HEAVY aluminum foil and wrap everything twice. If you'd like actual recipes i'd rather communicate by e-mail, but would be happy to get them to you if you let me know you want them. Good Luck!! (Oh, and one more thought...if anyone offers to give you a baby shower, have the hostess to instruct them to bring either a gift or a frozen dinner; that was my most successful shower EVER!)
Congratulations! I'm in the same boat and already thinking of what I can prep ahead of time (luckily I'm due in the winter so stews and soups would be perfect). Chili, Beef Stew, Lasagna and I'll be canning tomato sauce while freezing some meatballs. My problem is my freezer is just so big that I don't think I can stock up that much. My parents have an extra full size freezer so assuming I can use that as well other things on my list include corn chowder; meatloaf, chicken pot pie, chicken piccata, chicken marsala, and quiche.
I have successfully frozen chicken and turkey noodle soup minus the noodles. They turn to mush when thawed. I frankly have been skipping the noodles entirely and adding lentils. If you really want the noodles, cook them after thawing the soup, put them in the serving bowl and add the soup on top. I have frozen lentil/sausage soup, bean soup, pozole, split pea soup, actually all soups that are pureed freeze quite well. Albondigas (Mexican meatball) soup does not freeze well because the meatballs tend to break up. Here is a site that has a lot of good soup recipes:
To conserve freezer space, I would recommend making homemade stock/broth and heavily reducing it, then returning the meat to it before freezing. Then when you want soup you can dilute, add vegetables and starches, etc., to make a fresh pot of soup. When I make macaroni&cheese I bake it in small pyrex containers which have lids, so I can freeze it in 1-2 portion amounts. It does very well in the freezer. So does corned beef hash, chili, stews (minus potatoes - cook and add those when serving).
This year I'm on a kick with canning, pickling, drying and freezing.
I came across this pdf that seems to answer your question on freezing prepared foods for long periods, which I haven't gone through completely.
I've had good luck with freezing cooked pasta (lasagnas), cooked casseroles and roasted meats (ham or beef).
Congratulations! Just one suggestion on freezing soups. I routinely make cream soups - cream of broccoli, cream of cauliflower, butternut squash or pumpkin, etc, usually using the recipe in Julia Child's The Way to Cook - and always freeze the base alone, then add cream or half and half as I reheat the soup. This keeps the soup compact in the freezer and prevents curdling.