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Cooking before giving birth

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A friend of mine is going to be giving birth to twins around December. It got me thinking how busy she would be after the twins were born, and what she could do now to save time then. Does anyone have any experience cooking and freezing homemade dinners in advance of giving birth? I've done a little searching on this subject here on Chowhound, but haven't come up with anything.

I was thinking that some of the best items would be stews, soups, casseroles, etc. Basically anything that freezes well. Any suggestions?

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  1. Here's a good place to start:
    http://www.chow.com/search?query=free...

    1 Reply
    1. re: blue room

      thanks. I had a brain fart and did not think to search for "freeze well."

    2. You'll get a great deal of help on this topic, but I do want to mention that I've thrown some successful "freezer showers," two weeks before the birth: every woman attending brought a homemade frozen meal, labelled, with instructions, or a gift certificate good for a dinner at the recipient's request, delivered to the home. You're right on the money, though: soups, stews, and casseroles are all good.

      9 Replies
      1. re: mamachef

        OMG what a fantastic idea! mamachef, how do I hint that I'd like someone to throw me a freezer shower?

        I love the idea of these Martha Stewart freezer recipes, but I have to be honest and admit I've never cooked a single one of them. But the ones that really appeal are the ones like the lasagna or mini meatballs that go straight from freezer to oven and do not need any thawing time.

        http://www.marthastewart.com/274277/f...

        Edited to add more links:

        http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_men...

        http://www.epicurious.com/articlesgui...

        http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searc...

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          Well, it's a friend giving the shower, right? Funnily enough, it was my cousin Lore in MN who introduced me to the concept, and as long as it wasn't a FIRST baby, I never looked back. Just you tell her what will help you out most - NOT another onesie set, not a silver baby spoon - Food! That you don't have to do anything to but thaw or heat!
          (You could just direct her to this site, too - bet she'll get the hint!)

          1. re: mamachef

            Why not for a first baby?

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Oh, just because a first-time mom probably really wants all the gimcracks and fun of a regular baby shower, you know? I know w/ my first, I wanted ALL of it: plus, I had done some planning ahead, so not such an issue w/ the food. By the second, I didn't need more stuff and had zero energy....and by the third, in five years? All bets off. Had I not been given those freezer showers, we'd have lived off cereal and milk for months. :)

              1. re: mamachef

                Fair enough. It is hard to ooh and aahh over a tray of mac and cheese. The onesies are a lot cuter. Chowhound that I am, I think I'd still put a really good mac and cheese ahead of a set of onesies...even for my first.

                ETA: but, now that I think about it, it might not be as fun for the gal throwing the shower if it's a first baby...

                ~TDQ

            2. re: mamachef

              Sorry, so many questions. How did people package the food? Was everything in aluminum trays? I'm sorry, I'm like a pitbull on this idea. I've grabbed on and am not letting go!

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                We used either disposable aluminum trays, or pyrex that we made a gift of; no need to return the dish.
                One GREAT freezer shower meal is a meatloaf mixture rolled around a stuffing of spinach, mushrooms and breadcrumbs; frozen and then baked from frozen in it's foil wrapper.

                1. re: mamachef

                  That sounds fantastic! Thank you again, mamachef. Your Minnesotan cousin is really smart. ;-).

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Most people from MN are. :)

        2. Beef stew, pasta sauce for future, quick cooking pasta dishes (known as 'gravy' to some people), pulled pork for sandwiches (if there is no food law against pork), beef pot roast, vegetable lasagna, just to name a few. Frozen vegetables cook quickly in a microwave so they can be given in their packaging.

          1. I found another interesting link. I haven't tried any of these recipes personally:

            http://www.thesisterscafe.com/2010/08...

            ~TDQ

            1 Reply
            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Freezer quiche:

              http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/quiche/d...

              Rachel Ray freezer to oven recipes:

              http://www.rachaelray.com/recipe.php?...
              http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/food/re...

              ~TDQ

            2. Such a great idea! I would definitely stock the freezer and, if you have time, bring over some food that's ready to eat without needing to be defrosted. After my daughter was born, my friend brought a tray of mac and cheese and it was amazing. Also, when I bring an entree, I bring sides, too, so that it's really no work at all. For my last friend who had a baby, I brought her a rice gratin that can be prepped in advance and then just baked, a bagged salad kit and a loaf of bread fo them to eat that night (or the next day), as well as an extra trader joe's meal (microwaveable fish, I think?) with a bag of frozen brown rice and frozen veggies. I have also brought over enchilada filling, tortillas and sauce (all of which can be frozen separately, or just use canned sauce). I also brought sweet and salty stuff to munch on. Food that be grabbed and placed directly into one's face is highly appreciated in those early crazy days.

              1. Before each of my kids was born I made a few freezer meals (lasagnes, soups, etc. - mostly items that I purposefully made double of, so I could stick an extra in the freezer, I did).

                Also, my community tends to organize and provide a number of meals to families after a birth. With each of my kids I got 10-20 meals that were prepared for us. I regularly make meals for other families with babies. I think it's one of the nicest gifts possible to get a hot fresh meal!