In the months leading up to the arrival of my son, I was feverishly cooking as much as I could to put in the freezer. Freezer meals are fantastic to have on hand with a new babe. Pop one of your prepped meals in a slow cooker or oven and dinner is done (often with enough for lunch the next day too!)
Here are a few tips and tricks I learned:
If the pasta is fully cooked before going in the freezer, it will be soggy when the meal is reheated. I found cooking half the amount of recommended time worked like a charm.
Ziploc Bags (or vacuum sealer)
Put the food in the bag, lay it flat to freeze, and then you can stand them up like books in your freezer. This saves so much space, and it is very fast to thaw. Casseroles can be thawed and put in dishes just before cooking. Soups and slow cooker meals can be poured into a pot or slow cooker.
Disposable Aluminum Pans
For any meal that need structure (like Lasagna or Shepherd’s Pie), use disposable aluminum pans. You can find these at most grocery stores in many sizes. Try to fill them as full as you can to minimize the amount of air in them and prevent freezer burn. Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the food to stop it from sticking the the lid.
Write the name of the meal, the date, and cooking instructions on all packages. Everything looks the same frozen and you’ll forget what is what! This way helpful visitors can help you out by putting dinner on during their visit by following the cooking instructions.
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Macaroni and Cheese
Casseroles (tuna, chicken, ham)
Marinated Meat for the slow cooker
Meatballs and Marinara Sauce
Soups (chicken, beef, veggie, lentil)
Cook Like Items Together
Plan your cooking by core ingredients. Things like Meat Balls and Marinara, Shepherd’s Pie, and Taco Filling can all be prepped easily together. Cook up all the ground beef at one time and split between recipes.
The Food Processor Is Your Friend
Use a food processor to cut up or shred ingredients in large quantities. Onions can be diced quickly without tears, while carrots and cheese can be shredded in seconds.
Happy Postpartum- Dawn