I spent my 8th month of pregnancy focusing on freezer meals, I am so happy I did. I have already pulled from my stash just because my 9th month of pregnancy is always a bit rough. This one has been exceptionally good but I still like the fact that I haven’t had to spend a lot of time focusing on food prep.
I will share a few tips of what I find helpful in doing freezer meals but my best encouragement to you is to think thru what are things your family really likes? Work with that menu. It might take you a month to come up with a list of some key items that would do well for you in the freezer. It does take a bit of extra cash to make it work up front but it has been so worth the physical exhaustion I could be experiencing this late in my pregnancy.
Another simple thing I always do when I pull hamburger out of the freezer is pull 2 or 3 times the amount I would typically need for a meal so that I can just triple my recipe. It could be sloppy joe’s, meatballs, meatloaf, taco meat or whatever. With sloppy joe’s and taco meat I just get my big crock pot out and let the crock-pot do the work all day and then mid-day, add my seasonings. At dinner, we eat what we need and then I divvy out the remaining in freezer bags. (Always keep plenty of freezer bags on hand – gallon and quart size!)
I was fortunate to have 2 wonderful woman from my church volunteer to help me at different days. Rhoda, was such a blessing and probably helped me 5 hours one day and then I had young Gabi
here for about 8 hours and did we pump out the meals that day! Other then that I would just make a batch of something and super, duper size it. I ended up with about 40 entrees for my freezer. These will all come in very handy leading up to delivery and this fall after I have started school. We are fortunate to be part of a ‘community’ of believers who provide meals for about 10 days post baby. It’s always such a gift!!! When someone else makes food for me, I feel so loved and cared for!
BEWARE: your kitchen is a wreck in order to make this freezer meal deal happen!!! If you can wash dishes up as you go it won’t be quite as over whelming at the end of your project!
These are some of the items on my bucket list this freezer meal round:
Alpine Meat Balls, (I just googled for a recipe and combined two recipes that I thought I might like to create my own recipe), Poor Man’s Steak (a family favorite) which I will share the recipe at the end of this post, made a Trim Healthy Momma Shepherd’s pie (which I got off of Pinterest), experimented with a baked Oatmeal from my cookbook (while baked oatmeal only takes 15 minutes to mix together in the morning, I figured if I would spend an hour and get 6 breakfasts in the freezer long term I would be better off) and finally I seasoned and sliced some round steak for fajitas’s.
These books however have been my 2 main sources for freezer meal cooking and you can purchase them here:
These are some of the items that came from the books that I made:
Savory Chicken Bundles
Beef Pasta Bake (I used Dream Fields Pasta for this, only cook it for 3 minutes and not the full time the box says, immediately drain and do not return to heat)
Smothered Breakfast Burritos (these are ok but probably would not do them again)
Grilled Coconut Lime Chicken Tenders
Baked Penne Tomato, Cheese and Sausage (here again I used Dream Fields Pasta and the reason is I am trying to follow the Trim Healthy Momma eating approach and have had great success with it so wanted to have some meals that really fit plan well! This one might be border line because I added more cheese then it calls for).
Basic Mashed Potatoes (I was a such a skeptic on this one but am happy I did it)!
POOR MAN’S STEAK
3 lbs grass fed beef
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup milk
1/4 cup or more of flour
Butter for frying
2 boxes of mushroom soup (You could also sub 3 cans of regular mushroom soup)
I buy it by the case on Amazon.
I like it because there is no MSG in it and the packaging is BPA free.
Mix together beef, salt, pepper, oatmeal, onion and milk. Pat in a 9X13 pan and allow to chill for several hours or overnight (the time I made this I only did it for 30 minutes, I think it is so it cuts into pieces nicer, I am not sure it’s necessary). Cut into squares. Put several pats of butter in a frying pan; roll the meat in flour and fry for 2-3 minutes on a side. Place in a baking dish and once you have the amount of pieces you think you need to feed your family consider that pan full and start filling another pan. (When you do this many freezer meals you might want to buy some disposable foil pans so that you have enough containers). Fill all your pans and then add some water (3/4 -1 cup) and 2 boxes of mushroom soup to the skillet. Heat up your gravy and be sure to scratch off all those pan drippings on the bottom into the soup mixture. Divide the soup over your meat and bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 40-45 minutes. This meat is so tender and so yummy.
So the days I need some good, yummy food that reminds me of home, I will pull one of the 6 poor man steaks that are in the freezer with a bag of mashed potatoes from that same freezer and viola have dinner prompt o. That is provided I remember to pull it from the freezer but I usually remember because when it comes to dinner time, things at my house can be out-of-control! We are so ready to see daddy walk in and rescue us all!!!
I know this post is super duper long but I hope it will get you thinking about how you might be creative in your own kitchen and maximize some of your time. Time is a high commodity and every minute I can save frees me to breathe a little deeper when tension is high or I feel pulled to thin.
I plan to take a little break from blogging over the next month or 2. There will probably be a random post about the baby and my publisher and I are working together on a 24 hour free e-book promotion for the cookbook. Stay tuned for that, it will come the end of this month!