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Getting Ready for Baby Volde: Freezer Cooking Style!

Freezer cooking doesn’t have to be complicated! Learn how I stocked our freezer last week in preparation for our baby boy coming this spring. 🙂

Freezer cooking doesn't have to be complicated! Learn how I stocked our freezer last week in preparation for our baby boy coming this spring. :)

When I first found out that I was pregnant, I immediately knew I wanted to make a bunch of freezer meals in advance so that Ben and I would have some yummy things to eat as we adjust to life with a baby! Of course, I used Pinterest to help me plan. 🙂

Last week I was able to devote time over a few days to making a bunch of meals–20 to be exact. Most are crockpot meals, but I also made up a few casseroles, spaghetti sauce, soup, and burritos to have on hand. I thought about making breakfast and snacks, but freezer space plus time made that not necessary. We are very fortunate in that Ben gets some paternity leave after the baby is born AND then, it’ll be summer break for him… so he can fix me breakfast and snacks while I take care of our cute baby! Hahaha–just kidding…kind of. 🙂 I’m sure having all these meals on hand will not prevent us from ever getting take out or pizza, but I bet this will help!

I’m not sure many of you will be very interested in the details of my process–there are tons of freezer cooking resources online for that [I suggest checking out this extensive post on Life as Mom]–but if you have questions, just let me know! I can’t vouch for many of these meals except for the ones from my blog [they have a photo] or that I mention I’ve already made so hopefully they’ll be good! I have to admit that I mostly wrote a blog post about this so that Ben and I would know what I made… and so we’d have ideas despite our tiredness how to serve these meals and with what side items. I think I’ll be very grateful to myself in a couple months. 🙂

If I have time later I will make and freeze batches of muffins, black beans, freezer breakfast burritos, a bunch of taco seasoning, cooked and shredded chicken, smoothie packs, etc. But we will see! For now we have a pretty good start. 🙂

P.S. Post updated on 10/11/16 with my thoughts about each meal. Feel free to comment with questions! 🙂

Crock Pot Meals

defrost all in the refrigerator overnight before transferring to the crockpot to cook the next day

Beef and Broccoli from Table for Two

  • cook on low for 6 hours
    • when finished, in a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 4 tablespoons sauce from crockpot to form a slurry
    • add 1 bag of frozen broccoli and prepared slurry to crockpot and cook for 30 minutes to thicken the sauce
  • serve over rice, garnish with sesame seeds
  • side ideas: salad
    • *note: I also added 4-5 medium carrots, chopped to the crockpot
  • how it turned out: pretty good! A little salty, but I added more veggies to balance it out. 🙂

Bistro Chicken and Rice from A Spicy Perspective

  • cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 3-5 hours –> watch carefully so rice doesn’t turn to mush
    • remove chicken and cut into bite size pieces
    • return chicken to crockpot and toss together
  • side ideas: salad or steamed veggies like broccoli, green beans, etc.
  • if freezing uncooked rice makes this dish turn out not so well, order pizza or head to Zaxby’s 🙂
  • how it turned out: skip this! I bet it would be good fresh, but the rice got mushy in the freezing/defrosting process. 😦

Chicken Fajitas from Saving You Dinero via Making Our Marx

  • cook on low for 5-6 hours
    • remove chicken and cut into bite size pieces
    • return chicken to crockpot and toss together
  • serve over rice or tortilla chips, or in tortilla shells with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, lettuce
  • side ideas: salad, chips & salsa
  • how it turned out: DELICIOUS! Make this again and again!

Chinese Pork & Noodles from Jo Cooks

  • cook on low for 4 1/2 hours
    • remove pork and place in a large bowl; let rest for 10 minutes before shredding
    • return pork to crockpot
    • add 1 bag frozen stir fry veggies to crockpot
    • meanwhile, prepare 12 ounces noodles – thin spaghetti or any type of thin Asian noodles should work
    • stir noodles into crockpot with shredded pork and veggies
  • serve with peanuts and cilantro; sprinkle with lime juice
    • *note: original recipe is more complicated and I’m sure better; this is my simplified version 🙂
  • how it turned out: SO YUM! I can’t wait to make this without my simplified modifications.

Cilantro Lime Chicken from Six Sisters’ Stuff via Making Our Marx

  • cook on low for 6-8 hours
    • remove chicken and shred with two forks
    • return chicken to crockpot and toss together
  • serve over rice or tortilla chips, or in tortilla shells) with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, lettuce
  • side ideas: salad, chips & salsa
  • how it turned out: pretty good! Pretty similar to any Mexican chicken crockpot meal, to be honest. Always yummy!

Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken

Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches | The Pajama Chef

  • cook on low for 8-10 hours
    • an hour or so before finished, shred chicken and stir into sauce to incorporate
    • cook for a little while longer to incorporate
  • serve on hamburger buns [like the yummy ones from Publix’s bakery section]
  • side ideas: salad, oven fries, chips
  • how it turned out: one of our favorite meals to this day.

Honey Rosemary Chicken from Kojo Designs via Making Our Marx  

  • cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours [I already added the 1 cup water the recipe calls for]
    • 10 minutes before serving, stir in 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • serve over rice or couscous
  • side ideas: salad or steamed veggies like broccoli, green beans, etc.
  • how it turned out: great! This was a pretty unique recipe. I stirred in some fresh rosemary after it was all done cooking.

Honey Sesame Chicken

Honey Sesame Chicken | thepajamachef.com

  • cook on low for 4 hours
    • remove chicken to a plate and break into bite size pieces with 2 forks
    • mix together 1/4 cup water and 4 teaspoons cornstarch to make a slurry, then pour into crockpot and stir to combine
    • add chicken back to crockpot
    • cover and cook for 15 minutes until thick
  • serve over rice, garnish with sesame seeds
  • side ideas: steamed broccoli or salad
  • how it turned out: always good!

Orange Chicken from Who Needs a Cape?

  • cook on low for 4-6 hours
  • serve over rice
  • side ideas: salad or frozen stir fry veggies or steamed veggies like broccoli, green beans, etc.
  • how it turned out: pretty good. Salty… but that’s true with many Asian dishes. It wasn’t as orangey as I expected but still good.

Ranch Chicken Tacos from Who Needs a Cape?

  • cook on low for 6-8 hours
  • serve with tortillas and taco fixings – cheese, lettuce, tomatoes/pico de gallo/salsa
  • side ideas: salad, chips & salsa
  • how it turned out: typical Mexican chicken dish… delicious!

Santa Fe Chicken

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken | thepajamachef.com

  • cook on low 7-8 hours
    • remove chicken from crockpot and shred with 2 forks
    • return chicken to crockpot and stir to combine
  • serve over rice or tortilla chips, or in tortillas with taco fixings like green onions, cilantro, cheese, sour cream, and lettuce
  • side ideas: salad, chips & salsa
  • how it turned out: again, one of our favorite crockpot meals. Delicious!

Sausage & Peppers from Mommy’s Fabulous Finds

  • cook on low 6-8 hours
  • serve over rice
  • side ideas: salad or steamed veggies like broccoli, green beans, etc.
  • how it turned out: this is probably the only meal we wouldn’t make again. Some things shouldn’t be made in a crockpot–smoked sausage is one of them. The peppers also got pretty soggy too. I normally like this dish, but it was too much in the crockpot.

Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce from Who Needs a Cape?

  • cook on low for 6 hours
  • serve over rice with peanuts and sliced green onions
  • side ideas: salad or steamed veggies like broccoli, green beans, etc.
  • how it turned out: delicious!

Casseroles

defrost in the refrigerator overnight before baking the next day

Chicken Parmesan Casserole from Thriving Home

  • bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, until brown and bubbling
  • serve over pasta
  • side ideas: salad or steamed veggies like broccoli, green beans, etc.
  • how it turned out: new family favorite! I made a few more of these before I went back to work so we could enjoy them again.

Hawaiian Chicken

Hawaiian chicken

  • transfer from freezer bag to greased 9×13 inch casserole dish
  • bake at 400 degrees F for 40-45 minutes
  • serve over rice
  • side ideas: salad or steamed veggies like broccoli, green beans, etc.
  • how it turned out: though we love this meal, the sauce didn’t freeze the best. I’m thinking it was the oil… it’s easy enough that I would skip this as a freezer meal and make it fresh.

Pizza Spaghetti Bake from What Megan’s Making

  • bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes
  • side ideas: salad or steamed veggies like broccoli, green beans, etc.
  • how it turned out: amazing! So cheesy and so so good! 🙂

Other Meals: Burritos, Soup, and Spaghetti Sauce

Grandma Carolyn’s Spaghetti Sauce from Bake Your Day – I made a double batch and froze in quart size ziploc bags.

  • I’ve made this a few times before… delicious! This time, I used 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound ground pork.
  • serve hot over pasta
  • side ideas: salad, steamed veggies like broccoli or green beans
  • how it turned out: freezing batches of spaghetti sauce is my new thing! Love this!

Southwest Rollups from Money Saving Mom

  • I’ve made these several times over the years… with chicken, beef, and pork. 🙂 So good!
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until hot–they can be baked straight from the freezer.
  • serve with salsa and sour cream
  • side ideas: chips & salsa, salad
  • how it turned out: I made a double batch and this was not enough. We went through them so fast! They’re great to have on hand. 🙂

Taco Soup from Well Plated – I bought ingredients for a double batch and packaged them in two bags in the pantry. I ran out out of large tupperware, so all ingredients can be combined in a stockpot…takes about 30 minutes to cook!

  • I’ve made this before and it’s delicious!
  • serve hot with various toppings like crushed tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, or avocado
  • how it turned out: delicious as always!

Tomato Basil Bisque from Noodles & Company Copycat Recipes – I made a double batch and froze in tupperware containers.

  • I’ve made this quite often and the original recipe has been taken down but fortunately I saved the recipe here in Google Docs!
  • serve hot with grilled cheese
  • how it turned out: also handy to have on hand. So good!

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Getting Ready for Baby Volde: Freezer Cooking Style!”

  1. My friends and I are planning to surprise our pregnant friend with a day of cooking at her house in order to fill her freezer just like this! Thank you for all of the great ideas, and congratulations on your growing family! –Deb

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    1. congrats, nicole! i wouldn’t have done all this work so soon had i not had the week off from work. otherwise it would have been a few meals here & there. 🙂 the nursery is “put together” but all the baby shower gifts and random purchases we’ve made are exploded all over the room…haha 🙂 still a lot to do!

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