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baby prep: ultimate freezer meal weekend

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, my parents were in town this weekend to help with some baby prep! Together my mom and I tackled 13 different recipes that yielded 13 family dinners and countless breakfasts and lunches for our family in the weeks to come. Needless to say, my freezer is full and my feet are tired :)

freezermealplan
Dinner is hard enough to achieve with just a toddler to attend to, so goodness knows it will become increasingly difficult with a newborn in the mix. I did some meal prep before having Eleanor, but not nearly anything this extensive.

I wanted to find healthy recipes that wouldn’t sacrifice nutrition (or taste) for convenience. My mom did the legwork on researching most of the recipes, and I’m really excited to give them all a try!

So what did our plan consist of?

Breakfast

freezerbreakfast
1. Turkey and Pepper Egg Bakes: Jeff LOVES these! Easy to take on the go to the gym or office (Yield: 24 muffins)
2. Banana and Pumpkin Muffins: Not originally on the plan, but I had overripe bananas. Totally delicious! (Yield: 12 muffins)
3. Sweet Potato and Egg Burritos: This is the recipe from March’s Three Cooks One Kitchen, and I actually succeeded in rolling the burritos this time! I added lentils to the hash as well. One of my fave recipes of the day! (Yield: 10 burritos)
4. Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins: Another addition to use up my bananas. Super yummy! (Yield: 12 muffins)

Lunch

freezerlunches
5. Minestrone: This has become a household favorite of ours! Jeff loves taking this to work, and it’s super easy to warm up a bowl for Eleanor and I – what a great way to get loads of veggies in your toddler! I saved a big portion for a family dinner and divided the rest into individual servings. (Yield: 1 family dinner + 6 lunches)
6. Runzas: Another Three Cooks One Kitchen winner! I’ll be surprised if these even make it until the baby arrives – we usually gobble these babies up quickly! (Yield: 12 runzas)

Dinner

freezerdinners
7. Chicken Parmesan Casserole: A new to me recipe that sounds like the perfect comfort food! (Yield: 1 9×9 pan)
8. Slow Cooker BBQ Pork: We let this cook overnight and woke up to the house smelling heavenly! (Yield: 2 family dinners)
9. Cheesy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas: I’ve never made enchiladas before! These are simple yet hearty. Can’t wait to try them out! (Yield: 2 9×9 pans)
10. Chicken Spaghetti: How could you go wrong with chicken spaghetti? It has some extra spices added for a hot kick! I think Jeff will love this one! (Yield: 2 9×9 pans)
11. Cilantro Lime Chicken: This was a crock pot winner. The combo of flavors is awesome (yes, I already snuck a few bites)! (Yield: 2 family dinners)
12. Better Mac and Cheese: What makes this “better?” There are sweet potatoes snuck in the sauce! It makes the casserole slightly sweeter and oh so yummy! We had some leftover chicken from other dishes, so I tossed it into the mix too. Another comfort food winner! (Yield: 3 9×9 pans)
13. Turkey Meatballs: (Not pictured – oops!) Another Skinnytaste favorite of ours. I froze these uncooked on a cookie sheet before transferring them to a freezer bag. They’ll thaw out on a cookie sheet as well before getting baked. Yum! (Yield: 24 meatballs)

It was a FULL 2 days of cooking, but my mom and I had a lot of fun together! We make a really good team – I make big messes, and she cleans them up :)

My tips?

  • Make a master grocery list and group ingredients by food type rather than by recipe
  • Read each recipe thoroughly and find processes you can batch (Ex: many of my recipes called for cooked and cubed chicken, so I did it all at once.) The same can be done for peeling/chopping veggies.
  • Clean as you go! I have a finite number of bowls, spoons, knives, etc, so it’s important to keep things clean for the next task!
  • Label everything immediately. To avoid finding mystery food in my freezer 6 months from now, I clearly labeled each pan/freezer bag with the contents, how to prepare, and the date it needs to be eaten by. I also posted a freezer inventory sheet on my deep freeze to keep track of what we have.
  • Invest in some good food storage. I LOVE these glass containers with snapping lids. They wash up awesome, don’t carry any food smell, and can be used in the freezer, microwave and everywhere in-between! They’re so great, I now have 2 sets!

Now baby can come anytime – we’re ready to eat! :)

Your turn:
Do you have any freezer meal favorites?

 

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