Prepping for New Baby ~ Make-Ahead Freezer Meals
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Are you in nesting mode and have already reorganized the baby stuff 2o times and need something else to do? This is a great project that you will really benefit from once you bring your sweet new baby home- make-ahead freezer meals. Life is going to get a little crazy and hectic once your little one comes home and having homemade meals on hand will make things a little bit easier.

Start stocking up your freezer with some of your favorite dinner recipes. You can always separate into smaller portioned trays for individual or multiple meals. Some ideas might include enchiladas, lasagna, meatballs (so versatile- meatball heroes, spaghetti and meatballs, etc.), burgers, chili, soups, or fajita meat with peppers and onions. Casseroles are always easy too!

Here are some great recipes to get you started! (Recipes courtesy of  http://makeaheadmeals.blogspot.com)

Turkey Burgers a la Greece

Low on fat but big on flavor, these Greek-inspired freeze-ahead turkey burgers will please even the pickiest of palates.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, finely minced
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Make-Ahead Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly, being careful not to overwork.

Separate into four equal parts and shape into patties. Stack patties in twos, separating each patty with a sheet of waxed paper. Put into ziploc bag removing all extra air and freeze for up to 3 months.

Last-Minute Preparation:

Remove turkey burgers from freezer and place in refrigerator to defrost, generally 24hours but not more than two days ahead.

Oil grates of grill with a little olive oil and preheat. Grill turkey burgers until cooked through, approx. 4 minutes per side.

Serve on buns, rolls or pita bread with sliced tomato, some fresh Romaine lettuce and a drizzle of Greek dressing.

 

American-Style Chicken and Rice

This dish is fabulous in its simplicity and is sure to please even the fussiest eater.

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 cans or jars of pre-made chicken gravy (or 4 cups homemade chicken gravy)
1 box frozen peas
2 to 3 bags boil-in-bag white rice
salt & pepper

Make Ahead Preparation:

In a large pot of boiling water, add the chicken breasts with some salt and pepper and boil for 10 minutes or until cooked through.

In a small strainer, run cold water over the peas until they are almost defrosted. Drain off excess water. When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into bite-sized chunks.

In medium saucepan over medium heat, add chicken gravy, peas, chicken and salt & pepper to taste and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through.

At this stage, you can cool the chicken/gravy mixture and refrigerate for several days or freeze for up to 3 weeks.

Last Minute Assembly:

In large pot, add bagged rice and cook according to package directions. Drain and empty rice into serving dish. Heat chicken and gravy mixture in the microwave or stovetop until heated through. Top the rice with chicken gravy mixture and serve with some biscuits and a side salad.

Veggie Stuffed Pasta Shells

This vegetable-inspired version of traditional stuffed shells freeze well either as a casserole or individually for a quick microwave lunch.


Ingredients:

24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 (10-ounce) can vegetable broth
1 carrot, minced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 (28-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce or equivalent home-made sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Make Ahead Preparation:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse, drain, and let cool.

In a large saucepan, heat broth to boiling. Stir in carrots, potatoes and onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Drain vegetables well. Combine with ricotta, mozzarella, egg, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Stir in Italian seasoning.

Fill each cooked and cooled shell with this cheese mixture.

If freezing individual stuffed shells, see “Alternate Preparation” below.

Pour 1/2 cup of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9×13″ baking pan. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer on the sauce. Pour remaining sauce over top. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Top with shredded mozerella cheese.

To freeze, refrigerate at this point until cold. Then wrap, label, and freeze up to 3 months.

To bake immediately, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Last Minute Assembly:

Remove casserole from the freezer and thaw overnight in refrigerator. Bake as directed above, adding 15-20 minutes to baking time.

Alternate Preparation:

To freeze individual shells before adding sauce, simply put 1 to 2 shells in individual ziploc bags. Refrigerate until cold and then freeze for up to 3 months.

To thaw and reheat individual shells, remove from ziploc bag and place on microwave-safe plate or bowl. Top with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese. Microwave on 40% power for 2 to 4 minutes until thawed. Top with some shredded mozzarella cheese. Then microwave on 60% power for 1-3 minutes until hot and bubbly.

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4 Responses to Prepping for New Baby ~ Make-Ahead Freezer Meals

  1. Love this! I’ve done a bunch of pre-marinading and freezing, but not much whole meal preparing.

  2. Jamie says:

    Thanks! Pre-marinading is a great idea! I need to add that to my list… :)

  3. Colleen says:

    This was one of the smartest thing I did while pregnant! I found some good vegetarian recipes on marthastewart.com

  4. Lauren says:

    As a momma of a 7.5 Month little man, I have gotten in the good habit of doubling what ever I make and freezing half (or more if I don’t think we can eat it all.) Then I almost always have something healthy and easy to grab when I run out of time to make dinner.
    Growing up my mom always did “Once a Month Cooking”. It is prepping meals for the whole month and freezing them. You can find some great blogs that have lots of freezer meal recipes!