With my due date around the corner, I decided to cross one of the big goals off my to-do list yesterday afternoon. I prepped and froze 7 recipes for my husband and I to enjoy post delivery. I’ve been wanting to do this so we have less to worry about with a newborn in the house, but honestly- I don’t know why I haven’t always done this! It was definitely a full afternoon of chopping, prepping and packaging- but when you consider the fact that you finish with a month worth of meals, it’s totally worth the time. I’m going to make a huge effort to make meals ahead more often, especially healthy breakfasts.
I still have a couple more meals I’d like to add, but here are the recipes I started with:
You don’t think of oatmeal as something that’s hard to make in the morning, but I like the fact that I’ll be able to have fresh fruit with my breakfast every morning whether or not I have time to make it to the store. I used apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, chia seeds, nuts and natural peanut butter to top my oatmeal cups. These are great for breakfast or a mid-day snack.
I found this recipe on Pinterest and loved the idea! I decided to add fresh veggies and bacon to mine. I diced onions and red and green peppers into the potatoes before baking, and then sautéed mushrooms which I mixed into each bowl.
I also made a package of nitrate-free bacon which I chopped up and sprinkled in each container. In the interest of freezer space, I packaged two servings per container- so I can just heat up breakfast for my husband and I at once.
Meat and Veggie Marinara
This is my own recipe..if you even want to call it that. I basically take store bought marinara and load it up with meat and veggies. This is great to have on hand for a quick and easy meal. Heat and pour over whole wheat penne or even rice.
- 1-2 jars of marinara (I like Trader Joe's Organic Tomato Basil Marinara)
- 1 package sliced mushrooms
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 large handful of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 lb or ground turkey or beef
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Drizzle olive oil into a medium sauce pan.
- Add mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, onions, garlic and meat. Cook until meat is no longer pink.
- Drain off liquid and add 1-2 jars of sauce (depending on the thickness of sauce you like)
- Simmer for 10 mins.
- Allow sauce to completely cool before freezing.
Based on the comments under this recipe, it’s a winner. The biggest challenge will be waiting to pop this casserole into the oven. It looked and smelled so good!
I love that this recipe goes from bag to crockpot. I’ll have my freezer stocked with some microwaveable rice, and this cook day will be easy as pie! If I had to make one recommendation on this recipe, it would be to either separate the recipe into two bags, or make a note on the bag to add the bottle of bbq sauce the day that you make it. It all fit in one bag and froze nicely, but it was a tight fit!
Once a month meals is amazing! I would highly recommend checking them out and following them on Facebook. I would say that out of all the meals this one was the most time intensive, but I know I’ll appreciate it on an evening I don’t have the energy to cook.
Veggie and Meat Chili
Can I just say, I am loving these gorgeous freezer bag glamour shots! This is another recipe I make for my husband all the time. I thought it would be a great idea to make a big batch now and have it ready for him to heat up. Again, why don’t I always do this?! The recipe’s super easy, I literally use the recipe on the McCormick seasoning packet for goodness sake! I always make a double batch so I can include 2 different kinds of beans and just throw in some additional veggies.
Like I said, there are still a handful of meals I’d like to get prepped in the next couple of weeks. I’m thinking smoothie packs and a couple more crockpot meals might be nice. To check out the recipes I have in mind, follow my Make Ahead Meals board on Pinterest. If you have a make-ahead meal that you love, PLEASE share in the comments below! I’ll make sure to update this thread with how we liked everything as we try them out.
UPDATE: These meals were EXTREMELY helpful when we came home from the hospital; especially because I ended up having a c-section and couldn’t move around too well for a few weeks. Everything got eaten, but I’m not sure if I would suggest the Country Breakfast Bowls as described. If I had to do it again I would make the recipe exactly the same, but leave the eggs out. While the potatoes and veggies are in the microwave just take a minute to scramble some fresh eggs. Maybe I could have frozen them differently (I put them in tupperware containers), but our experience was that the egg wasn’t great reheated. Not bad, just not great. Everything else was a-ok, with the fan favorite being the Tex Mex Casserole.