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More Freezer Meals for New Moms | Mother Rising

More Freezer Meals for New Moms | Mother Rising

Here we go again!

Here I am again, thinking about freezer meals for new moms. I’ve done this before, but this time I feel even MORE motivated to freeze EVEN MORE food ahead of time. Freezer meals for new moms are an amazing thing.

Last pregnancy I did some freezer cooking with my mom at about 36 weeks pregnant and froze a handful of meals. I was so grateful for that extra food because at about 2 weeks postpartum I unexpectedly had an appendectomy (!) and was recovering/not at 100% for longer than expected. Freezer food, or so it seemed, saved my life.

30 weeks pregnantWith that in mind, this time I have started freezer cooking earlier and in greater quantities. I’m actually starting to use the frozen food now, as my energy is lessening towards the end of pregnancy, and it is such a huge help.

In this post I am will tell you:

  • what recipes I used
  • how I planned for “the big day”
  • tips and tricks I picked up in the process
  • what I would do differently next time

I did a MAJOR freezer cooking day in preparation for the early days of postpartum. Here is a list of the Freezer Meals for New Moms I used!

Healthy Freezer Meals for New Moms

The recipes I used for this episode of freezer cooking are surprisingly all Trim Healthy Mama compliant. I say surprisingly because at this stage in my life I am not interested in dieting or necessarily being trim. And sometimes I could care less about being healthy. {Just being honest.}  However, a friend of mine is on board with THM which made me glance at their menu… which looked tasty enough for my cooking buddy and I to choose.

trim healthy mama

Once a Month Meals

When I do freezer cooking I use the service “Once a Month Meals” offers. Actually, I’ve never NOT used OAMM to do a freezer cooking day. When I think about all the planning that is required, I’m so grateful to have access to a system that saves me time. Freezer cooking already takes a bit of time, so I’m ALL ABOUT anything I can do to make my day easier

Once a Month Meals creates printouts specific to the menu and servings I’ve chosen such as:

  • shopping lists
  • prep instructions
  • cooking day instructions (which helps me to be efficient with my kitchen appliances, time and space)
  • recipe cards
  • labels to go on the finished product
  • and a thaw sheet

Planning

Once we chose our menu, we also chose to cook 10 servings of food on our big cooking day. My cooking buddy has three kiddos, and I’m about to have my third so I thought hey, why not, let’s cook massive amounts of food and see what happens. (The default number of servings is 4 so changing it to 10 is a big deal. If this is your first freezer cooking experience I do not recommend doing this because you will be overwhelmed. If you are doing your first freezer cooking day I suggest you start out with a mini menu from once a month meals to get your feet wet.)

The Menu: April 2015: Trim Healthy Mama Compliant

Here is what we planned to cook*:

3 Breakfasts

Cinnamon Roll Muffin in a Mug**

Cottage Pancakes***

The Best Breakfast Casserole

4 Lunches

Fiesta Chicken Bake

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Pot Roast with Gravy

White Gazpacho

SONY DSC

8 Dinners

Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie

Creamy Shrimp Skewers

Greek Pizza***

Tomato Soup

Parmesan Zucchini Lasagna

Pineapple Salsa Chicken Bake

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Texas Chicken Tortilla Soup

(Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole is a good one too!)

greek pizza freezer cooking

*Again, cooking 10 servings of the recipes above is slightly insane and I don’t recommend insanity for your first freezer cooking experience. Once a Month Meals has really amazing “mini menus” which are great for first timers.

**We decided to not cook this recipe. By the time we got to this it was 9 pm on our big cooking day and we both concluded that we didn’t really need to eat cinnamon rolls in mugs. 😉

***These recipes were our bottle necks so if you wanted to shave off some cooking time, I’d look here first. However, the Greek pizza is actually extremely tasty so if at all possible I’d cook it. If you look at the recipe for the cottage pancakes you will be shocked at the ingredients. They turned out oddly good, despite what the ingredients called for. If you have time, I’d keep these pancakes on the menu too.

Preparation

freezer meals for new moms cauliflower

Once you choose a menu, Once a Month Meals’ system prints out a grocery list. Thank goodness. My cooking buddy and I split things up and got to work. I went to Walmart, Publix and Trader Joe’s for my shopping excursions. She went to her deep freezer (she had half a cow in there) and a local farm to buy 15 million chickens (a by-product of buying these pasture raised chickens is that we got about 2 gallons each of chicken broth. AMAZING!) and their eggs.

As you might be noticing, we like to go big or go home. We were both really excited about cooking healthy, local, time consuming food. Again, we are not poster children for simplicity, so tweak your freezer cooking day to meet your needs!

freezer meals for new moms prepping

Another extremely important part of preparing for your big cooking day is to chop meats and vegetables the day/night before. Trust me, this might seem like a step you can skip and save for your big cooking day, but don’t listen to that rebellious thought. Your cooking day will go much smoother with things like chicken, beef, onions and other items chopped ahead of time. (Once a Month Meals will print out a list of items with quantities to prepare ahead of time to save you time. Thank goodness.)

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The Big Day

freezer meals for new moms pizzas

I arrived at my cooking buddy’s home at 9 am with a car full of cooking supplies, ingredients and a large cooler full of prepped vegetables. I still hadn’t shredded all my cheese yet, so I thought that I could finish that while I ate my breakfast. (Yes, I could have bought shredded cheese, but again, we are a cooking team with deep roots in self-imposed complexity. I didn’t want to eat the extra ingredients they put in shredded cheese to make it not go bad. We didn’t start actual cooking until 11 am. Ahem.)

Things went smoothly throughout the day. Whenever we noticed we were slowing down, we also realized we needed to eat a meal. Drinking, eating and making sure to sit down whenever possible helped to keep our energy levels steady.

freezer meals for new moms food

We cooked from 11 am to 11 pm, a 12 hour cooking day, which is exactly how long the instructions on the Once a Month Meals website stated. Around 11 pm we started packing up my cooler, car and did a little bit of cleanup. Whooo we were tired and whooo my ankles were swollen. At this point in the day we weren’t thinking clearly, were delirious, giggly, but overall in good spirits. When I left with a packed HUGE cooler full of food for my family, I felt very proud and accomplished! (I wish I had a picture of this, but it was dark out and I was tired.)

freezer meals for new moms feet

Tips and Tricks

*Tip – Do not store prepped/chopped onions in your fridge because it will make everything in your fridge smell and taste like onions. Yuck!

*Tip – I printed out all the papers I needed and stuck them in a skinny three ring binder. I put the papers in this order: shopping list, prep instructions, cooking day instructions, and recipe cards in the order we would be cooking them on cooking day. This little bit of organization was invaluable.

*Tip – Print out and tape the recipe you’re currently working with on your cabinets. By doing this you’re clearing valuable counter space but also keeps this important document at eye level.

*Tip – I highly recommend doing a big freezer cooking day without kids. I have done 2-3 freezer cooking days with kids and everything just takes longer. It’s nice to take off the “mommy hat” for awhile and put on a chef’s hat if you know what I mean.

*Tip – Activities like chopping, assembling or packaging cooked foods, if possible, should be done while sitting down. Any relief you can give your feet will help you to have more endurance. At 30 weeks pregnant this was very much on my mind!

freezercookingeasy_300x250-300x250

*Tip – The Once a Month Meals website is an amazing resource which lets you customize your cooking experience to fit your needs. You will find pre-made menus that are vegetarian, traditional, gluten free, dairy free, whole foods and more! With the Pro Membership you can even use the website to swap recipes in and out of your menu, which will automatically update your grocery list and other instructions. Their website is a must have if you will be investing in freezer cooking.

*Tip – I used an Imprint Comfort Mat on the kitchen floor which gave me more stamina, especially while 30 weeks pregnant. In fact, if you’re pregnant I strongly urge you to get one of these comfort mats, as it has saved my feet, ankles and legs! Other than being amazing for preventing pain and fatigue, these mats don’t move around but stay where you put them (my kids can’t mess with them!). They are extremely easy to clean and won’t ever get moldy or anything like that. I highly recommend investing in at least two for your kitchen!

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How long do thess last in ths freezer? I'm 33 weeks but having a repeat c-section at 39 weeks and want everything done as soon as possible. Wondering if I could start in a week or so and if they will still be good in 5-7 weeks. I know some stuff taste funky after a month or 2.

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