Last weekend I made my first ever large batch of freezer meals. One of my friends came over for an afternoon and we made 8 meals. A standard family sized recipe usually results in enough food for 2-3 meals for my family, since we only have two adults eating regular food. My freezer is quite well stocked now!
The most difficult aspect of making freezer meals was the planning. I really didn’t cook at all before I got married, and I still frequently consult Google to answer my questions. What can you freeze? What can’t you freeze? How long do freezer meals last? From my research, the consensus among pregnant ladies is that you can start making freezer meals at 34 weeks and have the food still be good when you need it. I was 34.5 weeks when I had my cooking day.
Prior to cooking day, I investigated which recipes would store well. I decided to select only recipes that I had previously made and enjoyed. I don’t want to take up valuable freezer space with something that we won’t actually eat. Next, I went to the grocery store with my husband in tow for moral support. I usually go alone, but this was just so. much. stuff.
When we got home, I put everything away and cleaned my kitchen thoroughly. I love waking up to a clean kitchen, and I especially needed a clean kitchen to survive a full day of freezer cooking.
On cooking day, we focused on making dinners. Earlier in the week, I had made several different breakfast options for the freezer as well. I don’t particularly love chopping food, but fortunately my friend does. She was a lifesaver, especially when it came time to chop vegetables for the soup.
Here is what I currently have in my refrigerator and freezer for after the baby arrives:
In the Refrigerator:
- Muffin in a Mug (Original Trim Healthy Mama Book) – This is probably my favorite simple breakfast. It isn’t difficult to prepare, but it does require a decent bit of measuring out various ingredients. In the interest of saving time when I have a crying newborn, I put all of the dry ingredients in a snack sized Ziploc bag. The outside of each bag is marked with what wet ingredients still need to be added. I have 15 of these snack bags prepared and ready to go.
- Man Muffin in a Mug (Adapted from the original Trim Healthy Mama Book) – My husband bought a container of chocolate flavored protein powder before we got married, with the intention of mixing some of the powder in his milk and drinking it that way. It was the first time he’d purchased this particular brand, and he found that it didn’t taste very appealing when mixed only with milk. In an effort to salvage the disappointing protein powder, we developed a variation of the standard Muffin in a Mug recipe. We use the chocolate flavored protein powder instead of unsweetened cocoa powder. The powder tastes far better when it’s hidden in a baked good. As I did with the standard Muffin in a Mug, I put all of the dry ingredients in snack sized Ziploc bags and labeled them with further instructions. (Note: This wouldn’t be considered on the Trim Healthy Mama plan because the protein powder is not a type that is plan approved. However, it uses up something that would otherwise be wasted, and that works for us).
In the Freezer:
- Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls (Young Wife’s Guide) – These are a “treat food” that I normally wouldn’t make, but I am of the opinion that immediately after giving birth is not the time to go on a diet. I baked the cinnamon rolls completely and froze them in Ziploc bags. I made the frosting as well and froze it in a separate bag. My husband has sampled several of these and given them his stamp of approval.
- Bisquick Pancakes – I made up a large batch of these using the recipe on the box. I bought Bisquick a while ago to use in a recipe that we ended up not liking very much, so I’ve been looking for a way to use up the rest of the box.
- Trim Healthy Pancakes (Original Trim Healthy Mama Book) – Apparently there is a stereotype that low-carb pancakes have to taste like cardboard. These are AMAZING and are probably one of my favorite breakfast foods. No cardboard here! I made several batches. I’ll be able to easily reheat a few pancakes at a time.
- Banana Bread (Money Saving Mom) – I made two loaves of this. My husband and I ate one right away and froze the other. It’s delicious! Adding some chocolate chips to the top is optional, but I liked the added sweetness.
- Cheeseburger Pie (Original Trim Healthy Mama Book) – Cheeseburger Pie is a good “man meal.” I halved the original recipe, assembled it in a loaf sized disposable pan, and put it in the freezer. The lid is labeled with cooking instructions.
- Taco Meat – My friend browned the ground beef for me while I worked on assembling some other meals. We added some of my homemade taco seasoning mix and then froze the meat in 2 quart sized bags.
- Crockpot Chicken Fajitas (Cooking Classy) – This was one of the first crockpot meals I discovered on Pinterest, and it’s still one of my favorites. To adapt it for the freezer, I put the tomatoes in one bag, the spice-coated chicken in another bag, and the chopped vegetables in a third bag. Layering the ingredients in the correct order is important, so it wouldn’t have worked to freeze the whole thing in a single large bag.
- Crockpot Southwest Chicken (Coers Family) – Not from one of the official Trim Healthy Mama books, but it works great as an E and it’s SO EASY. I dumped all of the ingredients in a gallon bag and froze it as is.
- Black Bean Soup (Money Saving Mom) – I started making black bean soup after my husband requested a meatless meal. It’s very good, but it makes a massive amount of soup! When I make it, it’s typically dinner for two nights and my husband’s work lunch for most of the week.
- Ranchy Chicken Potatoes (As Jules is Going) – It’s a survival mode meal. Easy and tasty. I froze it in a disposable pan, so I’ll just need to pop it in the oven.
- Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki (Passion for Savings) – You have to sign up for emails from Passion for Savings to get the recipe. The chicken teriyaki recipe is our favorite out of this set. I originally signed up and downloaded her set of freezer meal recipes back when I was having horrible morning sickness.
- Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole (Briana Thomas) – I might write a blog post about how much I love Briana Thomas’ recipes someday, especially her breakfasts. All of them are Trim Healthy Mama approved, and all of them are delicious! I’ve really been craving carbs lately, so I’ve made this to eat immediately several times. I went ahead and cooked this one all the way through so I’ll just need to thaw and reheat it.
- Honey Mustard Baked Chicken (Simply Rebekah) – Another very simple recipe, and she even includes tips for freezing it!
- Chicken Tetrazinni (Shugary Sweets) – This thing is so off plan, but it’s tasty and it makes a ton of food. I cooked the full amount and split it into two 9×13 disposable pans.
My freezer is packed, and that makes this nesting mama’s heart happy.