15 Freezer Meals Before Your Baby Arrives!

April 19, 2016

I am due in less than ONE MONTH. Can y’all believe it?? I surely can’t.

To make things easier once my little girl arrives (and to help my last few weeks pass), I have decided to start my freezer meals. I did a few before my son was born and they were a lifesaver! Who really wants to run to the grocery store or cook a full meal immediately after giving birth, right? I think EVERY mom should do this! It is such a great idea and a major stress reliever if you do not have family around to cook for you.

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This time around, I have conjured up about 15 meals or so to make ahead of time to get things prepared for our newest addition and I would love to share with you what I made and how you can do the exact same thing. Ideally, it is best to start your meals about a month before your little one arrives though some people will do it even a couple of months before. The first time around, I made my meals at 25 weeks and they all ended up getting a weird freezer-burned taste. Yummy. So this time, I decided to wait longer.

To make these 15 meals, I spent about $150 roughly-$10 per meal for the entire family. All in all, it took me maybe a day to prepare by myself, while my son was napping or watching Thomas & Friends. I found this very therapeutic to my “nesting” stage and it made me so happy to know that we would be taken care of after baby. Let’s face it: not every single one of us are blessed with families nearby to pitch in!

No, these meals are not organic-sorry. Organic was not my goal for these anyway. My goal was for quick, hearty meals that could fill up my family during a very busy first two weeks postpartum. Most of my ingredients as you will notice are from Wal-Mart and that was 100% “a-okay” with me. I realize not many of you moms have the means to shop at the Fresh Market for an entire two weeks of groceries just to make freezer meals and so in order to respect that, I wanted to follow more of a realistic grocery shopping approach and do my shopping at a store that is relatively available and affordable to everyone. After all, my diet has always been 80/20: 80% clean and 20% indulgent though not every single thing I put into my mouth is labeled “organic” and nor should it be.

In this post, I will share with you my top 5 tips to freezer meal cooking before your baby is born and each meal that I made, but most importantly, how you can make it too.

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Here are my 5 steps to preparing GOOD freezer meals before baby:

Step One: Select your recipes.

First step in this whole process is picking what you wanna eat after giving birth. Seems simple, right? Ehhh.. you would think that, but it’s actually not that easy! A lot of foods and meals either freezer well or they freezer poorly so you have got to make sure that you pick freezer appropriate meals. I sat down with a notebook one day and brainstormed ideas for the perfect freezer meals. I made it a point to prepare mostly crockpot meals since those are typically the easiest to prep and cook. Where did I find my recipes? Pinterest, of course! I went with tried and true recipes that I had actually made before so that I wouldn’t be disappointed. We all know that being a hungry AND postpartum lady is never a good thing. Check out my list below, if you can read my lovely handwriting chicken scratch. See why I type for a living? (I crossed each recipe off of my list as I made it-in case you are wondering)

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In case you can’t read the list, here it is:

  1. Cheesy Taco Bake
  2. Tuscan Pasta Bake
  3. Freezer Crockpot Beef Stew
  4. Freeze Mac & Cheese
  5. Southwestern Chicken & Rice
  6. Pepperjack Chicken Taquitos
  7. Lasagna Roll Ups
  8. Maple Dijion Glazed Chicken
  9. Beef, Bean, Cheese Burritos
  10. Breakfast Burritos
  11. DIY Lactation Smoothie Packs
  12. Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs
  13. Chunky Beef Chili
  14. Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
  15. Beef & Broccoli
  16. BONUS RECIPE: Lactation Bites

Step Two: Make a grocery list.

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The second step in the whole freezer meal shenanigans is to make your grocery list. I basically took all of my recipes from my notepad and made a list of all the ingredients separately. To do this, I roughly estimated how much of each ingredient I would need to prepare everything and I even took it a step further to make it easier on myself and split everything up into categories because, you know, pregnancy brain is a real thing.

Here’s my exact grocery list for the meals I had planned. I had my husband type this out for me so I could actually read it. Some of it is vague-ish, but I would rather have a little too much of something than not enough.

Freezer Meal Grocery List

Protein:

  • 5 packs Ground Beef
  • 2 Bags Frozen Chicken Breasts
  • 2lb beef chuck roast
  • 2 Lg Containers Eggs
  • 1 Lb. Ground Sausage or 1 Lb Bacon
  • 1-2 lbs of country-style pork ribs
  • 1 Bag Frozen Chicken Thighs
  • 2lb. flank steak

Pastas, Grains, Breads, & Rice:

  • 2 Boxes brown rice
  • 1 (16oz) box of bowtie pasta
  • Pearled Barley
  • 2 Boxes Elbow Pasta
  • 20 Small Tortillas
  • 2 packs large tortillas
  • 1 Box Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 container rolled oats

Dairy:

  • 4 bags Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Butter
  • 2 packs cream cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 bags Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 bag Shredded Pepper jack Cheese
  • Milk
  • 1 gallon vanilla almond milk
  • 15 oz. Ricotta

Produce:

  • 4 Yellow onion
  • Cilantro
  • 3 Bunches Garlic cloves
  • Green bell pepper
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 2 bunches of bananas
  • 1-2 packs of frozen strawberries
  • Fresh Ginger
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli (or 2 c. fresh)

Canned Goods:

  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 lg can Tomato sauce
  • 1 can Tomato juice
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 containers Beef Broth
  • 15 ounces drain and rinse Black Beans, Canned
  • 1 cup drain Whole Kernel Corn, Canned
  • 1 6oz. can green chilies or 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • Salsa
  • 1 Jar Pasta Sauce
  • 1 jar almond or peanut butter
  • 1 can refried beans

Seasonings/Condiments/Misc.:

  • Lime juice
  • Chili Powder
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Cumin
  • Basil
  • Bay Leaves
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Packet Taco seasoning
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Ketchup
  • Old Bay Seasoning (or seasoned salt)
  • Liquid smoke
  • Brown sugar
  • White vinegar
  • 1 packet chili seasoning mix
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Cornstarch
  • Coconut, shredded
  • Honey
  • Vanilla extract
  • Mini chocolate chips

Step Three: Go grocery shopping.

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Now that your list is made, you can go shop! To purchase everything on my list, it costed me roughly $150. That is about $10 per meal for my entire family.

I do not know how much it will cost you to make these meals because it is all dependent on where you shop! Personally, since I am a military wife, I go to my local commissary and I get a sweet deal. Plus, I am pretty thrifty at heart and I love couponing when I can. To make things a little cheaper, try Sams Club or buying in bulk and be sure to take advantage of weekly sales and discount days. BUT… this time, I did my shopping at Walmart for the convenience.. and because I did not want to drive 30 miles to my local commissary this particular day.

My grocery shopping trip took me about an hour to complete. This is because I am a grocery shopping ninja! However, some of you are probably thinking, “gosh an hour??” and might be on a higher ninja level than I am. Well, good for you!

When I got home, I packed away my groceries for the next day. The next day was my official “Prep like a madman” day.

Step Four: Get your supplies & recipes ready & prep.

Once you have all of your groceries and supplies together, you can officially do the damn thing! Oh wait… supplies..

Here’s what you will need to make these meals:

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Once you have these, then you are 100% ready to move on to making all of your meals. I grabbed my recipes, put on my game face, and went to work.

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Step Five: Cook!

Preparing all 15 meals took roughly the ENTIRE day to do, granted I did it all alone. I had everything set out on my table tops and I went at it.

Before I share with you the recipes in depth along with pictures of them, let me give you a few freezer cooking tips:

  • Do not forget to label. You will forget what it is, how to cook it, and more vital info.
  • Seal everything WELL. You do not wanna end up with freezer burn taste or waste any food.
  • Be patient. It will go faster than you realize. Throw on some Kanye West and get crackin!

Are you ready?? Let’s go!

Here are the recipes that I used to make my freezer meals and how you can make them too:

Cheesy Taco Bake

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 20 oz lean ground beef
  • Green pepper,chopped
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 T Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • ½ tsp Thyme
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

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Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9X13 baking dish with EVOO, set aside.
  2. Boil brown rice in water on stovetop. Set aside
  3. In a 12” pan, spray with EVOO or cooking spray, add onion, garlic & jalapeno & sauté over medium-high heat for 1 minute.
  4. Add ground beef, breaking it up as it browns. Cook for about 5 minutes & add peppers. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink.
  5. Add lime juice and seasonings. Stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  6. Remove from heat – add rice, tomato sauce, & 1/4 cup of cheese to the skillet and stir to mix well.
  7. Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with remaining Cheddar, cover, and freeze.
  8. To cook while frozen, cover with foil & bake for 40 minutes.
  9. Remove foil & bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted & edges are bubbling. Remove from oven & let cool for 10 minutes.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

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Ingredients

  • 1 (16oz) box of bowtie pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • ½ tablespoon dried basil
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
  • 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt, more to taste, if needed
  • 1 cup of chicken, cooked and cubed

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Instructions

  1. In a medium pot or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring the whole time. Stir in the dried basil. Add the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. It will look curdled at first, but with constant whisking for 2-3 minutes, it will become a smooth creamy paste. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.
  2. Over medium heat, add the milk and whisk quickly and constantly until it becomes into the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, pepper and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is the desired consistency, 5-10 minutes. Serve over hot, cooked noodles. I put my chicken on top, or you can mix it in. You actually don’t even need chicken you don’t want it!
  3. When making them into freezer meals – put the noodles and sauce into two 9×9 foil tins. Wait until it cools down a little, place foil on top, and stick in the freezer.
  4. To cook when frozen: Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until heated through
  5. To cook when frozen but then thawed: Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.
Freezer Crockpot Beef Stew
Ingredients
  • 2lb, grass-fed beef chuck roast, fat-trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup barley
  • 7 cups beef broth
  • 1 gallon-sized plastic freezer bag
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Instructions
  1. Label your freezer bag with the name of the recipe, cooking instructions, and “use-by” date.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except beef broth) in a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag, adding the beef to the bag last so it’s the first ingredient poured into the crockpot.
  3. Remove as much air as possible, seal, and freeze for up to three months.
  4. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in a bowl of cold water.
  5. Add to crockpot with beef broth and cook on “low” setting for 8 hours or until carrots are soft.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and enjoy!

Freezer Mac & Cheese

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Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 boxes elbow pasta
  • 3/4 a stick of butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • Stir together, then add:
  • 16 oz mozzerella cheese
  • 16 oz cheddar cheese
  • Add some salt and pepper to taste and stir well.

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Instructions:

  • Cook elbow macaroni noodles as directed, drain and rinse and return to pot.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the pot and stir well until cheese is melted.
  • Spray a foil pan {these are so much cheaper if you buy them in bulk} with cooking spray and dump the pasta mixture in. You can freeze it at this point if you want to deliver it frozen.
  • Bake at 350 for 1/2 an hour to 45 minutes {if this is frozen it will probably need to cook longer}

Southwestern Chicken & Rice

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 15 ounces drain and rinse Black Beans, Canned
  • 1 cup drain Whole Kernel Corn, Canned
  • ½ cups Salsa
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • ½ cups Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 2 cups chicken, shredded

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Instructions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine rice, beans, corn, salsa, and cumin.
  2. Divide among indicated number of baking pans and top with cheese.
  3. Cover tightly with foil. Label and freeze.
  4. Bake from frozen at 350 for 1 hour or until cheese is melted and rice is warmed through.

Pepperjack Chicken Taquitos

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Ingredients:

  • 8oz. cream cheese
  • 3 c. chicken, cooked & shredded
  • 1.5 c. shredded pepperjack cheese
  • 1 6oz. can green chilies or 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • 20 small tortillas
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. cumin

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Instructions:

  1. Melt cream cheese in a bowl. Mix in the spices, lime juice, chilies (or salsa), chicken, and cheese.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. of mixture to each tortillas and roll.
  3. To freeze, place on wax paper on a cookie cheet and stick in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from cookie sheet and place in a ziplocked gallon bag.
  5. When ready to cook, bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Lasagna Roll Ups

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Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 15 oz. container Ricotta
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 2 c. Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 24oz. pasta sauce jar
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 8 oz. ground beef.
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. onion powder
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp basil & oregano (each)

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Directions:

  1. Brown beef in a skiller and mix in the pasta sauce. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  2. In a bowl, combine eggs with ricotta, parmsean, and half of mozarella and mix well. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and basil.
  3. Cook noodles as directed and lay flat out on wax paper sheets. Place 1 tbsp of meat mix on the noodle and spread evenly.
  4. Place 1 tbsp of the cheese mixture and spread evenly.
  5. Gently roll up the noodle carefully, top with remaining mozzarella, and freeze.
  6. To cook frozen, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions:
  1. Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix together and zip bag closed.
  2. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on LOW for 8 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours). Sprinkle with fresh or dried rosemary for serving.

Beef, Bean, & Cheese Burritos

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 pack large tortillas
  • 1 packet taco seasoning

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Instructions:

  1. Brown beef in a skillet & drain well.
  2. Top each tortilla with 2 tbsp. ground beef, 2 tbsp. refried beans, and 2 tbsp. cheddar cheese.
  3. Top with onions and fold into a burrito.
  4. Wrap burrito in wax paper and then in tin foil. Place in gallon freezer bag.
  5. To cook, remove from foil and paper and wrap in paper towel. Microwave for 2-3 minutes.

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Breakfast Burritos

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Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 lb. bacon OR 1lb. ground sausage (your choice-I chose sausage)
  • 1 package shredded cheddar cheese
  • Veggies you fancy: onions, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers (etc-optional)
  • 1 pack large tortillas

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Instructions:

  1. Lay each tortilla on wax paper and top with either sausage or bacon, eggs, and veggies of choice.
  2. Spoon 2 tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese on top.
  3. Fold burrito and wrap in wax paper and then tin foil.
  4. Place into gallon bags and freeze.
  5. To cook, microwave for 2-3 minutes.

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Lactation Smoothie Packs

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Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon vanilla almond milk
  • 1 container rolled oats
  • 2 bunches of bananas
  • 1-2 packs of frozen strawberries
  • ground flax seeds
  • 1 jar almond or peanut butter

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Instructions:

  1. To make each pack, place 1 banana, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/4 cup oats, 1 tbsp nut butter, and 1 cup almond milk in a ziplock bag.
  2. Sprinkle in flax seeds.
  3. Seal bag and freeze.

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Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Spareribs
Ingredients:
  • 1-2 lbs of country-style pork ribs
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning (or seasoned salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

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Instructions:
  1. Place pork in resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl and pour over pork. Mix together in bag and zip closed.
  2. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.

Chunky Beef Chili

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2lbs ground beef
  • 1 can tomato juice
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups onion
  • 1 packet chili seasoning mix

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Instructions:

  1. Brown beef on stovetop and mix in remaining ingredients.
  2. Place in freezer bag to freeze.
  3. To cook, thaw and place in crockpot on low for 4-6 hours.

Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

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Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 1 c. teriyaki sauce
  • 1 c. water
  • 2/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ginger slices

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Instructions:

  1. Add contents to freezer bag and place in freezer. Make sure to get rid of any extra air in the bag.
  2. To cook, thaw and dump contents in crockpot and cook for 4-6 hours on low.

Beef & Broccoli

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Ingredients:

  • 2lb. flank steak
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli (or 2 c. fresh)
  • 2 c. brown rice

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Instructions:

  1. Mix beef and sauce ingredients, place in bag.
  2. If you bought fresh broccoli, place in its own gallon freezer bag.
  3. Thaw and cook on low for 3-4 hours

BONUS RECIPE

Lactation Bites

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Ingredients:

  • 1 c. oats
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter (i used chocolate PB!)
  • 1/2 c. ground flaxseed
  • 1 c. coconut, shredded
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1/2 mini chocolate chips

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Instructions:

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and then mix in the wet ingredients.
  2. Refridgerate this mixture for one hour.
  3. Remove and roll into ping pong sized balls.
  4. Wrap individually and store in a gallon freezer bag to freeze.

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This completes my 15 freezer meals! I hope you all have enjoyed this post and could use these recipes in the future. If you have any questions or if you have tried a recipe and liked it, let me know by commenting below!

WAIT! Before you go though, I made a little video just for you! In this video, I will show you how to prepare the following freezer meals from above:

  • Maple Dijon Chicken
  • Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
  • BBQ Pork Spare Ribs

Enjoy!!

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PLEASE NOTE: Following and/or participating in my blog, daily workouts, meal plans, and any tips or advice is solely your decision. I recommend checking with your physician prior to following any of the workouts or meal plans that I share. I am very open in sharing that I am not a health care professional, personal trainer, nutritionist, or counselor. I provide the workouts, meals, and tips that have worked for me based on my personal experiences.

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