When Baby Comes Home

Updated on June 20, 2008
K.B. asks from Denver, CO
50 answers

In preparing for the birth of our first baby (we are due July 14th), we have been trying to stay on top of things. One thing we have been told numerous times by many people is to cook and freeze meals a head of time, so that when we are home with our baby the first few weeks, we don't have to worry about cooking, grocery shopping, etc..... Well, does anyone have any ideas as to what to cook. Things that keep well and still taste good after being frozen and then microwaved? Is it okay to keep food in the freezer in regular GLAD ware storage containers, or will everything get frost bite? Are you supposed to cook everything first and then cool it / freeze it? Or, do you put raw ingredients and then they get cooked during microwaving? This is just too confusing.

A little about me:

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K.S.

answers from Salt Lake City on

It is a good idea to have some re-heatable meals on hand. Anything with pasta and sauce will freeze well and re-heat easily, ie. lasagna, spaghetti. Also, if you throw a couple of things together like frozen chicken breasts in a large ziplock bag with teriyaki sauce...let it thaw overnight in the fridge and it marinades at the same time. You can grill or bake it and serve it with rice, pretty fast to cook it and it tastes great, but just having something to pull out of the freezer to start with will be the most help. I've got lots of other "freezer" meals recipes if you want full recipes. Just email me and I can attach them in a separate email for you to have.

Good luck and good eating!

K.
[email protected]____.com

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K.R.

answers from Grand Junction on

YAY! I'm due July 16th with my first. I have no kitchen skills ether, So this was very helpful for me too. Boy we have a lot in common. *sigh* isn't life exciting?!

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C.C.

answers from Cheyenne on

I found that cooking casseroles, one dish cooking for me, is the easiest. All you have to do is cook all ofthe ingredigents, dump it in a dish or Glad container. When it comes time to cook let it thaw put it microwave or oven safe dish and cook. It gives the house a nice home cooked smell without the work.
I think that teh smell is half of the issue. Good luck.If you want some receipes please email me at : [email protected]____.com

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J.K.

answers from Denver on

There is a place called Dishin' it up and you can either go and do a session or you can have them prepare the meal for an additional $3/meal. They give you instruction on how to prepare it and ideas for the menu. I try to do this once a month so I have a delicious back up if we spent too long at the pool, the zoo, the museum, the library, etc. www.dishinitup.com

I don't know if you have had a shower yet, but on our block of neighbors instead of presents we give the new parents meals. We have a calendar and each neighbor signs up to take 2 days of dinner. It is so great, the neighbor gets a peek at the baby and the parents get a good meal. GOOD LUCK!

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V.W.

answers from Salt Lake City on

K.,

What a terrific idea! I wish someone had told me that when my daughter was due! We just did Freezer Frenzy meals in our church group (ward) and I still have all the recipes and instructions somewhere here. If you'd like them I could copy them and mail them to you. We had a great time with the cooking and the whole money/food exchange. Most of your casseroles can be frozen. You can make bean and cheese burritos ahead of time and freeze them. I would NOT use the gladware plastic for freezing. You are probably right, they will probably get frostbite. I highly suggest freezing in tin foil squares, or in the freezer safe freezer bags, depending on the meal of course! Even your spaghetti's and pasta dishes can most likely be frozen. Then you heat up the oven. Make sure your meal is thawed before heating or it will take all day. Most of the recipes I have are for a little bit larger meal than just you and the hubby will be eating in one sitting, but I split them in half before preparation unless I KNOW that we'll eat them as a leftover. I could go on and ON about freezing meals! I love it!
If you'd like me to mail you the recipes and the instructions, email me back!
V.
married 8.5 yrs, dd is 6, ttc #2 for 5 yrs this August. No answers! Filling out adoption papers! Wish us luck!

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M.M.

answers from Denver on
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H.S.

answers from Salt Lake City on

My favorite postpartum freezer meal is beef and barley soup. The barley is great for your milk supply, soup has lots of fiber and freezes well.

Brown: 1 lb hamburger and 1/2 c. onion

Add:

32 oz V8 or tomato juice
2 cans cream of celery soup
1/3 c barley
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. pepper
2 cups shredded carrots

You can add a couple T. of butter and a T. of sugar if you want, but I think it is a matter of taste.

You can stop with that or you can add chopped celery, fresh or canned diced tomatoes, diced zucchini, sliced mushrooms or anything else that you can dream up.

Lasagna also freezes well.

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R.K.

answers from Salt Lake City on

First I would like to suggest a DOULA!!!!! Not only are there birth doulas (which I wouldn't even consider going without) but there are also post partum doulas who can come and help you out in any way you need--including preparing meals.

Check out: www.dona.org www.alace.com www.cappa.net

Now, if you're going to put meat into something, I, personally would absolutely make sure that is cooked first.

Any casserole or cassarole (depending on how YOU want to spell that--hehehe) would be great.

Again, I, personally, would heat in up in the regular oven instead of a microwave. Sure, it takes 30 or so minutes, but tastes much better. (to me)

Here's a really easy recipe:

two cans of chili
one can cream of mushroom soup
1 lb ground beef (optional, I only add this once in awhile)
1/2 cup of sour cream
3/4 cup cottage cheese
flour tortillas (I prefer whole wheat)
2 cups shredded cheese (or just fist fulls like I use)

Break up the ground beef into small pieces, cook until brown. Mix the chili, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, cottage cheese, and ground beef together with half of the shredded cheese. In a baking dish layer the tortillas and the chili mixture and sprinkle each layer with the remaining cheese...about 3 layers. Cover with aliuminum foil and bake at 350 for approx 35 mins.

You can prepare it to the point of putting the foil and and then put it into the freezer if you like, or you can cook it and then freeze it.

Go out to recipe.com and search for easy meals and casseroles, you'll get pleanty.

You can also go buy frozen lasagnas, chicken fettucini alfredo, and other items likewise at the store in the frozen section.

Remember spaghetti, salads, sandwiches are all easy and hubby can be helpful with those.

When/if you have a baby shower or blessing way, request your guests bring a recipe or a meal freezer-ready. It will help out a ton and people are usually willing to do that.

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T.F.

answers from Salt Lake City on

make a tator tot casserole. You brown 1lb of meat of your choice ie beef,turkey or chicken. when its done cooking drain it and rinse it then put it in the bottom of a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish then then put a layer of tater tots on then mix one can of cream soup of your choice ( cream of mushroom works best) with a 1/2 a can of milk pour that mixture over the tator tots. Now you can either put it in the oven at 350 degrees until the tator tots are done or put it in the freezer until you are ready to cook it. When ready to do so sprinkle the top with some grated cheese.

T. fultz

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C.E.

answers from Denver on

K.-
Congratulations on your first baby!! How exciting for you and your husband. It sounds like you are stressing over meals - don't!! Relax. The more you relax, the better relaxed the baby will be.

A couple of easy, freezable ideas - Lasagna (cooked first or not - is always good) Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas freeze well and just need to be heated (see recipe below!). Those are a favorite of my family. You can even freeze meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, beef tips and gravy (stroganoff).

Relax, enjoy your husband and the upcoming birth of your baby!

C.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Large can of White meat chicken
small can of chopped green chilis
16 oz sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 lbs shredded cheddar cheese
1 package tortillas

Mix together the sour cream and soup in one bowl.
Mix together the drained chicken and the chopped green chilis.

Put a Tablespoon of each mixture in a tortilla, a bit of cheese and wrap.

Place each Enchilada in a pan (be sure to use pam or some olive oil on the pan first!) Once they are all in, cover with remaining sour cream mixture and cheese.

Freeze, or bake at 350 or microwave until cheese is melted. All the ingredients are cooked already, so you are just warming it up so the flavors blend.

:)

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K.C.

answers from Denver on

Before you freeze meals, cook them first. Let them cool then freeze them. If you just have a regular freezer, I would keep them no longer than 3 months in there. If you have a deep freeze, it will keep longer. Some good things to freeze are chili, lasagna, any kind of soups, even bread dough and you can cook it once it is thawed. If you are freezing anything that is topped with cheese, don't put the cheese on until you are ready to reheat it and eat it. It will taste better, plus shredded cheese doesn't freeze well or taste as good once frozen. Good luck and congrats!!

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J.B.

answers from Fort Collins on

Wow - so many great responses! My daughter is 5, and I still need these tips for our busy lifestyle! I pre-made meals before birth also. Casseroles typically give you several meals, so make 3 or 4. However, they get really boring!!

Definitely make some lasagna for diversity and cut it into servings to freeze - recipes both traditional and "exotic" are on the noodle box. Use jar sauce for simplicity. Also check into the assembly line dinners (Supper solutions, etc). Although they cost more than homemade, they will give you great tasting meals that are diverse from the casseroles, and they will be super simple to prepare once you've assembled them. Bring hubby along, or have your baby shower there and get your friends to assemble them for you! :)

Go light on the meals that have lots of beans, heavy spices such as hot peppers, onions, and garlic, and milk until you know how your baby reacts to your diet (if you plan to nurse). My daughter wasn't bothered by my diet, but some are.

Casseroles are cooked first and then frozen. Let meals cool an hour or so before freezing. Super Solutions, etc., are frozen first and then cooked later. Glad containers work fine for a few months. Bags will give you more room in the freezer. Run them under hot water to pop them out of the plastic before defrosting.

Good Luck, and Congratulations!

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M.G.

answers from Denver on

First, CONGRATULATIONS on your new bundle, what an exciting time in your life.

I suggest the book
"Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer"
by Martinez, Howell, and Garcia

I have tried a lot of freezer cook books, and this one has things we will eat.
Hope that helps!
M.

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K.K.

answers from Denver on

Hi K.,
You have a ton of responses but I thought I would put my 2 cents in.:) I am expecting as well! My original due date was July 14th but since has been moved up. Congrats! I know exactly how you are feeling. One bit of advice from someone who just made about 8 freezer meals.. don't try to tackle it all in one day. What helped me was to pick several meals. Many meals will call for either ground beef or shredded chicken. One day I cooked about 10 chicken breasts, let them cool, then shredded the chicken, put it in a big ziploc bag and into the fridge. Next day, I browned about 5 pounds of ground beef and did the same. Then you can pick a day to cut up the veggies and assemble the dishes. This way you aren't on your feet for too long. It can get tiring! I bought a bunch of those aluminum disposable pans from the grocery store to store casseroles in. Then cover them really well with foil and freeze them. This way I can just toss it after we eat it and there is no clean up. As for soups and chili, I let them cool then spooned them into those big freezer ziploc bags. Anything you make, I would double the recipe so you can get two dishes out of it. Don't get too overwhelmed if you aren't a great cook... casseroles are such an easy thing to make. I don't agree that you have to cook them first unless the recipe says to do so. Just when you end up cooking it, I would allow more time if it is frozen. And if you don't want to bake chicken to get shredded chicken.. the deli aisle usually has baked breasts. Last but not least, Costco is a lifesaver! They have amazing frozen meals. Good luck!

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K.H.

answers from Boise on

Make a big tray of lasagna...it will keep well and it actually tastes better after the first sitting. I bake the noodles and then put it together with the other ingredients. I then freeze it and when I am ready for it, bake for an hour in the oven. It is easy enough to make and will last a while. You can get some ready-made salads to have with it or bread. Any kind of casserole should be easy just cook the meat ingredients first and then freeze. I think you could just throw most in the oven like the lasagna after freezing. Good luck!

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M.H.

answers from Denver on

I know this has already been recommended, but www.savingdinner.com is a great resource! They have sample freezer meals you can try out, or you can buy 5 or 20 recipes for the freezer. The recipes come with a grocery list for everything, and super easy instructions. For example if you are making five recipes, it will tell you to chop two cups of onions--enough for all the recipes--so that they are easy to assemble. Then she gives you very specific instructions about how to package for the freezer. How to defrost and cook. She even suggests sides for meal time, and has a list of things you need for when you are ready to serve the meal. She has taken a lot of the work out of the planning. Her "five for the freezer" meals are also all based around one meat--like chicken or ground beef--so you can stock up when those go on sale and make several. I have done these several times, and I love the feeling of haveing something in the freezer I can just take out to defrost. Good luck! Congratulations on your precious little one.

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S.L.

answers from Pueblo on

Dear K.,

I would put up some meals like you talked about. You cook all of the meals completely...let them cool down but not for more than an hour or two. You can place them in freezer bags and stack them on top of each other. Then when you are ready for them..thaw them in the container that you want to use to heat them up. I will list what freezes good below.

spagetti- mix sauce and spagetti together.

rice and chicken casserole. I cook about 1 pound of chicken and three cups of rice. Then add 1 can of cream of mushroom soup and maybe some milk is it looks too dry. I would say look up some casserole recipes. Simple ones.

meat loaf

browned (cooked) ground beef already seasoned for tacos

Check out Zataran's dinner packages. They have several such as Dirty Rice, Jambalaya, Red beans and rice. All you will need is to add your cooked ground beef, sausage, or the sausage that comes like a big link...Prepare these and then freeze them in baggies.

Avoid freezing anything with potatoes in them... they loose their taste and texture.

Also, look online for pages that tell you how to cook for a month. Or get someone who is a seasoned cook to help you with preparing the meals. An older woman would probably love to assist you. I would if I was there. Or maybe people will bring meals over for you. When I had my daughter... people from my church brought over meals for two weeks. Yippie... what a blessing.

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A.J.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I did this and it was so helpful. When I fixed dinner in the weeks before my birth I would make double portions and freeze the extra. Just about everything freezes well if properly contained. Wrap meats in wax paper then foil to prevent freezer burn. Casseroles are great just assemble as you would normally then cover with foil and freeze. Cookie dough is good to freeze for a quick treat. Just spoon spoon full size drops onto plastic wrap and freeze. then you can make as many cookies as you would like.

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K.R.

answers from Cheyenne on

K., I have some easy recipes that you can make up and then freeze. When you take them out, all you have to do is just bake them. If you would like them, just e-mail me and I'll send them to you. Also, meatballs are a good thing to make up and then freeze. You would make them up and then bake them. When you need something fast and easy, you pull out how many you need and then put spaghetti sauce over them, a Mushroom gravy sauce or any kind of sauce you like. Lasagna is also easy to make up then freeze. Plus if you use the oven ready ones it makes it alot easier as well.
My e-mail address is [email protected]____.com

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S.R.

answers from Great Falls on

Look for book, Once-A-Month Cooking, by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. I have used this for years, (not exclusively, of course), and my family enjoys all these recipes. Many, many foods can be frozen. Some you cook first and some you freeze raw. In general, potatoes (other than twice baked/mashed) don't freeze very well. You can also get Simple and Delicious magazine (perhaps your library has recent copies) They have a section each month on recipes that you double and eat one now and freeze the other for later.

Good luck with your little one!

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A.S.

answers from Denver on

We used one of those supper in a hurry kinds of places for both kids. It was worth the money. Some will even make all the meals for you as a gift since your preggo. All you have to do is order and pick up, cooler in tow. The best one we've found is Easy Entrees: http://www.ezentrees.com/Home.htm Supper Solutions gave us food poisoning.

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S.U.

answers from Denver on

K.,

Here's an AMAZING recipe that freezes and thaws well:

http://oduamy.com/chicken_tetrazzini.html

If you have family close by who are looking for a way to help after the baby comes, you can always have them bring you meals too. Or, you could always do Supper Solutions--I believe their stuff freezes as well. I'm just looking for ways for you to cook as little as possible since it sounds like it's not something you enjoy!

Good luck and congratulations on your baby. I hope you have a speedy and uneventful delivery.

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C.F.

answers from Denver on

you might go with some hearty but simple soups, like chix noodle, veggie, etc. after the first few days of colostrum, your babe will start receiving whatever you're eating. some foods that can be irritating to newborns to 6 mos or so: tomatoes (incl spag sauce), broccoli, caulifl., onion, caffeine, chocolate, and some babies have a hard time with dairy. you will need lots of protein, soups are great. good luck!

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C.J.

answers from Colorado Springs on

People told us that too, then our daughter came early. Honestly, it wasn't as difficult as everyone made it seem. She slept most of the time anyway, so cooking and cleaning the house weren't really that big of a deal for me. But it can help to not have to think about what to make for dinner, so you can try hitting up the local library for this one! I found quite a few cookbooks about the "cook ahead" style of cooking recently. The best one I had checked out was called "Once a Month Cooking: ..." my Mimi Wilson. She actually has quite a few cookbooks on this subject if you search her name on the library website. I also tried the one called "Super Suppers" and that one wasn't bad either. If you search the phrase "make ahead" on the library website it will bring up a bunch of entries for make and freeze type cooking. Another suggestion I can make to you is using a slow cooker. I have really relied on mine now that my daughter is older (and especially if you are going to go back to work) because it is really nice to throw everything into it first thing in the morning and know that dinner will be ready later on! My favorite recipe for the slow cooker is a Vegetable Beef soup. This recipe makes A LOT and it freezes really well, too. And, it doesn't really hurt that my daughter absolutely loves it!

1 lb ground beef (or you could use turkey, I suppose)
2 28oz jars Newman's Own Sockarooni pasta sauce
1 16oz bag frozen mixed veggies (put them under hot running water to thaw)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
14 oz can beef broth
1 14oz can diced tomatoes w/garlic and olive oil (undrained)
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes w/green pepper & onion (undrained)
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook the beef and onion in skillet until no longer pink, drain, and add to 5 qt slow cooker. Combine all other ingredients and mix well. Cover and cook on high heat for 6 hours or low heat for 9-12 hours.

If you don't like that brand or flavor of pasta sauce, use whatever you like. Same with the diced tomatoes. Or add garlic (I usually do). If you are interested in more slow cooker recipes, just let me know. I have collected quite a few favorites since my daughter was born and they were lifesavers when I was working! Best of luck to you!
C.

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M.M.

answers from Pocatello on

Making meals ahead of time and freezing them is fantastic for any stage you are at in your life. What you do is gather a few simple recipes that take a few of the same ingredients, like hamburger or chicken. I would do lasagna, tator tot casserole and beef strogonof together. I would cook up all the hamburger for the three dishes at once. While the hamburger is cooking you will cook your noodles until they are soft but firm. Separate your meat into three bowls and add your sauces and then prepare the mixtures in a disposable tin or a regular dish, it doesn't matter. You don't have to worry about heating up the spaghetti sauce before adding it to the meat for the lasagna because that will warm while it's cooking in the oven. The same goes for the gravy in the stroggonof unless you are making it from a packet, then it will need to be cooked. Once the lasagna, tator tot casserole and stroggonof are finished you would tightly seal them with plastic wrap and then tin foil and move to the freezer until needed. These are just a few suggestions of the meals you can use...the options are endless. Try searching the web for freezer meals and see what you come up with. Good luck and congratulations on the new baby coming to your home!

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L.R.

answers from Pocatello on

K.-congrats on the upcoming arrival. Good luck with that.
Something that I found even helpful is to brown extra hamburger meat, cook extra chicken, brown onions, peppers, etc-make bread and freeze it. Do extra of dinners taht do freeze when you are making them for dinner now such as lasanga, etc. Put all of these in the freezer when when the baby is hear and you are making a dinner that calls for browned hamburger-pull it out of the freezer already done!
Also check out the website www.menusformoms.com. SHe has a great recipe list and also tells which ones you can freeze. It also has bulk cooking!
Good luck!

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J.M.

answers from Denver on

K.,

I would recommend that you pick up the book "Don't Panic-- Dinner's in the Freezer." It was written by a mom that was struggling to survive with her colicy newborn. All the meals have been tested and they taste great even after being frozen. Some of the meals are cooked first and others are frozen raw with all the ingredients. The book also explains storage methods and how long things will keep in the freezer. This was a HUGE help for the first year after my son was born when I was trying to balance being a new mom, working full-time, going to school, breastfeeding, ect., ect.! Here's a link to the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0800730550/booksto.... Good luck!!!

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J.P.

answers from Denver on

Congratulations! I had my baby in March, and believe me, the last thing I could have worried about at the time was cooking meals. What really helped me was a business called Supper Solutions. I think the Web page is suppersolutionsinc.com. Anyway, you set up an appointment, go to the business, and put together your meals in freezer bags. Everything is there for you, cut up and ready to go, and the recipies are provided. Then all you have to do is freeze the meals at home, take them out, and follow the simple cooking instructions. No shopping, no chopping, no hassle. There are branches everywhere, so you might want to check it out. There are a few other businesses like that, such as Dinner in a Dish, but Supper Solutions is the one I've been trying. With a new baby in the house, the convenience is worth it, and I don't spend much more than I would at the grocery store, plus there are all-natural meats available. Best of luck to you and enjoy your new little one!

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A.P.

answers from Pocatello on

I'm leary of what cooks nicely after freezing, too. I have found that putting a lasagna together, freezing, then thawing, and baking works well. I think baking it after freezing helps it taste fresh rather than left-over. Another idea is to make what you eat now in double quantity, then freeze it for later--this way you know you'll like it and won't be experimenting. Also, I suggest going to a store like Costco or Sams, visiting the freezer section. The food they have is intended for what you're talking about. My mother-in-law gave me a $100+ gift card to Costco for this purpose before my 3rd child--I didn't cook for a month. :) Lastly, "skillet" meals (frozen--you just heat in a skillet) and frozen crock pot meals are excellent. Enjoy your new baby!

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D.K.

answers from Denver on

Good things to cook are spaghetti, just brown ground turkey, add Ragu or any favorite sauce and season, boil some noodles and mix it all together. Yes, you always must cool down what you are putting in the freezer. Get the freezer friendly Gladware, then on top of that put them in plastic freezer bags and label them. That way you know the date and the contents. Lasagna, taking apart a rotisserie chicken already cooked and freezing the meat is a good one to have chicken for chicken salads and so forth. To be honest it is up to you what you like to eat. You can make taco meat ahead of time, put it in the freezer, you can make some enchiladas too.
Most things needs a few days to thaw in the fridge before you reheat and for best flavor transfer them to a microwave safe dish before heating, Gladware you can use in the microwave but on items that have sauce they will stain.
The points are that others are suppose to be bringing you things to reheat, not just you doing the work, hee hee.
Easy things after baby is born is tuna salad, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and so on. After you recover you will be amazed that babies nap so much and you can pre-prepare dinners on the morning naps (I did this and it was a time saver) then you have them in the fridge ready to go. Babies don't really get that sometimes you need to go make dinner so whenever you have time during the day when the baby is sleeping to go ahead and get things together for the evening meal I suggest you jump on it. Newborns will nap a bunch, you should too! :) Congrats, very exciting. There is nothing wrong with having Chinese delivered or Pizza either. Most neighborhood restauraunts to take out meals too!

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E.A.

answers from Salt Lake City on

K.,
Funny you should ask this question. My sister is a professional chef turned full-time mom and has recently gotten me into freezer meals, big time. Yes, you can use gladware, ziplock bags and the like to store in the freezer. The key being not to keep them in the freezer for longer than 3 months. The rotation works wonders for freshness (and freezer burn). I have a Word file of tips and hints, and many useful recipes (15 recipes makes dinners for a month for my family of 3) that you might find useful. I can't post it here because it is too big. If you want to private message me an e-mail address that I can attach the file to (let me know if you want it pdf or Word)I would be glad to do so.

I chuckled at your 'a little about me' and you having no skills in the kitchen. I laughed because there was a time when I was in your shoes. You have skills, they just haven't been developed yet! Practice, as with all things, does not always make 'perfect', but it does make 'much better'!

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L.M.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I think having some food in the freezer is a great idea, but don't overdo it...yoiu don't want to be cooking away too much in this hot weather! Here are some ideas, nonetheless:
LASAGNA using the 'ready bake noodles' that you don't have to cook...assemble the lasagna in a casserole dish (I prefer a 9x9 if you are going to freeze it so it takes up less room), then withOUT cooking it, wrap in plastic wrap & foil. This should last in the freezer for several months. When you are ready to eat it, just take it out, and cook in the oven (you will need to either thaw it or just cook it longer, since it will be solid from the freezing). Cookinglight.com has some great recipes, and they are easy, too!
CHICKEN is always a good one to cook up ahead, then just heat.
GROUND BEEF can be made ahead and stored in smaller sized containers, so you just have to reheat it as well...
Hope those help. Hopefully you will have some nice friends and/or family that will bring you meals, too!
PIZZA from PAPA MURPHY'S - you can also freeze that BEFORE you cook it...just a thought!

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A.E.

answers from Denver on

I have a simple one that is easy to make (important). Basically it's just cooking some pasta. Mix it with spegetti sauce until well coated. Add any meat or vegetables you enjoy (I usually do chicken and peppers and mushrooms) and then throw this all in a 9x12 pan and cover the whole thing in cheese. It freezes well and then you can just put it in the oven at 350 frozen or thawed and cook until the cheese is melted and it's heated through (usually 30 minutes for thawed).

Another idea is go to one of those places like Dream Dinners or Supper Solutions where you can make 10-12 meals in 60-90 minutes (or you can pay them to make them). The are in ziplock bags or tins that you put in your freezer and they have instructions on re-heating them. It's a little more expensive then doing it yourself but well worth the time saved. Check it out!

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R.M.

answers from Denver on

think about what you like to eat? what do you usually cook? who grocery shops?? realisticly if you like take out don't worry about cooking! order takeout. if you like fresh food like subway then you could stock up on you favorite cold cuts and maybe some frozen fruit. cereal and yogert. do you have a schwans delivery man? they have prepared meals and unprepared food that you could get delivered. you could also start taste testing some t.v. dinners and then stock up on the ones you like. you can also stock up on your pantry . soups--crackers can goods, lunchables and bottles of water. granola bars. think about this if you have enough time to pull it out throw it in the oven and or microwave then you could probably throw a meal into the crock pot. alot of the frozen food sections have a range from tv dinners to the bags of prepared meals. i am a personal shopper for several people and i have helped numerous people with first days at home (overnighters ) to 24 hour calls of advice. so please feel free to call me this is not a service that i charge for and i have many references. this is my passion and would feel greatful to help in anyway. 3-###-###-####

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K.H.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I've frozen lasanga, tuna noodle casserole. Pretty much anything you like, can be cooked ahead of time and frozen. I have friends who made stew or soup and froze that as well. Due in July though, you may not want anything hot like soup.

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A.D.

answers from Great Falls on

K.,
I did the same with my first, and actually still do it today every Sunday, preparing for the week's dinners. It makes life much less hectic in the evenings and we don't eat out nearly as often as we did :)
Some suggestions:
Stouffer's frozed lasangna.. not only easy to bake, but the left overs are great too!

Chili- I saute ground beef with taco seasoning, then add beans, tomoatoe paste, stewed tomatoes, brown sugar, peppers, onions and what ever else I can find. (I cook it in the crock pot and then put it in storage containers, label and throw in the freezer)

Soup- I use the bear creek soup mixes and add fresh ingredents to it. I cook it up and then put it in the freezer like the chili

The other thing I do with stuff that is not easily frozen, is on Sunday evenings, I look over my entire week's menu. If I have 2 dinners that need onions chopped up, I chop up the onions and put them in glad ware and throw them in the fridge. I do this with all the ingredants I need, so when it come down to cooking dinner all the prep work is done, and it mostly just needs to be mixed together in a dish and thrown in the oven. We also just got a very cool store in our town, called entrees made easy, where you go and put together all these dinners that are freezer friendly and then go home put them in your freezer and pull them out and bake them. The store provides all the ingrediants and the wares to mix and bake and store.
Good luck with the new one... and don't be afraid to ask friends and family for help. One neighbor of ours organized dinner for us every night for a week. It was the greatest blessing I ever received. And now when a friend has a baby I always take a roast or lasagna to them. People love it! So, maybe hint to your mom or best friend about your stressed of feeding hubby and yourself and see if they can put together some meals for you... then pass on the love :)

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C.C.

answers from Denver on

Congratulations! I know how you must be so excited and a little overwhelmed right now!! I had a baby in March and also prepared a few meals ahead of time. It took about 4 hours in the kitchen one Saturday afternoon and I had about 8 dinners plus leftovers whipped up.
It looks like you have gotten some awesome suggestions here already. One thing I'll mention is that I didn't cook my meals ahead of time. I prepared them and put them in these plastic dishes that Glad makes. They come in a few sizes. I picked up a size about 9"x11" and another 9"x9". They were great because they go straight from freezer to oven. And; they are re-useable! It makes it easy because you can whip up a lot of food and not tie up all your dishes.

These pasta shells were great: http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1735,155173-229205,00.html

I found a few good ones here:
http://food.ivillage.com/quickeasy/dinner/0,,9wqs,00.html
We liked the macaroni bake and the best ever meatloaf.

From this one below I made the Chicken Enchiladas. They were yummy...and easy!!
http://www.momsbudget.com/freezerrecipes/index.html

Best of luck to you and have fun!!

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T.C.

answers from Grand Junction on

cooking ahead of time is a wonderful idea if you cook. I have a terrible time coming up with items to cook. These are the two ideas I have used and love. 1st sharecolorado.com has food anyone can purchase and with your purchase they feed low income families I believe but the best service about this to me is they give you online at their site a monthly dinner list of what to make each night. I don't use it everynight but when I am out of ideas I go to it for something to cook.

idea number 2 is Supper Solutions. I love it because on night when I know I won't have a ton of time I have 1 or 2 items that I have taken out of the fridge from there and they usually take less than 20 minutes to cook. Supper solutions is a kitchen where you and hubby (or in my case just me cause hubby works) goes and premakes the meals. They are freezer tested and designed by a chef. You get to choose from a monthly menu and can choose I think however many meals you like. It is so convenient and in the end is only around $3 per serving when all done. Check it out at www.suppersolutionsinc.com I wish I would have done this before we had our twins. It would have been a great idea. I still use both of these periodically because it makes me more healthy in what I cook for my family.

Good Luck with your wonderful gift of a first baby!

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L.L.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I think assembling the raw ingredients would be better. Then you defrost before cooking/baking. Check out www.savingdinner.com. I used to subscribe years ago. They send you weekly menu plans with the grocery lists already made. But now they offer make ahead freezer meal menus. If you sign up for their newsletter, you can get some free sample menus to try. It's at least good for some ideas.

Also you could try going to Dream Dinners or My Girlfriends Kitchen and stocking up on freezer meals too. Good Luck.

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C.H.

answers from Denver on

You're so funny!
What do you like to eat? Freeze it.
Lasagna does really well is great for you - but might give you indigestion. Babies do weird things to your digestive system. My second attempt after reading the others - can't believe how many people mentioned lasagna, but it is really good. Sorry to be so repetitive, but I have a recipe for Seafood (fake crab) lasagna, vegtable lasagna - so you can vary this a bit.
Freezes fine in small containers - heat two minutes then break apart and then one more.
There are so many already packaged good foods in the freezer section at Walmart. Pizza, noodles all kinds - mexican food.
Tell everyone to bring a dish when they come to visit the baby - then freeze it. Not salads but the main meals.
And when you are breast feeding you will need to get in the malts - yes malts, not milk shakes - otherwise your body won't produce enough milk.
Believe me you will have the appetite and now there is lactose intollerant (Lactaid) Vanilla Ice Cream, which they didn't have when I was pregnant. Enjoy it with all kinds of fruits and add extra ice.
Your baby will love you taking care of you.
By the way that could possibly be my best advise. Make sure to shave both legs at one time while you have the time.
Enjoy K. - the time goes really fast, not at the time and you wonder if you are going to live thru it many times over -- but a blink of the eye when they are a senior, and walla - they're graduating and on to college. Always keep that focus, it helps to save regularly.
bye bye

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A.P.

answers from Pocatello on

Congrats on your new baby! It looks like you already have a lot of great ideas, but if you need more recipes, email me and I can send you a bunch I already have typed. I use the crock pot a lot, and freeze ahead casseroles are great. Good luck!
[email protected]____.com

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K.G.

answers from Boise on

I was a Pampered Chef Consultant a few years ago and I found a document with instructions on how to create about 10 freezer meals. It is a long process, takes a couple of hours to do, but maybe if your husband helped or if you had a friend or two over to help it would go faster!
I cannot put a document on this posting board (or do not know how to do it) so if you are interested in the document just e-mail me and I will send it to you!

Good luck and do not stress over it! We all live through it! If all else fails, and you can afford it, buy a bunch of frozen dinners or hot pockets and the like. That way if you just need something really quick or easy you have it!

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M.Q.

answers from Colorado Springs on

K.,

If there is a Dream Dinners or Super Suppers in your area look them up. They have all the ingredients chopped and prepared for you. You just go into the store/kitchen and assemble what you want for the meals you choose. The recipe is there for you to follow and they also provide the containers. This is a good option for people who don't cook. It is also something fun your husband and you can do together.

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A.C.

answers from Colorado Springs on

The easiest I find to freeze are pasta dishes that I put into individual tupperware, or bigger ones for the both of us. It's usually the shells and sauce then when I heat in the microwave I add the cheese. I also freeze chili, since that is easy to make a big pot of. Other great ideas are those bags of frozen one skillet meals, all you do is put in a little water and heat, or the crock pot meals, put it on in the morning and not worry about it until dinner.
Hope this helps a little.
A.

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A.F.

answers from Denver on

In addition to the place mentioned there's a great one called Dream Dinners. The drawback to this is that you have to purchase at least 36 servings in 3 serving increments. If you have the freezer space it's nice. I've been there and the food is really good and pretty easy to cook (it's not just re-heating it's actually cooking so the chicken wasn't over done - instructions are included).

If it's something you're interested in you may want to ask for this as a shower/baby gift. I've had some girlfriends ask me if I wanted it but we don't have the freezer space now. I may do it when my in-laws come to town though.

http://dreamdinners.com/main.php?static=howitworks

Good Luck (I'm due the same day you are!)

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J.O.

answers from Pueblo on

Cooking ahead and freezing is a great thing to do, and it will help when you are so tired you don't want to get up. You can freeze almost anything. Since it is just you and your hubby, you can make a big crockpot of chili and put it in smaller containers for single serve in the microwave. Microwaveable bacon is a great and easy way to fancy up a lunce sandwich too. I really like Kraft Foods website for easy cooking. Congratulations on your little one!!!

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J.S.

answers from Missoula on

I think you could make up raw stuff that you can just throw in the oven to finish. Some ideas:

Lasagna
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Enchiladas

You could also put together some crock pot packages that you just need to dump into the crock pot and leave to cook all day.

Stew
Italian Chicken and Potatoes (your favorite Italian salad dressing, chicken and cut up or whole potatoes)

Then the food will be fresh and tasty when it's cooked. You can store the leftovers in single-serving Tupperware and put them back in the freezer for reheating in the microwave whenever you want. You may not want to eat lasagna for 4 days until the whole pan of it is gone.

If you have some friends willing to help out that live in your town, you may be able to get one of them to assist and arrange some meal delivery to you and your husband for a while post-baby. I have a friend that we're going to do that for. One of her friends is going to email all of us after the baby is born and we will each bring a dish to their house for them to eat on different days. That way you don't even have to know how to cook! lol! Even a few days of that could be a big help.

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K.K.

answers from Great Falls on

Saw your comment about no skills in the kitchen (same here)...Don't worry about it then at all, get a bunch of Healthy Choice frozen dinners they're cheap and easy and a fully prepared (psuedo-healthy) meal. I bet that you'll also get dishes from co-workers and friends that want to visit and see the baby. but don't stress about it. enjoy your last few days sleeping in and eating out at grown up restaraunts because it will be a while before you get to do either of those things in peace.
kindly,
K.

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L.W.

answers from Denver on

I have the answer!!! You should do Dream Dinners (look them up on the web) - it's where you go to a store and put together your own meals using all the ingredients they prepare (and they give you the specific recipes), then package them to take home and freeze. Each one has specific cooking instructions right on the front, so all you have to do is take one out of the freezer the day before you want to eat it so it can thaw. They cost about $3 per plate which is really affordable (so, a 3-serving dish would be about $10). You buy each meal in either a 3 or 6-serving size, and my husband and I have no problem eating the 3-serving size between us, since one of us just eats the 3rd serving the next day for lunch. We both love to cook, but at times are too busy for either of us to plan for and make good dinners so we go to DD and stock up instead! Since you make them yourselves, you can add more of ingredients you like, or leave out ones you don't like (for example, I don't like a lot of garlic so I cut that ingredient in half when making my dishes). We go to the one at Kipling and I-70. I HIGHLY recommend it!!!

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J.S.

answers from Provo on

You can use any casserole dish and freeze uncooked. I put it in the pan as if I am going to cook it but instead of the oven I put plastic wrap and aluminum foil over it, label it with a marker on the foil and stick it in the freezer. I have heard you can (once it is frozen) take it out of the pan and stick it in a freezer ziploc bag, then you just take it out of the bag when you want it cooked, put it back in the dish and cook it still frozen for an extra hour.

But with no skills in the kitchen my question is: what ever it is you normally do? (unless it is take out) double it and put half in the freezer. If you are going to do like spaghetti, then just cook the meat and freeze it in the portions you use.

Good luck with the baby

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