This is our third go around, and the first time I want to really get serious (and NEED to really get serious) about prepping our freezer for Kyle’s arrival.
With Jackson, Bry worked evenings and was home throughout the day. I thought freezer meals seemed like a silly idea. Then he was born and suddenly I had a small human attached to me 24/7 and found myself eating protein bars, PB&J sandwiches, trail mix by the bag full and frozen veggies and calling them meals. I think a good part of my breastfeeding struggles with him could be attributed to poor nutritional intake.
With Andrew, Bry was on FMLA. I knew having a toddler already, that we’d both be sleep deprived, tag teaming keeping two kids alive and that we needed at least a few dinners prepped and ready in the freezer for easy meals. I think I made 2 freezer dinners and 3 dozen lactation cookies. Priorities. And we used up both while my in-laws were visiting. We’re used to hosting when people come over so it seemed natural to offer up the meals at family dinners. But once my in-laws went back to Texas and Bry went back to work, I stared bleary eyed at an empty freezer and wondered how we’d ever survive.
So, third times a charm, they say. I want to do things a bit more smartly, especially since dinner time is always a hectic time as it is and right now we’re just corralling two energetic toddlers who sleep through the night. My game plan is to have several freezer meals ready to go, our pantry stocked with a few essentials and our fingers crossed that we all make it out alive from the blur that is the newborn days.
For my own memory, sanity and organization, I figured I’d list out what I plan to prep this time around (can you tell nesting has hit hard?).
*I actually started this post a few weeks ago when my energy and desire to do all.the.things was high. Right now my desire to do anything but sit on the couch eating chocolate and trail mix by the bowl full is nil. But even so I managed to get what I need for the majority of the freezer meals I plan to make and hope to get a few ready to go in the freezer tomorrow during naptime because let’s be honest. These days are FLYING*
In the Freezer:
- Homemade turkey meatballs & pasta sauce
- Lasagna with ground beef
- Mexican Casserole
- Turkey and Mushroom Casserole (But I add ground turkey, red bell pepper and garlic powder)
- Freezer chicken pot pie (Made in an aluminum casserole dish vs. 6 small tins)
- 7 steamer packs of vegetables (they make super easy side dishes and pack in some much needed servings of vegetables). We really like the California blend (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower), edamame (the boys call them baby beans and are obsessed with them + they’re loaded with protein), creamed spinach, etc.
- 1-2 bags each of frozen broccoli and Brussels sprouts. I love roasting both and prefer the frozen bags of broccoli from TJs to the steamer packs at the grocery store as the steamer bags seem to contain namely stems. Yuck.
- Box of whole grain freezer waffles (easy breakfast for the boys)
- 3 batches (yes, 9 dozen!!) lactation cookies. They go fast, they’re so good.
- Chicken nuggets (for the boys)
- 2-3 loaves of bread (for sandwiches, lunches for the boys (that includes Bry), toast for breakfast, etc.)
- 2 bags of frozen fruit (for oatmeal, pancakes, smoothies, etc.)
- 1 bag of frozen chicken breasts
- 1lb frozen salmon
- 1lb ground beef
- 1 package boneless pork chops
- 1 box of quinoa (TJs sells boxes of 2 packs of microwavable quinoa!)
- Cooked unseasoned ground turkey (for turkey tacos, meat sauce, etc.)
In the Pantry:
- Brewer’s Yeast (helps with milk production. I use it in the lactation cookies, oatmeal, etc.)
- Old fashioned rolled oats + steel cut oats. I think I might batch cook steel cut oats occasionally and otherwise make old fashioned for breakfasts. Great for milk production but also just really yummy.
- Boxed mac ‘n’ cheese (for easy dinner for the boys)
- Chia seeds (for nutritional boost, omega 3’s and Jax likes the “sprinkles” on everything)
- Flaxseed (nutritional boost, milk production, helps bulk up oatmeal)
- PB & J (for sandwiches and I really like PB on my oatmeal…and my dark chocolate)
- Apple sauce (for the boys)
- Clif Builder’s Bars (I’m obsessed with these for middle of the night feeding fuel. The Cookies and Cream flavor is my favorite)
- Nuts/trail mix
- 2 bags of microwavable rice
- 2-3 boxes of soup from TJs (their roasted red pepper and tomato soup is especially amazing. I like to serve it alongside Panini’s or grilled cheese sandwiches)
- 2 cans of black beans, 1 can of red kidney beans (for easy chili, veg. tacos, etc.)
- Chicken broth
My goal is to have at least one week of dinners covered and the necessities to throw together a few other meals (like having easy cook grains, veggies and proteins on hand). Bry works 14+ hour days most days and I’ll have 3 kids by myself. I don’t foresee grocery shopping being an easy feat in the beginning so I’d like to be prepared. (We actually used Peapod, the delivery service from one of our local big grocery store chains when we first had Andrew and it was a lifesaver! We’ll probably use it again this time around, at least for the first few weeks). But I’d still like to have a lot of things on hand before Kyle arrives to save $$ and pump all FIVE of our bellies with some sort of nutrition. And because Peapod doesn’t deliver ready made meals. Bummer.