Thursday, November 4, 2010

Help help help, prebaby meal planning

Alright ladies, I am in need of your thoughts and inputs. You know I read all these lovely blogs about the ladies who cooked a months worth of meals before the baby came and oh what a different it made. And I would love to do the same, there is just one problem....

This is what I am working with. Now do not get me wrong. I am so blessed to have that additional beer cooler sized one. I was given that by my friend Diane when she moved back to the States and it is a lifesaver. Eventually we will get a kombi and I hope someday a standing freezer but this is what I got for now. I left the food inside so you can have a visual idea of what I have.

I am trying to figure out how best to utilize this space post baby. So here was my ideas and I want your feedback and ideas please please please.

So lets start with the mini cooler. That top areas is deeper so I was thinking of pre-making 9 full meals. Now keep in mind on Mon-Thursday we eat abend brot, which is like a cold cut buffet. I do like to buy meats in advance and freeze to save money, but I am willing to take a break on that and just buy as we need for a few weeks. So 9 meals would be 3 weeks worth of hot meals. I am thinking a few casseroles and maybe some items like burritos that could be sandwiched in the sides and tertrised in. Do you think that would fit in that top section? Of course assuming the thing is empty.

Then I figure in the lower bit I will keep some frozen siode4 dishes like veggies, and you know even some cold cuts and cheeses would likely fit there as well. I am not envisioning the big bags of veggies, thjose are cheaper buit the small square ones would fit better here.

What do you think? Doable?

Ok that said, what recipies do you have that freeze easy?

Now for the second freezer that thin flat one from my fridge. Not sure what to do here. Now I could stock it with convenience foods, say fish filets, pizzas maybe a bag of french fries (though those take up quiet a bit of room and could easily be picked up at the store cheap at anytime.

Any Ideas? I do not really want to waste the space on things like raw meat that requires full preperation and items like french fries and bread seem a waste because they are so cheap here even when not on sale. So I am thinking maybe pack that full of frozen foods that just need warmed. As well as meats and cheese colödcuts as they come on sale,. which is nromally where I save money.

Is 3 weeks food reasonable. That would still require trips to the store for last minute items breads or frozen odds and ends that don't fit as well as produce and fruits, the things that do not stay fresh as long here. But I think Daddy could handle a small list, or who knows maybe I will want to get out and walk to the store.

Would this make a big difference in my post birth time?

I also failed to mention I am giving birth in the holiday season so I will have to make a Christmas dinner (not a fancy one just something special), as well as 2 hot meals when the in laws come to visit for new years. So maybe I could make something in advance and freeze it, I dunno. For so many people I think it might waste a lot of space. Maybe I will just do easy meals like spaghetti and meat sauce that I can make in a short amount of time rather then eating my freezer space.Well X mas will be just mom hubby and me so I could do like a baked penne in a dish and freeze that would make life easier I think then just make a salad and add bread.

Or maybe I shoudl make my 10 meals, then tetris it in and see what room is left. If I freeze now would it be good in January? How do I properly wrap things like a csserole to freeze and stack? Hell what shoudl I make that freezes easily??



Anonymous said...

Tammy did a great entry on freezing meals before she had her last baby.

If you have American type Ziploc bags, you can put the casserole ingredients in these, squeeze all the air out, and they'll freeze great!

If you will cook an easy holiday meal, canned ham is really easy and good. You can candy it really fast in the oven. Also I bet you can find traditional sides in the microwave section of any store.

Most casseroles freeze well. I'd skip anything eggy like Strata but other than that go for it!

Morgenmuffel said...

I use Pour & Store Bags ( for freezing and they are great as you can squidge them a bit to fit in to smaller freezer spaces, not sure if you can get them in Germany. Great for chilli, bolognaise, soups, stews etc.

Another easy food option that I am making the most of at the moment is using my slow cooker, it is great just a little bit of chopping which you can do in advance and then chuck what you want in there with some herbs and stock and forget about it until 8 hours later when you have a gorgeous smell tempting you to eat it. Healthy too as I never use any oil in mine. You would have to invest in a slow cooker but I bought the cheapest one I could and it has lasted me years.

Jo said...

make a huge batch of tomato / meat sauce. Freeze it in tupperwares or bags after it cools down. Take it out, nuke it or let it thaw. Now you can turn it into chili by adding some beans. The next bag, just have spagetti, the next bag can be used for lasagna or use over baked potatoes. Cheese does not freeze well, it gets crumbly, but if that is ok for your recipes than do that. I wouldn't buy that kind of thing ahead of time. Nor would I buy frozen veg. or lunch meats. Let your husband pick those kind of items up at the store. Chicken stew might be good, freeze some meatballs to make subs or spagetti, frozen chicken breasts are great for quick meals. The slow cooker sounds like a great idea. Honestly, I wouldn't sweat trying to do all this. I didn't find it that hard to throw something together. Let dad watch the baby, or let him learn how to cook for goodness sakes. Have baked potatoes, omelettes, some canned soups, or frozen pizzas.

cath said...

I agree with Jo, cooking wasn't an issue after the babies were born, everyone pitched in to help me a bit for a few days and we ate simple meals, then I was back on track and able to do it...multitasking becomes so much more fun and a needed skill with a baby. :D

Pussyfoots said...

If you want to pop something frozen into a casserole that it fits into perfectly, here's how:

Line the casserole dish with clear plastic wrap, one layer (the casserole can't be too big for this). Pour the casserole mix into the dish on top of the plastic wrap. Freeze it. Take it out and pop it out of the casserole dish. Now wrap it well with the plast. wrap. Stick all in a large zip-lok bag and pop back in the freezer. Now you can use the casserole dish in the meantime. And when you're ready for the frozen one, undo the plast. wrap and put it in the now-greased casserole dish and into the oven it goes.

Do this first while you still have room in the freezer for the dish and all.


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