I’ve been thinking lately about freezer cooking when pregnant. Not because I am pregnant, but because a lot of my friends (mostly internet ones) are. So, I’ve been trying to think of how I would approach freezer cooking if I were trying to stock my freezer with things to eat after a baby came.

First, I would try to make meals that take as little effort to make as possible, as I would probably be freezing things at the tail end of my pregnancy, meaning I would be very tired. This means the bulk of my meals would be chicken or veggies I could freeze in a gallon-sized bag with some sort of marinade. These meals require very little meat prep, no cooking, and need at most a bowl to mix the marinade in. An added bonus is that most meals like this can cook in the CrockPot, which makes cooking a snap when baby comes.

Second, I would think about meals that include veggies or fruit my family will like. Partly this is because I have a toddler who I like to get at least some veggies in each day, and because I know eating balanced meals will help keep my energy up and aid recovery after a baby comes.

Next, I would pick one or two of my family’s favorite meals, and freeze it. There’s nothing better than your favorite meal when you’re feeling badly or are stressed out, even if the prep takes a little more work.

Finally, I would consider when I would be eating the meals. Do I need meals as soon as I come home from the hospital? Will I have help for a week or two? Are there any friends who will be providing meals? Our Sunday School class typically sets up meal deliveries three days a week for about five weeks. Since my parents came to help for six days after C was born, I didn’t worry about dinners for six weeks. If I knew that would be the case, I would probably make less meals, since at six weeks C started sleeping a bit more, I felt pretty well healed, and felt like a decent handle on life with a baby. If you will be eating your freezer meals right after you come home, you can start stocking your freezer a bit earlier. Most foods have a freezer life of three to six months, so the earlier you’ll eat them, the earlier you can prepare them; and the earlier you prepare them, the more energy you’ll have!

Considering all those factors, here’s what I would be stocking my freezer with:

  • Marinated Chicken – this recipe provides maximum results with minimum effort. Mix chicken and a bottle of Italian dressing in a gallon freezer bag, and freeze. Thaw overnight or for 30 minutes on the counter, and pop into the CrockPot. It’s flavorful and easy, so I would probably end up making two of these.
  • Greek Inspired Chicken – Husband really liked this with chicken thighs, so I would use a mix of those and breasts. This doesn’t take a whole lot of effort, has a nice flavor, can be cooked in the Crock-Pot, and can be eaten with spaghetti or with veggies.
  • Healthy Mama BBQ Chicken – While this isn’t my all-time favorite meal, it’s still tasty and has a TON of veggies in it, which makes it worth it for me to stick in my freezer for a healthy, post-baby meal. This is great served over brown rice.
  • Baked Ravioli – This is the ultimate easy to make, yummy to eat recipe. Simply layer a foil baking pan with store-bought frozen ravioli, pasta sauce, ravioli, pasta sauce and cheese. Cover it with foil and pop it all back into the freezer. This can be cooked directly from frozen, but it does take 2.5+ hours at 350.
  • Mini Meatloaves – A lot of what I fix for the freezer has chicken in it, so these provide a nice variety, and aren’t crazy difficult to make. I also despise leftover meatloaf and this solves that problem. These are the perfect solution for the days you forget to plan dinner – they cook in 15 minutes from frozen! Cook some frozen veggies, cook a box of macaroni, and you have dinner!
  • Ham Mac and Cheese – My family loves this, it’s not chicken, comes together quickly and one recipe makes a double batch.
  • Toddler Muffins – Loaded with fruits and veggies, I would make large muffins for me, and mini muffins for quick meals and snacks for Colton.
  • Taco Roll-Ups – These are Colton’s absolute favorite, for lunch or dinner. I imagine having a meal I know will go over well would simplify my life with a needy newborn and crazy toddler.

That’s six dinners, seven if you count the Ham Mac and Cheese’s double batch, and two snacks/lunch items. My guess is you could do an evening of prep work (shred carrots for the toddler muffins, cut ham if you need to and brown beef for the taco roll ups) and cook from early afternoon and be finished in time for lunch. Or, you could take a week and focus on one item a day and have your freezer stocked.