Freezer Meals for Maternity Leave (or any busy time in your life!)

Hi friends!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen a few of my freezer meals photos by now.  Today I’m here to share the recipes I used!  As a disclaimer, I haven’t tried all of the recipes prior to making them for the freezer, so I can’t say with 100% confidence that they are all good. However, I did take them all from what I consider trustworthy sources.

All the food prep for this was done over the course of three weekends, and I probably only spend 2-3 hours each weekend preparing everything (including shopping, active cooking times, and packaging it all up).  In my opinion, it will be well worth the time.  We invested in a chest freezer for the basement and I can already tell I’m going to loooveee it.  I feel like a little chipmunk storing things in there, and I know I’ll be happy we bought it when I have a screaming baby.

For packaging the food, I either used plastic freezer bags (which I stocked up for cheap at BJ’s) or aluminum tins that I got from the dollar store, which I then put inside the freezer bags to be extra careful about freezer burn.  I used the smaller serving tins (about 2 servings each) just so I don’t have to thaw a whole pan of anything if I don’t want to.

Here’s what I made:

Round One (Breakfast): Although most of out breakfasts consist of oatmeal, cereal, or smoothies, it’s nice to have a fun breakfast once and a while!

Freezer Meals for Maternity Leave (or any busy time in your life!)

Freezer Meals for Maternity Leave (or any busy time in your life!)

  • 26 whole-grain chocolate chip pancakes + 8 whole-grain peanut butter-chocolate chip pancakes–  I use Gina’s base recipe (x2) and then added chocolate chips or peanut butter chips. Or you can of course add any kind of fruit!  I personally enjoy fruit on the side with them better.  The only other change I make is using 1/2 white whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour.  Not as nutritious, but for pancakes I just find the flavor to be better this way.  I also added a healthy sprinkling of ground flaxseed in the batter because I just can’t help myself.
  • 12 Customizable Egg Muffins–  I made these vegetarian and omitted the breakfast meat.  Instead I used an assortment of bell peppers, onion, chopped spinach & kale, and the shredded cheese.  I plan to just reheat in the microwave for a quick breakfast on-the-go.
  • 12 Easy Homemade Breakfast Sausage patties – Dan loves sausage and I don’t love buying him processed meat.  I was so excited to rip this out of my latest Cooking Light, and I think they came out pretty well!  We’ve yet to try them, but I’m planning to use these to make breakfast sandwiches with an egg & a slice of cheese on a bagel or English muffin [and by planning to make these I mean Dan ;)]

 

Round 2 (Dinner):

Freezer Meals for Maternity Leave (or any busy time in your life!)

  • 6 Bean & Ground Turkey Burritos (hers or his) & 5 Beef & Ground Beef Burritos (his)– I used Lindsay’s post as a guide to make these.  I basically sautéed up ground turkey and ground beef with seasonings and let the meat fully cool.  Then I sautéed up a bunch of veggies (bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, black beans) until they were cooked and let them cool too.  Then I spread the mixture evenly between each tortilla (white or wheat– hubby likes white for Mexican food) with some cheese and a tiny bit of salsa (you don’t want too much or it’ll get soggy).  I wrapped them up individually in plastic wrap and put them in freezer bags. When I reheat them, I plan to top with more salsa, a bit more cheese, and some avocado or Greek yogurt.
  • Crock Pot Italian Turkey Meatballs with Sauce– We’ve made these before and really enjoy them! I’m planning to serve them with spaghetti or as a meatball sub.  I froze them 4 meatballs each with the sauce in plastic baggies.  I’ll probably thaw them overnight in the fridge the day before I want to eat them, and then heat them up in the oven or microwave.
  • The wine I’m just excited about, and is currently being chilled!

 

Round Three (Dinner + Dessert)

Freezer Meals for Maternity Leave (or any busy time in your life!)

  • My Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup– packaged in 2 serving portions.  You may have to add more broth or water when thawing this.
  • BBQ Chicken Chili– packaged in 2 serving portions.  Just note that you add cooked, shredded chicken when making the chili, so I slow-cooked a few chicken breasts in the crockpot the day before to have them ready to go.
  • Snowy Topped Brownie Drops–  These are BY FAR my favorite cookies on earth.  I’m completely obsessed with them, and I have frozen them before so know they still come out great.  If you are a brownie fan, you MUST try these out.  I purposely wrapped these in 3 cookie portions so I have to control myself and can’t eat the whole bag at once.

 

Round Four (Dinner + Dessert)

Freezer Meals for Maternity Leave (or any busy time in your life!)

  • Freezer Chicken Tenders– I doubled this recipe to make 2lbs of chicken fingers. I’m excited about these because I can use them to just dip in ketchup or bbq sauce, or I can use them to make chicken parm, etc.  Prepping chicken is my least favorite kitchen activity, so I’m happy these are ready to go for me.
  • Baked Ziti with Spinach– The only change I made was using fresh spinach because wringing out frozen spinach wasn’t an activity I was interested in at 39 weeks pregnant.  I packaged this up in three 2 serving portion containers (slightly more then 2 servings because my husband doesn’t eat only one serving of anything, ha!)
  • Lactation Cookies–  These came out delicious!  I’m very excited about them.  Since babies having issues with dairy is a common problem for nursing moms, I want to be prepared just in case.  I will definitely be SO incredibly sad if baby can’t have dairy, but at least I’ll have these stocked up.

I hope some of these meals can inspire you to stock your freezer!  A little work now will make you so happy when time is limited.  Happy Sunday!