So, the last few weeks of my pregnancy have DRUG ON. Anybody hear me? I’m so bored and so anxious to begin labor and then hold our little man. I can’t wait to start breastfeeding. I can’t wait to walk him up the stairs and introduce him to his home. I can’t wait to see who’s blue eyes he got, his daddy’s bright teal ones, or his mommy’s deep cobalt ones.
The next weeks will be hard, I know that. I’ve read all the articles telling me how tired and frustrated I might get. I’ve heard the stories of post-partum depression and not being able to sit or poop. I know, I know, I probably read too much. But I like to be prepared.
My kitchen is a place I don’t really like to talk about or be prepared in for that matter. Cooking and cleaning, two things I dislike and feel completely ill-equipped in, combined into one room. Yuck! Cue that thing they call nesting and all of a sudden it’s a cheery place. The sun shining through my only northwest facing window, the cool floor on my feet, the smell of a million things cooking at once combined with the smell of my favorite Melaleuca cleaner, Tough & Tender. It’s all so lovely to me today. I’ve been in it ALL DAY. Oh the strange things that pregnancy does to a woman!
My doula (love her so much) suggested that I make some freezer meals for the next few weeks so that I have adequate time to heal and restore my body before jumping into full-time mom status. She said something along the lines of “when you want to nap and cuddle your baby and there’s dinner to be made, it’ll be nice to have something prepared.” So that’s what I spent the whole day doing!
Since I found this glorious link on Pinterest, my eyes have been opened to the wonder of mason jars. After every grocery trip, I take out all the veggies, chop them up and separate them into mason jars. I’ve done this with just plain lettuce, spinach, cabbage, etc, and I’ve also done it like the site says with mixed salad ideas. Now I’ve started doing it with onions, tomatoes, squash, you name it! They last a good week or two longer and are so fantastic for days when you forget it’s lunch time and you need to throw something healthy together!
Pork Chop Crockpot Chili: (say that five times fast…) I crock-potted two pork chops til they shredded and added kidney beans (after soaking overnight) with a few cans of diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and seasonings to make a freezable soup/chili dish. I found this idea on Red Recipe & Idea Box: put dish into ziploc and lay flat in the freezer until frozen. They fit better in a small freezer and they’re easier to split apart if you don’t want to defrost the whole thing.
Crockpot Chicken Breasts & Enchiladas: I crock-potted 6 chicken breasts until they shredded to have for sandwiches and other dishes. I used about two of these in enchilada’s that I froze for later in a casserole dish that can be thrown in the oven at a moment’s notice. I also froze two whole breasts for later.
Ground Sausage Lasagna: I cooked up some ground sausage (Zac’s Christmas bonus from his boss, love Wyoming!) in a sauce pan and used half for a lasagna (which I also froze) and half I just put in a container in the fridge for salad topping, breakfast dishes, etc.
Boiled Potatoes: I boiled 6-8 russet potatoes, which are great as a filler with any add-ons. Classic with sour cream and chives, chili-style, or mexican-style with salsa and cheese.
Hard Boiled Eggs: I boiled a dozen eggs for power snacks throughout my busy day of breastfeeding and lunches to smell up the hubby’s office. (heh heh)
Black Beans and Rice: I soaked black beans and a yummy wild rice (from Winco!) overnight and boiled them with some garlic and chicken broth. I added Frank’s Hot Sauce and taco seasoning to the beans as they don’t have much flavor on their own. I froze half of each of those and put the rest in the fridge.
Noodle Dishes: I stocked up on wheat noodles and sauces (yes, jarred, I’m soo not a sauce person) for quick side dishes and lunches.
Mom’s Crockpot Chicken Corn Chowder: I had my mom make extra of her yummy Chicken Corn Chowder and those are frozen in individual-sized containers as well.
Nana’s Egg Casserole: I put my lovely Nana in charge of an egg casserole that can easily be microwaved bit by bit!
Last, but not least, fruit! We stocked up on oranges, apples, and pomegranates for those “I’m bored and hungry moments.”
During my kitchen adventure, I also made brownies for the staff at the hospital. I can’t take credit for this one though. A good friend suggested that I do it to pass the time while waiting for my little man to come. She’s mentored me through the pregnancy, even from afar, and I couldn’t be more grateful! I’m hoping it will bless the nurses and make up for any grumpy or short attitude that I might possess at any given point during labor. Call it a peace offering! Knowing me, I might eat some while laboring. I do love my chocolate.
A word from the nesting lady over here, save all of your jars. Mason jars are cheap, yes, but saving your jelly jar, mayo container, and salad dressing bottle is totally free with a purchase you’re already planning on making! And who doesn’t like free?
These are just a few of the ideas I came up with with the stuff I had on hand. Do you do freezer meals? What is your experience? I’d love some tips and recipes if you’ve got ’em!
Laboring soon we hope,