Freezing Food for Newborn Days
Yesterday a friend of mine was asking how my husband was doing and if he was excited about the new baby. I explained that I think he’s the one nesting lately, not me. He’s cleaning and organizing and replacing things around here that needed to be replaced for a long time. It’s probably in part because he remembers how hazy and busy that first month with a new baby can be, and he knows home improvement won’t happen for a long time.
I wish I could get the cleaning bug as part of my last month of pregnancy hormonal fluctuations. I know for most people “nesting” is a phenomenon that has them rewashing baby clothes and organizing some long-forgotten bathroom cabinet or something. So far, I cannot seem to get motivated in that regard. In fact, I am ashamed to tell you that the nursery is not quite complete yet. Close, but not done. (Which is extra funny considering I think my son had clean sheets on his bed at 26 weeks gestation.) I am 35 going on 36 weeks, and I need a push to finish these sorts of things.
But the one area where I think my nesting instincts are taking hold is my kitchen. I’ve written before about the glory of freezer cooking and how it helps a busy weeknight come together or a sleepy morning go more smoothly. I didn’t discover this until my son was about 9 months old, but it would have been so helpful in those early days. This time I have another mouth to feed, of course. And I know Jude’s world will feel really different no matter what I do, but I like the idea that he can still sit down at the same table with the same parents during the first few weeks of this transition.
I’ve mostly used Once a Month Mom as my resource for recipes and ideas, and I wanted to link them here as well. I’m trying to do a good mix of dairy-free and regular recipes in light of a lot of newborn’s sensitivities to dairy in the early weeks. I was lucky with my son that I could eat anything at all and he was never bothered, but you never know, so I wanted to be at least somewhat prepared for that possibility and not have a freezer full of food I couldn’t eat. Once a Month Mom now has a dairy and gluten free menu every month, and while I don’t care to limit gluten, I used that menu to get some dairy-free ideas since 99% of my freezer recipes involve cheese, cream, or milk. So far, I have managed to cook and freeze the following:
Breakfast: Chocolate-Strawberry Scones, Dairy-Free Carrot Raisin Muffins, and Sausage Balls. Still on the agenda: Berry Baked French Toast and Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins. We are big egg-eaters around here, so if I pair an egg with just one muffin or scone, that’s enough. We should have breakfast taken care of for at least 3 weeks on my calculations, I think.
Dinner: Dairy-Free Cajun Chicken ready for the grill, Tex-Mex Ravioli Casserole. Still on the agenda: Chicken Divan, Baked Ziti, Dairy-Free Slow Cooker Greek Chicken, Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Artichokes, Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushrooms
A few extras like mashed potatoes for a quick side dish and a couple of rounds of pizza dough should help, too. I also hit up the frozen foods aisle at Trader Joe’s for a few favorites, which for us means Crispy Orange Chicken, Fried Rice, Chicken Tacos, and Croissants.
We have a small chest freezer in the basement, so most of it is stored down there – mainly so I won’t be tempted to dive in to it before the baby arrives. I just used old paper grocery bags and labeled them for various meals to make things more simple.
Most of the dinner entrees really won’t fit in the dinner bag, so they will be stacked beside it instead. Still though, walking downstairs to get food and throwing it in the microwave, the oven, or the Crockpot is ten times easier than making something from scratch, and I’m excited to reap the rewards next month. On the whole, it’s taken far less time than one would think since I typically just double something we are eating tonight and freeze a portion. I’ve used Jude’s nap time to cook and freeze as well which is always helpful with an hour or two alone.
I am a little lost on the dairy-free menu, so any suggestions on things of that variety that freeze well would be greatly appreciated. Send them my way!