My Absolute Must-Do Before Baby Comes

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My Absolute Must-Do Before Baby ComesThere are so many tasks that parents need to do to get ready for the arrival of a baby. During the nesting phase, you might find yourself setting up every little detail of the nursery, buying an insane amount of diapers and wipes, washing cute little outfits, and meticulously deep cleaning the entire house. One task I personally love to complete is the preparing of four to six weeks worth of meals. Now, I don’t necessarily love spending hours in the kitchen, but in this case, all the hard work pays off ten fold.

All my freezer meal ingredients neatly organized on my counter, ready to cook.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I discovered freezer meals that I could prepare and freeze in advance for up to 3 months. This allowed my husband and I to get through the first several weeks of the newborn stage without spending an arm and a leg on take-out. In fact, some of the recipes I even continued to make every month to freeze and have ready when we had a rough day and were too tired to cook. There were some recipes we tried that just didn’t come out as delicious as I had hoped, so I’ve complied a list of my all-time favorite, tried-and-true, freezer meals.

My go-to freezer meals are the ones where I can turn on the oven, throw the entire dish in, and have a delicious meal in no time. Without further ado, here’s my top 5 freezer meal recipes that will knock your socks off:

Chicken and Pepperjack Taquitos

Chicken and pepperjack cheese mix in a mixing bowl next to whole wheat tortillas.

Ingredients:

  • 8oz. Cream Cheese
  • 3 c. Chicken, cooked & shredded
  • 1.5 cup shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Salsa
  • 20 Flour Tortillas
  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp. Cumin

Instructions:

  1. Soften cream cheese in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix in the spices, lime juice, salsa, chicken, and cheese.
  3. Add desired amount of mixture, about 2-3 tbsp, to each tortilla and roll.
  4. To freeze, place in a ziplock bag and place in the freezer.
  5. When ready to cook, bake at 425 degrees for 17-22 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs Cooked Chicken, cubed or shredded
  • 1 bag Mixed Vegetables, frozen
  • 5-6 Small Gold Potatoes, peels on and diced
  • 1/3 cup Butter
  • 2/3 cup Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup All-Purpose Flour or Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 3 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 1/3 cup Milk
  • 2 double Pie Crusts, pre-made/frozen (Pastry pie crusts will work)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prepare/thaw pie crusts and set aside.
  3. In a medium pot, combine vegetables and potatoes. Add water to cover and boil for 12-15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through and are fork tender. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan, cook onions in butter until translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to form a paste. Slowly mix in chicken broth and milk, about .5 cup at a time. Stir and bring to boil for one minute or until sauce thickens. Stir in cooked chicken and veggie/potato mix.
  5. Pour filling into pie crusts. (If you have any filling leftover, you can eat this for lunch the next day!)
  6. Cover with top crusts, seal edges, and cut away excess. Make 2-3 small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  7. Bake until thermometer reads 165 degrees or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly – about 45-60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy! Let pies cool before wrapping in wax paper and foil and freeze.
  8. When ready to eat, bake at 375 degrees until thermometer reads 165 degrees or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly – about 45-60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Egg
  • ¼ cup Ketchup
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • ½ medium Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 2 tbsp Ketchup
  • 2 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Mustard

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan or place foil on a baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the egg, ketchup, milk, Worcestershire, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until well incorporated. Stir in the bread crumbs and then add the garlic and onion; mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  3. Add the turkey and mix just until incorporated. Transfer the mixture to loaf pan or baking sheet lined with foil.
  4. Combine the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard in a small bowl. Brush the loaf with the sauce mixture.
  5. Bake until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees, about 45 to 60 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

  • 2 – 12 oz Boxes of Jumbo Shell Pasta
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves Freshly Minced Garlic
  • 10 cups Fresh Spinach, roughly chopped (about 8 ounces)
  • 36 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 3 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1.5 cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Basil, Chopped
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1.5 tsp Pepper
  • 3 – 25 oz Jars Marinara Sauce or Pasta Sauce

Instructions

  1. Cook shells according to package directions; rinse under cold water, drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Lightly coat three 9-by-13-inch foil baking dishes with cooking spray then spread 2.5 cups of marinara along the bottom of each baking dish. Be sure to cover the entire bottom of the baking dish.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, cheeses, eggs, basil and salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Stuff each shell with about 1-2 Tbsp of filling. Arrange stuffed shells in baking dish with the openings facing up. Spoon any remaining sauce over the tops of the shells; they do not need to be fully covered in sauce.
  5. Cover tightly with wax paper, then foil. Store in freezer for up to 3 months. 
  6. When ready to cook, pull out of freezer and allow to defrost in the refrigerator over night. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 165 degrees.

Southwestern Chicken and Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 15 oz Canned Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
  • 1 Can Whole Kernel Corn, Drained
  • ½ cups Salsa
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • ½ cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 2 cups Chicken, Shredded

Instructions:

  1. Cook brown rice according to the package directions. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine rice, beans, corn, salsa, and cumin.
  3. Pour mixture into one 9″x13″ foil baking pan and top with cheese.
  4. Cover tightly with wax paper and then foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. 
  5. Bake from frozen at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until cheese is melted and rice is warmed through to 165 degrees.
  6. Serve with chips, sour cream, and any additional toppings you desire. 

 

My Absolute Must-Do Before Baby Comes