In the first 8 weeks of the girls‘ lives the common themes have been “we’re tired” and “we’re hungry” (both babies and parents).
I didn’t do much “nesting” before they came. Clara and Molly don’t have a crafty nursery and just the thought of serious cleaning was enough to make me curl up on the couch and take a nap. The only nest-y thing I did was to stock my freezer. I knew that in the crazy newborn days we’d want a few real meals made with whole ingredients. I was excited to share them here, but I wanted to wait to see how they held up after a couple months of freezing. Now that we’ve been working our way through the stash, here are my favorites.
Note: Obviously these freezer meals would be great for anyone, but they seem particularly satisfying for new parents who, like us, may have maxed out on take-out and tuna salad towards the end of pregnancy.
10 Freezer Meals for New Moms and Dads
White Chicken Chili. A favorite in our house – comforting and healthy (thanks to the use of protein-packed Greek yogurt instead of cream). Freeze it without the final addition of yogurt and cheese and add them right before serving it.
Southwestern Meatballs in Easy Adobo Sauce (Gluten Free). These meatballs are super versatlie – we love them on burrito bowls (with rice, cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc.), on sandwiches or in tacos.
Greek Pizza with Feta, Spinach and Olives (Vegetarian). Home-made pizza is in an entirely different category than delivery (good thing, since the delivery pizza man practically knows us by name in these newborn days). The key is to form and bake the crust for 2-3 minutes (par-bake) before freezing it – either with or without toppings.
Creamy Chicken Tortilla Casserole. Total comfort food with layers of salsa, chicken, and cheese – we had one of these last week topped with salsa and guacamole. (Perfect with a post-pregnancy Corona and lime, should you be so inclined.)
Lebanese Chickpea Stew (Gluten Free). I love this flavor-packed dinner with chickpeas and chicken. I serve it with rice or couscous and a dollop of plain yogurt on top, and love the leftovers for lunches.
Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers (Vegetarian). A stash of these burgers and buns make for super satisfying lunch or dinners. They are protein-packed and absolutely delicious with a quick batch of Parmesan Rosemary Oven Fries.
Roasted Shrimp with Feta. An Ina Garten recipe, so you know it’s got to be good. This shrimp dish cooks fast and gets bubbly and fragrant in the oven.
Chicken Stew with Rosemary-Parmesan Dumplings. I love this classic with the additional twist of herby, cheesy dumplings on top. (Form and freeze the dumplings separately to be added during cooking.)
Black Bean and Goat Cheese Enchiladas (Vegetarian/Gluten Free). To freeze, the ingredients can be layered in a square baking dish or a round pie dish to preserve the pretty, tortilla-shaped layers of goat cheese and black beans.
Indian Chicken Burgers. A summertime favorite, these burgers are light and full of Indian-inspired spices. The mango salsa and cucumber raita (included in the recipe) are fantastic, but these burgers are just as good served simply with tomato, lettuce, and the usual burger fixins.
Bonus: Chippy Peanut Butter Cookies
And for a little added something sweet, I stuck a few batches of frozen cookie dough (rolled into balls and ready for baking) in the bottom of our little freezer. These Chippy Peanut Butter Cookies are totally addictive.
Hard to believe that it was just a couple months ago when I made all these freezer meals and carted all the ingredients back from the grocery store with my handy little grocery cart.
Back in March at 7 months pregnant…
…and this weekend with our squirmy two-month-old girls.
Update: I had intended to add a note about how I get all of these meals into my tiny freezer (I blame newborn-related memory loss). I freeze all of the soups and stews (and really anything that will fit easily into freezer bags) flat. Once they are frozen solid they can be lined up like books on a shelf! It makes great use of the space AND makes it so easy to find the meal we want without digging through all of them.