January 21, 2016

freezer meals

enchiladasA few weeks before Spencer was born, I started nesting. I didn’t go full-tilt like some pregnant women, down on all fours scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush at 3 o’clock in the morning, but there were a few things that I just had to get done before the baby came:

  1. Wash all of the baby clothes with baby detergent.
  2. Bring in a cleaning service to scrub every nook and cranny of the condo. (We ended up having the condo cleaned not once, but twice before the baby was born.)
  3. Finish the nursery, including organizing all of the dresser drawers.
  4. Prepare and freeze easy, nutritious meals for after the baby comes.

That last one was a toughy for me. I use my freezer pretty much exclusively for ice and alcohol (and a side of cow that Phil insisted we buy…so much beef…), so I had no idea how to freeze and reheat the most basic meals.

After doing a little research, I found that pretty much everyone and their mom is cooking in bulk and freezing the leftovers. (Seriously, just do a google search of “freezer meals”.) The Pioneer Woman wrote a great blog post about freezing food here, and there are countless recipes out there written specifically with freezing in mind. I also found this article, which has helpful guidelines for how long meals will last in the freezer.

The thing that put me off freezer meals in the past is that they seemed so…unhealthy, and dare I say…un-gourmet. (I sound like such a snob, don’t I?) But what my research told me is that, although I couldn’t exactly prep and freeze a bunch of fancy salads, pretty much any healthy sauce, soup or casserole-type dish was fair game. In the end, I made batches of shakshuka sauce and butternut squash pasta sauce, West African peanut soup, and these delicious spinach and artichoke enchiladas. Now that I’ve tasted everything, I can tell you that these are big winners. Not a dud recipe in the bunch. And having those healthy, heart-warming meals at my disposal when all I had time for was my sweet little baby was totally worth the prep work.

Now you tell me, are you a freezer meal person? What are your favorite make-ahead-and-freeze recipes?