My latest work contract ended a couple of months before my due date and although my finances certainly took a hit, I was able to really clean and organize the house for the arrival of Sweet Pea – which in retrospect was time really well spent.
Of all the things I organized or prepared, easy to cook meals were by far the most useful and life-saving thing I did ahead of time. I know that some people throw “casserole” baby showers where each guest cooks the mom-to-be a casserole that she can keep handy in her freezer, but I was having an August baby and the thought of turning on the oven to cook dinner each night was frankly too hot to handle. The solution: prepare freezer meals that could be cooked in a crock-pot.
I won’t take much credit here other than to say that I actually did all the legwork to prepare a month’s worth of freezer meals – and when Sweet Pea arrived and things got crazy in our household boy was I glad that I did! All we had to do each day was pop a block of frozen meal into the crock, put it on low and 5 to 8 hours later we had a home cooked meal.
Most of the recipes I used came from http://whoneedsacape.com/ an awesome website that has a whole collection of crock pot freezer recipes. What I liked most about the site was that they also give you, pre-prepared grocery lists for all the meals so you can buy and prepare everything at once.
I mostly stuck to the 20 meals in 2 hours recipe list because I’ve got a small freezer but they’ve also got a list of 40 meals in 4 hours, 30 summer meals or 7 meals in an hour that I’m sure are equally great. I put each meal into a freezer zip lock bag, wrote the date, recipe name and instructions on the bag, and stacked them flat, one on top of the other in the freezer compartment of my fridge.
Not all the meals are h aute cuisine or dinner-party worthy but they’ll certainly satisfy for family dinner and are much better than ordering out for pizza every night, which I would have ended up doing when newborn sleep deprivation set in.
My only warning is that if you are also shopping for your ingredients the same day, 20 meals takes more like 6 hours. Sounds like a lot of time yes, but believe me when life gets crazy, these meals are a life saver!