Meal planning before baby arrives: Update on freezer meals and casseroles
Saucy Broccoli Chicken Bake (popped back into a dish to thaw)
I promised an update later about which meals froze the best, since most of the freezer meals were ones I hadn't tried freezing and baking/reheating later.
We're rather spoiled in that we usually like meals best when they're freshly made rather than frozen. I did think that almost all of the freezer meals were drier than a freshly-made version would have been. But all were edible and enjoyed! :) I may be having second thoughts about not liking freezer cooking... :)
I'm so thankful that the third trimester was the easiest part (physically) of this last pregnancy, as I was able to get quite a few meals stashed in the freezer!
At least a couple times a week, I made a casserole or meal that could be frozen for dinner, doubling the recipe and freezing two 8x8-inch square dishes for future use.
Having homemade freezer meals on hand has been such a blessing! And storing the meals in bags with a similar shape allowed me to fit quite a bit into our small freezer.
Frozen homemade burritos: My new favorite convenince meal!
Specifics about main dishes completely assembled and frozen:
- Easy Lasagna (unbaked) -- Good, but on the dry side.
- Burritos with beans, rice, cheese, and beef filling (individually wrapped in foil, then sealed in a freezer Ziplock; will warm in the oven) -- Wonderful. A favorite and a new staple in my freezer!
- Creamy Macaroni and Cheese (unbaked) -- Not as creamy as fresh. Still very tasty.
- Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti (unbaked) -- A little dry. Good, but not great in my opinion.
- Beef and Spinach Quiche (fully cooked; will re-warm) -- Rewarmed great. Mine was crustless though.
- Saucy Broccoli Chicken Bake (unbaked, w/rice on the bottom) -- Better than I expected. Almost as good as fresh!
- Spinach Rice Casserole (unbaked) -- Really good.
- My Mom's Meat Loaf (unbaked) -- Still haven't made this one yet!
None of these casseroles have tasted freezer burned, though they've been frozen for 4+ months now. Just one of the reasons I really like using a FoodSaver for freezing foods!
A crustless quiche (still thawing), which was actually really good!
Meal ingredients in the freezer: (read more about why I do this)
Pre-cooked pinto beans with Tapatio and salt
Pre-cooked beef with onions and spinach leaves (for quiche)
Leftover diced oven-roasted chicken meat (for cheesy chicken vermicelli, chicken lasagna, chicken pot pie, farmhouse chicken, poppy seed chicken and asparagus, chicken fried rice, or saucy broccoli chicken bake)
Having the meat or beans already cooked, seasoned, and/or diced makes all of the above recipes into "quick and easy" for me! :) I've written more about preparing ground beef for the freezer here. I also like homemade frozen meatballs, which are just as good as fresh -- or even better, since the flavors permeate the meat!
My friend Bethany has also done lots of Once-A-Month Cooking and has shared her menu lists and photos of her finished food for the month. In this post, she writtes about which recipes worked great for freezing and which ones didn't taste as good. Be sure to check out all her posts on Once-A-Month Cooking for more inspiration!! :)