A Loud Mama with a loud family, living imperfect lives glorified through God and breaking free of the bondage of politically correct Religion. We do things differently around the Viking Homestead, and hope that, by sharing our lives, we can help others feel more comfortable with their differences as well.
21 February, 2012
Preparing for baby: freezer cooking
Food. We ALL need and it. I LOVE coming home to a hot, yummy dinner! There's nothing like a home cooked meal to REALLY nourish you. However, I hate prep work and let me tell you, the idea of even making a pb&j is unbearable for the first few weeks(months) after I bring home a new little. With the quickly approaching arrival of #3, I thought I would share with you some ways I'm able to cut down on my time in the kitchen, yet manage to have a hot, home cooked dinner every night. Fast food and takeout are not only unhealthy, but a strain on the budget of a growing family. Factor in that I don't want to feed my kids processed, refined, empty calorie filled 'food' and that limits the number of places we could even consider going for a take out meal. However, once a month cooking is something that I just will not do. I tried it once(with two kiddos underfoot) and can not commit to that on a monthly basis. It was just far to much for me to do. Then I realized something: when I cook in the slow cooker I put everything in frozen anyhow!! Lightbulb moment! Why not just use slow cooker recipes for 'freezer cooking'!! It's really the easiest thing ever and requires just a little extra time on the day you go to the shop or farmers market! It only requires large resealable freezer bags and a bit of freezer space. I use gallon sized ziploc style bags. After that, its as easy as picking out your recipes. My kiddos LOVE things like pot roast, beef stew, chicken and sausage gumbo and chili. For anything requiring ground beef, I will cook the meat ahead of time, otherwise, I just put the meat or protein into the bag, and add the vegetables, seasonings, and any liquids as required. The only thing I don't include is any kind of noodles or rice or dairy(i.e. sour cream). You have to sort and put away your groceries when you get home anyhow, so this doesn't add that much more time given that, fundamentally, part of it is work you would already have to do! Aside from that, when I cook, I make a big enough meal that I can freeze half! To be considered large enough, I would make a meal that would cover two full dinners for a family of 5 and leftovers for lunch the next day. Now the food may not be fancy, but it utilizes nourishing and nutrirional real food so you really are getting the most bang for your buck. After I clean out my slow cooker in the evening, I simply put another 'freezer meal' in the fridge to thaw(to avoid using a microwave!) and then put my previously soaked oatmeal into the slow cooker so we can wake up to a fresh, nourishing breakfast that will usually make a large enough meal to last us through the week! This is a GREAT way for me to cut down on the time I spend cooking and still allow everyone to eat well when I'm recovering from having a baby! Its always a shame to me to see new moms having to resort to fast food when they are recovering from childbirth. I love doing this ahead of time, even just 2 meals a week for a few months before the baby is due so that you can be well stocked up! Also great to have in the freezer for quick meals: frozen stock(I make chicken and beef), soaked and cooked beans, chopped vegetables, homemade smoothie packets, ground beef cooked up as taco meat, sloppy joes and meatballs, and diced cooked chicken. This way I always have SOMETHING I can feed everyone on a moments notice! This has really helped me and I hope it can help you as well! <3