Preparing for Baby {Stocking My Freezer: Part 1}

As you know, I am attacking my game plan. I have just under 3 weeks until I want to have everything ready for baby. Check out my final weeks before delivery game plan for more details on all I plan to do! The freezer cooking is what I need to tackle first. This is important because I want to spread out this process for as long as possible (I don’t want to be a slave to my kitchen at 38 weeks pregnant!).

Though there may be a temptation to just dig in and start cooking, it is so much more efficient to take a day (or 2) and make a plan for your freezer cooking. Here is my plan of attack:

Stocking My Freezer {My Plan}

1. Take an inventory of my freezer. I mean everything. Every, single item. If it is in there it should be considered for this cooking fest.  I used a cute printable from my Getting It Together book. You have that book, right?

2. Figure out how many meals are needed. If I decide I need 30 dinners because I want to have a whole month covered, I am not going to cook 30 different meals. At the most I would plan 10 meals and triple each recipe. But more on recipes in a second. I am also planning on breakfast meals. I am fine letting my kids and husband eat more cereal than I would typically be happy with. But I do not eat cereal and I don’t want them to live on that stuff! So I want to have at least half the amount of breakfasts as I do dinners. For lunch, I send leftover dinner (from the night before) for lunch and make sandwiches or finger food plates for the girls. I will still do this, it is a special thing we do and I don’t want them to feel totally shafted after little boy is born! For this I will use my trusty calendar. Any calendar will do!

3. Plan my meals. Remember, each meal cooked doesn’t have to be a full meal. I may cook taco meat. I don’t actually need to assemble the entire taco or burrito! I can cook the meat and separate it in bags based on what my family eats (keeping in mind this nursing mama eats a LOT!). Then I will shred cheese and freeze and of course make sure I have salsa in the pantry (perhaps my fresh tomatoes will be ready in the garden!). I am planning my overall meal plan on one long list for easy reference. I will later break them down by week. I can assemble the items, frozen separately, into gallon bags so one big bag can come out for a meal. This makes it easier for my husband to pull stuff out if I am too tired or sore! My long list and my weekly list are both from List Planit’s Meals ePlanner (it rocks).

4. Plan my prep. If I know my meals I can then break down my prep work. If I find I need 16 cups of onions, I may decide that I will spend one morning cutting onions and all the other veggies. Then I can shred cheese. Maybe I don’t even fire up the oven or stove this time! Then tomorrow (the next day) I can assemble my meat loaf, hamburger patties and taco meat (or whatever I am cooking). I can have 4 pans on the stove browning meat. But I am not busy chopping and trashing my kitchen! So my point is, figure out what prep work is necessary and then break it down to what works for you. This late in my pregnancy there is NO way I could do a one day freezer cooking day (30 meals in one day? No thanks). I would be miserable. So I am going to break it down into bite-sized tasks. I will share my spreadsheet with you once I complete it!

5. Make my grocery list for current needed items. This is for items needed for prep and assembly. Meaning, they can be frozen and organized before baby comes. I need to go to the store to get these items now. But try to build your recipes around what is in your freezer and pantry! Note: Make sure you have enough gallon freezer bags and tupperware (or aluminum baking pans) so you can actually put all of this food somewhere!

6. Make a grocery list for weekly items. I am trying to minimize this but there is no way around it: we need lettuce, milk, fresh fruit, eggs and yogurt. If it can be nicely frozen I will buy ahead of time, but if it is something we prefer fresh, we will need to make weekly trips. But I will add these onto my weekly menu plan sheet so I can see what is needed for that week. There will be no REAL work to be done in the kitchen (defrost and reheat!) so picking up a few things from the store should be doable. And if someone is coming over and asks “Do you need anything on my way?” You can say: “As a matter of fact, I could use a few things from the store!” – Note: keep cash on hand for this exact thing. People ask so let them help you! But don’t say “I owe you!” but rather, pay them back right then. It’s courteous 🙂 Again, the weekly list I am using comes from ListPlanit.

7. Attack your prep and your assembly! Since you have everything you need on hand (or you have bought it) you can piece it all together. Remember, I am giving myself 3 weeks (now about 2 1/2 weeks) to get this all done. So I am not going to OVER DO it in the kitchen! I also have to keep dinner coming in the mean time!

Okay, there is my plan for stocking my freezer (and my recommendations for you too!). Next up is my actual plan! I will share my freezer inventory, menu plan and prep schedule! And mama’s remember to let your kids help in the kitchen! They want to be part of it so let them!

Check out our other great freezer cooking posts in our freezer cooking series: Freeze Your Way to Freedom.  

This post is part of my Preparing for Baby series. Check out the other posts!

My Game Plan
Stocking My Freezer: Part 1

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