Hello out there! I am going to make an effort on Fridays to talk about some of the things that I feel we’ve missed by me jumping into this blogging business when my daughter is already one and half! Flashback Fridays will cover topics about pregnancy and those first few months trying to juggle a newborn and a career.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, the timing was not great. She was due in September, so I was back at work for the Fall semester for about three weeks before she was born. I didn’t want to use any of my precious maternity leave before she was born (despite people asking me, repeatedly.) So, I was juggling the back-to-school frenzy (orientations, faculty meetings, etc) and the hormones and nervousness of impending motherhood.
Plus I was nesting like crazy and had not yet moved into my new house. I hadn’t even signed the paperwork yet. Another long story for some other Flashback Friday.
To work on all this nervous energy, I decided to organize a big meal prep weekend. I did it alone, and I was pretty well exhausted after I did it, but it ended up being the best thing I did to prepare for my daughter.
I made 14 meals, all of which had at least 6 servings (servings + second helpings + lunch the next day for myself and my husband.) I didn’t track how much it cost, because this blog was not anywhere near my mind when I did it – but I would estimate it cost about $100, and I didn’t have to cook for more than two weeks. That was especially nice when I ended up having to recover from an emergency c-section.
I put everything in my freezer – I have a normal sized side-by-side refrigerator/freezer, and it all fit comfortably with room for other things like my smoothie packs and ice cream. I had a fairly healthy mix of re-heat/cook in the oven and dump-prep for the crock pot. I tried to limit the need for sides, but I did buy a bunch of rice to make with some of the recipes ; I have a rice cooker so it was not a big extra step to add that to the meal. Other additions included pasta or hamburger buns. The biggest problem I had (because it was a side-by-side) is that I had to measure the width of my shelves – 9 x 13 pans would fit, but my round 9 inch pans wouldn’t, because of the extra space needed for the rim. Luckily I figured this out before I finished cooking and was able to use 8-inch round pans instead.
If you have a friend or two who want to help, the process can go even faster. And, if you have a deep-freeze, you don’t have to worry about the room issue!
I had such a good time and was so relieved to have the meals that a set of meals ended up being my baby shower girt when a coworker had a baby a few months later – yes, I did meal prep with a six month old!
These are the meals I made for my Baby Meal Prep:
- Easy Lasagna from The Shabby Creek Cottage
- Chicken Parmesan Casserole from Thriving Home
- Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Pasta Bake from The Shabby Creek Cottage
- Hawaiian Chicken (combined from Saving You Dinero and The Girl Who Ate Everything)
- Chicken Fajitas from Saving You Dinero
- Chicken Cacciatore from Six Sister’s Stuff
- Freezer Chicken Pot Pie from FreezerDinner.com
- Chicken and Dressing from The Shabby Creek Cottage
- Chicken, Veggie and Potato Pan from Just a Pinch
- BBQ Pork Loin (My Own Recipe)
- Creamy Baked Pasta from Graceful Little Honey Bee
- Goulash from Joyful Momma’s Kitchen
- Curry Chicken from New Leaf Wellness
- Chicken Enchiladas (My Own Recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine)
This meal prep idea is also really useful if you know you’re going to have to work late for a project or a schedule change! I did another mini-prep last semester when I had schedule conflicts and had to stay at work until 8pm on Thursdays!