Best Freezer Meals for New Parents
If there was one thing that stuck out in the post-delivery fog after bringing baby home, it was the grateful feeling my husband and I had for dinner deliveries from friends and family. I had put a few recipes in the freezer in advance to bringing baby home, but wasn't prepared for the constant care that baby required and how uninterested I would be in cooking! And I'll always be grateful for the Honey Baked Ham my parents sent. That ham lasted us 2 weeks for lots of delicious and easy meals. Now, I'm the first to sign up for my pregnant friends' meal delivery train that we set up for our friends. Here are some of the best freezer meals for new parents that are easy to prepare, easy to freeze and reheat for a tasty meal.
A few things you want to consider when you're either preparing your own or making freezer meals for new parents are the time it takes to make, reheat and optimal freezing duration. Soups and sauces can last months in the freezer, whereas casseroles should be enjoyed more quickly. Plan to create a variety of dishes that can be eaten in the first week, 2 weeks, month and beyond. Adding sauces, soups and stews to the freezer meal line up allows new parents to add their own fresh incredients to enjoy months after baby arrives. Chili and stew can be topped on a baked potato and a green salad for a healthy meal.
Another important consideration to creating tasty freezer meals for new parents is nutrition. For sleep-deprived and often exercise-deprived new parents, making sure that ingredients are fresh, low in sodium, moderate in fat, but tasty are is critical.
And if you're making freezer meals for new parents to enjoy, I found this great service to streamline the meal train for new parents called MealBaby. It's a meal registry site that you can create for yourself or friends to organize and optimize meal preparation and delivery after baby arrives, during a busy time of life (new home, new city, new job!) or an illness hits a family. I do believe that s/he who helps a friend in need is a friend indeed and it will always come back tenfold. So check out MealBaby or make your own system to help new parents navigate the first couple of months with baby.
Best Freezer Meals for New Parents
Sausage Stuffed Manicotti is comfort food at its finest. Zesty Italian sausage with herbs and cheese wrapped in pasta with red sauce will fill Mom and family's tummy with goodness.
Monster sized meatballs, a recipe from Real Simple, are a perfect freezer meal for new parents. Spend your time making the meatballs that can be reheated quickly and paired with fresh pasta and sauce. Always great to have a couple dozen meatballs on hand for quick dinners. Make your meatballs large 2 oz or more so a few can make a full meal. Pair with crusty bread, marinara and an arugula salad for a balanced meal to keep nursing Moms healthy.
Here's a freezer meal recipe for Dad! Beef and Guinness Stew that pulls together tender beef with a stout beer and hearty root vegetables. Mom can enjoy this too as the alcohol in in the Guinness cooks down.
Well meaning friends and family delivering freezer meals to new parents tend to focus on dinner fare, but don't forget breakfast freezer foods that can be reheated in the toaster, pan or microwave on the fly. Try whole wheat buttermilk pancakes for a great freezer meal that can also be enjoyed as breakfast for dinner with some bacon or sausage links to give nursing Mom plenty of protein. Top with fruit and maple syrup too!
And make sure to include a sibling friendly freezer meal for new parents. Try this freezer Macaroni and Cheese recipe that calls for a double batch - one to enjoy now and one to freeze.
Pantry Staple Freezer Meals
Don't forget to include a few pantry staples in creating a freezer meal menu for new parents.
Roasted chicken stock in quart sized containers freezes beautifully and can be used for months in recipes like soups, crockpot meals, risotto, rice and pasta dishes. There's nothing better then real chicken stock that's been seasoned with herbs and spices to make a ho-hum meal a showstopper.
Try Laura's freezer biscuit recipe over at Real Mom Kitchen blog for a quick and satisfying freezer staple that new parents can top with chili, pulled pork or pulled chicken or simply slather with butter and honey for a yummy breakfast.
More to know about freezer meals for new parents
This primer for freezer meal best practices from The Pioneer Woman is an absolute must-read. She gives lots of tips on how to package freezer meals, best types of staple foods to freeze and yummy recipe ideas on how to use your ingredients.
What are your favorite freezer meals to enjoy or share with new parents? Tell us below!
And check our our Time Saving Recipes Pinterest Board for more freezer meals to make and give new parents.