Monday, August 27, 2012

Pre-Baby Cook-A-Thon!

I know that we can't prepare for what life with baby will be like but we CAN do some preparations to make our life flow a bit more smoothly once she's here, including preparing meals beforehand!  
 About a month or so ago, my mom and I picked a day on the calendar to have a cooking fest where we would cook meals upon meals to freeze.  I had found some meals here and there on the internet, tweaked them to our liking (many adapted from this link), added in a family classic and we had our plan!  Yesterday was the big cooking day so we got up while the rest of the world was at church, spent about $120 on groceries and went back to my folks' house to get our chef on!  
On the menu we had:
Three-Way Spaghetti (a family fave) 
Bathtub Chicken Casserole
Breakfast Burritos
Chicken Enchiladas
Beef Enchiladas
 Three Way Spaghetti 
2 cans Pinto Beans 
1 large can Diced Tomatoes
1 large can Tomato Sauce
Approx. 2 lbs Ground Beef
Chili Seasoning

Bathtub Chicken Casserole
4-5 Breasts Oven Roasted Chicken (you could cook the chicken however you want)
1 White Onion
1 Green Bell Pepper
Seasoned Salt
Cayenne Pepper
1 Package Shredded Cheese

Breakfast Burritos
30-40 Medium Tortillas (we had to go back and get more!)
2 Dozen Eggs
60 oz Black Beans
1 Bunch Green Onion
Approx. 1 Package Cheese

Chicken Enchiladas
4-5 Breasts Oven Roasted Chicken
1 Can Enchilada Sauce
Whipping Cream (to dip tortillas in and to mix with enchilada sauce at the end)
Green Onions (for a little color :)
Taco Seasoning (we just used half a package)
8 Large Tortillas

Beef Enchiladas
Approx 2 lbs Ground Beef
1 Package Taco Seasoning
1 Can Enchilada Sauce
Green Onions
8 Large Tortillas

More or less, these are all just cook, mix together and assemble type dishes.  The enchiladas and casserole are reheated by first thawing and then sticking in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  The breakfast burritos (which we individually wrapped) thaw in the microwave for 2 minutes and then reheat for 1 and a half minutes.  The three-way (which we store in sandwich size freezer bags that you can lay on top of another) reheat in the microwave or on the stove, depending on your time frame!  I know these aren't the most exact recipes but you must remember two things - 1) I'm the world's worst at following a recipe so relaying them isn't my forte and 2) you have to make these for YOU!  Store however you see fit, throw in whatever tickles your fancy and have fun with it!
*I do recommend writing on your foiled/bagged dishes when you are done.  Note the contents, when it was made and the reheating instructions.  Or if there is something special about that one dish, note it!  We had one tray of enchiladas where there were only 3, not 4, so we noted that.  You will thank yourself for that later :)  

*Make your grocery list beforehand and organize it.  Veggies, Dairy, Meat, Miscellaneous...  Many recipes will share ingredients too making things that much easier!

*I also suggest to have a friend/family member to help and to multitask!  We had multiple dishes at various stages cooking at the same time.  

*Wear comfy shoes or pull up a chair to the counter if you easily tire physically (much like I do lately) and wear clothes that you don't mind getting a little food on :)

*Finally, make sure you have adequate freezer space!  We're lucky enough to have a small deep freeze that we hadn't utilized to its fullest potential yet so we are able to fill that puppy up!   
So what did we get out of $120 and four-ish hours of cooking and preparing?
8 heaping servings of Three-Way
5 Bathtub Chicken Casseroles
2 Meals of Chicken Enchiladas
2 Meals of Beef Enchiladas
34 Breakfast Burritos

Add all of that to the three loaves of banana bread I cooked and froze a few weeks ago and I'd say we're ready on the food side of things!

It was fun, productive and helped me feel a bit more prepared for what's to come.  I'd love to do a bit more if I have time in the next few weeks!  Any suggestions of good meals to freeze?  


  1. Those enchiladas looked and smelled so good while we were cooking that I am going to make them this week for Dinner!!!!!

  2. ooo man! i could totally go for some of your family 3 way or bathtub chicken right now!!! YUMMMM!

    sooo what about some lasagna? or just some good old ready to go spaghetti sauce?

    and MY favorite thing to freeze has got to be pulled pork. I make small "family" sized bags of it (as in for me, j and the kiddos) and freeze them after i make a biggggg batch! its SUPER handy! And yummy! I have been known to use it for nachos, quesadillas and of course sandwhiches galore! holler if you need my bbq rub & marinade "recipe"!

  3. That all looks yummy! I will have to try the breakfast burritos. That would be great for Nathan to grab before work.

    I'm actually want to make some freezer meals soon too. I thought some of these sounded yummy.

  4. SO SMART. You will not believe how hungry you are and at the oddest times. Things that you can eat one-handed are also a bonus. Wish I would have thought to freeze a few things! -Leah

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