Stocking Up The Freezer Before Baby Comesby Allison Hutton
Never underestimate the power of a stocked freezer. I didn't plan ahead with my first pregnancy, and we ate like scavengers for two weeks. Being a new mom took quite a toll on me, and the last thing I wanted to do was prepare meals. Luckily, my parents came to help out, so my mom was forced to cook the entire time she visited. I wasn't about to make that mistake again, so with Jake, I planned ahead.
About 3 weeks before my induction, I began cooking. I used every casserole dish and Tupperware container that I owned. Since it would only be me, my husband, a two-year-old, and a newborn, I didn't want to make such large quantities that would only go to waste. I made small servings of several dishes that only needed to be put in the oven. I also made a few single-serving dishes that my husband could heat up while I was in the hospital. I could have never imagined how much easier my life would be by planning ahead this way.
If you are breastfeeding, however, think about what spices you are using ahead of time. I didn't do this, and my poor baby was up with gas, thanks to my spaghetti sauce! For baby's benefit, you may want to avoid such dishes, or make them a bit blander than you would like. After all, others can spice theirs up after cooking! If anyone offers their help, or wants to know what they could do for you, don't hesitate to suggest a casserole or some soup. People love to help, and aside from giving ready-to-eat foods, there may not be much for them to do.
Soups are a wonderful freezer commodity, as they keep for a long time, and can go great with sandwiches, other meals, or all alone. Casserole dishes are also wonderful freezer staples! If you aren't sure what would suit your family, there are several options. First, you could ask that everyone attending your baby shower bring along a recipe for a dish that can be frozen. You would be surprised at the variety of the menu. You can also enlist the help of a cookbook. Also, when you are cooking for your family, just make a bit extra, and stick it in the freezer. You'll stock up in no time! For me, the Internet was the way to go. There are so many search engines out there; you are bound to find something you like!
A few suggestions are:
http://www.foodtv.com (for fans of Emeril, this is the place to go!)
Preparing a few weeks worth of food at once may seem like a daunting task, but it's well worth the effort. And believe me, a nice frozen lasagna will beat PB&J for dinner any night!
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