I absolutely love feeding people and making sure that those I love, have full bellies. When I became a mom, this feeling was intensified. It delights me to plan meals, shop for groceries (although nowadays I almost strictly order them through Instacart or PrimeNow because shopping with 2 under 2 is nearly impossible), and cook for my husband and children. I remember the first real meal I tried to cook for my step-daughter after I had my first baby (which was organic mac and cheese with roasted broccoli), it took almost two hours and it felt terrible. I was exhausted, the baby was crying, she was hungry, and all I was trying to do was roast some broccoli and make a box of mac – why was it so hard? It was hard because normal life with a newborn is hard, period. Being a first-time mom, I had no idea how not being able to cook for my family was going to make me feel. If cooking isn’t your thing, and you didn’t feel like this – I totally get it. But cooking isn’t only my motherly duty it’s my absolute pleasure. When I know my man and my kids are full, this mama is happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting take-out and I’m a major Postmates fan, but not every night… so I wasn’t going to have a repeat, the second time around.
My freezer meal research began on Pinterest like everything else, lol. There is no shortage of freezer meal recipes online and honestly, it’s hard to decipher the good from the not-so-good. For me, the best place to start is with the comments or reviews. Did people actually have success with the recipes? Did they like it? Then I ask, is this a recipe that my family will enjoy? Will the girls eat it? Will it make for good leftovers? Lastly, is the imagery professional? Where is this recipe coming from, it is reputable? I found that the answer to these questions was more often than not, leading me back to a blog called HappyMoneySaver.com. Karrie’s recipes and photography were instantly attractive to me, then there were her comments which were overwhelmingly positive. Then I found out that she had a cookbook called Seriously Good Freezer Meals. So this is where I started. First, I made one of her meals, the Beef & Broccoli Teriyaki and it was delicious. What I love most about her recipes is she shares a “make now” option with instructions and also a “freezer meal” option, so I did the make it now. I decided to take a leap of faith and buy her book to learn more about making freezer meals in general and to have a tangible thing to refer to, and I am so grateful I did.
After reading Karrie’s book I felt confident in my freezer meal plan. Balancing work, my daughter’s schedule, and my step-daughter’s schedule, I knew that one of those massive, cook-all-day type of situations where you make like 30 meals in 9 hours was not in the cards for me. So I planned to create double meals. Once or twice a week, depending on my schedule, I would make a double batch, serve half to the family and freeze the other half. My goal was to have 15 frozen meals by my due date. Another terrific thing about this book is that it shares bulk ingredients you’ll need if you are going to make one, two, three, or four batches of a specific recipe – no math needed, it’s already done for you. If you can, or want to try the marathon 9 hour cook day, she gives you meal plans and guidance for that too.
My plan to create double meals not only worked for my schedule and free time, but it was also great for my budget. Making 30 meals in one day can be quite an expense, while you will definitely save money in the long run, you still have to spend it and do the major shopping upfront. Getting started I really only needed a few things… gallon and quart freezer bags, foil pans, the ziplock bag holders, and early on I found out that I needed an extra-large frying pan to actually be able to make the double batches, good thing I found a turquoise one on Amazon!
During the three months leading up to the birth of my son, my second child, I started making the meals. I went through all the amazing recipes in Seriously Good Freezer Meals and chose my top 15 favorites. Then each week I would make a double batch. The first one I started with was the Spicy Buffalo Chicken Hot Dip, and it was to die for! Remember I made one to eat and one to freeze. I literally couldn’t wait to bake that dip the second time around! Next up was Breakfast Burritos, OMG, amazing! They were so delicious that they did not last until the baby was born, not even close. Now I make about 16 every two weeks because my family loves them. The breakfast meals are a HUGE time saver in our house. I wrote a note with each meal that shared how to reheat and sealed them up to avoid freezer burn just as the book instructed. My freezer contained 11 meals plus 18 breakfast burritos when my son was born 3.5 weeks early and for all that I had going on that was a major success.
Finally the fun part, re-making and eating all the meals! I told myself I couldn’t make any of the meals until the baby was here, and I held true, except for the breakfast burritos, like I said I make them now about every two weeks. Wow, was it a time saver and definitely worth all the work upfront. Healthy, personalized meals for my family that were ready to go, yay me! It felt so wonderful to know I had a freezer full of delicious food just waiting for us. Now that I’m feeling a bit back to normal and I’m cooking like regular again, 2.5 months out, I’m super excited to go back through the cookbook and start making double-batch meals again. Tomorrow I’m making a Korean Beef and Rice dish and this weekend I’ll be trying breakfast sandwiches, egg mc-muffin style for the first time!
I hope my story has inspired you to try your hand and spoon at freezer meals, whether you’re pregnant or not, you’ll thank yourself later, I promise! ~*Jen
This is not a paid review or sponsored post, this is just my personal story of success and a book that I fell in love with. Photography and styling by Jen of Something Turquoise. Copyright SomethingTurquoise.com®.