Tuesday, February 23, 2016

7 Make-Ahead Dinners for Moms-to-Be

7 Make Ahead Meals for Moms to be | www.doulabarb.com


One of the absolute best things I did to prepare for birth of my daughter was to make freezer meals.  And when I say "I", I mean my husband.  I did the research and planning but he did the cooking.  It was a glorious sight to behold!  But I'm rambling...


Anyway, to make things easier for YOU, I've compiled a list of all the recipes I used for my stash.  Before we get started, a few tips:

  1. Label the freezer bags before you add the food.  Include name of dish, directions, and any extra ingredients needed to prepare the meal.
  2. Lay the bags flat to freeze- it will help save you some space and help make defrosting easier. 
  3. Give yourself at least 24 hours for the bags to thaw in the fridge.


Slowcooker Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
Fill a freezer bag with:
1-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 jars Alfredo sauce (16oz)
1 bag frozen broccoli florets (16oz)
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup real bacon bits

Directions: Place thawed contents in slow cooker and cook on Low 6-8 hours or on High 4-6 hours.  Serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Creamy Italian Chicken
Fill a freezer bag with:
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut up into 1" pieces
1 bar of cream cheese
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 packet Zesty Italian salad dressing mix
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups green beans, frozen or fresh

Directions: Place thawed contents in slow cooker on Low for 7-8 hours or High for 4-6 hours.  Serve chicken on top of noodles and garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.  Note: This was a favorite at our house, even with the picky 4 year old.

Teriyaki Chicken
Fill a freezer bag with:
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts, sliced
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. Teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
3 carrots, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 c. chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced

Directions: Place thawed contents in slow cooker and cook on Low for 7-8 hours or 4 hours on High.
Optional: To thicken sauce at the end, whisk together 1/2 c. of the cooked sauce with 2 tbsp. cornstarch and pour back in the slow cooker.  Turn cooker on high for an extra 10-15 minutes so sauce can thicken.  Serve over rice and garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.

Sausage with Onions & Peppers
Fill a freezer bag with:
1 16oz package sausage (we used Kielbasa)
1 onion, sliced
3 bell peppers (one green, one yellow, one red), sliced
2 cans diced tomatoes, fire roasted and not drained
1 chicken bullion cube
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning

Directions: Place thawed contents in the slow cooker for 5-6 hours on Low or 3 hours on High.  Serve over rice.

Chinese Beef & Broccoli
Fill a freezer bag with:
2 lbs. beef, sliced (sirloin works well)
1 can beef consume (found in the soup aisle)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 c. fresh or frozen broccoli (separate into a smaller bag)

Directions: Place thawed contents in slow cooker on Low 7-8 hours or High for 4 hours.  Add the broccoli 30 minutes before cooking is complete. 
Optional: To thicken sauce at the end, whisk together 1/2 cup of the cooked sauce with 2 tbsp cornstarch and pour back in the slow cooker.  Turn cooker on high for an extra 10-15 minutes so sauce can thicken.  Serve beef and broccoli on top of rice and garnish with chopped green onion, if desired.

Enchilada Pasta Casserole
Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
5 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. sour cream
1 can (10oz) enchilada sauce (I used red sauce)
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 can (4oz) diced green chilies (I doubled this because we love green chilies)
12 oz. egg noodles
Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:
  1. In large pot, bring water to boil and cook noodles according to package insturctions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a very large skillet, brown the ground beef then drain the fat.  Return to skillet and add the chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper.  Stir to combine.
  3. Add in the cream cheese.  Stir until melted. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine sour cream, enchilada sauce half the cheddar cheese, half the Monterrey Jack cheese, corn, and diced green chilies.  Stir to combine.
  5. Pour mixture over the beef and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. While that simmers, drain the pasta.  Then add it to the beef mixture.  Make sure everything is coated in the sauce.
  7. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool completely.
  8. Put in freezer bag.

When ready to cook: Thaw completely in the fridge.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place noodle mixture in a large casserole dish.  Bake for 30 minutes or until dish is warmed completely.  Add remaining 1/2 cup cheddar and 1/2 cup Monterrey Jack and bake until cheese is melted. 

Smoked Sausage & Potato Casserole
Ingredients:
1 bag of frozen Potatoes O'Brien
1 can corn
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 package of Smoked Sausage, cut into slices

Directions: Add bag of frozen potatoes to foil casserole dish.  Add sliced smoked sausage.  In a large bowl, combine soup and corn.  Pour over casserole.  Cover with foil.  Freeze.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 and bake, covered, 45 minutes to an hour or until casserole is heated thoroughly.

Enjoy!

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