Having a baby is one of the most amazing experiences that you can have. It's also one of the most life-changing. After nine months of preparation and anticipation, you are suddenly responsible for this tiny little human. Whether it is your first or your fourth child, you realize that your normal routine is about to go out the window once you get home!
Having time to sleep is challenging enough so what about having time to eat? Here are 10 meals that are perfect to batch cook and freeze ahead of time, so that you are all set for the fourth trimester.
10 Slow Cooker Curry
Curry is a very versatile and easy dish. Make it in a slow cooker, and it becomes even easier! You can make the sauce from scratch for an authentic taste that is completely customizable to your tastes. More spice? No problem. A bit milder? Can do!
You could use a sauce in a jar to make the meal even quicker and easier. You can batch cook a few different curries and freeze them into meal-sized portions meaning you just need to re-heat and serve with rice, naan, potato wedges or fries.
9 Vegetable Curry
A vegetable curry is a hearty and delicious meal, whether you are a vegetarian or not. Packed with vegetables and flavor, a bowl of vegetable curry is a great way to sneak in your five a day.
You can add pulses like butter beans or chickpeas for extra nutritional value. Your number one job might be taking care of baby, but you need to remember to take care of your own health, too! Freeze into serving size portions and reheat when needed.
This family favorite is a fantastic choice to prep ahead. You could make it up directly into foil food storage containers for easy portion-sized prepping, or bake it in a freezer-safe oven dish.
This way you can just cover it over and freeze, allowing you to reheat when needed. It can be served by itself or with salad or garlic bread, making it a versatile meal.
7 Campfire Stew
Campfire stew, or any stew, is an easy and hearty meal to whip up. This particular stew combines tender slow-cooked meat with soft and comforting peppers, potatoes and beans (to name a few!) in a rich and smokey tomato sauce that will take your taste buds into the wilderness and onto a campsite.
It's a great way to sneak in your five-a-day, and the best part is you can use up any frozen vegetables you have hanging around and turn them into a tasty meal.
6 Chilli Con Carne
A good chili con carne is one of the best soul foods around! Rich and authentic, it can be served in many different ways to work with what you have in your cupboards. For a traditional meal, you could serve it with rice, but you could also mix it up with wedges, as a topping for loaded chips, or with nachos for dipping.
You could serve it with crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices, or as a topping for a baked potato. There are so many options!
5 Pasta Bake
Pasta bakes are king of the dinner table in most houses. Versatile, adaptable and easy. You can tailor them exactly to your family's tastes. Creamy sauce vs tomato sauce, chicken vs ham; we all have our favorite!
Why not bake in bulk then split your bigger pans into smaller freezer-friendly tubs that have be taken out and reheated as needed. Serve with salad or garlic bread, or just by itself.
4 Sausage Casserole
Sausage casserole is a brilliant winter warmer, but do not discount it for the rest of the year! Served with a crusty roll or side salad this is a winner. You can use whatever kind of sausages you prefer. Chicken, pork, seasoned, or even vegetarian sausages work well. You can use the stovetop or a slow cooker, and make several meals worth at once to portion out and freeze for when you need it.
You can keep it as mild as you like, or spice it up with extra paprika, chili powder or cayenne. Get creative, but make sure you write down your final recipe as you are going to want to make it again!
3 Chicken Escalope
On the surface, a chicken escalope may seem a bit basic, but hear us out. This simple piece of breaded poultry can become any number of delicious dishes. Pop it in a bun with some lettuce and tomato for a tasty chicken burger or top it with marinara sauce and cheese for a chicken parmigiana. Slice it up and serve with orange sauce over rice for a Chinese fake-away, or simply serve it as is with fries, wedges, or a baked potato.
Experiment with herbs and spices mixed into the breadcrumbs for flavored escalopes, and for a slightly healthier version, you can even "bread" your chicken with oats.
2 Jacket Potatoes
One potato, two potato. However many potatoes you decide on, it is very handy to have a few pre-baked and ready to rock in your freezer as you go into the fourth trimester. Whether you choose to bake your potatoes in the oven, the microwave, or even the slow cooker, bake them in bulk and wrap each potato in tin foil to freeze once they have cooled fully.
They are so easy to cook from frozen in the oven, then just cut pen and add the topping of your choice. You could even use some of the other foods on this list like chili con carne or campfire stew as a filling!
1 Sugar Cookies
This final entry is so that the sweet tooth doesn't get neglected! While it's very important to maintain proper nourishment to help through the sleep-deprived blur of those first few months with a newborn, it is also important to treat yourself. This one is great if you have other kids at home too, as they can have home-baked goodies in no time with none of the measuring, weighing, mixing or clean up.
If you are not a fan of sugar cookies, this will work with cookies, gingerbread, or basically any cookie recipe baked from a dough. Mix up a big bowl of your favorite cookie batter (double or even triple the recipe) then roll into cookie-sized balls and flatten slightly. Freeze the raw dough on a baking tray before transferring into freezer-safe bags to store. Simply pop the frozen cookie balls on to a baking tray and cook in the oven for freshly baked treats.