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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Freezing For Baby

Some of my friends have been asking for tips on how and what to freeze in order to stock up for baby. It astounds me how many of us are due within 6 weeks of each other! Laura Beth and I are pretty much due the same day (and so is Christie at church), and Amber and Audrie are due 4 weeks after me! Then comes Liz and Sara in April and May. Gonna be a good year for babies!

Anyways, this post is for you, Amber!
I mentioned in my last post about making up meals that I (or Brian) could pop in the oven for dinner when I'm not feeling up to cooking...which I assume will be for a week, or two... I took pictures while I was making up some hashbrown casseroles so I wouldn't have to fumble around for ways to describe what I was doing, and plus, it's just easier to look at pictures!
First, the recipe:
One bag of frozen hasbrowns, can be shredded or chunks, depending on preference
One stick of butter, melted
One 16 oz tub of sour cream
One can cream of chicken soup
One bag (2 cups) of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4c diced onions, if desired

Mix all of the ingredients, except for a handful of shredded cheese, to be added later. You'll need a fairly large bowl to do this. The typical recipe calls to make it in a 9x13 pan, but I divided mine up into two 8x8 pans. And one 8x8 is enough for two people to eat two servings, plus have a serving or two leftover.

Two 8x8 pans, with frozen casserole

After you mix up your casserole, line the 8x8 pans with aluminum foil, making sure to cover at least halfway up the sides all around. You may have to use two pieces of foil laid opposite each other. Then, split your casserole mix in half, and press into each of the pans. Sprinkle some of the leftover cheddar chesse on the top. Place the pans in the freezer, uncovered, until frozen solid.

Lift up the casserole from the pan
Once it's frozen, all you do is simply lift out the casserole by the foil, and wrap it up. I add an extra piece of foil just for good coverage; you don't want any food exposed because of freezer burn. Then I put it in a gallon sized ziploc bag, label it, and there you go!
Cover with more aluminum foil

When it comes time to cook it, just pull the foil off the casserole, put it back in the 8x8 pan, and bake! Unfrozen bake time is 45 minutes at 350 degrees, so I'm not sure about cooking from frozen. I may let it thaw a bit before cooking, maybe take it out of the freezer at lunchtime for that night's meal.
Bag & label it!

The meatloaf preparation is pretty much the exact same thing, except I didn't pre-freeze...meaning I mixed up the loaf, formed it in a loaf pan (also lined with aluminum foil), then wrapped it up raw, put it in a ziploc bag, then the freezer! I would definately thaw the meatloaf before cooking, otherwise the crust will get hard.

Most of the 'stash'...also bought 10 pounds of ground beef,

and split up into one pound bags for spaghetti

I've put a picture of my freezer stash so you all can see. It looks like it took me weeks to do, but I did it in a day. I will definately pay off when the baby is here! I still want to add some chicken pot pies, and some enchilada casseroles, too. But, hey, if it doesn't get done, oh well. Like my mom said, I'm not dying, I'm just having a baby. (Though I think at times I might feel as if I am dying...) I'm also hoping it will cut down on the "let's just get some takeout," which can get expensive, and is not exactly healthy.

Anyways, hope this helps, Amber!


Pogue Family said...

Wow, this is amazing Jenny! You are so prepared, and it's great that you are sharing with everyone. I enjoy reading your blog. Looking forward to pictures when the little one comes.

Liz Brookshire said...

Thanks for sharing, I'm definitely going to be doing some of this!