I thought would be a fun thing for her and I to do together because I’ve always loved cooking with my mom, so I convinced her to help me. 🙂 Those are honestly memories during pregnancy that I will never forget, we had so much fun! I hope to do this someday with my daughter as well.
Planning the meals, ingredients, and grocery shopping was the hardest part because it took quite a bit of organizing. However, I’m a very organized person so I kind of loved it at the same time. I know that we will be so thankful we did this once our little one is here, even if it took planning and time. This was my first time doing this so I’m not an expert by any means. However, I wanted to share the system I used, meals I made, etc. to help you all!
Planning The Meals
Let’s start out with planning all of the meals. I knew I wanted to make about 4-5 weeks worth of food, so I had to come up with enough recipes. Excel is one of my favorite tools to use for organizing stuff like this, so I made a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet had 5 weeks laid out and I filled in breakfast, lunch, and dinners for those 5 weeks. I assumed we’d have the same breakfast and lunch everyday for one week. Then I picked about 2-3 dinner ideas. We eat the same thing all week for breakfast and lunch now, so I figured we’d be fine with that. I didn’t focus too much on breakfast ideas just because breakfast is a very easy thing to make. However, I did still make some for the beginning few weeks!
Choosing the Recipes
When it came to the recipes, I got the majority of my inspiration from Lily Nichols blog post about postpartum recovery meals. She wrote the book Real Food For Pregnancy which is an incredible book! The recipes included in her blog post aren’t just random freezer meals to make. They actually focus on healing ingredients that can help recovery postpartum, which I loved! Some of the ingredients I cooked with have also been shown to help with milk production. I’m all about optimizing postpartum recovery in anyway I can. Here is her blog post that I referred to and found a lot of recipes from. Some of the other recipes were just favorites from my mom or ones I found elsewhere, like Pinterest. I’ll share links to all of the recipes below!
The Cooking Process
My mom and I decided to tackle all of the cooking in two days. I thought it was a bit aggressive but it was actually nice to just dedicate two days to it. I split up the meals into 2 days based on what equipment we needed for each meal. For example, I only have 1 insta pot, so I picked 1 recipe to do in the insta pot each day. On the first day we made 10 meals, on the second day we made 8. Each of us would usually tackle one recipe at a time and then help the other if they needed it.
We started at 9:30am both days and wrapped up around 4pm. The days were long and I was pretty exhausted by the end of them but I know it will be so worth it! I would say my only regret is waiting until I was 37 weeks pregnant to do them, lol. However, I’m not sure if many of the meals can last THAT long in the freezer. We finished and that’s all that matters!
One nice thing about this process is I didn’t have to buy any extra pots/pans/etc. for it. I had everything we needed and kind of planned the recipes around things I already had. Don’t make it harder on yourself by having to purchase a bunch of new things! The only things I purchased were storage containers from Target to store all of the food in, but those were necessary. Here is a list of all the “equipment” we used. We obviously used utensils, knives, cutting boards, etc. but I’m just linking the major things!
- Crockpot – 7 quart
- Dutch Oven (I have 2 of these)
- Cast Iron Skillet
- OurPlace Pan
- Apron – this isn’t necessary but I LOVED having an apron while cooking. No worrying over spilling or getting your clothes dirty.
As far as food storage goes, I picked up a TON of these storage pans to keep all the food in. They’re so convenient because they have covers for them so you can stack meals on top of each other in the freezer. Originally I was going to buy cheaper ones without covers but I’m glad I didn’t. I wouldn’t have been able to stack items on top of each other if I just used foil. I got multiple sizes just so I would be able to split some meals into 2 containers if I wanted. The size I used the most was the 9×13 but I used the square ones pretty often too! I bought about 20-25 of these and then returned what I didn’t need, so make sure you keep your receipt!
This was the thing I was the most concerned about if I’m being honest. Our grocery bill each week isn’t cheap so when I thought about groceries for 5 weeks, it freaked me out. However, it ended up being way less than I thought it would be. Let me also say, I purchased organic whenever it was available, so had I not, it would’ve been way cheaper. We got as much as we could at Costco which I think helped us save a ton of money. If you have a Costco membership or know someone that does, I’d try to use it for this!
The total we spent at Costco for everything was about $450. We then went to Pick N Save for a few other little items that Costco didn’t have and spent $120. In total, for all the food we spent around $570. However, when you break it down into 5 or 6 weeks of meals, it’s really not that bad, at least I thought so. As I mentioned above, had we not purchased organic meats, vegetables, canned items, etc. it probably would’ve been $450 instead of $570.
A majority of the meals came from Lily’s blog post that I linked above, but a few came from my mom, or simply me creating. I’m going to break them into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack categories for you guys. For any meals that don’t have a link because they were my mom’s, I’ll share photos of the recipes at the end. After listing all the meals/recipes, I’ll also explain how we split up cooking the meals on what days. Keep in mind I haven’t had all of these recipes so I can’t speak to taste of them all!
- Sweet Potato Turkey Sausage Egg Bake
- Breakfast Burritos – I doubled this and made about 30 burritos
- Muffin Egg Bites – recipe shared below.
- Shredded Beef Sandwiches – recipe shared below. (made enough for 2 weeks worth of sandwiches)
- Sloppy Joes – recipe shared below. (made enough for 2 weeks worth of sandwiches)
- Taco Bowls – recipe shared below.
- Carrot Ginger Squash Soup
- Chicken & Vegetable Soup – this is from Lily’s “Real Food For Pregnancy” book, so I don’t feel comfortable sharing the recipe. But I’d highly recommend the book!
- Mom’s Chili – recipe below.
- Indian Spiced Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Coconut Chicken Curry – this is from Lily’s “Real Food For Pregnancy” book, so I don’t feel comfortable sharing the recipe.
- Spaghetti Meat – recipe below.
- Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Lazy Man Beef Stew – recipe below.
- Kale and Potato Soup with Chorizo
- Lamb Curry (we used beef instead)
- Superhero Muffins – recipe below. (I made 6 batches of muffins)
- Chai Granola Bars – we tripled this recipe.
- Muffin Egg Bites – no real recipe for this, I just kind of came up with it. I took a muffin pan and cracked an egg into each hole, I then added cooked bacon, a little cut up spinach, and some shredded cheese. Put in the oven at 350 degrees and cooked for maybe 10-15 minutes until the top was golden.
- Shredded Beef Sandwiches – we doubled this and used a 5.5 lb chuck roast and baked it in the dutch oven. This came from my Grandma Kathy 🙂
- Sloppy Joe’s – we doubled this as well. This came from one of my mom’s cookbooks, but I’m not sure which one.
- Taco Bowls – no real recipe for this. We just browned 2 lbs of ground beef, added some liver, and taco seasoning. To make it into a meal we’ll put it over rice, add lettuce, salsa, and avocado.
- Mom’s Chili
- Spaghetti Meat – no real recipe for this, we just browned some ground beef (2lbs), added some liver, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, and marinara sauce. Then we froze it and will just have to make noodles before serving!
- Lazy Man’s Beef Stew
- Superhero Muffins – these are from the Run Fast, Eat Slow Cookbook written by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. I would highly recommend investing in this cookbook, lots of incredible recipes!! I posted this recipe on my “Meals” highlight on my Instagram.
Splitting Up the Cooking Days
When it comes to what meals we cooked on which day, that is where it took some planning. As I mentioned before, I only have one insta pot, only so much room in the oven, etc. All of that had to be taken into consideration when choosing what meals I’d be cooking on certain days. This is how I broke it down, but obviously adjust it however you need based on what you have!
In the dutch oven on the stove: Carrot Ginger Squash Soup, Chicken & Vegetable Soup, and Mom’s Chili.
On the stove in a pan: Coconut Chicken Curry, Spaghetti Meat
In Oven: Muffin Egg Bites, Sweet Potato Turkey Sausage Egg Bake, Indian Spiced Stuffed Bell Peppers, and Chai Granola Bars
InstaPot: Chicken Enchilada Soup
In the dutch oven on the stove: Kale and Potato Soup with Chorizo
On the stove in a pan: Sloppy Joe’s, Taco Meat, and Breakfast Burritos
In Oven: Lazy Man Beef Stew, Shredded Beef, and Breakfast Burritos
Crockpot: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
InstaPot: Lamb Curry
For the Superhero Muffins, I actually made those later that week, all on the same day. As one batch was in the oven, I would start making another one. It went pretty quick! I will probably continue to make these until she’s born because they’re my favorite muffins EVER and I don’t want to run out!
Storing the Food
That basically sums up everything we did, the process, what we made, how we did it, etc.! After the meals were done I would just put them into whatever storage container I thought they’d fit in, put the cover on, and write the name of the meal on top in sharpie. This way I wouldn’t have to open each container to see what it is before serving it. We have a huge chest freezer in our basement that we are storing all of the meals in. Highly recommend one of these if you have the space. They can also be used to store breast milk too!
I hope this helps you guys if you’re wanting to make some meals before your little one arrives! This also can be great if you or someone in your family is having surgery, etc. to prepare for that. As always, if you have any questions on anything or if I forgot to include any details, let me know!
Peace & Love,