So I’ve been nesting lately. And since bunny won’t have a ‘nursery’ really, my nesting has been focused in on prepping as much real food for my little family as possible. We try to avoid processed foods as much as possible, and this takes time and forethought. Normally it’s easy for me to sneak in a batch of beans or let a loaf of bread rise during the normal run of my day, but with another bitty newborn taking up most of my time, I know this won’t be feasible. Plus, we are having a rotating door of family stepping up to help us over the next 5 weeks (since a c-section makes it impossible for me to even lift the twins into their cribs for a month!), and I want to make it as easy on them as possible!
I’ve been sharing photos on instagram, and I’ve had lots of recipe requests, so here are a few of my favorites! I started with this goal list, which has since then doubled!
Homemade refried beans are delicious and a perfect mix in with other grains to help the twins eat them (rice, quinoa, etc). plus a ready source of protein!
I freeze the beans in 1 or 2 cup increments, (a can is about 1.5cups) and pull them out to thaw the morning of. I also do this with black beans, which are a huge favorite around here. Same process, just no mashing and a slightly shorter crockpot time. Here are the beans in freezer containers. (My next goal is to pressure can my own beans to save freezer space! I’ll update on that!)
Freezer waffles are an awesome way to make easy breakfasts that are much better for you than eggo waffles! This carrot cake waffle is amazing. I use maple syrup, double the carrot (shredded or pureed), and leave off the icing. I usually double this even for a normal breakfast, but I made 6 batches for the freezer! I freeze cut into smaller sections in ziploc bags.
One of my favorite staples is this whole chicken in a crockpot recipe that I then use to make chicken stock! I shred the chicken, freeze it in bags (with about 2 cups of chicken) and it’s easy to pull out for chicken salad, tacos, enchiladas and so much more! I freeze the chicken stock with 2-3 cups in freezer bags flat and simply thaw when needed!
Another favorite staple around here are these delicious, simple whole wheat cheese crackers. I make them in big batches and freeze them in smaller bags to pull out as needed! These are easy to dress up and make fancy too!
I’ve recently discovered just how amazing homemade whole wheat bagels taste. I use this recipe, which is a bit labor intensive, but I switch the ratios of bread flour to whole wheat flour so there is more whole wheat. I make big batches and freeze in bags of 6 or so.
My kids are carb lovers, so about half our mornings start with muffins. These quinoa powerhouse muffins are a favorite, but I am very liberal with the recipe! The last 4 batches I froze (in bags of six) were all made with unused baby fruit purees mixed in! I also added chia seeds for the first time.
And of course baked french toast sticks with butternut squash or pumpkin added into the batter! These are frozen in bags of 12.
Homemade mac n cheese is a favorite around here, and I jazzed up my normal recipe with a little bit of BBQ sauce and diced smoked brisket (my hubby’s recipe) for a simple delicious baked mac n cheese. I frequently add pureed butternut squash or pumpkin into my mac n cheese.
There’s another crockpot chicken cooking and one of my comfort foods, Broccoli Quinoa Casserole. I usually leave out the canned cream of soup and splenda and just add extra milk and some flour, although you could make a cream soup to substitute if you would like, but I think it’s good enough without!
And of course you can’t forget pizza!! I used to keep 3 or 4 Papa Murphy’s pizzas in the freezer, but now I make my own, and they are the simplest thing to pull out for a last minute dinner, and always a big hit! I use this whole wheat crust recipe, bake the crust for about 3-4 minutes at 450 degrees, let it cool, then load up the toppings, wrap in saran wrap and freeze! I usually add a ton of pureed broccoli or squash or other things into the sauce to give it an extra kick, and we actually think it tastes better. Obviously you can go as fancy as you want with toppings, but we stick with mozzarella and pepperoni for freezer pizzas and save the fancy stuff for the days I make it fresh! I also make pizza pockets and freeze them for easy lunches! Just use less sauce or leave it out if freezing.
I’ll leave you with those recipes tonight and share some more soon! I still cook lunch and dinner most nights from scratch, but I love that freezer cooking allows me to have back ups that are still healthy and made with real food for my family. Plus, the volume of freezer cooking I have been doing should be a big help after baby #4 makes an appearance next week! And it should hopefully help out all the family who comes to help too!