Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Freezer Meals & Snacks to Prep Before Baby

Freezer meals and snacks to prepare before the baby comes! Recipes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I never thought I’d be the person to prepare dozens of recipes to eat after our baby arrives. I love cooking and didn’t think having a baby would keep me from the kitchen those first few weeks. In the last month of my pregnancy, however, the “nesting” urges consumed me. I wanted to do anything and everything to prepare our home and life for our baby girl.

And I’m so thankful I did. Recovering from an unexpected C-section left me pretty immobile for a couple weeks and this food has been our saving grace.

Creamy chicken noodle soup - freezer meals on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Feeling ambitious towards the end of my pregnancy, I cooked a couple times each week and ended up stocking our freezer with 8 large-batch meals, cookies, healthy snacks, and breakfasts. I felt accomplished, satisfied, prepared, and my mind was at ease knowing we’d have homemade food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking.

Anything to bring peace of mind as you anxiously await your baby’s arrival… do it.

Trust me, DO IT.

Easy freezer meals on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here are 8 quick tips for preparing freezer meals, whether you’re expecting or not. It’s always helpful to have a stash of delicious food on hand!

Clear out your freezer.

Unless you have a spare freezer in the garage or basement, be sure to clear out as much room as you can in your kitchen freezer. We have a spare in the basement and I was able to fill it with larger casserole dishes and a few large containers of soup that didn’t fit in our kitchen freezer.

Containers + labeling.

I like to freeze flat foods in zipped-top freezer bags. Things like cookies, bars, and muffins are perfect for stacking because they’re relatively flat. I layer cookies, bars, and muffins on paper plates then put the whole plate into a zipped-top bag. Freeze foods like chili, soup, pulled meat, and meatballs in freezer-friendly containers. And label everything with the recipe name and the date.

Freeze in smaller portions.

So we’re not eating chicken noodle soup or pulled BBQ chicken for lunch and dinner 5 days in a row, I froze some meals in smaller portions. If you get sick of the same food day after day, I recommend doing the same! Smaller portions also reheat quicker.

The slow cooker is your BFF.

Take full advantage of your crockpot when preparing freezer meals before your baby is born. I chose “set it and forget it” type meals that didn’t require a ton of standing, stirring, chopping, and prep-work and I highly recommend you do the same. Utilizing the slow cooker made cooking in bulk much easier since there isn’t much “hands on” time required. Much appreciated when you’re super pregnant!

Concentrate on easy and filling meals.

Easy in both preparation (see above) and reheating– meaning any recipe that can simply be reheated on the stove for a quick meal when you’ve got a newborn. And satisfying meals, too! I’m so concerned with Noelle’s eating that I often forget to feed myself snacks– or it’s 3pm before I realize I didn’t eat lunch. Filling, comforting meals like chili and soup keep me going all afternoon.

Bonus if they’re healthy and nutritious.

Your energy is zapped! Healthy meals sustain you and are always a great idea if you’re nursing.

Don’t forget about breakfast and snacks!

Most people who meal plan only focus on dinners, but breakfast and snacks are just as important. I’m usually running around like a madwoman in the mornings and something as simple as brewing coffee feels like a major victory. I link to a bunch of freezer-friendly healthy breakfasts and snacks below.

Don’t stress.

You can do it all, but you can’t do it all at once. Don’t beat yourself up if you plan to make a dozen meals and only end up preparing 4-5. At least it’s something! You have more important things on your mind– and rest is important.

If pregnancy taught me anything it’s this: treat yourself with a little more grace.

Vegetable lasagna - freezer meals on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Lunch + Dinner

  1. Slow cooker chicken chili. The meal that just keeps on giving! Super filling and freezes wonderfully. Freeze in 1 big container or a few smaller containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place the container/bag in the sink filled with warm water. Once thawed, cook in a large pot on medium heat for 30ish minutes. Or reheat in the microwave until warmed throughout. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  2. Taco spice turkey chili. I LOVE this chili. It has so much flavor and is incredibly satisfying. Freeze in 1 big container or a few smaller containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place the container/bag in the sink filled with warm water. Once thawed, cook in a large pot on medium heat for 30ish minutes. Or reheat in the microwave until warmed throughout. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  3. Meatballs. I made a double batch of these meatballs– plain. Meaning, I just made the meatballs and baked them in the oven without using the slow cooker or the tomato sauce. (Skip the browning step– just prepare/roll the meatballs and bake at 400°F (204°C) for 25 minutes.) I simply wanted plain baked meatballs so when we thawed them out, we could enjoy them a bunch of different ways. We’ve gone through half so far– mixed some with tomato sauce for meatball subs and ate a few plain with lunch. I placed them in a couple large freezer-friendly bags. Simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  4. Coconut chicken. I had a major craving for these in the last week or so of my pregnancy. I cooked them for dinner one night, then prepared another batch the next day to freeze. Here’s how I froze them: After the chicken is coated in the coconut, place on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet and place in freezer for 2-3 hours or until frozen solid. Then transfer them to a large freezer-friendly bag. See the recipe for how to bake/reheat the uncooked frozen chicken. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  5. Pulled BBQ chicken. Easy and versatile! Freeze in 1 big container or a few smaller containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place the container/bag in the sink filled with warm water. Once thawed, reheat in the microwave or on the stove until warmed throughout. Great for pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches/sliders, eaten plain, or on top of salad. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  6. Vegetarian lasagna. I am so grateful I prepared this lasagna! At almost 40 weeks pregnant, it took me all morning but it was well worth the effort. I prepared the entire lasagna in a disposable 9×13 pan, did NOT bake it, covered tightly with aluminum foil, and froze it. Defrost it in refrigerator overnight, then bake (covered) in a 375°F (191°C) oven for 45-50 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until heated through. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  7. Lightened-up chicken noodle soup. (Pictured below!) I made a double batch of this soup one day. Worth the effort because it’s been my favorite meal postpartum. It’s super cozy and comforting and keeps me full for hours. Freeze in 1 big container or a few smaller containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place the container/bag in the sink filled with warm water. Once thawed, cook in a large pot on medium heat for 30ish minutes. Or reheat in the microwave until warmed throughout. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  8. Slow cooker teriyaki chicken. A new recipe I just shared last week. We LOVE this teriyaki chicken because it’s easy, relatively healthy, saucy, delish, and super versatile. Place into a freezer-friendly container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place the container/bag in the sink filled with warm water. Once thawed, cook in a large pot on medium heat for 10 minutes. Or reheat in the microwave until warmed throughout. Great over rice/quinoa, with steamed veggies, or on buns sandwich-style! (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)

Lightened-up creamy chicken noodle soup on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Breakfast + Healthy Snacks + Cookies

  1. Breakfast cookies. Surely you know I prepped a bunch of my favorite healthy, gluten free, and dairy free cookies! I made a double batch. Instead of fresh blueberries, I made half with dried cranberries and half with raisins. I piled the cookies onto a paper plate, placed the cookies + plate in a freezer-friendly zipped-top bag, and have been removing a few at a time to thaw in the refrigerator. These were even my go-to snack while pregnant. I couldn’t get enough! (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  2. Healthy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I actually made these refined sugar and gluten free this time! I added updated notes to the recipe if you want to try them this way. I piled the cookies onto a paper plate, then placed the cookies + plate in a freezer-friendly bag. Freezing in a freezer-friendly tupperware works too. Remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator. They’re delicious right out of the fridge! (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  3. Oatmeal raisin cookie granola bars. I made two batches. Like both cookie recipes listed above, I piled the bars onto a paper plate then placed into a freezer bag. A freezer-friendly tupperware works too. Thaw in the fridge. (Freeze up to 3 months.)
  4. Breakfast casserole. I made one, but wish I made more! Healthy and packed with veggies, this simple breakfast is filling and quick. I baked it in a disposable aluminum pan, allowed it to completely cool, covered tightly with aluminum foil, then froze. Thawed it for about 24 hours (covered) in the refrigerator, then stuck it in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 25-30 minutes. (Freeze for up to 3-4 months.)
  5. Zucchini muffins. I made a double batch of this zucchini bread batter and baked muffins. This is a very simple batter to throw together, even when 9 months pregnant. No mixer required. After cooling completely, I placed them onto a couple paper plates, then into a freezer-friendly bag. The relatively flat muffins make it easy to pile the plates on top of each other. We’ve eaten half so far– I simply thawed them overnight in the refrigerator, then let them sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  6. Apple crumb cake. I made this to enjoy when family visits. This isn’t something we’d normally eat during the week just ourselves, but it’s perfect for more indulgent weekend breakfasts. You can bake and freeze it in a disposable 9×13 pan or cut the cooled cake into slices and freeze in a freezer-friendly zipped-top bag or tupperware container. That’s what I did. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  7. Cookies! I baked crispy chocolate chip cookies (from Sally’s Cookie Addiction), cake batter chocolate chip cookies, and black and white cookies. Once completely cooled, I froze all three batches of cookies. I piled them onto a paper plate– very simple since the cookies are flat– then placed the cookies + plate in a freezer-friendly bag. Freezing in a freezer-friendly tupperware works too. Remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. (Most cookies can be frozen up to 3-4 months.) I love whipping “fresh baked” cookies out when we have visitors for Noelle!

Cake batter chocolate chip cookies - freezer meals on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The trick to preparing so much? Plan ahead. Create a schedule. Grab a friend or family member to help. Use any free time at night and on the weekends to make 1 or 2 meals. Do this for a few weeks leading up to your due date and your freezer will be generously stocked. And your mind will be at ease (as much as it can be!).

How to stock your freezer with satisfying meals, dinners, lunches, breakfast, and healthy snacks. Tips, tricks, and freezer-friendly recipes on sallysbakingaddiction.com
How to stock your freezer with satisfying meals, dinners, lunches, breakfast, and healthy snacks. Tips, tricks, and freezer-friendly recipes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

61 comments

  1. I did this before heading to the hospital to have my little one, only to return home to find my freezer had broken!!!
    Kari
    http://sweetteasweetie.com/easy-apple-pocket-pies/

  2. This couldn’t have arrived in my inbox at a more perfect time. I’m having an operation next week and will be out of action for six week(!) so will be batch cooking using my slow cooker this week and next weekend to make sure there are lots of healthy dinners for us! We just returned from holiday yesterday so jet lag and returning to work for a week (catching up and making sure everything is in place for next few weeks) might make it challenging.

    I hope you’re recovering well and enjoying lots of cuddles with your beautiful daughter, Noelle

    • Thank you so much, Anne-Marie!
      And good luck with your surgery. Here’s to a speedy recovery and I know you’ll be thankful to have some home-cooked meals during those quiet weeks resting.

  3. I just had my little guy 2 weeks ago today and bought things to go ahead and make and store! I’m going to make the chicken chili tomorrow and have these meals ready for when I have to go back to work and need something quick and hearty on a weeknight! This post is perfect!

  4. This is seriously one of the absolute best posts I’ve seen on freezer meals! Totally snagging some of these recipes and tips! Kudos to you for being so organized at the end of your pregnancy! 🙂

  5. Thank you for such great insight! I’m not at the age where babies will be coming, (that was 30 yrs ago!) – But I’ll certainly use these ideas for sending out good meals for those that are having babies or surgery. The knowledge of what freezes well is very helpful!

  6. We have baby #2 on the way this coming spring, and this is probably the most thorough and helpful freezer meal/treat round up I’ve come across! Thanks SO much. Will definitely be referencing this again! And congrats to you on beautiful baby Noelle. 🙂

  7. Hi Sally,
    Glad to hear you are home and settling into momma life with Noelle~she is beautiful! For the cookies then you bake them then stack them on the paper plate and freeze them? I have frozen dough balls before of cookies then taken them out and baked them but never like this! I love it! Thanks!!

  8. I started my own pre-baby freezer cooking about two weeks ago. I think I’m up to two large pans for whole meals plus a ton of individually wrapped items (burritos, etc), two types of soup, and a bunch of muffins. Plus some pie crusts and pot pie filling to assemble tomorrow. I’m excited to add a few of your ideas to my cooking schedule. I’d been contemplating a breakfast casserole, though I’ll probably freeze in single serving portions just for mornings when I can’t manage anything else – I’ve really missed eggs over easy and will probably gorge on them when I stop being quite as paranoid!

    Congratulations again on your new bundle of joy!

  9. Thank you so much for this post as the timing is incredible! My parents just returned sick from a 3 week vacation. My mother has Pneumonia and my dad has Bronchitis. They are both in their 70’s and I have been worried about how they are going to stay fed and eat healthy. This is the answer, and you have made it so simple for me to prepare and for them to defrost and heat up! I am currently in the hospital myself after having surgery so when I get home, I can focus on making them some meals as I recover and not have to worry about my parents not eating properly.

  10. This brought back fond memories of 13 years (!) ago … my sister made us many freezer meals and surprised us just before our daughter arrived. I was … and still am … so appreciative! We were so grateful at times when our zombie-like states could not have prepared anything. Cherish this time as I’m sure you are. Congratulations. Best.Thing.Ever.

    Love that name, Noelle 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *