Saturday, May 9, 2015

Freezer Meals & Nesting (18.5 weeks & counting)

As noted in previous posts, The Hubs & I are expecting our first little one (well, if you don’t count the dog) later this year.  I’m solidly into my 2nd trimester, and have much more energy than the first 14 weeks or so.  Energy which should probably be used cleaning house and productive things of that nature, but with as pretty as it’s been, most of that energy is getting channeled into weekend canoe trips and hikes at the Nature Center.

Earlier this week we found out gender:

IMG_20150505_084325-1  IMG_20150505_084315_2

Funny how this is the only situation when this sort of photo isn’t considered pornography…

We’ve picked up & been gifted a few items for Baby Boy, but haven’t been going too crazy.  A lot of time has been put toward the effort of “where to put the nursery” and “what to do with the giant king size bed that’s in our guest room”.  We’ve got a 3 bedroom house which is plenty of space for a small family, but since my husband works from home, that means we have a) a master, b) a guest room, and c) an office occupying those rooms.  So, now begins the effort of trying to figure out how to combine the office & guest rooms so they can both function appropriately…which is not a possibility with the giant king bed that we have in the spare room.  I suggested just not getting a crib and just laying the baby in the middle of the king bed (I mean really…it’s huge, he’ll be tiny—where can he go?), but apparently that’s frowned upon.  :)  We also don’t want to co-sleep or have a basinet in our room for very long because it just makes sleep training them later on that much harder.  Then of course there’s the option of moving…but buying a new house just so you don’t have to sell your guest bed seems a little silly, no matter how comfy it is (NOTE: It is VERY comfy…but too soft for The Hubs’ back.)

I found a pretty cool site online called HomeStyler that allows you to drag & drop room plans with tons of options on furniture, so that we could match up sizes appropriately.  It’s been a lot of fun to play with and I think we’re getting close to having some good options:

room A pullout loveseat is also an option, if we can find one that’s relatively comfortable.

With grandparents who’ll want to visit the baby (and hopefully stay a while to help out), NOT having some sort of guest bed isn’t an option.

I’ve also decided to get a jump start on prepping freezer meals. I figure it makes sense to start working on it now, a little at a time, while I have energy, and it’s not the crazy hot outside, and I don’t have a B.O.B. (big ol’ belly) in the way.  Thankfully we bought a small chest freezer last year, so it’s a perfect place to stow away meal prep!


This is the stockpile I’ve accumulated over the last few weekends of work, just prepping 3-4 meals at a time.  Most are Pinterest finds, though some are recommendations for friends. I’ve got a good stockpile of recipes ready to make, but have been prepping up whatever’s on sale that week to save some $$$.  Only a couple of these are ready-made, pop in the oven to heat up—the rest are Crock Pot meals, with all the ingredients in a bag to be thrown into the pot overnight or at the start of the day.

Recipes Made So Far:

Crockpot Beef Fajitas

Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki (I added some sriracha & green onions as well)

Crockpot Chicken Chili (chicken was on sale, if you haven’t guessed) :)

Crockpot Honey Dijon Pork & Green Beans (I used Creole Mustard in place of Dijon)

Crockpot Hot Pepper Pork & Butternut Squash (with Tabasco Red Pepper Jelly, of course!)

Ginger Peach Chicken (with added sriracha) [Note: this is a great link—there’s several others I’ll be making later on.]

Sausage Mac & Cheese (no actual recipe for this one—we made cheese fondue the night before and had a ton left over, so I boiled some rotini, tossed it in with the cheese sauce, & added about 1/2 lb of smoked sausage) 


…and my tater tot casserole.  I think tater tot casserole is one of those things everyone has a slightly different recipe for, but here’s mine.



1 lb lean ground beef

1 onion, diced

1 tsp olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 tbsp Tony Chacheres Instant Roux Powder

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

(1) 15 oz can corn, drained (or frozen)

(1) 15 oz can peas, drained (or frozen)

(1) 8 oz can mushroom pieces, drained (or you can chop up some fresh ones & cook in with your meat—just whatever’s more convenient for you

1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder

6 slices 2% American cheese (or 1 cup shredded cheddar if you prefer—I use whatever I have on hand at the time)

most of 1 bag of tater tots



In a large skillet or pot, saute the onions in the olive oil with a dash of salt, until they start to get tender.  Then add the ground beef, cook until browned.

Add the roux powder (this helps turn any fat into a nice sauce & binder) & Worcestershire sauce, stir well, and then add salt & pepper to taste.  If it’s a little salty, don’t worry, since you’ll be adding veggies as well.

Mix in the veggies and cornstarch and toss until well combined.

Transfer into a 9x13 pan (aluminum if you’re going to be freezing for a while, so you’re not tying up one of your pans for a few months), spread evenly, and then top with the cheese.

Then, add the tater tots.  (NOTE: You do not have to be as OCD as me about arranging your tots---I just do it because it makes it easier to portion, and because I have the time.  If you don’t, don’t worry about it.  Haphazard tots still taste awesome.)


When it’s time, cook for 30-40 minutes at 400F.  If you’re going to be freezing for a while, I recommend topping with aluminum foil first, and then wrapping in a couple layers of plastic wrap as insurance against freezer burn.


If you’re interested in some additional freezer meal recipes, here’s another post I made last year when we were prepping for the opening of our seasonal business.

If you’ve got a freezer meal you love, please share a recipe link with me in the comments section!


  1. We thought we'd get a pullout, but decided on an air mattress -- though we only have one person sleeping on it at a time. We went with an Intex Deluxe Pillow with Built in Pump. It really is comfortable and easy to inflate/deflate. But that might not work with both grandparents coming to visit. Hopefully you figure it out!

    And for Freezer Meals -- I still would suggest Time for Dinner for variety. You could come up to St. Louis and prep it or they'll ship to Springfield. You could casually suggest that to the grandparents as a gift. :) And I have some on my blog. The meat enchiladas are delicious!

  2. We have a queen size air mattress as well--one of the ones that blows up to the size of a regular bed, but *cough* certain grandparents-to-be have stated some resistance against sleeping on an air mattress. We haven't tested it out yet, so most likely we'll start with that (maybe add an egg crate or foam topper for some extra padding) and see how they like it. It may work fine for those first few weeks, but DK's parents visit us pretty often so I'm not sure how long it will work long term.

    I'll see if I can add Time for Dinner to the Universal section on my Amazon registry--good thinking!

    1. By "tested it out", I mean we just bought it last Black Friday, and it's still in a box in our garage. :)