Squirreling away some precooked meals in your freezer before baby arrives will cut down on some of the stress (and take-out!) during your first weeks as a parent. After a sleep-deprived night and exhausting day of tending to baby’s every need, you’ll feel like you hit gold when you open the freezer and see it stocked with delicious, homemade, heat-and-eat meals.
Soups, stews, casseroles, lasagna, and pasta sauces are best for freezing. Meals can be stored in the freezer for up to three months before they spoil or before flavors are affected.
• The nemesis of frozen food is oxygen. If you’re freezing something in a bag, get rid of excess air before sealing it. If you’re using a plastic container, make sure it has a tight-fitting lid and use the smallest size that will fit what you’re freezing.
• Use freezer zip-top bags. You may end up with freezer burn if you use sandwich-style bags–they are too thin.
• Freeze in single or double portions and use freezer zip-top bags. It saves room in your freezer, makes for quick thawing (just submerge item in hot water), and lets you defrost only what you need.
• Play it safe. If you aren’t sure how best to freeze a certain item (or long it will keep), check the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.
Need some freezer-friendly recipe ideas? Check out these 12 make-ahead freezer meals for moms-to-be.