This week I shared with you the best thing I did to prep for a healthier postpartum- that is, to freezer prep a whole bunch of meals so we had dinner with ease in those early postpartum weeks. I shared my plan for getting it all done without a ton of extra hours in the kitchen or a huge blow to your budget. But freezer cooking is obviously not the same as meal prepping- there is the consideration that you are going to freeze the things you are making, so I thought I would share some of my best tips for freezer prep. (Want more like it? Check out Healthy Mama Meal Prep).
Tip # 1: Choose meals with similar ingredients to reduce cost and cooking time.
Tip # 2: Combine ingredients when prepping to make life easier; and double or triple recipes for convenience and efficiency
Tip # 3: Have all the supplies you need ahead of time: containers, foil pans, aluminum foil, freezer bags, sharpies
Tip # 5: Use an assembly line style prep when you are cooking multiple meals and cook ingredients first, before combining (another reason why choosing similar ingredients is helpful!)
Tip # 6: Choose foods that freeze and reheat well: avoid vegetables and fruit with high water content (raw celery, cucumber, watermelon, etc), dairy-based dishes and starch-heavy entrees (potatoes, rice, pasta).
Tip # 7: Simplify freezer prep with slow cooker meals (add all the ingredients to a gallon-size bag to add to the slow cooker and cook!)
Tip # 8: Allow all foods to cool COMPLETELY before freezing.
Tip # 9: Label ingredients AND how to reheat EVERY meal!
Tip # 10: Make sure to use foods within 3-6 months and keep an inventory list of what's in your freezer ON your fridge- and check it off as you go!
Freezer Recipe: Sweet Potato, Kale and Beef Stew
This is one of our FAVORITE family meals. It's super simple to double the ingredients, prep and throw in the slow cooker, while you're prepping other foods and just freeze the extra portions once it's cooled. It freezes and reheats beautifully!
1 large white onion, chopped 1 cup chopped celery 1 cup chopped carrots 1 large sweet potato, chopped 3 cloves garIic, minced 2 pounds stewing beef 1 tbsp dried thyme 2 bay leaves 1 tsp sea salt (to taste) black pepper, to taste 4 cups beef or chicken broth 2 tbsp arrowroot powder or 1 tbsp coconut flour 1/2 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1. Place onion, celery, carrots, sweet potato, garlic, beef and seasonings in bottom of slow cooker. Cover with broth. Simmer on low 6-7 hours.
2. After 6-7 hours, remove 1 cup liquid and whisk with arrowroot until dissolved. Return to slow cooker and stir in. Stir in chopped kale. Cook, uncovered for another 30-60 minutes to thicken before serving.
1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large stockpot. Add beef in batches, browning each batch. Set aside when all beef is browned.
2. Add onions and garlic to pan. Cook until translucent. Add remaining vegetables (except kale) and cook until starting to soften. Add beef back in pan, along with seasonings and broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
3. Simmer, covered, 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally until beef is tender. Remove 1 cup liquid and whisk with arrowroot until dissolved. Stir in chopped kale. Cook, uncovered, for another 10-15 minutes to thicken before serving.
Get all of my tips in one place, plus my exclusive food storage chart from my Healthy Mama Meal Prep course and five freezer-friendly recipes by downloading my (Freezer) Prep for Baby guide- it's totally free! Click to enter your name and email to get the download to your email instantly: