New parents need meals that are quick and simple, even ones that can be prepared ahead of time for convenience. Meals that can be frozen and reheated can assist you when you are busy changing diapers, washing bottles and rocking your new baby to sleep. Spend the weekend making batches of your favorite meals to freeze or refrigerate, and your week will become instantly simpler -- well, at least dinner will.
Soups are an excellent choice for a make ahead meal because they contain simple ingredients and freeze well. Choose a weekend and make several large batches of your favorite soups, such as minestrone, chicken noodle or ham and bean. Freeze the soup in plastic bags; they will lay flat and take up less room in your freezer. Omit the noodles, if the soup contains them, when freezing, since the defrosting process can make them soggy. The noodles can be boiled when it is time to make the soup for a quick, 15-minute meal for new parents.
Stuffed peppers are a compact meal with all the food groups that will hold up well to freezing and defrosting. Cut the tops off several peppers and scoop out the inside flesh. Saute ground beef or turkey with onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Add white or brown rice and mix together, then stuff the mixture into the hollowed out peppers. Pour tomato sauce over the peppers when you are ready to cook. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes for a simple weeknight supper while your baby -- hopefully -- naps.
Pasta dishes, like spaghetti or fettuccine, can be made super simple and fast for a weeknight meal after a long day. Use canned tomato sauce and add onion, garlic, fresh basil and oregano for flavor. A hint of brown sugar adds a smoothness to the sauce. Allow the sauce to simmer all day in the crock pot, then boil your choice of noodles when it is time to eat. The remaining sauce can be placed in freezer bags in your freezer, saving space, for another quick and easy meal.
Casseroles, like soups, can be prepped several days in advance and frozen. Casseroles can combine your favorite ingredients into a one pot meal that will even yield leftovers. Choose from a variety of meat and vegetable combinations, such as ground beef and carrots or chicken and broccoli. Saute the ingredients together with some oil, salt and pepper, then layer in a casserole dish and top with bread crumbs or store-bought dough. Add the crust before cooking if you choose to freeze the dish, since the bread can become soggy when frozen and defrosted.
- "What To Expect The First Year"; Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg & Sandee Hathaway, B.S.N.; 2003
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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