My Freezer Stash: 4 Weeks Before Baby #4

posted by Andrea | 08/22/2017
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Today marks 4 weeks until my due date for baby #4 — yup, we’re getting close!

In the past, I’ve always tried to put a few extra meals and baked goods away in the freezer a few weeks before my babies arrive — however; this time around, I really tried hard to fully stock my freezer with many meal options and lots of pre-cooked ingredients to make dinner prep much simpler and easier those first few weeks and months at home with 4 kiddos.

In general, I’m NOT a fan of big freezer-cooking marathons as they seem too overwhelming and needlessly time-consuming for me. Instead, I make double and triple batches of food on a regular basis so I always have a few meals in the freezer.

That said, since Dave was home all summer and could keep the kids out of my hair while I cooked, I decided to have a “freezer cooking week” a couple weeks ago where I made several meals for the freezer each day.

It was a LONG week and I was VERY tired of being in the kitchen by the end of it — but the results were definitely worth the effort because I ended up with a freezer that is basically packed to the gills with delicious ready-to-bake meals and baked goodies!

I tried to be fairly methodical with how I planned for and executed my freezer cooking week, and I’m honestly really happy with how it went.

Oh, and I do realize that our freezer looks extremely disorganized! It’s just SO full that I couldn’t make it look neat and pretty. However, I promise there is a method to my madness… everything is labeled, like items are stacked together, and I know where everything is!

Day 1: Cook all the meat.

  • I roasted a 17 pound turkey
  • I roasted a large ham (at the same time as the turkey)
  • I fried up about 10+ pounds of ground beef (I kind of lost track after 10!)
  • I fried up about 7 pounds of ground sausage

Some of the meat was pre-portioned into 2-cup servings and put into small freezer bags, but a lot of the meat simply went into my fridge to make meals the next day.

We also defrosted our deep freezer on this first day to make sure the freezer was nice and clean for all my incoming freezer meals!

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Day 2: Make chicken/turkey meals.

We ate a big dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, veggies, rolls, fruit, etc. the night I roasted the turkey. Then the next day, I cut all the turkey meat off the bones and shred it or chopped it into bite-size pieces.

As I mentioned above, I froze some of the meat in 2-cup freezer bags, then I used the rest to make the following meals.

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Day 3: Make ground beef/sausage meals.

I used most of the meat to make the recipes below — but anything extra, I froze in 2-cup portions.

I will most likely be frying up a few more pounds of ground beef and ground sausage just so I have plenty of pre-cooked meat to make additional casseroles and soups.

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Day 4: Make meals with ham and additional side dishes.

I made our kids’ favorite Ham and Potato soup for dinner this night and then froze the majority of the ham “as is” — either in slices or cut into small cubes.

I did make this Cordon Bleu Casserole in 2 aluminum foil pans for the freezer.

I also made 5 smaller aluminum foil pans of Cheesey Hashbrown potatoes.

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Day 5: Baked Goods!

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As you can tell, we currently have a VERY stocked freezer — and most of it is food that is ready to go into the oven with little to no effort on my part. Simply pull out the meal we want to eat the night before, let it defrost in the fridge overnight, and pop it in the oven when Dave gets home from school.

Most of meals will go great with a simple salad, steamed veggies, fruit, a roll, or slice of crusty bread — so no time-consuming kitchen prep work required. And since I used mostly aluminum foil pans from the dollar store, cleanup will be a breeze as well!

Additional Store-bought Freezer Foods:

  • Chicken nuggets and chicken tenders
  • A few frozen pizzas
  • A large package of frozen burger patties, ready for the grill
  • Several package of frozen brats and brat burgers, ready for the grill
  • Several packages of hot dogs, bacon, and smoked sausage
  • 4 pre-marinated pork loins (they are small and the perfect size for a meal for our family)
  • A few bags of pre-portioned, pre-marinated pork chops (I split up the family packs and added some marinade)
  • A few steaks and roasts
  • Tatertots and french fries
  • Several bags of frozen shredded cheese
  • Several pounds of frozen butter
  • Several bags of frozen corn, peas, chopped peppers, and shredded zucchini
  • Several bags of frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarbs, etc (we picked most of this fruit over the summer, but some was store bought)
  • Several bags of baking chips (chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, white chocolate, mini, M&M’s, etc)
  • A few loaves of bread, rolls, buns, and bagels

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something — but basically, our freezer is really, REALLY full!

It feels so great to know that I have a bunch of meals ready to go — even if everyone else forgets about the 4th-time mom! πŸ™‚

Oh, and I also purchased a few Culver’s gift cards because the Culver’s by us had a deal in August where you could get 2 free pints of frozen custard for every $25 gift card purchase!

Now that my freezer is stocked, it might be time to focus on getting the nursery ready!Β 

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36 comments

  1. Lynda

    11/11/2017

    I am a bit behind in reading your blog but was browsing back at posts I hadn’t read….. I SO appreciate all the recipes you share! You are my β€œgo to” when I need a no-nonsense recipe. Thank you so much! I want to try the no boil the noodle lasagna recipe….. haven’t made lasagna in awhile because the prep is usually too time consuming. Also, going to try your stuffing recipe this Thanksgiving to bring to my in-laws

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lynda!! you’ll love the stuffing — I’m making it too!

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  2. Alina

    10/12/2017

    What a great informative post!

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  3. Jen

    09/15/2017

    Hi Andrea – I just made a ham and am getting ready to do some freezer cooking after being inspired by you! Quick question on the funeral potatoes. Your recipe says you haven’t made these ahead before, so now since you did, did you cook it all and then just freeze or mix up all the ingredients in the pan and cook the day you wanted to eat them?
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    i assemble the potatoes and the freeze — I don’t cook until after they are defrosted. They taste just great!

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  4. Luba @ Healthy with Luba

    08/24/2017

    Andrea, wow, that is quite a bit of food. Congratulations on getting it all done before the baby comes. πŸ™‚

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  5. Amy B

    08/23/2017

    I got the idea to just double or triple recipes and freeze them from you! A huge freezer cooking day just seems too overwhelming to me as well.
    I just had baby #3 3 months ago, and the ladies in our church brought meals a few days a week for the first month (they are amazing!) and I had stocked the freezer with tons of meals and baked goods (Mama needs cookies sometimes πŸ™‚ You won’t regret all the work you put into freezer cooking. And you are superwoman for doing that super pregnant with 3 little ones running around.

    My two older kids are almost the same ages as Nora and Simon, and it’s been fun to follow along for the last few years. I can’t wait to see pictures of your sweet little one when she arrives!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Amy — and congrats to you too!

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  6. Erin M

    08/23/2017

    I don’t think you’ll be sad at all to have worked so hard getting all this ready. I’m not expecting a 4th baby but I am just about to start a fall season with 4 kids in sports and feel like I would really benefit from doing a bit more planning for quick meals. I may have to spend a morning trying to brainstorm and plan for this.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

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  7. Andrea

    08/22/2017

    Amazing volume for one week of cooking. My big question is, how many hours extra of dishes does this require? Does it all go in the dishwasher like normal meals for you, or did you find there was time-consuming dishes?
    I think this post proves you are super-mom! You can’t deny this, being pregnant and having 3 littles :). You are inspiring for what really can be done in a week!
    Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well, that’s why I was “methodical” about it and did all the beef on day, all the chicken one day, etc. I used the same pans, and bowls all day, so it really wasn’t many dishes at all. Most went into the dishwasher, a few had to be washed by hand.

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  8. Connie

    08/22/2017

    Great work Andrea! Love your blog…I have been following you for the past several years. Can’t wait to see pics of this new angel. God bless you and your beautiful family.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Connie!

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  9. Christy

    08/22/2017

    Which freezer do you have? Our chest freezer just died 6 weeks ago and I need to replace it. I was thinking of doing an upright this time, but my hubby isn’t convinced. We usually get 1/2 a cow a year for our beef and then do a pig and some chickens from the local farm as well. Maybe the chest is better for that since it doesn’t all stack nice?! hmmm…so much to consider.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I honestly don’t know “what” freezer we have — obviously an upright, and it’s not super huge either because we had to fit it down the stairs.

    Normally, I would ALWAYS be an advocate for an upright freezer, but if you get crazy amounts of meat, I’m almost positive you’ll be able to fit a lot more in a chest freezer. We got a 1/4 of a cow last year and it took up a TON of our freezer space for a long time!

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  10. Meghan

    08/22/2017

    Awesome! We think alike πŸ™‚
    Most of my casseroles I bake from frozen, and it works great. I hate to have something thaw and then for some reason our plans change. 350 degrees for an hour is about right for my lasagna, cheese potatoes, and chicken casseroles. I usually keep them covered with foil for most of the cooking time.

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  11. Debbie

    08/22/2017

    Can we trade freezers right now? That is amazing! I love the idea of having different meals every night but not having to cook it. We eat either the same meal for dinner every night from our prep cooking on Sunday or make an omelet instead. By Friday, I’m ready to do our date night at a restaurant for something different to eat. LOL!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha –no! Not after all that work πŸ™‚

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  12. shan

    08/22/2017

    Andrea, Your post and pictures make me drool!!! If I lived nearby, I would offer to help with the cooking and cleaning, and bring a meal over after your baby is born! I would make soy sauce chicken (my mother’s recipe), plus rice and veggies!!

    Take care and blessings as you await the arrival of your little girl.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yum, that sounds fantastic! I wish you lived closer!

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  13. JJ

    08/22/2017

    Fantastic job!!! It really does make a huge difference to have enough food ready, especially with a bunch of little people. So excited for you!

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  14. Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

    08/22/2017

    Well done, Andrea! I LOVE having a stocked freezer with meals ready to go before baby arrives. It is one of the best things to know that you’re not worrying about meals. Prayers for you in these final weeks, as you wait to welcome your baby daughter!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Kristen!

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  15. Jules

    08/22/2017

    Love this! And for the record, if I lived close by, I would absolutely bring this 4th time mom a meal or two πŸ™‚

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  16. Mary Lynn

    08/22/2017

    If the apocalypse should happen tomorrow, I think you’d be set! πŸ™‚ One quick question – did you make a massive grocery shopping trip or did you pick up all these ingredients when they were on sale? I love to do batch cooking and freezing and anything I can do to prepare things ahead of time!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    neither option really πŸ™‚
    I usually have a pretty stocked pantry, so many of the dried and canned goods were already in the house. I did have to make a list of specific produce items I needed — and I bought a massive amount of meat one week!

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  17. Michelle

    08/22/2017

    Thank you for this post. It’s awesome. You’ve done a great job preparing for your family after the baby comes! You must be exhausted.

    My daughter’s youngest son was born with a heart defect and bringing him home from the hospital was pretty nerve wracking and she was nervous to take her eyes off of him. He’s a year and a half now but he had two heart surgeries in his first year of life. Not to mention several hospitalizations due to illnesses and numerous doctor’s visits and medical tests…and his cardiologist is about two hours away.

    I struggled with ways to help and I always go to food first. My mind was completely clueless and unable to think of meals that would freeze well. As a result I wasn’t much help in that department.

    This post will be extremely helpful since she’s now expecting her fourth baby and will definitely need ways to simplify her life. I’ll forward this post to her. I wouldn’t be surprised if she follows your blog since I talk about it with her pretty often.

    Thanks again Andrea!

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  18. Chris

    08/22/2017

    Wow! That’s a lot of work and it will pay off. Do you know you can make several pounds of ground beef at a time in the slow cooker. I have done that before. πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I’m sure using the stove is fast though — and I was all about speed this time around πŸ™‚

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  19. Deni

    08/22/2017

    Andrea, I am so impressed with your planning and food storage! I wish I would have known to do this with my babies long ago. So excited for you and your family πŸ™‚

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  20. Summer

    08/22/2017

    Brat burgers??? What are these?

    You are the organizing QUEEN! I am impressed! Planning and preparation go a long way and you completely rock this!

    Best wishes and blessings on your coming month

    [Reply]

  21. Francie

    08/22/2017

    Can’t wait to see your precious new baby. Thanks for the meal planning ideas! http://www.supersimpleways.com

    [Reply]

  22. Jennifer

    08/22/2017

    My second job as an adjunct professor to help us become debt-free starts up again soon after a short summer break. Your recipes would pass my family’s standards and would help to keep everyone fed and happy when I am at school. Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait for your new baby girl to arrive!

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  23. Jo

    08/22/2017

    I am so excited for this baby girl to be born! I can’t wait to see her, hear the name you chose and see your family of 6! Looks like you are ready πŸ™‚

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    Jo Reply:

    I also wanted to ask if you had started Christmas present buying for the kids yet?? And if so where do you store it/hide it all?!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    no not really — I actually did a blog post about just this last a few weeks ago (you can read it here).
    I just keep track of things they want or need via an Amazon wish list or in my planner — but I don’t usually buy anything until we’re closer to Christmas (unless I find a REALLY good deal)

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