With my mom's help, we've been stocking it up with all sorts of food. It's been imperative in these first few weeks, as H has been fussy around dinner time and putting her down to prepare a meal has been unheard of. I have to wait for D to get home and we throw together the meal in 30 minutes or less. I also have to rely on things I have around the house with only one grocery shopping trip a week since I don't want to take H with me to the grocery store.
So here's what I've been keeping in my freezer and pantry to put together dinner on the fly:
- Meatballs in sauce- I keep dried pasta and a jar of marinara in the pantry. The meatballs can be raw or cooked. Meatballs can also be used for meatball sandwiches. I also keep garlic bread from the freezer section on hand. Add a bagged salad and your meal is complete.
- Meatloaf, raw or fully cooked- I serve it with a side of boxed mashed or scalloped potatoes and a vegetable. I try to include one fresh produce item with every meal, so if I do instant potatoes, I try to include fresh green beans or something.
- Ground beef and burger buns-You can use this for burgers obviously, I keep all the fixings on hand and a stash of sweet potato fries in the freezer, but you can also use it for sloppy joes. Just dress up with tomato sauce and some fresh veggies and spices and serve on the burger buns. You can also whip up a meat sauce with a jar of marinara.
- Steaks-We can always throw them on the grill and serve with whatever veggies I have on hand in the freezer. I keep different cuts of steaks, some are top sirloin, some are strip steaks. Strip steaks are super cheap and you can defrost them and throw together a marinade with stuff you have in your pantry, then throw it on the grill.
- Chicken breasts and pork chops-I keep Italian dressing in the pantry for a quick marinade. You can pair these with some boxed pasta mix and veggies either fresh or frozen and go.
- Tilapia fillets-Easy to blacken in the pan with butter and cajun seasoning or wrap up with fresh veggies in foil pouches with a slice of butter and bake. \
- Bisquick mix-Okay, it doesn't go in the freezer but this stuff is versatile. You can make all sorts of things with this, from sausage balls to a knock off of Red Lobster's yummy garlic biscuits to shortbread for homemade strawberry shortbreads.
- Pre-marinated fajita meats and tortillas-Defrost, add a can of refried beans and make a box of Mexican rice, serve with chips and salsa and the fixings.
- Frozen chili-My mom made a big batch and froze it into small servings.
- Frozen stews and casseroles-I make these on the weekends and add it to our stash. I especially recommend freezing leftovers. You may not want to eat beef stew leftovers all week, freeze them and you'll appreciate them in a month!