This month will bring a new addition to our family in the form of our 2nd son (3rd if you count Gordon, our German Shepherd Mix, who if you’re wondering…yes, he is just as much work sometimes). Being pregnant with a 2.5 year old while running a business certainly doesn’t leave a lot of “free” time to prep for our new arrival, but there have been some ways we’ve been short-cutting the process.
Preparing for our first son was definitely easier without the added task of caring for a toddler, but my husband and I are a great team so preparing this time around is still going pretty smoothly.
Preparing for Our First Baby
When I was pregnant with our first son, in addition to stocking up on pantry items and frozen foods, our prep included:
- Stocking up on household essentials (toiletries, cleaning products, toilet paper, laundry detergent, trash bags, etc.)
- Organizing closets and cabinets to leave room for unforeseen items that would need to be stored for baby
- General cleaning and organizing to lighten the daily load and make it easier to stay organized with a new baby
- Some other tasks that I can’t think of at the moment (I’m in a fog of pregnant small business owner mom mode).
Funny enough, when our son arrived in October of 2019, we had a lot more free time than I had anticipated; for some reason I thought we would be locked in our houses for months without the ability to easily go anywhere or get anything. I was just a few months ahead of foreshadowing the dumpster fire that was March 2020 and beyond — and we had already stocked up on toilet paper, and hand sanitizer, WIN!
Fortunately getting all of these preparatory tasks out of the way made it so that we had time to accomplish other tasks like building a fire pit and patio area in our backyard during naptimes (and sometimes during awake times when he would watch us from his bouncer)!
Preparing for Our First Son (without freezer meals)
One of the things we did not do with our first son that every “baby prep” list suggested was make freezer meals to have ready to pop in the oven. I do love to cook, so what we did instead was buy a bunch of ingredients to keep on hand for me to make meals like pasta, rice, grains, beans, frozen vegetables and fish fillets, etc. (we’re pescatarians so it was frozen fish and not meat for us).
Making a homecooked meal every night has never really been an issue because I always meal plan for the week and have stuff on-hand if we’re in a pinch (“in a pinch” of course means “when I forget to take the fish out of the freezer”). I don’t mind putting in the extra effort if it means we can eat a great meal and save money by not ordering takeout or going out.
The prep for our first son allowed us more free time, but I feel like the second baby prep is going to allow us room to accomplish basic and necessary tasks; maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised again with some free time too — wishful thinking? With this in mind, prepping for Baby #2 has us thinking that we might want to take those extra steps that will make our lives a bit easier and do the extra stuff that we didn’t do with our first like making some freezer meals.
Freezer Meals Don’t Need to Be More Work
Instead of dedicating a few hours a week to making specific freezer meals, I’ve simply made extra of certain meals that I was already making for dinner and set some aside to create a freezer meal for later!
Last week for one of our dinners I took some butternut squash, cubed it and roasted it with some tomatoes, onions, olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt, & pepper. While this roasted, I cooked a large amount of pasta and set aside some of the starchy pasta water. Once the veggies were done, I put them into a sauce pan with some of the pasta water and little bit of cream and blended it with our Cuisinart Smart Stick immersion blender (not affiliated, I just love this thing) — this is also what I used to make all of my son’s baby food (the food processor/chopper attachment was the absolute best for this)!
Preparing the Freezer Meal
I took this butternut squash sauce and poured it over the pasta. That night we had the butternut squash pasta and a cucumber salad as a meal, and I set aside half of the pasta to quickly make a freezer meal before we ate. That’s how quick it was to make, I did it easily before we all sat down to eat!
I shredded some white cheddar cheese (while the veggies were roasting), mixed it with the extra butternut squash pasta in a casserole dish, covered it and put it in the freezer for us to have after Baby #2 is here! No real extra work except for shredding the cheese, but you can always buy pre-shredded cheese for this! I just happened to have a block of cheddar that I wanted to use up. You also don’t need to scratch-make a sauce, jarred sauce with pasta and a bag of shredded mozzarella (and some ricotta if you like) makes a delicious baked pasta dish that is easy to freeze and easy to bake later!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the idea for this post until after I made this butternut squash pasta dish, so I don’t have any photos! Trust me, it looked and tasted delicious.
Make Ahead Without Setting Aside Extra Time
Freezer meals don’t necessarily have to be made separately from all of your other meals. Whether it’s using pasta, soup, or shredding leftover chicken with some veggies and rice and making a casserole, incorporating leftovers or purposely making extra of something to save for a separate freezer meal is the easiest way to make a no-prep quick meal for your future self without having to put in any real extra work!
What are some of your favorite make-ahead meals? Let us know in the comments! And let me know if you tried out this butternut squash pasta sauce, it’s super easy and delicious!
Looking for recipe or meal planning ideas?
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