This January, when Gabriel and I sat down to kind of map out what we wanted to get done this year, one of the items on my list was to have 50 meals in the freezer by July first, preparatory to having a new baby in the house.
I got jolted into action last week when a friend unexpectedly went into labor two weeks early. Now, I don’t expect to go early for a number of reasons… but then neither did she. Suddenly, I feel the need to get prepared.
This week, I got started on that freezer cooking. It started with soaking an 8 pound bag of pinto beans. It was fun to see Gabriel’s reaction to seeing that ginormous bowl of beans soaking on the counter. They ended up filling two 6-quart slow cookers, and a gallon bag which I froze raw for another time.
We made 9 meals worth of baked beans, and 5 burrito casseroles with all those beans with not a spoonful leftover. That makes twelve meals down, 38 to go! (in case you’re doing the math, we ate one of each on the nights they were made.)
I was really encouraged by how easily those twelve meals go into the freezer. Of course, I realize that baked beans and Mexican casseroles are among the easier meals to prepare in bulk, but that doesn’t make me any less happy.
The original plan was to can the beans, but um, I couldn’t remember where I put the canning lids.
One thing that was really nice about the casseroles was that Garrett was able to “help”. He’s always climbing up to watch me do stuff, but I’m always having to tell him “don’t touch that”, or “Don’t spill this”. It’s really frustrating for both of us. With these casseroles, there wasn’t much he could damage. He got up there on his chair and layered in tortillas, salted everything, and ate the cheese I was trying to top them with.
It was great! …Even if the tortillas ended up looking a little like Swiss cheese.
I forgot how the corn tortillas like to curl up when they freeze. Maybe I should have put some more cream soup or salsa on top?
It really seemed like no big deal. We (that is Garrett and I) mixed up the baked beans on Tuesday morning. It was no more difficult than making supper (which in fact, we were), we just did it in a really big bowl.
Later that day we made the refried beans for the casseroles. It doesn’t get much easier than sticking your immersion blender in the crockpot and sprinkling in some spices. We put the beans – ten cups of them – in the refrigerator until we got around to making the casseroles Thursday night. again, only slightly more time consuming than making just one for dinner.
Next week’s baby preparation will hopefully include 8-12 more freezer meals, and finishing getting all Garrett’s clothes moved out of my room and into his. Maybe he’ll even start sleeping there.
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