"Food Nesting"

So, I have already nested pretty sufficiently. I got a new kitchen floor (thanks to my landlord), re-vamped the guest room (overhauled may be more appropriate?), got myself a new king-sized bed so the baby would fit in nicely with us, got curtains hung on nearly every window in the house, and finished the nursery. There isn't much more I could plausibly do around here...or so I thought.

That was when I began food preparations for when our little darling Ruby arrives. So I am coining a new term...."Food nesting." This is what I have been up to for the last couple of weeks. So far, I have made lots of freezer friendly food that can easily be thawed and heated so that we don't have to be troubled to cook and can just enjoy our time with our new baby.

Now I know that there are lots of great blogs out there about how you can make up crock pot meals that can easily be made up. Yada yada. Try as I might (and I am getting better) I'm not the biggest crock pot meal gal out there. There are a few things I really love in the crock pot...like corned beef. And I have one of those ready, too. But if you ask me, if you are going to go through all that prep, just make a meal that's practically ready.

So that's what I've done.

Here's my list (so far) of the things that I have made with links (where I could) in case you want to do the same!

Ham hock & white bean soup 
Venison stew (Beef stew recipe HERE, I just subbed venison)
THE Marinara Sauce (good for pizzas & pastas)

So, for the sauces and soups, all I do is make them as I normally would and then I put them into mason jars, leaving extra head space for freezing (if you don't, your jar will crack and it's really, really sad.) When I'm ready to use them, I take them out of the freezer, let them thaw and then heat over the stove. SO easy. One quart mason jar of soup is good for two big bowls of soup for hubby and I, and if you ask me, it's perfect paired with a fresh salad--complete meal!

Shepard's pie for two 
For this one, I made a big one (instead of two smaller ones) and froze the whole dang thing in a foil pan I bought from the store that came with a cardboard lid thingy. I wrote the re-heat instructions right on it (for my husband's sake) and popped it right in the freezer! To reheat: place in the oven on 350 for 1 hour or until hot and bubbly and potatoes are golden on top. Remove the cardboard piece, of course.

I looooove meatloaf, and this is a really easy one to make ahead. I don't have a freezer friendly version here on the blog, but just take your favorite meatloaf recipe and mix it all up. Pat it into a good shape and freeze it raw. Then, you'll want to thaw it out and bake as usual! So easy, even my husband can do it..I hope because that's the plan.

Another great thing that you can make ahead and freeze raw. Now for these, I make the recipe up to the point where I roll the meatballs, then I freeze them on a sheet pan. Once they are frozen (individually), I then pack them with vacuum sealer bags. To cook, you can throw the frozen meatballs in sauce either on the stove or in a crockpot. Or, you could defrost them and cook them in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. YUM!

This apple bread!!!! 
Not my recipe, but I love having breads frozen in the freezer for me to just take out and eat. Great for a snack, or for a nice breakfast with a cup of coffee...or great for entertaining. I doubled the recipe and froze two loaves. Also? I subbed applesauce for the oil in the recipe, 'cause I'm a rebel like that.

Chicken pot pie (The link is for duck pot pie, see explanation below)
This is easy to make and easy to pop right into the oven from frozen on 350 for an hour and slice and serve. I could have sworn I had a recipe on the blog for this one, but I totally don't. Duck pot pie? Yes, I have that one on here, but the classic chicken pot pie? No where to be found. Strange. So, I linked you up to the duck pot pie one for now, and you can just sub chicken. I make the whole thing and then I let it come to room temp and pop it in the freezer, wrapped in foil and then a plastic bag.

Also? I went to BJ's Wholesale and bought a couple of eggplant parmesans which are soooo yummy and stuck those in the freezer. They are great all on their own or with a salad. Even though they aren't the healthiest thing we could be eating, there's no meat, so I give it a pass.... hehe. 

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