I wasn't about to give up on my dreams of a freezer full of homemade meals though.
All the descriptions I'd heard of freezer cooking involved one big day of cooking large batches of meals that were then frozen into meal sized containers to use later. And with a two year old and a newborn, one big day of cooking was pretty much out of the question.
So I made some smaller goals and began to work towards them.
Thankfully, Maggie doesn't mind being put down in her bassinet, and she sleeps for fairly long stretches, which has given me the opportunity to work towards having a full freezer.
In the beginning I was a little overambitious. I tried to convince myself that I could push myself to make one or two large meals every night, until I'd met my goal. And while I probably could have, I came to realize that slowly working towards my goal was a better plan.
Every three or four days I would make one huge meal, that ended up being the size of between three and six family sized meals at our house. I would let the meals cool after we'd eaten that nights portion, and put the girls to bed and then I'd come downstairs and move the meals into zip lock freezer bags, that were dated and tagged with the name of what was inside. The dinners would further cool that night in the fridge before being moved into the big freezer.
Earlier this month I met my goal of frozen thirty meals. We don't use them every single night. If the girls are calm, Paul is home, and I'm headache free, I'll probably end up cooking. On busy days, I just pull out a frozen meal and we're ready to go.
And because I know that I'm not going to be stealing away any single day to cook 30 more meals in the near future (maybe that will be possible someday in the far off future when I have older kids) I am trying to make one big meal each week to replace what we've used.
The other great discovery I've made is the benefit of varying the size of the meals. I've been making sure to freeze a few giant meals now and then, when I had extra food so that if we ever have unexpected guests, or just decide to invite family over at the last minute, we can pop something in that we know will feed everyone. It takes the stress out of having guests over.
Coming soon: A recipe for eggplant/artichoke lasagna (very similar to the one pictures above, but slightly tweaked!)!