Pregnant or not food pretty much dominates most of my day, I love food. I say that a lot.
When we had R I was pretty slack at preparing freezer meals beforehand, in that I didn’t do it, which was pretty much the biggest error. Post EMCS and starving with the prospect of making dinners was a pretty sad scenario. Fortunately my lovely sister-in-law found Cook and sent us a care package of the most delicious ready meals I’ve ever had. We have continued to use them since (not all the time because I do like cooking), but I always like to have a few in the freezer for when I can’t be bothered and pizza/quiche with a side salad isn’t going to cut it.
We will definitely be using Cook again this time – top tip they offer a 10 per cent discount for new parents. My favourite dishes are the macaroni cheese, fish pie, steak and red wine pie, and coq au vin.
However, in a bid to keep costs down, I have actually managed to organise myself to make a few meals, which I have stored in the freezer in these foil dishes from Lakeland.
I’ve basically made meals that Reuben is guaranteed to eat, to try to make our lives a little easier, there’s nothing gourmet here, just classic freezer meals that you can serve with rice / pasta / garlic bread / salad etc.
1. Sausage and bean casserole
This is a firm family favourite, the full recipe is snaffled from BBC Good Food, this is a classic slow cooker meal for us, which I serve with fresh olive or tiger bread. Sausages are Reuben’s favourite thing so we can always guarantee him a full tum on sausage casserole night.
2. Chicken pie filling
Mmm pie. Disclaimer: This is a pie filling with a puff pastry lid, I know some people can get very funny. This “pie” recipe is taken from Jamie Oliver’s 30 min meals and again is always a winner. I’ve simply made up the pie filling and frozen without the puff pastry, but will add that during reheating. I actually chose to roast a chicken rather than use chicken breasts, I find the meat is nicer from a full chicken, “moist” if you will. It also meant I could get two lots of pie filling from one chicken, saving those pennies. I’ve also added in some pre-packed pulled ham hock and used a leek instead of spring onions, because I’m a rule-breaker.
Another classic, there’s no recipe here, I just chuck bits in and simmer for an hour or two to get the flavours going. I’ve made a few of these dishes and bought some pre-made white sauce so we can either have spaghetti bolognese or lasagne (my favourite dish ever).
The weather is potentially a little too warm for chilli, but actually this is a toddler-friendly chilli, it doesn’t actually contain any chilli so in fact I guess it’s just flavoured mince… Again I prefer to use a BBC Good Food recipe but tend to go with whatever is in the fridge / store cupboard and omit the chilli part. I like to serve it with some mashed avocado with lime, sour cream and grated cheddar. To keep things simple I’ve also got some microwave rice packets in the cupboard (because rice is the hardest thing to cook EVER).
5. More Than Toast – Pulled Pork
Alice at More Than Toast is one of my fave bloggers and inspired me to get into blogging, if you haven’t read her posts I do recommend them, and her recipes are spot on. For a few years now Alice’s Pulled Pork recipe has been my go-to, I have tried a few others but I like how simple this is and the result is always better than others I’ve tried that have required more ingredients or a bit more effort. I chose to make this as we all love ‘Pulled Pork Day’ (we do call it that) in this house and I figured we could have a nice treat. Plus there’s only so much minced beef you can eat…
As per Alice’s blog post, I serve with coleslaw, wedges, side salad and some shop-bought brioche buns. Do try these one, you will not be disappointed!
6. Sticky Toffee Pudding
I’m way more of a savoury person, I’d have a cheeseboard over a cheesecake any day, but pregnancy turns me into a sweet tooth and it takes me a while to recover. I’ve made Paul Hollywood’s Sticky Toffee Pudding as a pick-me-up treat for us. It’s a really simple recipe (made easier if you buy pre-chopped dates) and best served with some vanilla ice cream.
7. Nigella’s Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
I made these a few months ago for the first time and since then both Ben and Reuben always ask for them when I say I’m going to bake. Last time I made a batch I managed to snaffle away half in the freezer to wheel out at some point over the next couple of weeks. I’m not sure how they’ll be defrosted but I figure I can slightly warm them if need be and serve with ice cream..?! I have no pictures of these because if I didn’t put them in the freezer as soon as possible they wouldn’t have made it. Plus my pics need more work anyway so I’m not sure you’re missing out….