My freezer is cooler than your freezer.
The wife had a wedding the weekend before last and I told her at 32 weeks that in no way was I going to be working at wedding at 36 weeks pregnant. I really enjoy working weddings with her, but they are long days (at least 12 hours), with lots of walking, carrying and general hustle. My last two weddings, my Fitbit ranked 20,000+ steps. The physical and emotional toll of it was just too much. So her mom came up to help and I stayed home and cooked for two days straight.
I’m not even kidding about that. Look at the before and after of my freezer. Look at them. Are you scared? I’m scared. I spent something like $300 on groceries prepping for that, but we easily have 3 weeks of food in there. And I would look at what I did and go “I don’t know why that took so long, I only made 8 dishes” but dude, cooking is work! It takes time! I forgot that somehow.
The only thing I’m not pleased about is the lack of vegetables in all of this. I’d really wanted to throw some zucchini in my burritos, but costco & target didn’t have any, so I went without. I figured I can still eat all of this with salad when the time comes anyway.
My jumping off point for this was Don’t Panic: More Dinner’s in the Freezer, a book I’d gotten on Kindle when it was on sale for $1. I really only used one recipe from it (Apricot Bars), but the tips and tricks for how to make and freeze stuff was invaluable. A lot of the recipes I could take or leave (not a lot of veggies, using frozen bread dough instead of making pizza dough, etc…), but still, something like that is a great resource. Here’s what I did make.
Martha Stewart Chicken Penne Bake
Honey Lime Avocado Popsicles (hoping to be a labor snack)
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Spinach, Bacon & Mushroom Calzones (using this kitchn how to)
and burritos. So, so many burritos.
Do you want to learn how to make burritos? Come close, children. First, you don’t need a recipe or any references, but if having some will make you feel better, read this Kitchn tutorial.
1. Crockpot 6 chicken breasts with a jar of 16oz salsa (I used Mrs. Renfro’s Jalapeno Salsa because we both like that, but it is spicy) for about 8 hours. Shred with 2 forks.
2. Cook up a bunch of rice. I did 1.5 cups dry brown rice, which I think made 3 cups cooked rice? Could also do quinoa or another grain.
3. Add a bunch of black beans. I used 4 regular sized cans of rinsed beans.
4. Mix 1-3 together. The rice will absorb the extra liquid, so your burritos will still have the flavor but not be drippy.
5. Cool to room temperature.
6. Make into burritos! I added the Costco Mexican cheese mix to each tortilla underneath and on top of the 2-3 serving spoonfuls of filling. That used just about a bag of the 2 bags that were in a Kirkland pack (so about a pound?). I used the Kitchn’s tutorial and it worked super well (though I did have to look up how to roll a burrito on the internet).
That made about 18 burritos using 10″ tortillas. I filled up the remaining 6 tortillas with a shredded pork tenderloin I’d crockpotted with salsa verde with a smaller amount of rice and black beans and had about 3 cups leftover. I would have sauteed some onions and zucchini and thrown those in if we had the zucchini, but you could add other veg too – mushrooms, peppers, that sort of thing. I had also thought to do a mashed sweet potato burrito, but ran out of steam. And also tortillas. And freezer space.
I used two containers of aluminum foil and a box of gallon ziploc bags getting this all in. And I’m still not done. I have a bunch of hummus from a recent baby shower I’m going to freeze for snacking and I’d like to cook some chicken breast pieces and freeze those to defrost later for salads.
Also, I underestimated how physically exhausting it is to stand in a kitchen while 36 weeks pregnant. I used to do Friday night cook-a-thons similar to this in my single days, except that I’d get shitfaced on cheap wine and listen to podcasts while doing it (I was a classy youngster with a roaring social life, what can I say). I had to take an hour break several times during the day because my feet were the size of the burritos I was making.
In the end though, making all the burritos was the least time intensive and yielded the most results out of everything. I may have to make this a monthly habit to help keep lunch costs down.