This is the last part of a four post series on filling your freezer before adding a new baby to the family. Revisit Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Well we have made it to the last post in my series, and this one is about all of the “extras.” Side dishes, breakfasts, and desserts may not cross your mind when you start planning a freezer menu but oh, they should!
A lot of these foods are quick to get going. I made many of them, such as rice, quinoa, breads, and pancakes, while I was waiting on a main dish to cook. Use what may otherwise be dead time to get stuff done!
- Cornbread (double batch, wrapped in foil)
Breads freeze very well. I’ve been freezing the cornbread from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything since 2014 and it has never failed me!
- Sweet Potato Casserole (single recipe, 2 8×8 foil pans)
Let me start by saying that while this froze well, I would tweak this recipe more if I made it again because I found it to be sweeter than I generally care to eat for dinner. I froze mine without the topping because I was afraid it would get mushy when it defrosted. The first time we ate it, I did a half batch of the topping (since the pan was half the original recipe) and it was way too sweet. The second time, I halved the sugar and it was a lot better. Both times the topping was pretty scant – I guess that’s what happens with a “lighter” recipe.
- Buttermilk Loaf (double recipe, wrapped in plastic wrap and foil)
Wow that was good! I just made the basic recipe, but this was so tender and delicious, even after freezing, that I feel like I need to try all of the variations. Overall this was very easy to make and very easy to double so long as you have two loaf pans.
- Mashed White Beans (quadruple recipe, 2 gallon-sized freezer bags)
I always double this recipe when I make it because it is never enough. I did the quadruple batch this time to get it all cooked at once, but I think next time I will do two double batches. There was just so much liquid and reducing it took a very long time. They do freeze very well.
- Rice (multiple batches, 4 gallon-sized freezer bags)
I had heard about freezing rice before but this is the first time I actually tried it. I watched the rice closely and turned off the heat when there was still the slightest bit of moisture in the pot so that it wouldn’t be dry after reheating.
- Quinoa (multiple batches, 2 gallon-sized freezer bags)
Reading that rice freezes well inspired me to freeze some quinoa too. I made mine with chicken broth and – just like with the rice – watched carefully to make sure it did not dry out. This came out so well; it did not taste like it had been frozen.
- Buttermilk Pancakes and Pumpkin Pancakes (store in gallon-sized freezer bags)
These are great for a quick breakfast. My kids love when I make pancakes, and sticking them in the freezer makes this a doable breakfast any day of the week. It actually took me a few times to get as many pancakes into the freezer as I wanted to because my kids and husband kept eating them! 😄 I prefer using buttermilk in my pancakes, especially for freezer pancakes, because the texture is far and away superior. To freeze pancakes, cook as normal, cool completely, and store in a large freezer bag.
- Breakfast Burritos (single recipe, gallon-sized freezer bags)
This is my husband’s favorite breakfast item for the freezer. I love having a savory fast breakfast option in the mix, especially in the early nursing-around-the-clock days. We make them with bacon instead of ham.
- Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (3 or 4 dozen, gallon-sized freezer bags)
I am not one to say no to chocolate for breakfast. I honestly do not remember how many banana muffins ended up in my freezer as I made more than one double batch, and I know I have made more since the baby was born. I do know that they freeze like a dream. I use the banana bread recipe from How to Cook Everything – one loaf pan translates to one dozen muffins.
- Pumpkin Muffins (double recipe, gallon-sized freezer bags)
Sometimes I do half whole wheat flour so I can feel a little better about my breakfast (I also make them without the icing). My kids ate these faster than anything else we put in the freezer, and I have actually made them several times since the baby was born because my big kids love them so much.
- Brownies (store in gallon-sized freezer bags)
New moms like chocolate, or at least this one does, so these were a must-have on my cook list. After baking the brownies, let them cool and cut them into squares. Freeze them in a gallon-sized freezer bag. We generally microwaved these and ate them warm, but the fudgey interior pieces are pretty delicious straight from the freezer.
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (double recipe, 5 dozen dough balls)
This was my first time freezing cookie dough. We are a big sweets family, and warm cookies are my husband’s favorite dessert, so it was bound to happen sometime. It was so easy! I’ve been suggesting it to everyone I know! Mix the cookie dough and shape it into balls as usual, then flash freeze on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet for one hour. Once the dough is frozen, transfer to a gallon-sized freezer bag. You don’t defrost the dough before baking – put it into the oven straight from the freezer, just add a minute or two to the normal bake time.
Finally, if you are still looking for something else to stick in your freezer, here are a few things that I planned to make but I ran out of time and energy before I got there:
- Veggie Packed Freezer Ready Breakfast Sandwiches
- Blueberry muffins
- Pumpkin pie and apple pie
- Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas (for lunch/snacks)
- Easy Calzones (for lunch/snacks… I like the pepperoni ones)
This concludes my series on freezer cooking for a new baby. What are your favorite freezer foods? Tell me in the comments!