Parenting

Preparing for Baby During a Pandemic

Preparing to have a baby can be a daunting task, whether it’s a first baby or a 4th, there’s just so much to do. Getting ready for a baby during a global pandemic is sure to be way more stressful. You might find yourself concerned with the cleanliness of the house, meticulously scrubbing everything from top to bottom and washing every cute little outfit. You might be worried about being able to find necessities, so you stock up on diapers, wipes, and sanitizers.

One of the biggest overlooked challenges of having a newborn is the lack of time you’ll have to do just about anything. You won’t have enough time to shower, let alone do laundry or make a meal for the family. During these uncertain times, it’s so important to get proper nutrition, but you’ll likely be so tired that you’ll default to ordering from DoorDash or PostMates. Now that can get expensive, fast!

That’s why I highly recommend that anyone getting ready for a baby should prepare several weeks of freezer meals before baby’s arrival. This will allow you to eat healthy meals without doing more than turning on the oven or Instant Pot, throwing your pre-made meal in, and setting a timer. Voila!

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When I was pregnant with my daughter, I discovered freezer meals that I could prepare and freeze in advance for up to 3 months. This allowed my husband and I to get through the first several weeks of the newborn stage without spending an arm and a leg on take-out. In fact, some of the recipes I continue to make every month to freeze and have ready when we have a rough day and are too tired to cook. There were some recipes we tried that just didn’t come out as delicious as I had hoped, so I’ve complied a list of my all-time favorite freezer meals.

Chicken and Pepper Jack Taquitos

Tasty taquitos with chicken and two sauces close-up. horizontal

Ingredients:

  • 8oz. Cream Cheese
  • 3 c. Chicken, cooked & shredded
  • 1.5 cup shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Salsa
  • 20 Tortillas
  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp. Cumin

Instructions:

  1. Soften cream cheese in a bowl. Mix in the spices, lime juice, salsa, chicken, and cheese.
  2. Add desired amount of mixture to each tortilla and roll.
  3. To freeze, place in a ziplock bag and place in the freezer.
  4. When ready to cook, bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs Cooked Chicken (about 2 breasts), cubed or shredded
  • 1 bag Mixed Vegetables, frozen
  • 6 Small Gold Potatoes, skin on and diced
  • 1/3 cup Butter
  • 2/3 cup Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup All-Purpose Flour or Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 3 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 1/3 cup Milk
  • 2 double Pie Crusts, pre-made/frozen (Pastry pie crusts will work)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prepare/thaw pie crusts and set aside.
  3. In a medium pot, combine vegetables and potatoes. Add water to cover and boil for 12-15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through and are fork tender. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan, cook onions in butter until translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to form a paste. Slowly mix in chicken broth and milk, about .5 cup at a time. Stir and bring to boil for one minute or until sauce thickens. Stir in cooked chicken and veggie/potato mix.
  5. Pour filling into pie crusts. (If you have any filling leftover, you can eat this for lunch the next day!)
  6. Cover with top crusts, seal edges, and cut away excess. Make 2-3 small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  7. Bake until thermometer reads 165 degrees or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly – about 45-60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Note: These pies can be frozen for later use. Just skip step 7 and let the pie cool before wrapping and placing in the freezer.

Turkey Meatloaf

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large Egg
  • ¼ cup Ketchup
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • ½ medium Yellow Onion
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 2 tbsp Ketchup
  • 2 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Mustard

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a loaf pan or place foil on a baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the egg, ketchup, milk, Worcestershire, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir in the bread crumbs and then add the garlic and onion; mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  3. Add the turkey and mix just until incorporated. Transfer the mixture to loaf pan or baking sheet lined with foil.
  4. Combine the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard in a small bowl. Brush the loaf with the sauce mixture.
  5. Bake until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees, about 45 to 60 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

  • 2 (12 oz) Boxes of Jumbo Shell Pasta
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 6 tsp Freshly Minced Garlic
  • 12 cups Fresh Spinach, roughly chopped (about 10 ounces)
  • 36 oz Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
  • 3 cups Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1.5 cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Basil
  • 3 tsp Salt
  • 1.5 tsp Pepper
  • 8 cups Marinara Sauce

Instructions

  1. Cook shells according to package directions. Rinse under cold water, drain, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Lightly spray three 9×13-inch baking dishes with cooking spray and spread 2.5 cups of marinara along the bottom of each baking dish.
  4. Combine spinach, cheeses, egg, basil and salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Stuff each shell with 1-2 tablespoons of filling and arrange stuffed shells in baking dish (you should be able to fit 3 across). Spoon any remaining sauce around shells where needed.
  5. If cooking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Dish will be ready once the sauce is bubbly and the internal temperature of the filled shells is 165 degrees.
  6. If freezing: Cover tightly with wax paper and foil. Label and keep in freezer for up to 3 months. Pull out of freezer and allow to defrost in the fridge over night, then follow baking directions.

Southwestern Chicken and Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 15 ounces drain and rinse Black Beans, Canned
  • 1 cup drain Whole Kernel Corn, Canned
  • ½ cups Salsa
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • ½ cups Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 2 cups chicken, shredded

Instructions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine rice, beans, corn, salsa, and cumin.
  2. Pour into 9×13-inch foil baking pan and top with cheese.
  3. Cover tightly with wax paper and foil, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.
  4. Bake from frozen at 350 for 1 hour or until cheese is melted and internal temperature reads 165 degrees.

 

Disclaimer: This post is the opinion of the author. The information provided in this post is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to provide medical, legal, or other professional advice. Read and/or use any of the information from this post at your own risk. Some or all of the links displayed on this site may be affiliate links.

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