With three kiddos and my love for cooking, you’d think I’d be experienced in preparing for life with a newborn, at least as far as meals go. But I’ve never really made the effort to prepare food before the baby comes; that is, until this pregnancy!
Over the last few weeks I’ve been (trying to) plan ahead when I make dinner. For example, when I have enough ingredients available, I’ll put together an extra casserole to freeze. Or when I cook a whole chicken, I’ll store the leftover meat in a ziploc bag and toss it in the freezer. (We received a hand-me-down upright freezer from some friends last year and I’m so grateful!)
(I normally don’t do much freezer cooking so I’ve definitely had to put some focused thought into these preparations. This website, Tammy’s Recipes, has been especially helpful. She outlines how she’s planned ahead during her pregnancies so her family is still well cared for — at least in the food department! — after her babies arrive.)
Last week I discovered a container of frozen pumpkin puree, so I made two loaves of my favorite pumpkin coconut bread recipe and put one of them in the freezer for an easy breakfast down the road…
Earlier this week while trying to use up a container of frozen ham and a partially-used bag of frozen broccoli, I came up with what turned out to be a big hit with everyone in the family! Gotta love it when that happens.
CREAMY CURRIED HAM & BROCCOLI
16 oz. frozen broccoli florets
2 c. cooked cubed ham
3 c. cream of chicken soup (this homemade recipe is amazing and so easy!)
2/3 c. sour cream
1/3 c. chicken broth (homemade is best!)
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 c. shredded cheese (I used a combination of cheddar and colby-jack)
Rice, noodles, polenta, or mashed potatoes for serving
1) Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat broccoli on the stovetop until no longer frozen; spread evenly into a greased 9×13″ baking dish. Layer cubed ham on top of the broccoli.
2) In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cream soup, sour cream, broth and spices. Pour over the ham.
3) Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 20 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake another 10 minutes. Serve over rice, noodles, polenta, or our favorite — mashed potatoes.
Instead of a 9×13″ pan, I used one 8×8″ pan and one foil pie pan for freezing. The 8×8″ dish was enough for all five of us, and there was even one serving left over (lunch for Eric the next day!)
If you have any tips or recipes for freezer cooking, please do share. I’d like to do as little cooking as possible in the weeks following Baby Chou #4′s arrival!