February Meal Plan, Sort Of
It’s January 17, 2016.
I’m due January 31, 2016.
I don’t know exactly when I’ll have baby #2. I don’t know when I’ll get back onto a schedule. I don’t know how much energy I will have and how often I will be able to cook anything. I don’t know how long my mother will be here or how long my husband will be home to help.
With so many unknowns, I think that now – before the unknown gets here – it’s important for me to have some sort of road map. I’m okay with moving things around and going with the flow, certainly. But without any planning, I feel like everything will just fall apart. At least I can plan out meals and have some options for us. That’s a small thing I can control.
I know that we will need breakfast, lunch, dinner, and at least 2 snacks each day. Alexander and I definitely need some snacks: he has some easy preferences, and I need to plan out some easy, high-protein, filling snacks since I will be breastfeeding.
Lunch will occasionally be leftovers, but I would also like to have a few quick lunch ideas that I can throw together during the week, once my husband goes back to work.
I’ve got 20 freezer meals (dinners) that are already prepared and in the freezer. I figured it is a bit silly to say “Monday February 8, we will have ___ for dinner.” Since most meals are prepped for the slow cooker, I’ll just take something out the night before to thaw. No need to really plan for that.
My mother will be here for several days and has offered to cook for us. And Cameron (my husband) will be home for “some time” – that may be a week, maybe two. We aren’t sure yet. While he is home, he and I can swap making dinner, unless we are just too tired, in which case we’ll use one of the freezer meals.
(Can you tell I’m already scattered?)
Let me share with you my ideas and plans for the arrival of this baby:
BREAKFAST & SNACKS
- quiche – I have 5 quiche fillings prepared. I will thaw one bag, once a week. Then I’ll add eggs, milk, and cheese. I’ll pour all of that into a frozen pie crust and bake it. That will last 2 days for me and Alexander, or it will last just 1 day for me, Alexander, and Cameron.
- muffins – I have several muffin recipes here on my blog. I plan to cook at least 3 separate batches of muffins (apple cinnamon, blueberry, and something special like chocolate chip). Once they are cooked and cooled, I will bag them separately and freeze them. I can place frozen muffins directly into the oven for a quick breakfast or snack.
- cinnamon rolls – I love cinnamon rolls. And the ones in the can are yummy, but I really enjoy the fluffy type that I can make myself. I plan to make at least 1 batch of cinnamon rolls from scratch. Once they are cooked and cooled, I will freeze them. I can reheat them, from frozen, in the oven.
- smoothies – Smoothies take practically no thinking, no prep. On a particularly lazy morning, I will make a few smoothies for me and Alexander. A smoothie also makes a great snack.
- pancakes – I plan to cook several batches of pancakes. I plan to cook at least 2 batches of flourless pancakes (banana + egg + cinnamon + almond butter) plus at least 1 batch of traditional pancakes. I’ll cook them and let them cool, then I’ll bag them separately. They can be reheated using the toaster or the oven.
- bacon & eggs – Bacon can be cooked ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. I would not want to cook more than one week’s worth. Once a week or less, I plan to oven-fry a package of bacon and keep it in the refrigerator. And when I have a little pep in my step one morning, I’ll scramble some eggs (it only takes 5 minutes) and warm a few pieces of bacon. We can add fruit and a muffin, and that will be a big breakfast.
- oatmeal – Instead of cereal in February, oats are warm and comforting and hearty. Alexander loves oatmeal. I plan to make overnight oats once a week, maybe more, in mason jars. That way, the next morning I can simply warm the jar and we can eat straight out of them. (Making oatmeal doesn’t take more than about 7 minutes, but it will be just that much easier to prep it the night before.)
- cereal, cereal bars – I’m sure there will be a day when none of those things sound good, I’m emotional, Alexander is upset about something, or it’s just not a good day. And on those days, we will eat cereal. Cereal and blueberries. Or pizza. Or 2 bananas each. Those days may happen, and it’s okay to just let them happen.
- spaghetti and meatballs – I have frozen meatballs in the freezer. I have pasta sauce in the pantry. And I have dried pasta. If I don’t have or want leftovers, I can set water to boil for pasta and cook the pasta with a timer. I plan to put the meatballs into the oven at the same time. And once the pasta is cooked, I plan to combine everything in the pot. (Realistically, I know I may forget to preheat the oven, the pasta will end up overcooked, or I’ll make pasta and meatballs and realize I have no sauce. I don’t have a backup plan for being sauce-less. I just know that we will be okay.)
- PB&J – A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is one of my favorites and one of Alexander’s as well.
- grilled cheese sandwich – If I have any sort of cheese and any sort of bread, I can make a grilled cheese sandwich in about 10 minutes. I’ll have 10 minutes some days, right?
- anything from the breakfast list – When it comes down to it, we just need to eat. We need a little energy and something yummy in our tummies. If a repeat of breakfast is where it’s at, so be it.
- frozen pizza – There will be frozen pizzas (and maybe some other frozen meals that aren’t part of the meal prep sessions I did… I’m talking about the stuff that comes in a box). These are emergency meals. For lunch or for dinner.
- leftovers – Ideally, all of the home-cooked food I have been preparing now will hopefully last through dinner and lunch the following day. Most days I would love to eat good food: you know, fresh vegetables, good meats, etc.
So far, here are the dinners that are planned and prepared.
- turkey black bean chili – 4 bags
- mexican chili – 2 bags
- buffalo chicken casserole – 4 bags
- southwest chicken chili – 4 bags
- beef fajitas – 2 bags
- pizza spaghetti pie – 4 bags
If you’ve been through this (aka you’ve got 2 or more kids and did some meal planning ahead of time), I would love to hear any other tidbits of advice. They can be mantras or food-related. I’m open to anything. *smile*