When my twins were born last year, I was overwhelmed by the baby gifts. Between the hand-me-downs and grandparent presents, the little ones had everything they needed. But even more surprising was how the community rallied around us and brought us meals for months. Yes, you read that correctly, months. As a chef, people knew I loved home cooked food more than anything, so they set up a Meal Train and delivered dinner in succession.
Along with being completely infatuated with my two new babies, the nourishment from our friends and family in the form of food and company was overwhelming. I look back on those sleep-deprived days fondly because I'm still stunned that we didn't have to do anything but reheat food for months.
However, if I could have changed one thing, it would have been to freeze half of every meal brought over in my Souper Cubes. That way, instead of eating the same thing for multiple nights until it was finished, I could have saved some of those home cooked meals for later.
Hindsight is 20/20 (or when you're not sleeping, maybe at least 20/40) but now that I'm making food for my friend who just had her second baby, I'll be making a double batch and giving her half to eat now and half for the freezer for later. Actually, make that a triple batch so I can freeze one for my family too.
Here are my favorite recipes for new moms and how to freeze them in Souper Cubes.
Oats are a powerhouse ingredient for new moms for several reasons: they're one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, they're a good source of fiber, they help you stay full, and they can help with lactation. Pre-packaged oatmeal contains an impressive amount of sugar and making oatmeal from scratch every morning takes longer than it should. Give a the gift of a warm breakfast to a mom by batch cooking steel cut oats and freezing them in ½-cup or 1-cup portions. You can add a touch of cinnamon and berries, sprinkle on some Cheddar and make them cheesy for savory oats, or keep them plain and let mom decide. Either way, having them pre-prepped is a huge gift.
These individual portions of crustless quiche are perfect for families where there are different preferences. Mom likes veggies and dad likes sausage? Make half and half in your Souper Cubes.
Mini loaves of banana bread are ideal because you don't feel the need, or have the temptation, to eat a whole 9-by-5-inch loaf quickly, but you also get the benefit of a moist loaf instead of muffins. This recipe for Blueberry Banana Bread has some whole-wheat flour and is infinitely flexible with mix ins. i.e. swap in some chocolate chips for the blueberries and call it dessert.
Additional Freezer-Friendly Breakfast Ideas:
- Freezer Bean & Cheese Breakfast Burritos
- Vegetarian Freezer Breakfast Casserole with Sweet Potatoes & Broccoli
- Breakfast Bread Pudding with Apples, Raisins, & Honey
Dinners (which can also be lunch)
This recipe for Chicken Pot Pie is one of my favorite Souper Cubes recipes because you can double the recipe and make 1 full pot pie in a 9x13-inch baking dish and freeze the other half of the filling for later for individual portions in Souper Cubes. I've even used leftover rotisserie chicken and leftover turkey for a quicker version.
If mom is a meat-eater, a batch of meatloaf in the freezer in individual portions is just the thing when a protein craving hits. Eat it plain or grab the ketchup and two soft pieces of bread for a hearty and super-satisfying meatloaf sandwich.
Postpartum can be a difficult time so give a little comfort with the ultimate comfort food, Tater Tot Casserole. This recipe skips the can of cream of mushroom soup and opts for a delicious homemade sauce. I double the sauce and freeze it separately for other casseroles too!
This one-pot homemade Mac & Cheese is loved equally by kids and adults. You can also stir in cooked chicken, tuna, or baked tofu to make this a complete meal. I highly recommend making a double batch as you'll be amazed a how much you'll want to keep some for yourself instead of dropping it all off.
Additional Freezer-Friendly Dinner Ideas
- Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini
- Easy and Comforting Beef Stew
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Chicken Chili with White Corn
- Instant Pot Mexican-Style Brown Rice & Beans
- Individual Shepherd's Pie
I developed these Orange-Oat Lactation Cookies with pastry chef, Laura Kanya, when I couldn't find a version online that I liked. Made with ingredients believed to promote milk production, like oats, barley malt syrup, fennel, flax, and brewers yeast, they're just as delicious as they are nutritious. Freeze them in the cookie tray to make sure momma has them on hand during her nursing journey.
Oreo cookies are one of those items that taste just as good as an adult (grown-up?) as they did when we were kids. And this mash up of cheesecake and ice cream in these No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake Bites featuring the childhood favorite cookie is easy to eat one-handed while holding a baby.
This easy recipe for Individual Apple Crisp is perfect when you want to just heat up a sweet treat that also kind of feels healthy because it has oats and fruit. You can also swap out the apples for peaches, pears, berries, or strawberry and rhubarb.