Healthy(ish) Frozen Meals for a Momma-To-Be.

I’m SO close to being full term that I can almost taste it! 4 more weeks to go and I’ll be a mother in every sense of the word…it’s a bit surreal, actually. In the time that I do have remaining, I’ll be prepping: deep cleaning, organizing, purchasing last minute items (and there are many!), and cooking, cooking, cooking away!

But I do have to admit, I am a mediocre cook on a good day. So now that it’s come time to cook a freezer full of meals, I’m feeling a bit befuddled. You see, I’m determined to lose this 30 lbs of baby weight that I’ve gained, so I’m focused on freezing healthier meals…which is really not as easy as it seems people!

Most freezer meals that I’ve come across are pastas and lasagnas and casseroles all smothered in cheese and lacking much nutrition. They all look delicious, of course, and while I won’t deny myself a few fatty meals (exactly what a girl deserves after hours of labor!), I do still have that end goal in mind.

After a bit of research, however, I did manage to find a few meals that not only look delicious, but healthy as well. And I did mentioned that I was a mediocre cook, yes? So easy is also a must for me!

Here’s what I found:

SLOW COOKER WHITE CHICKEN CHILI: (courtesy of Sweet Anna’s)

https://themodagecottage.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/b1fcd-whitechickenchilibetter.jpg

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Yield: serves 6-8, depending on serving size

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts (raw or cooked), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans white beans, drained
  • 1 regular can pink beans (pinquitos)
  • 1 large can diced green chiles
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 jalapeño, minced*
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese

Directions:

(Remember, tastes and jalapeños are all different! If you are not sure you like much spice, feel free to remove the seeds from the jalapeño, use less, or leave it out all together if you must!)

Throw all the ingredients, except for the crushed tortilla chips and cheese into your slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

During the last 30 minutes, stir in the crushed tortilla chips and the shredded cheese and heat until the cheese is melted and the chili has thickened.

Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, chips, or whatever else you think sounds good!

CHICKEN POT PIE: (courtesy of Freezerdinner.com)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes, 1.5 hours after freezing

Yields: 2 pot pies (6-8 servings each)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken (ham, shredded beef or turkey)
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • pastry for two double-crust 9-inch pies, or use biscuit/baking mix to make crust (or you can simply buy the ready made crusts!)

Directions:

Boil potatoes and carrots in a large stockpot. In another pot, boil cubed chicken for 8 minutes. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer vegetables for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain vegetables and chicken and set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme, and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the chicken, peas, corn, potatoes, and carrots. Remove from heat.

Crust option 1: Line two 9-inch pie plates with bottom pastry; trim even with edge of plate. Fill pastry shells with chicken mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pies. Cut slits or decorative cutouts in pastry. Place over filling; trim, seal and style the edges. Bake one pot pie at 425ºF for 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

Crust option 2: Mix together 2 cups biscuit/baking mix, 1¼ cups milk, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, ½ teaspoons celery seed. (Mixture will be thin.) Sprinkle over top of chicken pot pie. Bake at 350ºF for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cover and freeze remaining pot pie for up to 4 months.

To serve frozen pie: Cover edges of frozen piecrust with foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425ºF for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350ºF and bake for 70 to 80 minutes longer, or until crust is golden brown.

SWEET POTATO BLACK BEAN SOUP: (courtesy of The Fitness Dish)

sweetpotatosoup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1-16 ounce can of Eden Food Brand black beans (or 16 ounces dry soaked)
  • 1 cup finely chopped Brussels sprouts (secret ingredient!)
  • 36 ounces of organic low sodium vegetable broth
  • 7 ounces of coconut cream or full fat plain Greek yogurt (Fage)
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

Dice onions. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Dice Brussels sprouts into fine slices, discarding outer leaves. Rinse black beans and mince the garlic. Place all of the ingredients into a large Dutch oven (or soup pot). Bring the soup to a boil, uncovered. Then place a lid on the top, turn it down to medium-low and cook for 3-4 hours, stirring frequently.

Then take half of the soup mixture, I left a lot of the sweet potato chunks and beans and took most of the onions and sprouts and placed them with most of the broth in my Vitamix. Blend until smooth. Place the pureed soup back in with the potatoes and beans and mix. Season as desired. Sprinkle hemp seeds on top and serve!

You could also make this in a crock pot. Just throw everything in and cook on high for 8 hours or so.

Amazingly, I’m actually excited to try out these recipes for myself!

Do you have any healthy and easy recipes to share with a momma-to-be? I’d love to hear from you!

THANKSGIVING TABLESCAPE: FOCUSING ON FAMILY & FOOD.

I think I’m one of the lone bloggers out there that is still writing about Thanksgiving when the world has already moved on to Christmas. Perhaps I’m a little old school in my views – and trust me, I’m all about having the Christmas spirit – but I firmly believe that it shouldn’t be celebrated until after Thanksgiving. Break out the trees and the bells and the glitter the very next day if you will (I know I’m going to blast Sinatra’s Christmas album any day now), but give Thanksgiving the time it deserves!

Needless to say, I’m still all about the pumpkins and the fallen leaves and the naturalness of Autumn and that’s exactly the feeling I want to incorporate into my Thanksgiving tablescape – easy comfort. So I threw together a trial run to see how all of my serving pieces would fit together and I’m actually pretty pleased with the outcome! I’m also amazed that I have just enough serving dishes…

Thanksgiving Trial Run 2

Thanksgiving Trial Run 3

I’ll be adding a leaf to the table, more chairs, a couple more serving pieces, and simple florals, but this is the gist of it: simple, elegant, and realistic – with focus on family and food. And I love how the white ironstone will allow the food to speak for itself!

Thanksgiving Trial Run 4

Mmm, I can imagine these platters overflowing with delicious (and fried!) turkey, yams, slow cooked stuffing, green beans, glazed carrots, mashed potatoes smothered in gravy….

Thanksgiving Trial Run

And speaking of all this delicious food, I better get to the grocery store, and on to prepping, and cleaning, and stressing….

With family piling in tomorrow and the mad rush that will ensue, I’ll be offline for the next few days, but before I go I want to wish everyone a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I’m thankful for each and everyone one of you.

And when I return on Monday – the Christmas spirit will be in full effect!

Cheers.