Third trimester exhaustion is setting in. I need extra time on the couch after cleaning, cooking, or running errands. I also take full advantage of early bedtimes while I can (because once midnight sets in, baby has me peeing every few hours!). Because of this, I’m very thankful that I took care of my meal prep for baby’s arrival during the second to third trimester transition.
I had a few people reach out and say they were impressed by how “ahead of the game” I was with my meal prep. The reality is, I’m a huge planner, so I had this in the works for weeks. I also love to cook, so spending weekends cooking wasn’t a burden. Most importantly: I love to eat. Mark is good at ordering takeout, but I’m going to be trying to lose weight, not increase my junk food intake!
Meal prepping in bulk definitely requires planning. I prepped 12 meals in four weekends, and hope that they’ll last between 8-12 weeks (with some of Mark’s takeout and meals from our moms in between 😊). I collected recipes, made lists of ingredients, and budgeted time and cooking equipment.
Below is a list of all the recipes I made, whether recalled from memory, pictured from my books, or linked to a website. There are few foods I don’t like, so I think this list has a variety of options for different tastes. While this could be a great guide for pregnant mamas out there, I also hope it inspires non-pregnant women to cook up some meals to keep on hand.
Disclaimer: any recipes titled “My” are dinners I whipped up without a recipe. Quantities of ingredients aren’t included because it really depends on how much you’re cooking and your taste buds.
Mark is from an Italian family and grew up eating a lot of pasta. I grew up in a Latin household and grew up eating a lot of meat and rice. While we lived apart, I stuck mostly to my own repertoire in the kitchen. Since moving in together, we’ve decided to continue his Grams’ tradition of pasta on Wednesdays. It would be cruel of me to not include any pasta in our frozen meals!
That, and pasta dishes are by far the quickest and easiest to whip up in big batches.
- My Chicken Parm: I use chicken tenderloins for my chicken parm and do a double dredge, fry, bake technique. Mark, who grew up with family recipes of chicken parm, approves the way I do it!
Ingredients: Chicken tenderloins, salt, pepper, garlic powder, eggs, flour, panko/bread crumbs, vegetable oil, tomato sauce, cheese
Directions: PREP: Pre Heat oven to 350. Pour a quarter of an inch to half inch of vegetable oil in a frying pan and heat on medium. Scramble the eggs in one bowl, pour flour in one bowl, and the breadcrumbs/panko in another. Dry the tenderloins (you always want to dredge and fry dry meat) and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
DREDGE: Dunk the chicken in the egg, then coat in flour. Dunk the chicken back in the egg, then coat in the breadcrumb/panko mixture.
FRY: Fry the chicken tenders until they are golden brown all around. Put on a baking sheet when done.
BAKE: Spoon tomato sauce on chicken and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
PASTA: Cook your choice of pasta and sauce and rest the cooked chicken on top.
I cook my eggplant parm the same way, and Mark LOVES it!
2. My Naked Chicken Broccoli and Ziti:
Ingredients: be generous since this will flavor your pasta, too: olive oil, chopped yellow onion, minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, broccoli, chicken tenderloins
DIRECTIONS: In a large skillet on medium heat, heat olive oil, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook until aromatic (before the garlic browns). Add broccoli and chicken tenderloin and cook through. Add more olive oil if needed. Optional: add some lemon juice.
PASTA: Cook the pasta and coat in melted butter or olive oil. Toss in the seasoned broccoli and chicken to spread the flavor.
3. Mac n’ Cheese: I read mixed reviews on whether Mac n’ Cheese is good to freeze or not. I decided to try it (worse comes to worst we always have boxed mac n’ cheese on hand as a backup).
4. BBQ pulled pork: Recipe Here
I didn’t have onion powder, so substituted with Adobo (Goya) and it was delish.
5. Salsa Pork: I just started using my crock pot this winter, and this is by far the easiest recipe I found. I froze some tortillas along with this pork. All we’ll need when it’s time to eat is shredded cheese (which we almost always have) and a bag of shredded cabbage/pre-mixed salad.
6. Hamburger Soup: This has become one of my favorite dinners to whip up on a weeknight. I even paired it with some homemade bread one night when hosting dinner for Mark’s parents.
7. Chili: Recipe Here
The Fun Stuff
8. Pizza Pockets: This has “Easy” in the title but working with the dough was a bit challenging. Once they were baked it was SO difficult not to eat them on the spot (Mark and I ended up making homemade pizza for dinner that night), but it was messy!
9. Chicken Teriyaki Casserole: Recipe Here
10. My Breakfast Casserole:
Ingredients: 1 bag of shredded potato hash browns, thawed. 12 eggs, scrambled, 6 pieces of bacon cooked and chopped (or more if you loooove bacon), shredded cheddar cheese and green onion on top.
PREP: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
ASSEMBLE: Spread the potatoes on the bottom of a casserole dish. Layer the bacon on top. Pour the eggs over the dish. Sprinkle cheese and onions on top.
BAKE: I think I ended up baking this for an hour. Bake until the center isn’t jiggly anymore. If there is a slight jiggle, turn the oven off and let the eggs finish cooking themselves. If the top is browning before the dish is cooking, cover loosely with tin foil.
11. My Chicken, Cheese, Pepper and Onion Quesadillas: I bought pre-cooked fajita seasoned chicken and sliced up the peppers and onions. If you wanted to get really fancy, you could cook the peppers and onions on the stove before fixing the quesadillas.
12.Shrimp and Quinoa: beware of the lemon. If I were to make this again, I would use less than the recipe calls for.