Monday, October 07, 2013

Stock up!

I have six pregnant friends. Two days ago I had eight pregnant friends. Now I have six pregnant friends and two friends with newborns and toddlers at home. It's crazy. We have all officially entered that stage where everyone is married and has a baby and the number 2's are making their arrivals. Suddenly everyone is being delivered on the doorsteps of pre-schools and pediatricians with double strollers, balancing changing naptimes, potty training, pumping, nausea, nursing, and on and on into mommyhood eternity. Luckily we have each other.

My badass mama crew rocks. I literally had zero New Jersey friends until Jude was born and I started taking him to the nursing support group run by our hospital. Then the stars aligned and Booby Group was born. It's been two and a half years, and now we get to welcome the second round to our team of all-stars.

There are plenty of ways to make the transition a little easier, and food is the best. If you have an expecting friend, check out Meal Train, a site that helps you organize daily drop offs of dinner for the first week your pal is home with bitty baby. You can see what everyone is bringing so the family doesn't eat 5 nights of baked penne. It's pretty genius and I wish we had actually had someone to do it for us when Jude was born! Thanks, Becky, for finding it for us all! Once the meal train ends, mama and papa will likely need to occasionally put a meal together for their damned selves, and that's where the stock up party comes in.

A Freezer Meal Stock up Party is a quick and dirty way to make sure your freezer (and the freezers of 3 pals) is  good to go with easy meals for when you are in a pinch. For a family with a toddler and two week old, that's pretty much every day. A few weeks ago we had a mini Stock Up for my pal L and her hubs just before her little guy was born this week. This weekend I did it again with three new friends. It went faster and smoother thanks to my OCD planning skillz. We made lasagna primavera, white bean chili, and two crock pot chicken dishes. Everyone went home with 8 meals, and all for $40 each.

Wanna host a Stock Up? You know you do! I have added the files for each of the recipes we made, a shopping list, and the sticker labels for your meals below. Just click to download and print! Then invite three friends over for a two hour prep session. You can divide up the shopping if you wish, but I did it in one big trip to BJ's. Buying so much food (especially the chicken) in bulk helped to keep down the cost. All your pals need to bring is a cooler or box to bring home the food! Here's the lowdown on my set up:

Before the crew came over I set up stations for each meal. A cutting board, chef's knife, apron, a copy of their meal's recipe, and all of the ingredients for each bag. I ended up putting a garbage can under the table to keep it easy, but you can do individual garbage bowls if your space is big enough! I took care of the chili, so that station's ingredients went next to the stove. Since the chicken packages from BJ's are so huge, I ended up splitting all the chicken up into bags beforehand just so I could fit everything into the fridge.

Upon arrival, all kids and dads are banned from the kitchen (unless your dads are doing the prepping, than peace out moms). No one wants raw chicken juice and toddler fingers getting involved in a play-date. The preppers pick a station, grab an apron, and start their prep. The two chicken dishes are basically just assembly, so they go fastest. Once the chili is simmering, you can make the bechamel for the lasagna, clear the chicken prep from the table, and lay out your lasagna pans assembly line style. It all takes about an hour and a half, more if you are drinking, less if you are Hung from Top Chef.

I like to have one hot dish, so that once you finish all the work, you have a meal ready to eat at the end of your party. Every one of us had chili for supper, and it's awesome chili, let me tell you. (It's even better with a spoonful of this amazing chimichurri made by my friend Erika on top!) So with a full belly, a cooler full of meals, and a chance to get some gossip out, you're Stock Up will leave every expectant mama ready to rock when the new bambino arrives, and the new mama of number two will be able to better balance her hectic days.

Have any questions? Hit me up in the comments.

Download the Printable Labels - Page 1
Page 2
Shopping List

As always, you can find more recipe ideas and tips all over Pinterest, so here are a few of my faves:
Chef Tess Bakeresse - This has a few great recipe and party ideas!
Little Runner Girl - Includes ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes!


Anonymous said...

So whens the stock up party?!?!
I'd be willing to host!

Anne DeCampo said...

Lovely recipes! But could you add the directions for actually cooking them? Do they need to be defrosted? Do they go in a slow cooker or the oven to cook up? At what temp and for how long? Thanks!

Joanna said...

Hi Anne! The cooking instructions are printed right on the sticker labels. That way when you pull the meal from the freezer your thawing and cooking instructions are right there for you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the referral!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the referral!! :)

Anonymous said...

Please clarify on the chili recipe: 4 oz cans white beans? Do you mean 4 cans of beans? What size? Also, the instructions say to add the sour cream and the cream, but I do not see cream in the ingredients list. Quanity of cream? Heavy cream? Thanks for your help.

Anonymous said...

What size carton chicken broth for the chili recipe? I tend to use Better than Bouillon, and make up the quantity required. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Is the shopping list complete? I don't see cream or sour cream, for instance (still not sure if cream is used, as instructions for the chili call for addition of cream, but ingredients list does not include it). Also, does your list include the requisite Ziploc (or other) freezer bags?

Anonymous said...

Great Post. We shared it on our facebook wall at


Joanna said...

The downloads have been edited, for some reason an old version was popping up! The shopping list does include all of the other items needed (ziploc bags, aluminum pans, soup containers, etc.).

The chili only calls for sour cream, not cream. I have fixed that typo! Thank you for letting me know it was there!