Monday, October 07, 2013
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
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!