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Cooking for Ovens Bearing Buns


col klink
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Well, It’s official folks: Mrs. Klink has a bun in the oven. And, in an attempt to be of more assistance and play a greater role in the pregnancy I’m cooking meals in advance for my wife. Now a lot of what she eats is more about warding off nausea, but after a while there should be plenty of meals, prepared in advance and frozen, for her to choose from.

Ordinarily I’d be able to prepare the dishes fresh for her but unfortunately, my job has me 2 ½ hours away and I only get to see her on the weekends. Worse, if she’s feeling a bout of nausea, she’s less inclined to eat since prepping food makes it worse (don’t worry though, she’s not in danger of starving). So, if I can prepare a ziti and all she has to do is turn on the oven I can feel some sense of helping out.

So far we have a ziti in the freezer along with a turkey potpie. Last week a co-worker who doesn’t care for fresh tomatoes but never-the-less grows them by the bushel in his garden gave me the bulk of his bounty and I made a marinara sauce with ground beef. Actually though, it turned into manwich makings due to excessive beef. I’m also planning on plenty of pork and beef stews.

However that’s not enough to get us through the coming months since she’ll get bored with them. So I ask for help. What dishes are great for preparing in advance, in bulk, throwing into the freezer and reheating? Oh yeah, it would be nice if a pregnant lady would like it.

Oh, I should probably mention she likes to eat pretty much everything: all meats, most fish and vegetables with predilections towards unagi, parsnips/turnips, pork roasts and Swedish meatballs (which I’m also going to do next).

p.s. The due date is April 30 (next year).

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Boy... Are you in for an adventure. Congratulations!

I will give you some advice in the food department... A typical mom will be past the nausea after the first three months. Notice that I said typical. Neither of my two pregnancies were typical.

With the first, I never had morning sickness. Then at about month 4 or 5, I developed a real aversion to messing with meat at all. I couldn't stand to even be around raw meat. For some stupid reason, veal was off the menu. I couldn't even get near that stuff, cooked, in a restaurant. And I am a confirmed carnivore and adored the veal picata at the little Italian place around the corner. But I did devlop a craving for anisette snowballs and watermelon.

With the second, I had a little morning sickness but go over that. Then I developed the oddest cravings. I was after savory dishes with a sweet note. (I hate that, usually.) Then there was the pickled jalapeno binge, stuffed with tuna and sharp cheddar. That went on for about 3 weeks, giving way to avocado sandwiches. :blink:

Well... I think you see where I am going with this. Until you see how this develops, I would warn against making vats of anything. You are sure to make a vat of chili when, all of a sudden, the thought of chile peppers or beef or whatever will suddenly become a ghastly thought. :laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Klink,

I think fifi has one thing right. You don't know what Ann is want to going to eat.

But, I do give a cheer for soup. Some stock (chicken or beef). Freeze the meat either in the stock or in small separate containers covered with fat. Make sure there are packages of frozen peas and corn in the freezer. Lentil or split pea soups freeze well. Warm yourself without your honey on these increasingly cold nights by making soup or stock.

Freeze the stock (with or without meat) in single serving sizes. She could thaw in the nuker, add a handful of veg and some noodles.

Don't forget to bring her good bread from the cities; either the Wedge or French Meadow. Bread freezes pretty well, and toast is always good.

Assuming you get up to Duluth more often now to feed the freezer and freidge, how about making a frittata before you leave on Sunday afternoon? Wedges of that would keep her for the fist couple of days.

Take up some good cheese to pair with the bread that doesn't go into the freezer. Pick up some nice fruit and veg from the Wedge. Apples and cheese?

And, when you leave Duluth on Sunday nights, make sure that there are eggs in the fridge and butter in the larder.

One of the things I learned was that my body was working so hard on gestating that I needed fairly easily-digested things to eat.

So, me wonders how you are going to juggle this 2-1/2 hour communite once Little Klink or Little Batgrrrl comes around?

I'm excited for you. And, excited that we will add another kid to the EG MSP crowd!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Boy... Are you in for an adventure. Congratulations! 

Well... I think you see where I am going with this. Until you see how this develops, I would warn against making vats of anything. You are sure to make a vat of chili when, all of a sudden, the thought of chile peppers or beef or whatever will suddenly become a ghastly thought. :laugh:

Thanks, everybody, for the congrats and advice! And fifi, yes, the wait and see thing is important. By the time the colonel made all of the manwich stuff for me, I had developed an aversion to beef. :blink: Can't even think about the stuff right now. But it's in the freezer, waiting for the day my tastes suddenly shift, as I suspect they will.

So far I've lost 7+ pounds do to just not being able to stand the thought of food. I'm really looking forward to getting out of this first trimester, which should be happening in the next few weeks.

Batgrrrl

"Shameful or not, she harbored a secret wish

for pretty, impractical garments."

Barbara Dawson Smith

*Too Wicked to Love*

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Pick up lots of individual serving sized tins or plastic ware, whenever you have leftovers of anything, freeze it in an individually sized portion.

Use Sharpie markers to label, label, label -- everything. You will not remember which container is tomato gravy and which is chili, or milk versus cream of something soup. I thought I was defrosting a piece of steak, which turned out to be Chinese roast pork. Oh well, stir fry the next day, but a label would have helped.

Use the too meaty sauce to make lasagna or ziti. Have cans of tomato around, it can always be thinned with more tomato. As an alternative to regular Italian spaghetti, top with shredded feta for Greek Spaghetti (learned that at a local Greek restaurant, it's really good).

Precook beans and freeze them in small portions -- easy to add to soup or as a side dish.

Use sandwich or snack sized baggies for freezing small portions, then store all those little baggies inside larger freezer weight bags, keeping like items together.

Milk freezes well. I don't know how much milk you guys drink, but I usually can't get through a half-gallon without the dregs spoiling, but if I buy quarts, I run out just when I need more. I buy a gallon and freeze about 3/4 of it in 4 quart-sized containers (around 3 cups in each). If you need some defrosted in a hurry, do it in the microwave (loosely covered, I remove the lid then just place back on top w/out sealing), stopping every couple of minutes to pour off the liquid, shake the icy part and return to the microwave. If you know you are going to need some the next day, just stick a frozen container in the fridge the night before. I do it for the convenience of not running out of milk, but it doesn't hurt that gallons are cheaper per unit than smaller containers.

Oh and congratulations!

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Congratulations on your future "BBQ" king or queen!

You might want to PM Seth G for suggestions. He had a leave of absence from work after the birth of his second(?) child and blogged about it here. Towards the end of the blog he got into freezing mode since he had to go back to work. He'll should be able to tell you what worked well and what didn't.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Congrats.

Having just completed that stage of the journey (look to your left) and being the cook in the house, I know what you are going through.

The only aversion Mrs. JPW picked up was to the smell from the rice cooker. As it appears that Batgrrrl has it worse than that my advice may not be so useful.

That being said, I definitely second the stock and frozen veggies suggestion. Worked very well for us. The frittata idea is also a very good one.

We also did well with a variety of stir fry and curry concoctions that were quite good when reheated (we used rice noodles instead of hauling out the rice cooker). Since the pregnancy M-O is well done meat, cooking slivers of chix and pork in stir fry are much more edible than cooking up a whole bird or a whole tenderloin. Both seemed to be easier to digest than beef.

Best of luck!

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Congratulations Batgrrrl and col klink! I can't wait to meet baby klink!

Having never been in this situation, I have nothing to suggest. Just wanted to say congrats!

Lauren

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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Hooray! Congratulations, Ann and Matt.

I loved homemade mac and cheese when I was preg. But then, I loved most anything -- I was one of those annoying women who felt better prgnant than not.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I do have to say that my pregnancies were a vastly humbling experience. I was a young mid-20s scientist. I had heard all of the tales of weird cravings and aversions. I thought they were all poppycock with no discernable basis in fact. Just a ploy for attention... blah, blah, blah. Sure, I understood about the first trimester morning sickness. That had basis in hormonal fact. So... what was wrong with me? I didn't have morning sickness and I was struck with weird reactions to food. I finally gave it up and surrendered to the mysterious and wonderous process and accepted it for that. I found the whole experience pretty fascinating.

Working around the food vagaries was sometimes a challenge as I was very particular about trying to balance nutrition against my weird habits. I was always able to compensate somehow so it must be doable. I was able to accommodate my cravings and aversions while still staying "balanced", more or less. My doctor was of the opinion that you should just roll with it and do the best you can. I didn't have any serious dietary or health problems so he really wasn't worried. When I did get into one of these weird cycles, I kept a diary of sorts and reported it to him so he would know what was going on. It always gave him a good laugh.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Congratulations to both of you! Much excellent advice above. Freeze in smaller containers and label well so you can pick and choose whatever actually sounds appealing at the time. The biggest problem I had during both of my pregnancies was a complete lack of interest in food, but having several things to choose from often helped. I also relied a lot on Luna bars (Zone bars are also pretty tasty) when nothing sounded good but I needed some protein or *something* nutritious without any effort. In a few months, freezing ahead so neither of you will have to cook is wise - you'll both want to spend all possible time with the new Klink. :smile:

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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I just have to say, those of you who live within easy reach of a Trader Joe's, be very, very grateful. I just had an absolutely dismal experience at a grocery store here in Duluth. All I was craving was some pasta with pesto and shrimp. No pesto whatsoever (accompanied by blank stares when I asked), and only pre-cooked frozen shrimp available.

I ended up with a frozen pizza. I miss Trader Joe's. Sweet heavens above, I miss Trader Joe's.

Batgrrrl

"Shameful or not, she harbored a secret wish

for pretty, impractical garments."

Barbara Dawson Smith

*Too Wicked to Love*

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I just have to say, those of you who live within easy reach of a Trader Joe's, be very, very grateful.  I just had an absolutely dismal experience at a grocery store here in Duluth.  All I was craving was some pasta with pesto and shrimp.  No pesto whatsoever (accompanied by blank stares when I asked), and only pre-cooked frozen shrimp available.

I ended up with a frozen pizza.  I miss Trader Joe's.  Sweet heavens above, I miss Trader Joe's.

Batgrrrl

Yes, the grocery situation in Duluth is pretty grim, although that big Cub does have a better selection of ethnic ingredients (primarily Asian) than I expected to see. But, it is more of a steak/burger/chicken and potato market.

Assuming that Matt is making the trip up more often than you are making it down here, strikes me that Matt had better hie himself to the Wedge and Lund before his next trip up, and stock up on odd stuff -- jarred pesto, good pasta, olives, cheese good bread (have them slice it at the wedge and just freeze and pull out what you need) and other assorted odd things that just may strike your fancy. I know most local asian markets have decent, raw shrimp; buy, freeze in individual portions. Because, as I mentioned, and you are probably discovering that you never know what is going to strike your food fancy.

(P. S. to Matt. That construction just north of Sandstone -- all 20 yards of it, for some damned culvert) -- as you are heading south cost us 1 hour and 15 minutes last Sunday afternoon.)

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Thanks everyone for their kind thoughts and their suggestions!

(P. S. to Snowangel. That construction just north of Sandstone cost me 50 minutes Sunday night, argh. If it had been hot and humid I would've been VERY cranky).

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Thanks everyone for their kind thoughts and their suggestions!

(P. S. to Snowangel. That construction just north of Sandstone cost me 50 minutes Sunday night, argh. If it had been hot and humid I would've been VERY cranky).

Yeah. But, you didn't have three cranky, tired kids in the car, two of whom needed to pee badly.

So, trust next Friday you will stock up on all sorts of odd tastes of this and that to haul up to the mother-to-be.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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All I was craving was some pasta with pesto and shrimp.  No pesto whatsoever (accompanied by blank stares when I asked), and only pre-cooked frozen shrimp available.

Note to Matt: Pesto freezes very well. Use ice cube trays.

FYI, however, I just usually freeze the basil pureed with a little olive oil. That way I can easily make pesto out of season, or just add a cube to season a tomato sauce or some soup.

Most instructions for doing this I've seen say to leave out the cheese when freezing, but as long as you don't actually cook the pesto (allow it to defrost in the fridge overnight rather than microwave), it tastes just fine. Just gently warm it on the pasta or whatever.

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Congrats Batgrrrl & Klink! This is really great news. We're almost three months into baby-dom already (time flies) and it's an amazing experience.

What about casserole kinds of things like moussaka or spanakopeta? Just about anything braised should freeze fine too. I made this Turkish eggplant & lentil stew recently and it came out fantastic. May not be freezeable, but should be made a day or two before eating anyways.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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Congratulations! Lucky man, you can now down that whole bottle of wine without having to share! ;)

I'd say cut back on the Unagi for fear of heavy metals contamination. I think almost anything's fair game while pregnant... just limit the seafood to one or zero servings per week.

For a good read, pick up "Dad's, Toddler, and the Chicken Dance" by Peter Downey.

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Col Klink and Batgrrl, first things first, congratulations! Being a near-confirmed bachelor, I've never been in the situation, but people turn to me for (misguided) advice, so here is my shot.

I think you're definitely on the right track with pre-fabbing and freezing things.

My suggestions: make and freeze 2-3 different preparations of several different meats so the bun can have a choice. For instance, chinese braise, traditional roast, smoked pork/chicken/beef. It may be a bit challenging to watch 2+ pots of braising pork + beef + chicken + mutton etc. etc. Freeze these in 1-2 oz portions and separate as Rachel said with snack-sized and storage-sized freezer bags.

Make and freeze several different starches. Rice, beans, taters, squash, noodles, etc. Store similarly... 6-8 oz portions?

Consider making and freezing several veg, but the microwave may be good enough, depending on the appetite controller's affability.

Have several sauces available to mix all of the above with.

The biggest suggestion I have is keep things around with the major appetizing flavors we taste on the tongue. Salty, sweet, and sour. My SIL's latest pregnancy, no one could cook in the house. But, I could get a fair amount of food past her if I asked her "do you want something sweet, salty, or sour?" Prepare that outside using the grill, sauce it up, and chow down.

The big suggestion: have fun and joy in the wonderment of pregnancy!

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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