Eating healthily and good after my surgery is going to be an important factor to my rehab and recovery. The first week I’ll be in the hospital and will have the luxury of having others prepare my meals for me, though that will be hospital food. Once I get home I will be relying on family members to do that for me. The only problem is that often times we do not eat the same thing, and I definitely won’t be wanting to stand in the kitchen to prep most of these meals for the first few weeks after surgery. Then there is the whole grocery shopping thing that I would not be able to do.
So to help alleviate the stress of wondering what is getting cooked and where the food is coming from I decided to prepare some freezer meals. Now you can go buy frozen dinners from the store, but you don’t control what goes into them and they are loaded with sodium. You can also go get meals prepared from companies such as The Dinner A’Fare, Super Savers, and Dream Diners. The only problem with those companies is that the nearest one to me is over 90 minutes away.
This leaves me to needing to do all the work so that I can ensure that I have an easy meal to prepare post-surgery, and I am going to take you through the journey of planning to prepping to cooking.
Preparing meals that you are going to eat a month later is much more difficult that one would expect. Just simply selecting a recipe that you have used over and over becomes more difficult as you try to plan how you would freeze it for consumption at the later time.
I used Pinterest to find recipes that looked good but I hadn’t tried before, but didn’t venture away from foods that I have actually ate before and liked. Here is the list of what I am cooking. All recipes can be found by either clicking on the link below or by choosing the correct recipe from the pull down tab above:
- Cheese & Chicken Shells (2 meals; 6 shells)
- Crock Pot BBQ Chicken (2 meals)
- Baked Ziti (2 casseroles)
- Taco Soup (2 bags)
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake (4 meals)
- Chicken Rollatini with Spinach alla Parmigina (4 bags)
- Lasagna (3 meals)
- Marinara sauce
- Buffalo Chicken Tenders
- Chicken Enchiladas (6 packs of 2 rolls)
- Frozen Pizzas (4 pizzas)
- Twice Baked Bake Potatoes (12)
- Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Croissant (15)
- Sausage & Egg Breakfast Burrito (15)
I had planned on going shopping on Monday before heading to my dentist appointment. Those plans fell apart do to some unforeseen issues, so I instead went shopping on Tuesday, Day 1 of my cooking.
Armed with my grocery list and money I headed out. Before I went to the grocery stores I stopped at Walgreens to drop off my prescription for the one (1) Coumadin pill that I am to take the night before surgery, this was around 10:30am. I dropped it off and told the pharmacy tech I would come back later to pick it up.
My next errand that needed to be ran was stopping by my regular doctors office to get the Physician Assistant to sign my application for a temporary handicap placard (which he failed to do two weeks ago when I was in his office). That was easily handled and I was on my way.
Next stop were the grocery stores. The first stop was an easy in-and-out as I only needed to pick up a couple of items that were on sale. The second stop was the big stop, the one that I got most of the ingredients. Once I got the car packed, I headed to store number three to pick up some foil pans for freezing. Unfortunately that store did not have the item I was looking for so I had to head to a second and then third store before finally finding exactly what I needed.
Now that all my groceries and supplies were paid for and packed in my car I started heading home still needing to stop at the pharmacy and then DMV before actually getting home. My first stop was the pharmacy, where they’ve had over four hours to fill my one pill prescription. Upon showing up they told me it was not complete yet and the pharmacist was working on it. I then had to wait thirty minutes until they finally got my one pill filled and were ready for me to check-out.
Finally I headed to the DMV where I managed to pick up my handicap placard. That only took a few minutes and I was finally on my way back home, worn out and ready to just sit back and relax.
That relax part was not in the books as I needed to get started with some of the prep work.
Once I got home, got the car unpacked, and fridge items into the fridge I sat down and took a short nap. Having gotten a little energy back I decided to attack my Day 1 plans. First up was getting the Marinara Sauce cooking. This was rather simple and before long it was simmering away on the stove top.
Having gotten the first thing out of the way I attacked the Taco soup. For this I needed to brown the ground turkey along with sautéing some garlic and onions. While this was cooking I opened the cans of beans and corn and dumped them into a bowl where I would add the meat to fully mix and then portion into bags to freeze later. Once the meat was cooked and cooled I dumped all the contents into a bowl and then cleaned some dishes (do dishes as you go, this will help you from having to do a big load at the end of the night).
Next up was the meat needed for Lasagna and Baked Ziti. This was a simple browning of the meat along with garlic, followed by cooling and then placing in the fridge to use on Day 2.
My last step of the night was to prep the 12 pounds of chicken needed for the rest of the recipes. This included cubing four breast, boiling and then shredding most of it , and then setting aside four breast to make the Rollatinis. The only issue I had during this step was the fact that I didn’t have enough chicken, so I opted in not making the Buffalo Chicken Tenders until I can pick up some more chicken. Once I finally finished shredding the chicken I bagged it up and put it into the fridge for use on Day 2 and then headed to bed for some much needed rest and sleep.
With Day 1 dragging after midnight and me pushing myself a little too much the day before Day 2 got off to a slow start. After moving from the bed to the couch to watch some of Stage 10 of the Tour de France, well really falling asleep on the couch for some more rest while the race was on the TV, I finally got motivated to get things going.
First up was getting the meat sauce completed for the Baked Ziti while cooking the breakfast sausage and all the noodles that I need for the recipes. Once all that was cooked I prepared the Baked Ziti and Stuffed Shells. I also put together the Crock Pot BBQ Chicken mix and placed all that into the freezer. While all that was going on I had 12 potatoes in the oven baking.
After taking a brief break I got the potatoes opened up and cleaned out then made the mix to put back in, then I wrapped them in foil and placed them in the freezer. Next up was preparing the lasagna and Chicken Cordon Bleu bake while I cooked the bacon for the croissants.
While making the meat sauce for the lasagna I assembled the Chicken Cordon Bleu bake. With those prepared and in the freezer the lasagna came together quickly and I got them into the freezer also.
By this point I was starting to feel pretty worn down but I continued to push through and assembled the enchiladas while finishing the bacon. With the enchiladas in the freezer I started cooking the 16 eggs that I needed for the croissants.
At this time I decided to cook one of the baked zitis that I had assembled earlier today for dinner. By the time I finished all the eggs and got everything wrapped and put into the freezer I had about 15 minutes to relax before dinner was done.
After sitting on the couch for a little bit I decided that I was done for the day and would complete the final three dishes (Chicken Rollatinis, Breakfast Burritos, and Pancakes) on Day 3. I enjoyed my dinner and put my legs up for the night.
The unscheduled day began with me bagging the twice baked potatoes and preparing another batch of marinara sauce. With those two task complete I set my marks on getting the Breakfast Burritos complete along with the pancakes.
The final recipes that needed to be complete was Chicken Rollatini along with preparing a few homemade frozen pizzas. The rollatinis were the one recipe that I was dreading the most, something about slicing the chicken just right to get the chicken to roll up properly. Luckily I didn’t have much trouble and before it I knew it I had eight rolls in the freezer and only pizzas left to make. After par-baking the dough with sauce I added my toppings and then wrapped the pizzas up and added them to my bounty in the freezer.
Now that I am done with all my meals I can take that off my to-do list and now have to stress so much about what I will eat after my surgery or where it will come from. Sorry for the length of this post but I felt that giving details was important to anyone who may try this type of cooking in the future.