Chris was discharged from the hospital last Wednesday, so we have officially been home for one week now. I have to say, it feels really good to be home. We are both sleeping better (hospital beds aren’t known to be comfortable) and adjusting to our new routine. Chris is going to the doctor 3 days a week right now: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Everything is still looking really good and his kidney function continues to be in the normal range. Yay! Overall, Chris is feeling really good. He is having some pain at his incision site, but the doctor said that it’s probably nerves regenerating so it seems to be “normal” after-surgery pain and we expect that it will go away in time. Justin is doing really well too. He isn’t having much pain and is mostly back to normal, although it will take some time for his body to adjust to one kidney. It’s a huge relief to be more than a week out from surgery and have both Chris and Justin feeling good. We are so thankful!
We have had an overwhelming amount of support in the last week and a half since the surgery, I honestly don’t even know what to say. We have had our lawn mowed, dinner brought to us every night, and received several cards and care packages. To say that we feel loved is an understatement!
When we found out the official surgery date, I decided it would be a good idea to prep some freezer meals. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect after we got home from the hospital and I figured having some meals on hand would save me time and stress. I haven’t even had to bust into the freezer meals yet because everyone has been so kind to us and made sure we had dinner every night!
When I told my friends my plans to make freezer meals, they asked to help which I thought was super nice! The first thing we did was share recipe ideas with each other. We came up with a pretty big list and I narrowed it down to 6:
- Ranch Parmesan Chicken
- Beef Enchiladas
- Italian Meatballs
- Balsamic Meatloaf
- Lemon Pesto Chicken
- Honey Soy Pork Tenderloin
After I decided which recipes to make, I made my grocery list. I made a few changes to the recipes to make them more kidney friendly, but overall, I mostly followed the directions. Writing down the ingredient list made me realize that I already had a lot of the items at home which definitely helped cut down on cost. I decided to go to Sam’s Club to buy all of the meat since it is less expensive to buy in bulk and I went to the grocery store for all of the other items I needed.
The Saturday afternoon before the transplant my friends Amanda, Melinda, and Brooke came over and we got to work! Not without some adult beverages first though… Except for Melinda, she had cranberry juice. You can probably figure out why 🙂
We got all of the ingredients and storage containers out and got going!
It took us about an hour to prep all of the freezer meals, which was much faster than I was expecting. It went really fast with four people, we divided and conquered! Also, most of the meals were assembly only, there was no baking required. The only cooking we had to do was to prepare the taco meat for the beef enchiladas. So I worked on that while the girls started assembling the meatloaves and meatballs. After that we finished up the enchiladas and prepared the chicken and pork chop recipes. At the end of the hour, we had prepped 13 meals! Isn’t that awesome?
We ended up with 2 balsamic beef meatloaves, 1 balsamic turkey meatloaf, 2 pans of beef enchiladas, 30 beef/turkey meatballs (which I split into 3 bags of 10), 2 bags of honey soy pork chops, 2 bags of ranch parmesan chicken, and 1 bag of lemon pesto chicken. Not bad for an hour of work! I also wrote the baking instructions on the pans and bags so I wouldn’t have to look it up later. The next day I baked and froze 2 dozen Spiced Apple Muffins to have on hand as well.
We had some pork chops, chicken, and ground turkey left over, which I portioned out and froze. So I will have those on hand as well to make future dinners. I did have to play freezer tetris and re-arrange a few different times to get all of the meals in there. But I made them all fit and I know I will be so thankful for easy dinners in the coming weeks!
My friends and I decided that we need to make this a semi-regular occurrence. It was so quick and easy to make all of these meals, especially with four people. We came up with the idea to do this once every few months even if there isn’t an occasion such as an upcoming surgery. Our plan is to each pick one or two meals and buy the ingredients for that meal for 4 families. Then we will all get together to prep the various meals and split them up and take them home. That way the cost is spread out among 4 people and we will each go home with several different freezer dinners. I think it’s a great idea! We plan to do this in a few months so I will definitely let you all know how it goes!
If you have a life event coming up such a surgery or new baby, I highly recommend taking the time and preparing some freezer meals beforehand. It is so worth it! Especially if you have amazing friends that are willing to help 🙂
Have you prepped make-ahead freezer meals? What recipes do you recommend?