No Dark Magic

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Preparing the food

Posted at — Apr 18, 2021

Technically, this has nothing to do with Sweden, but cooking tons of food in advance helped us enormously. Since immigrants often have less of a support network than locals, at least during the first few years in a new country, I thought I’d throw this in.

Background on mealprep

Mealprep is popular among people who are into fitness and/or dieting as well as those on a really tight schedule during the week (e.g. shift workers).

In case of dieting, the benefits are (1) less opportunity for impulse buy in the supermarket, (2) way lower threshold for getting a healthy meal when you want it.

For those into fitness, it might be important to know their protein intake, and it’s easier to ensure that when cooking in bulk.

And for anyone with tough working weeks and no money for a personal chef or take-out it’s nice to be able to skip cooking for several days at a time.

The downsides are: big cooking, big cleanup, necessity for planning. If you want more variety/spontaneity, you have to plan for that too, e.g. choosing recipes that you can tune with different toppings or additions and preparing those additions. If you’re not used to cooking for a few hours in a row, it can be very tiring. Also, not all dishes survive the freezer (or even the fridge) well, so mealprep limits options.

Mealprep for the first time with the baby

The food for this particular situation should:

  • survive freezing

  • be rich in calories, various micronutrients, and fiber

  • be easy and fast to eat, preferably with one hand.

Stuff that survives freezing well: soups, anything soupy like stews or chilis, anything drowned in sauce (e.g. meatballs), casseroles (like shepherd’s pie).

To cover the micronutrients and fiber requirement, add as many vegetables as you can to anything you prepare. Unfortunately, green leafy stuff does not like being frozen, but there’s still a lot to choose from.

Example from lived experience

We ended up with the following:

  • 2 big quiches according to a reddit recipe

  • 8 portions of honey garlic pork with mushrooms & rice from

  • 8 portions of risotto from (with doubled vegetables)

  • 8 portions of mung bean soup

  • 4 portions of chili con carne made in an Instant Pot

  • assorted frozen vegetables to throw in ad-hoc.

I believe it carried us through the first two or three weeks, but the memory is so blurry.

Some notes on the recipes:

  • Quiche. Pie crusts are called pajdeg. Whole milk replaced with matläggningsgrädde because we use it for other stuff but usually don’t have milk. Skipped the cayenne pepper since we’re not into spicy stuff and it might not be good for the postpartum time anyway.

  • Honey garlic pork. Pork tenderloin is called filé. We used an Instant Pot instead of a slow cooker and doubled the proportions.

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