Baking Day: Whole-Wheat Bread, Banana Bread, Mini Meatloaves, and Pizza Dough

Whew! I'm done and by some sheer miracle (or was it the motivation of blogging about it?!), I actually finished everything on my to-do list! I also took a quick inventory and realized that I now have 17 dinners in the freezer for after the baby is born. Yay!

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I was really impressed with how this mini meatloaf recipe turned out. I used ground chicken instead of ground beef since I had picked some up a few weeks ago on a good mark-down sale. They turned out quite yummy and I will definitely be making this recipe again. I think it will be perfect to have in the freezer for quick dinners.

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(Pizza dough–ready to stick in the freezer.)

I also made up a loaf of our favorite whole-wheat bread which I'll slice and freeze to use later, a loaf of our very favorite banana bread recipe to take to a get-together later this week, and a double-batch of pizza dough to stick in the freezer. I just divided the pizza dough into meal-size portions and froze it in individual freezer bags. When we're ready to use it, we can just pull it out in the morning and by mid-afternoon, it's thawed and ready to be rolled out into pizza crust.

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(Banana bread–yummy!)

Thanks for following along today and for your encouraging comments. I don't know if I'll be up to another Baking Day before our baby arrives so I was very glad to have done this today. Having our freezer stocked with easy meals and snacks helps save me so much time and money!

Here's a picture of the the final fruits of our Baking Day today:

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And now I'm off to finish cleaning up the kitchen and put my feet up for awhile!

Did you do any baking today or this week? If so, you are welcome to post about it on your blog and leave your direct link below so we can come by and check out what's cooking at your house!

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Comments

  1. says

    My baby is due in a week. I’ve done a little freezer stocking a long the way, but not nearly as much as I wished I would’ve. I do have a lot of meat stocked up that’ll do well in the crock pot though! I plan to do waffles to freeze tomorrow…that’s something right!

  2. says

    I surfed the web, sewed a little and did feed my kids, but you are awesome!!! I found that freezing meals was a great thing for after babies! I am having a great time reading your posts. My baby is 4, so we are completely out of the diapers, nursing, sleep deprived stage…so it is fun to read about you getting ready! I can’t wait to see if it is a boy or girl.
    Kym

  3. Rae says

    Well congrats superwoman! That is an awesome day’s work for anyone let alone a pregnant woman with 2 young ones. Great job!

  4. says

    Quick question. On the link to your whole wheat bread recipe there’s a pic of the bread. Is that your bread or just a pic? It’s the smoothest top of homemade bread I’ve ever seen in my life!!! How on earth do you get it so perfectly rounded and smooth (if it’s a pic of yours)???

    Oh…also, are you using all whole wheat flour now or still 2 c WW and 1 c all purpose?

    Thanks!

    **********************
    Money Saving Mom here: Yes, that’s my picture. :) Actually, this bread seems to almost always rise with a beautiful top.

    And yes, I still do 2 cups ww and 1 cup all purpose. You could do all ww, but we like it best with a little all purpose flour thrown in.

  5. says

    Okay, I’ve never done the Linky Widget thingy and guess I did it wrong since it only put my name and not my blog name or anything. I thought maybe it might prompt me afterwards or something. Guess I need to look into that a bit more. Anyway…I baked my fave blueberry muffins this week…NO SUGAR. That’s a big thing for me. They are still sweet though because they have orange juice and other spices. They are eaten pretty quickly in our house!

  6. says

    Okay, I tried it again and it worked this time. My apologies for posting twice on the Mr Linky thing! I’m a newbie!

  7. Amber says

    I am also pregnant but my baby is not due until Aug. I do have some time to cook and freeze things but I want to get an early start on “planning”, what and how I should do this (?)! I have tried making extra dinners and pulled them out of the freezer 2 mo. later with freezer burn. (note: this was only with tuperware-like containers, not freezer bags) Do you have any tips on what works the best for freezing dinners? I can freeze fruits, berries, vegetables just fine but what about a lasagna? Should I bake it first and THEN put it in the freezer to reheat? Or should I put it in the freezer ready to thaw and then throw it in the oven? Any tips would be kindly appreciated!
    Many thanks,
    Amber

  8. says

    i love mini meatloafs!!! i found the recipe on kraftfoods.com a while ago and have made them ever since. my kiddos LOVE them. i don’t use that recipe though. i use my recipe with rolled oats and bbq sauce and then just cook it in the muffin pan. and i skip the cheese too. but yah for you!!!

  9. says

    I love that meatloaf recipe! I make it and it’s so easy and fun to eat! I never ever thought about freezing it though…very cool idea! Thanks :)

  10. says

    Question about the pizza dough. Do you know how much your recipe costs to make enough for one pizza? I’m just wondering since Trader Joe’s has pizza dough for $1.19 so it just hardly seems worth it for me to bother making it, when you consider the time involved. Just wondering.

    Thanks!
    MB

  11. Johnna says

    I was curious about what kind of waffle iron that you have. I have been looking for one, but I don’t want to spend a lot. I want one that will last though, any suggestions.

  12. Melissa says

    Wow, congratulations – great job! I love when those bursts of energy come even so late in pregnancy. Nice job using it to your advantage. I’m 31 weeks with number 4 and just had the same thing, so I made a ton of freezer meals, too. So comforting to know that all you have to do is pull something out of the freezer and dinner’s just about done. Good job!
    Melissa

  13. Rachel says

    Hi Crystal, the pizza dough from your baking day today looks like it has whole wheat flour in it, unlike the recipe of yours that I’ve made in the past. If you use wheat, what percentage of white/wheat do you use?

  14. Katie says

    Hi Crystal,

    I follow your blog avidly and love hearing about your baking days and menus. I understood about budgeting but never understood about how to menu planning or how to cut down my shopping bill. I have been following your advice for over a month – I read every single post – and I am delighted with the results (last month I saved over $1027 – not just on food though). My husband can’t understand why the shopping bills are so much less but we eat better and our cupboards and freezer are full.

    I’m ashamed to say that I never use to freeze leftovers as I didn’t understand what could be frozen etc. I now batch cook meals and freeze them (which cuts down on takeaways!!) I know that you are handing over this blog for awhile as you are at the latter stages of your pregnancy (congratulations – I’m also 30 weeks with myself) however could you tell the new person more ideas on freezing meals would be great.

    Many thanks for you very helpful advice – you have made a real difference to our household. Unfortunately, we don’t have coupons in the UK otherwise I would save more money!

    Katie

    *************************
    Money Saving Mom here: Just so you know, I’m not handing over this blog after the baby’s born. I *am* planning to run more guest posts and probably won’t be posting as much at first, but I’ll still be here and will do my best to keep things running as close to normal as possible. We’ll see how it goes. :)

    And you can expect plenty more thoughts and ideas on freezing things in the future–as that’s definitely an area which has saved us a lot of money!

    Congratulations on your pregnancy, by the way!

  15. Jamie says

    Amber,

    I did some once a month cooking a couple of months ago and I discovered that freezer bags work great. I made a bunch of casseroles and put them into freezer bags. Then the day of, I thawed them out and dumped them into a casserole dish and baked them and they turned out great! My fam couldn’t tell what I thawed and what I’d baked fresh. Didn’t have quite as good of luck w/ lasagna… I made it but didn’t cook it and put it in one of those disposable aluminum casserole thingys… it tasted freezer burnt. So I’d love to hear a better way for lasagne. You might try to Google OMAC for more info and recipes…

  16. says

    I want to start making extra food for the freezer, but I’m so overwhelmed that I’ve never tried it, other than homemade waffles.

    What do I put everything in to store it? Pans are so expensive that I don’t want to buy more, but maybe it’s worth the investment?

    I’m so confused!

    ***********************
    Money Saving Mom here: I pretty much use freezer bags for everything (as you can see from the picture). I just buy a box of them when they are on sale and use and re-use them until they have no life left in them!

    Most of what I’ve learned about freezing, I’ve learned from trial and error. So just start trying stuff little by little and you’ll learn what works best for your family.

    Happy freezing!

  17. Rhiannon says

    Hi Money saving Mom!
    I’m so glad to have found you since my husband and I are (Lord willing) going into law school this fall with a brand new baby and want to leave it with as little debt as possible. All your tips are so helpful and jumpstart a few ideas of my own!
    I’m very impressed with your baking day- I’m 28 weeks pregnant and have been baking/cooking/stocking up a storm too. My husband says I have a bad case of early nesting! But it’s so nice to know that if I’m not up to cooking at the very end, he’ll still have something to eat!
    Someone was asking about the price difference between buying pizza dough from Trader joes and making it. I haven’t priced out the cost to make dough but I usually buy a package of 3 loaves of frozen white bread (3.95 ea.) at the grocery store and I can get 10 8″ pizza crusts out of them. Thats a great deal for us since my husband is a pizza nut! I also prebake the crusts that way on a busy night I can just pull the crust out and by the time I’m done assembling/cutting up the toppings, dough’s ready and I have pizza in about 6-8 mins! It’s a trick I learned from an European cafe.
    Good luck on all your baking days ladies!
    Rhiannon

  18. says

    Great job on all your baking!! I love to bake, but haven’t ventured to baking & freezing for future meals/snacks. It’s a great idea though!

  19. says

    I found the meatloaf recipe a couple of years ago. It is my girls’ (7 and 8) favorite thing to make by themselves. It freezes beautifully!

  20. says

    The mini meatloaves are a fun idea- I’ll have to try those, because we love meatloaf (and it’s such a great way to get extra veggies into my kids, too- I just grate them and mix them in)!

    So glad you got all that done! It is sooo helpful to have a stocked freezer, I agree! Once June/July rolls around, you can expect to see me stocking up like a madwoman, too! :)

  21. Tonya says

    Hi, I’m curious about freezing pizza crust dough. At what stage in the process do you freeze this?

  22. Erika says

    thanks for the banana bread recipe link! i have never been thrilled with my normal one and needed to find one to use up 4 overripe bananas at once! mine even baked up with the same curve in the crack on top!

    and at that archived post, i noticed a comment that i realized was from an old high-school friend of mine that i haven’t had contact with in years! so thanks!!

  23. Katie says

    I’m glad to hear you won’t be handing over this blog – I apologize for my misunderstanding (pregnancy has definitely affected my brain!).

    I’m glad you’ll be posting more stuff on freezing food. All your posts are full of information and really helpful. Budgeting has made a huge difference to my life – not just to my finances but also to my outlook. I’ve learnt that being in control of your finances makes you feel in control of your life and offers more choices. I’ve read stuff before on budgeting and saving money but no-one before now has explained as clearly as you have and has enabled me to relate it to my life – so thank you.

  24. Anita says

    I’ve recently started to do quite a bit of baking. Do you buy large quantities of flour? I can only find 5 pound bags for whole wheat flour. I’ve found larger bags of bleached all purpose flour. I just recently purchased a 10 pound bag of bleached all purpose flour. I was purchasing 5 pound bags of unbleached all purpose flour prior to purchasing the 10 pound bag. Thanks!