Freezer Cooking in an Hour: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Breakfast Burritos, Chicken and Southwest Rollups

I had another successful Freezer Cooking in an Hour session yesterday. I’m amazed at how much I can get done when I set the timer and just work for an hour without distraction (well, other than the typical interruptions you have when there are three children living at your house!).

Here’s how it went down:

3:30 — Stick the chicken breasts in the oven to bake. (I’ve found this is such a simple way to cook chicken and they end up much more tender and juicy than when I boil them.)

3:32 — Mix up the pancake batter and start cooking the pancakes.

3:45 — Chop the vegetables and saute them. Beat eggs and milk together and pour over vegetables. Roll up all the Breakfast Burritos. Continue cooking pancakes.

4:10 — Chicken is done. Chop and mix together Southwest Rollups. Get interrupted multiple times by children, phone calls… I finally let everyone have a snack of chocolate chip pancakes and that keeps them occupied for awhile.

4:30 — Almost done! Finish rolling up the Southwest Rollups and clean up the kitchen.

5:00 — Get dinner finished and feel completely satisfied at having made six meals in a little over an hour! {Then, as soon as the kitchen is clean, I go collapse on the couch and read aloud to the children. Whew!}

Results of my Freezer Cooking in an Hour session:

24 Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Oatmeal pancakes

10 Southwest Rollups

1 bag of Southwest Rollup filling

1 bag of chopped cooked chicken

20 Breakfast Burritos

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Comments

  1. Diane says

    Looks yummy! I’ve been doing short freezer cooking sessions, too. This week I made a 6x batch of oatmeal pancakes and a double batch of runzas.

    • Jeannie says

      Don’t know how you young moms with kids under toe(which I am sure you love and will miss when they have flown the coop). I am divorced, 65 (a very young 65) hehe..and sometimes on Sunday afternoon, I will get in my kitchen and cook away for foods for the freezer. I have one of the (I still call them seal a meal)but newer version..I load those bags up with all kinds of things and is quite nice when I get in from work and am too tired to even scramble me an egg, I just go to my freezer and pull out Chicken N Dumplins(which I just recently learned how to make), meatloaf, soups of all kinds, including my favorite recipe for Potato Soup with “sprinkles” as she calls it..small dumplings…so good.
      So you young ladies keep up the good work and when you have time, make ahead lunches, dinners for your family to free yourself up in the evenings.
      Jeannie *

  2. crystal b. says

    I bake my chicken as well. I just bake the entire package and some of I cut into strips, season, and grill for things like salads, quesadillas, etc. Some of it I leave into whole breasts because it can be quickly added toand turned into a meal on the fly.

    I do the same thing with beef and hamburger. I brown hamburger in bill and freeze it in freezer bags to thaw later for spaghetti, tacos, chili, goulash, casseroles, lasagna, etc

    its really nice to have that step and mess eliminated and it really doesn’t affect the taste..

  3. crystal b. says

    I bake my chicken too. I don’t do “freezer cooking” per se but I do precook my meat. ill bake the whole package and cut some into strips to season and grill. For salads, pasta dishes, quesadillas, etc. Some I just freeze whole because you can do so much with it to make a meal on the fly. I do the same thing with beef and hamburger. I’ll brown it on bulk and put in freezer bags to thaw later for things like tacos, chili, veggie soup, goulash, spaghetti, lasagna, etc. its great to save the time and mess.

  4. says

    You got a lot accomplished in one hour. I need to try this! Once I organized a group of 10 friends from church, and we each made 10 of the the same freezer meal. We met at a local restaurant with coolers and passed out our meals to everyone. We left with 10 different meals, but didn’t spend too much time preparing our one meal. It went pretty well. I wish we had kept it up!

  5. Jessica says

    I gave freezer cooking a stab today too… I have 2 bags of Italian chicken, 3 of buttermilk chicken, a big batch of split pea soup, 2 bags of soaked beans for making beans & cornbread, and a butt ton of beans to be turned into refried beans tomorrow…

    Tomorrow’s plan also includes cooking up 6 pounds of taco turkey, using 4 lbs for taco kits and 2 lbs mixed with refried beans for burrito filling. Then freezing some burritos. And if I have time left working around a fussy 7 week old I might make some of the breakfast burritos too…

  6. Juli says

    At what temperature and how long do you bake the chicken for? I would love to try this method… Do you marinate it or anything?

    • crystal b. says

      I bake mine at 375 for about 20-30 minutes for fresh chicken breasts. For just basic chicken, I haste with olive oil and use basic seasonings. I lOVE tastefully simple seasoned salt, although its not at all budget friendly.

  7. Hannah says

    I had to smile at your photo. I make chimichangas for the freezer and I stick the foil wrapped chimichangas back into the Aldi tortilla bags, just like you! I was really inspired by the number of meals you made in only an hour.

  8. Ruth says

    Hey, smart idea to re-use the tortilla bags with the completed burritos! I usually just throw mine away and reach for the ziplocks. (Re-using the tortilla bags makes sense since burritos and roll-ups are not very messy).

  9. says

    I love this idea. I am trying it next week. Thanks for the idea. One question- Why did you make 10 Rollups but then just other bags of chicken and filling? Just not enough tortillas? Just wondering if there was more to it! Thanks MoneySavingMom–I LOVE YOU!

    • Kim says

      would you give instructions on how long you broil them for and what size/type of chicken you’re broiling?

      thanks!

      • Emily says

        We use the instructions in the Betty Crocker’s Cooking Basics book. Spray the broiler pan with cooking spray like Pam or brush on vegetable oil first. You can marinate chicken or rub it with a little oil & some spices (we’ve used everything from a Lawry’s-type seasoned salt from Penzey’s Spices to poultry seasoning) before broiling. The cookbook says if you want to brush your chicken with bbq or teriyaki sauce, do it during the last 15-20 minutes of broiling for bone-in or 10 for boneless.

        For bone-in chicken breast halves, it says move the oven rack to 7-9″ from heat, broil 25-35 minutes, turning once.

        For boneless chicken breast halves, which is what we always use, put the rack 4-6″ from heat and broil 15-20 minutes, turning once. I think we usually are closer to the 15 minute mark, but your oven may vary.

        America’s Test Kitchen says chicken breasts are done when the thickest part is 160 degrees.

        Now if anyone has tips on cleaning the broiler pan afterward, I would love to hear them! We’ve got a small divided sink & no utility sink so it’s hard to submerge & scrub enough to get all the grease off!

        • Wanita says

          I heard that if you have a pan with baked-on food like that, you just fill it with hot water, put in a dryer sheet and let it sit overnight. I did try it once and it worked fairly well, although I only had it sitting it out during the day for awhile.

        • ErinK. says

          Try spraying the pan with pam before doing anything else. Then cover with foil and bake/broil. When you take off the foil and wash this should really help.

  10. Adrianne says

    I have found that when I freeze my cooked chicken, it tends to have a mushy taste and texture when I take it out to use. : ( Anyone have any tips on how to have mush-free chicken?? ; )

    • crystal b. says

      I don’t really have any tips because I’ve never had that happen before. Maybe it has to do with the way you cook it (do you bake it, boil it, etc) or how you rehearing it?

    • Alea says

      I don’t ever thaw it first and I cook it at 375 for about 35-45 minutes. I think that’s great because I never remember to take meat out of the freezer beforehand!

  11. Kirsten says

    Do you think you could reheat the burritos in the microwave. Thinking for lunch at work.

  12. meagan o says

    Hi, I know you probably don’t normally do this, but I was wondering if there was a way to contact you through email to discuss something semi-personal? My email is ostapchukm@hotmail.com.

  13. Katy says

    This week I made 4 loaves of bread, 4 batches of waffle mix, 4 batches of pancake mix and 4 recipes of oatmeal chocolate chip cookie balls. Everything went into the freezer, except for three loaves of bread.It took me about an hour with the exception of balling the cookie dough which I did in spurts through out the day.

    My husband raised his eyebrows at me last night when I told him we were out of flour. He brought home 30 pounds on Sunday night. Poof! Gone! My kids are particular about their pancakes and waffles. They won’t eat them once they are frozen. Since they are old enough to make them the mixes are a huge time-saving alternative.

    • Emilie says

      Do you make the entire batch of batter and freeze it? Or are you only mixing the dry ingrediants? If you are adding liquids and eggs, how do you freeze it and thaw it?

      I would love to have batter on hand as my kids don’t like them reheated from frozen.

      • Katy says

        Only the dry ingredients plus any oil. It is super easy to just add the milk and eggs. Sometimes we mix the eggs and milk (or buttermilk) the night before. Powdered milk and buttermilk could be added to the dry ingredients ahead of time but again my kids are particular.

  14. says

    I love how you re-used the tortilla bags to house the breakfast burritos. Very clever! I make my own tortilla so I wouldn’t have bags, but that’s a good tip to stick in the back of my head for other things. Thanks!

  15. Lynn says

    Has anyone tried to freeze a whole grain or whole wheat style tortilla? I just wondered because they are a little stiffer? I would love to try the breakfast tortillas but we don’t usually eat flour tortillas. Any suggestions?

    • Chrys says

      Usually my mixture is warm enough to warm the ww tortilla to make it pliable, but you could probably warm them in the microwave or something first. I use the ole ww low carb ones and think they’re not as stiff as some ww ones.

  16. kristen byler says

    sounds like a recipe i use for our egg casserole. we love it and works well during the week. here it is. fast for kids breakfast before school and esay to do on weekends.

    12 eggs
    1/2 sausage loaf browned, drained & cooled (or will cook eggs)
    1/4 c green pepper (or any other)
    1/4 c chopped onion
    1/2 c fine shredded cheese (any kind you like, fine melts best)
    1/4 tsp garlic powder
    1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper (or to taste)

    mix all together and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or golden brown.
    we used to put into a muffin/cupcake pan to make easy servings (30 second warm up in microwave for during the week), but now do it in a 13 x 9 casserole dish and slice into slices. much easier clean up.

    hope you like it!!!

    • Charity says

      Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. I will be adding this to our menu for this week!

  17. amy says

    The breakfast burritos and southwest rollups look so good! I’m going to make those next week. My question is, do you have any go-to options like that for your kids? It would be great if I could make ahead some single serving, kid friendly foods for quick lunches or suppers that I have on stand by in the freezer. My kids are toddlers, and they don’t like refried beans. Just curious.
    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  18. Candice says

    Crystal,

    Please, PLEASE continue to do this series on one-hour freezer cooking! It is perhaps one of my all-time favorite series because it is so gosh-darn practical and I learn something new from your post and/or reader comments. Keep up the fantastic work!

    • Linda G. says

      Yes, I love these posts on one-hour freezer cooking, too. There’s no way I’m ready to dive into a whole day of cooking with all the shopping and prep work for a whole month at a time. With two kids, two and under, this would work much better for me!

  19. Jamie says

    Crystal,

    If frozen, do you defrost the chicken first? Do you grease the baking dish? What temperature do you use and for how long do you bake the chicken? I’ve never cooked chicken this way and would really like to try this! Thanks.

    BTW – I love your site and have been following it for about a year now. You are so inspiring and offer such valuable information! Through you I discovered Dave Ramsey and am now on baby step #3. By the end of this year we will have saved 67% of our emergency fund. Just wanted to share and say thanks for all your hard work and dedication to your site. You are a wonderful person. :)

    Jamie

    • Jill says

      I take chicken I have just bought from the store place in a pan add a few spices to keep the chicken from drying out and place it right in the oven at 375 for about 45 minutes. I then let the chicken cool and cut it up. I like portioning it out into freezer bags. I then take a bag of chicken out the night before I need it. For example when I make chicken pot pie all I have to do is add the shredded chicken with the rest of the ingredients. I also do this with ham. I will cut it into cubes and freeze the same way as the chicken. Hope this helps.

  20. says

    I’m loving this feature! I’ve often regretted that I can’t seem to pull off a freezer cooking day. You’re inspiring me to give “freezer cooking hour” a chance. And even if I can’t squeeze in an hour, I find myself thinking more about how every little bit adds up. Thanks for the encouragement!

  21. AKelly says

    I read this on the Google Reader now but just had to pop over here to say, “Great job!!” That’s quite an accomplishment and is a great example to us all. What an amazing amount of food you made in such a short amount of time…with children to tend! Way to go! I may just have to steal your recipes & schedule to test this out! lol

  22. says

    I really like this idea of 1 hour freezer cooking; you’ve gotten a lot done in an hour and it seems do-able to me. One thing I have done that helps a lot, is take about 1/2 an hour after getting our produce (we participate in a co-op) to chop up everything needed for a salad and put into individual tupperware containers for the frig. We are SO much more likely to eat salad when we have our “salad bar” ready to go in the frig. I also peel and slice carrot sticks, celery sticks, etc. for quick healthy snacks.

    Thanks for all the great ideas! (My kids have an almost daily smoothie snack now based on your Orange Cream Smoothie recipe!)

    • Katie says

      Both burritos she made today are very easily adapted to vegetarian. Just sub diced potatoes and more veggies for the ham in the breakfast burritos and sub black beans and rice for the chicken in the southwest roll-ups. Yum!

  23. says

    Crystal, I was using parchment or foil to individually wrap them (to keep them from sticking together). Do you wait for them to cool before freezing? I’d love to save money and not wrap each and every one.

    • says

      I don’t individually wrap them, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you do the same, because some people find they are too dry if you don’t wrap each of them. I just stick them all in a bag after they are cooled and freeze!

  24. brittany says

    Thank you so much for bring this back Crystal. OAMC was the reason I got addicted to your blog, I loved it so much and always looked forward to your cooking weekends. I am so happy to see this again, especially in the version that I was doing, since a whole day was impossible for me.

  25. Casey says

    Wow, that’s a lot done in one hour. I don’t even know if I could finish this within 2hrs without my kids around;-) Got to try this sometime!

  26. My Boaz's Ruth says

    I LOVE your Freezer meals in an hour!
    This seems much more doable to me than an all day freezing spree!

  27. Jayleen says

    Thank you so much for this I made the pancakes well I did the dishes the other day the turned out great as well I made the mix for the burritos and am going to make the tortillas tomorrow thanks again

  28. Debbie says

    Just an idea, but you can put quite a bit of chicken in the crockpot (up to 12 lbs in 6-qt crockpot), add 1 cup of water and cook for approximately 8 hours on low or until chicken is done. I have done this before I go to bed and then packaged it up in the morning.

    You can also do it with ground beef, add raw beef to crockpot (up to 9lbs in a 6-qt crockpot), add 1 cup of water. For beef, cook on HIGH for 8 hours (stir it up halfway through the cooking time, if desired).

    In either case, check temps with thermometer, if desired, to insure you have cooked it long enough.

  29. Debbie says

    Check out http://onceamonthmom.com/, it’s the best site around for “once a month” cooking. Even if you don’t do that, you can find a lot of freezer friendly meals there.

    All of the planning is done for you… menu plan, recipe links, grocery list, and labels.

    She has menus for: traditional, whole foods, diet, gluten/dairy free, vegetarian, and even baby food.