Freezer Cooking in an Hour: Easy Italian Breadsticks, Chocolate Banana Bread, Crockpot Tortilla Soup

I did a quick Freezer Cooking in an Hour session on Thursday morning while the children worked on some homeschooling projects at the kitchen table. I had picked really simple and easy recipes, so everything went off without much of a hitch.

11:oo a.m. — Set the timer and threw all the ingredients for the Easy Italian Breadsticks in the bread machine.

11:05 a.m. — Put all the Crockpot Tortilla Soup ingredients in the crockpot to simmer.

11:18 a.m. — Started making the Chocolate Banana Bread. Jesse called and we talked for a few minutes while I finished up the bread.

11:22 a.m. — Stuck the bread in the oven and sat down to finish our morning homeschooling lessons while yummy smells wafted through the house.

12:30 p.m. — I pulled the bread out of the oven and let it cool. Then, we taste-tested some Chocolate Banana Bread before I sliced the rest and froze it. (It was so good that I knew it wouldn’t last long unless I froze it right away!).

Later that afternoon, Kaitlynn helped me make the dough into Easy Italian Breadsticks and we baked those.

All together, it took me about 55 minutes total to make a batch of Easy Italian Breadsticks, a loaf of Chocolate Banana Bread, and a big pot of Crockpot Tortilla Soup that will last us for two dinners and one lunch. Being intentional about cooking ahead a little bit once or twice a week can really be a sanity-saver!

Note: The breadsticks and banana bread were fantastic. We thought the soup was just so-so.

Did you bake or cook anything to freeze this week? I’d love to hear about it and see a link to your recipe, if you have one.

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  1. Stephanie says

    The link in this paragraph is not working for the breadsticks…….
    All together, it took me about 55 minutes total to make a batch of Easy Italian Breadsticks, a loaf of Chocolate Banana Bread, and a big pot of Crockpot Tortilla Soup that will last us for two dinners and one lunch. Being intentional about cooking ahead a little bit once or twice a week can really be a sanity-saver!

    • says

      They didn’t last long enough to be frozen, but if I did freeze them, I’d probably just thaw and then heat up in the oven until they were warmed through.

  2. flutemom says

    the breadstick link takes me to ‘oops, page not found’….. the choc banana bread looks yummy (but then again, it’s chocolate!!!)

  3. says

    I have an awesome tortilla soup recipe. We live in Mexico and it’s one of my favorites soups. It’s the closest recipes I have found to match what I have eaten here. If I can find the recipe I can share it with you.

  4. Emily says

    I highly recommend this recipe for tortilla soup. Looks very complicated if you follow Rachel Ray’s step by step instructions, but I majorly simplify it and it has the BEST flavor. You could easily put it in the crock-pot, too. Just be careful how many chipotle in adobo you put in because it can get spicy fast! I usually just put in a little and then dice up some extra for my husband to add, he LOVES it spicy! Chipotle in Adobo can be a little pricey but there are lots in each can and you don’t need a whole can for one batch of soup, so I take one out to put in the soup and then freeze them individually in bags and just grab one out whenever I need one.

  5. says

    I’m roasting and pureeing pumpkins, roasting pumpkin seeds, testing a Fall Spice Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie Recipe and making freezer applesauce. Recipes to come this week!! I think my oven will be on all weekend :-)

  6. says

    Mmm, you chocolate banana bread looks yummy!
    my own freezer cooking project didn’t turn out so well this week. But now I know one recipe that I don’t want to use again 😉

  7. analisa says

    That tortilla soup recipe would be great if you just added some green chilies to it for some extra flavor. Without those its a little bland sometimes!

  8. julie says

    I am totally making that bread tonight! Earlier this week I (accidentally) made an extra pan of muffins….too many tiny chefs in the kitchen frazzle me 😉 I also have 2 containers of chicken/corn/potato soup awaiting another chilly day :)

  9. says

    As a mom about to have my third child in two months, I am loving your cooking and freezing posts. While I haven’t done anything yet, thinking of doing a few items in just an hour is way less overwhelming for this point in my life compared to giving a whole day to it. Thanks for the blessing and encouragement you have given to me through this.

  10. Michelle K says

    We call ours Chicken Taco Soup and I haven’t met a person who didn’t like it. My six children devour it! AND it is EASY!!
    1 can diced tomatoes (can use southwest style)
    1 large can tomato sauce
    1 can black beans drained
    1 can corn drained
    1 C. salsa ( you choice the spicyness)
    1 can green chilies
    2 chicken breasts.
    Toss all this together into your crockpot. Cook on high 4-6 hours. Remove chicken from crockpot and shred. Return to crockpot. Serve with sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips.

    I have added a can of chili beans undrained to stretch it a bit.

  11. Autumn says

    Gosh Crystal it all looks so good! I just ate and now I’m craving that Chocolate bread and some soup. I definitely bake a lot more and I’m having so much more fun with these yummy MSM recipes. There’s just 2 of us and I could easily fill 2 freezers with everything I want to start whipping up now. Lol

  12. says

    Crystal, I would greatly appreciate a post about how your family makes decisions about what type of foods to buy. I’m trying to cook healthy for my family and we buy mostly whole, real foods but not all organic (i would if i had all the money in the world :) It would be helpful if you could share where you choose to spend more and where you found is ok to cut while still eating healthy. Thank you I love your cooking posts. My family likes all of your approved recipes! :)

  13. says

    Have you read this?
    Plenty of other sources support the report that most conventional chocolate involves the labor of trafficked children. I am pretty upset about this. I can go without purchasing chocolate bars pretty easily, or only buying Fair Trade chocolate for the occasional treat — but baking without chocolate chips will be harsh. Fair Trade chocolate chips cost at least $7 a bag from what I’ve seen. But how could we enjoy our affordable usual brands now that we know?
    With your interest in world children’s issues, I knew you would want to see this if you haven’t already.

  14. Amanda says

    I just made the chocolate banana bread. It tasted really good but the smell was interesting. Not bad, just…I don’t know how to describe it.

  15. says

    My freezer stash came in very handy last week–
    I didn’t get to cook anything new for the freezer, but at least I had a stash to lean on!

  16. says

    As I read your post, I was thinking “Wow, did she really go from putting the ingredients into the bread machine at 11:00 to putting the bread in the oven at 11:22?! And she says she’s not wonder woman!!” 😉

    THEN I realized that you meant a different kind of bread went into the oven when you said you baked the bread sticks later. 😉 I know the bread machine is time-saving, but I still don’t think I’ve had bread in the oven in 22 minutes from the time I started the dough… even my fastest pizza. :) Yes, I am puttery in the kitchen… :)

    • says

      But… am I reading it right that it took you 4 minutes to mix up banana bread while on the phone?! If I thought 22 minutes for bread sticks was fast, I think 4 minutes for banana bread is crazy fast!! :) :)

    • Amy says

      I agree! This is my favorite. I change it a bit by using 4 cups water and 3 bouillon cubes instead of using canned broth. I also use a Tbsp of dried cilantro and a can of petite diced tomato in place of the whole. Its a big hit. I like to make it Thanksgiving afternoon with leftover turkey :)

  17. Sara says

    Two things about the tortilla soup. (1.) I second the suggestion to add some ranch seasoning. Also, lime juice and cilantro are yummy additions. (2.) I’ve found that making my own chicken broth does wonders for soups like this. Canned broth is not even a close second. I purchase whole chickens when they go on sale for less than $1 a pound. I roast the chicken for one meal. We don’t eat all the meat so I save it for the soup. Then I cover the carcass with maybe 8 quarts of water, 1 wedged onion, a couple garlic cloves and 2-3 tbspns of salt. Then I bring it to a boil, turn down the heat and let it cook 4 hours. (Don’t cheat on that time…that’s how long it takes to get the “grandma” home cooking flavor”. Do watch it though and add a little water if needed.) Then strain the broth and skim the fat. Tortilla (and any other chicken soup) will never be boring again!

  18. says

    I love your blog! You are such a super mom. Way to set a good example for all of us. Your soup recipe looks yummy, I am going to have to try it.

  19. Stephanie H says

    Just made the chocolate banana bread. I know now why you froze it so fast – I’ve just finished off my 2nd piece and it’s not even completely cool. Thanks so much for sharing!

  20. Tessa says

    I made the soup and added a can of green chilies (I used just regular diced tomatoes). We enjoyed the soup. If I had some, I would have added fresh cilantro and avocado.

  21. says

    I made the Chocolate Banana Bread and added a dash of cinnamon and some pecans. Made it into 12 muffins and baked for 20 mins. Froze 1/2 and kept 1/2 out. They are divine. Thanks for the recipe.

  22. Brandette W. says

    As soon as I read the Chocolate Banana Bread post this morning, I baked us a loaf. I had 3 really ripe bananas and 1/2 a bag of dark chocolate chips to finish off, so it worked out perfectly. This is our dessert tonight. It is absolutely delicious!! Thank you so much for sharing, this is going in my recipe box for sure.

  23. Kate says

    I have read about the Chicken Tortilla Soup in other postings on your blog, Crystal, and have been so excited to try it. It sounds delicious!! So today I decided to print out the recipe and give it a try. However, the link is now broken — no recipe! I even went to the original website and tried to find it but no luck. Do you happen to have a copy that you could post? Thanks so much for all you do — your website is a great help to me!

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