Freezer Cooking in an Hour: Banana Bread, Bacon, & Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes

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I saw some bananas sitting on my counter and it inspired me to do some freezer cooking last week. I’ve gotten out of the habit of regular freezer cooking in recent months and oh how I’ve missed it!

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I’m not even sure why I got out of the habit… I can give a long list of excuses reasons, but I think it just boils down to me not making it a priority. And by not making it a priority, I’ve realized just how much freezer cooking benefits our family and makes life easier.

So it’s good to be back into it again.

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I made two loaves of our favorite Banana Bread. (Recipe link is here.)

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I enjoyed listening to Kat Lee’s Inspired to Action podcast while cooking. I’ve listened through quite a few episodes over the last few weeks and have truly been inspired to action.

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I added chocolate chips to the top of one of the loaves… because, of course. :)

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Apparently, it takes a lot of bowls to make banana bread. :)

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This bread is so, so yummy and freezes so well!

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While the banana bread was baking, I pulled out the bacon and started getting it ready to stick in the oven. This was a total experiment idea. We love bacon at our house, but I don’t love the process of making it.

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Jesse devised this bacon-cooking plan that works really well — put the strips of bacon on a cooling rack on a foil-lined pan and bake at 425 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes.

I wanted to see if I could make a bulk batch and freeze. It froze well, but when I reheated it in the microwave, it was fairly limp instead of crispy. I want to try one more time and bake it until it’s really, really crispy and see if that makes a difference in how it freezes.

It may not work well to freeze, in the end, but we’ll still suffer through eating it to experiment. ;)

Has anyone had success in freezing and reheating bacon?

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I also boiled a pot of eggs. Not for the freezer, but just to have on hand for quick snacks for our kids.

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And then I made a batch of Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes.

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I was excited to try using the new package of Sweet Blend that I recently got.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t love the pancakes as much as usual with the Sweet Blend instead of Xylitol (that we usually use). I think it’s just because I still can’t get over the taste of Stevia, try as I might.

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While I was finishing up in the kitchen, I made myself a pot of this Tranquility Tea. It’s so calming and refreshing — perfect to drink with some cream before bed.

Freezer Cooking in an Hour

I cleaned up the kitchen and surveyed the fruits of my efforts. It might seem like just a little bit, but for a small amount of work, I now have some snacks and breakfasts in the freezer at the ready. And little things like that can be such a sanity-saver!

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Gretchen’s $40 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan

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Homeland

3 pkg Glad Sandwich Bags – $1 each, used 3 $1/1 printable (first one doubled) – Free plus overage after coupons

1 loaf Nature’s Own Bread – $1.79, used $0.55/1 coupon from the 3/29 SmartSource insert (doubled) – $0.69 after coupon

2 Cucumbers – $0.69 each

1 McCafe Coffee K-Cups – $5.99, used $1/1 printable (doubled) – $3.99 after coupon

1 Farmland Pork Sausage – $1

2 Ronzoni Pasta – $1 each, used $1/2 printable (doubled) – Free after coupon

0.5 lbs Tomatoes – $0.50

2 Tic Tacs – $1.29 each, used $1/1 printable (doubled) – $0.29 each after coupon

2 Horizon Mac & Cheese – $1.79 each, used $0.75/2 printable (doubled) – $1.04 each after coupon

1 Skippy Peanut Butter – $2, used $0.55/1 printable (doubled) – $0.90 after coupon

3 Chobani Greek Yogurt – $1 each, used $1/3 printable (doubled) – $0.33 each after coupon

Total with tax ($1.63) after coupons: $12.75

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3 half gallons Dillons Milk – $1 each

1 Kroger Half & Half – $1.99

1 Romaine Lettuce – $0.99

2 Kroger Cottage Cheese – $0.50 each

1 Kroger Sour Cream – $0.50

2 Jello Puddings – $1.50 each, used $0.80/2 e-coupon – $1.10 each after coupon (I got this as a special treat for my husband who has been working long hours this week.)

1 bag Kroger Frozen Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – $6.99

1 Kroger Frozen Orange Juice – $1.59

1 bag Kroger Chocolate Chips – $1.88

1 Chobani Kids Yogurt – Marked down to $1.50

1 Cantaloupe – $0.99

1 bag Kroger Potatoes – $2.79

Total with tax ($1.94): $27.36

Total for both stores: $40.11

Menu Plan for This Week

Breakfasts

Cereal x 2

Toast & Eggs x 3

Date with my son at Starbucks (using a gift card)

Cinnamon Rolls

Lunches

Macaroni & Cheese, Fruit

Lunch at my sister-in-law’s house

Tossed Salad x 2

Baked Potatoes, Fruit

Lunch at my in-law’s (I’m bringing dessert)

Leftovers

Dinners

I’m trying to use up random things we have in our refrigerator and pantry this week. :)

Chicken Noodle Casserole, Steamed Peas

Venison & Cabbage, Biscuits (from the freezer)

Baked Ziti (meatless), Tossed Salad, Steamed Broccoli, Toast

Salad Bar with Grilled Chicken

Bean Burritos, Chips and Salsa, Fruit Salad

Venison Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Butterhorn Rolls

French Toast, Eggs, Orange Juice

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Free Make Ahead Breakfasts for the Freezer Cooking Plan

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Head over to Life as Mom to get a Breakfast Freezer Cooking Plan to help you make breakfasts much easier at your house. Here’s what you’ll make:

  • Buttered Maple French Toast Casserole, 3 batches
  • Cinnamon Apple Oat Cakes, 2 batches
  • Spicy Turkey Egg Bake, 2 batches
  • Steel-Cut Oats, 2 batches (servings vary)
  • Ham and Gruyere Quiche, 2 quiche
  • Lemon Drop Scones, 2 batches
  • Maple Vanilla Almond Granola, 1 batch
  • Basic Pancakes, 2 batches mix
  • Homemade Waffles, 2 batches (baked)

The downloadable plan gives you the recipes, the shopping list, the instructions on how to prep everything, and details on how to freeze and thaw items.

Get the plan for free here.

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Brigette’s $55 Grocery Shopping Trip + Weekly Menu Plan for 6

Since I got such great deals on bulk produce this week, I decided to keep the rest of my grocery shopping pretty simple. We still have eggs leftover from last week, and I will be using milk and meat from my freezer stash. I went ahead and stocked up on cheese even though we still have some and don’t actually need it right now. It was a good price, I had wiggle room in my budget – and there is no such a thing as too much cheese, right? ;)

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Sawyer’s Produce

(We will be eating lots of strawberries and grapes over the next week, and then freezing or dehydrating the rest. This is ALOT of produce – much more in real life than it looks like in this picture!)

16 1-lb pkgs Strawberries – $10.00

18lbs Green Grapes – $12.00

4 2-lb bags of Green Leaf Lettuce (these are huge bags!) – $5.00

Total: $27.00

 

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Walmart

2 32-oz bags of Baby Carrots (price matched Aldi @ $0.69/each – fantastic price for the big bags!) - $1.38

2 huge heads of Cabbage (price matched Aldi @ $0.99/each) – $1.98

1 24-oz container Cottage Cheese (price matched Bi-Lo) – $2.69

1 32-oz container Half and Half (price matched Food Lion) $1.97

1 32-oz container Egg Whites – $4.44

1 bunch Bananas – $1.11, plus receive $0.25 back from Checkout 51 – $0.86 after rebate

Total: $13.32

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 Harris Teeter

10 bags of Shredded Cheese – $13.00

1 box Reeses Puffs – $2.50, used  $0.75/1 printable (doubled) – $1.00 after coupon, plus receive $0.25 back from Ibotta  – $0.75 after coupon and rebate

1 box Honey Nut Cheerios – $2.50, used $0.50/1 printable (doubled) – $1.50 after coupon, plus receive $0.50 back from SavingStar – $1.00 after coupon and rebate

Total after Coupons and Rebates: $14.75

Weekly Grocery Total: $55.07

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Oatmeal and Strawberries x 3

Toast and Eggs (Veggie Omelettes for me) x 2

Cereal x 2

Lunches

Baked Potatoes with Cheese, Grapes x 2

Build-Your-Own Tossed Salad Bar, Strawberries x 2 (I plan on eating a tossed salad everyday for lunch since we have so much lettuce to use up!)

Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches on Easy Whole Wheat Bread, Baked Carrot Fries, Fruit

Leftovers x 2

Dinners

Three Cheese Baked Spaghetti, Tossed Salad with Homemade Dressing, Dill Bread

Chicken Gravy over Brown Rice, Steamed Broccoli, Tossed Salad, Easy Whole Wheat Bread (I will make a double recipe)

Egg Roll in a Bowl, Brown Rice, Fruit Salad

Homemade Cheese Pizza (meatless), Tossed Salad, Carrot Sticks

Ham and Potato Soup (using this recipe and subbing ham instead of hamburger – we still have a lot of ham in the freezer from a friend), Leftover Dill Bread, Tossed Salad

Leftovers x 2

Snacks

Coconut Almond Crunchies, THM Shakes, Strawberries, Grapes, Carrots, Strawberry Oat Muffins

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