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Category: Baking Day

This Week’s Menu Plan + My Freezer Cooking Plan for Thursday!

Crockpot Taco Soup

We got home from Branson last night and are getting back into the swing of things around here today. I’m still not completely unpacked or caught up on laundry, but hopefully that happens tonight! 🙂

Here’s what’s on our menu plan this week:

Breakfasts

Breakfasts are a big deal at our house. Not necessarily because of what we eat, but because this is the one meal we’ve committed to eat together around the table pretty much every single day.

Dinners are often somewhat grab and go or brown bagged — especially on the nights our kids have activities. But breakfast, it’s a given. We eat, we talk, we read together, we pray together, and we linger around the table. It’s been a beautiful addition to our schedule + a great way to start the day!

Choose from:

My Favorite Post-Workout Smoothie

I made my favorite Post-Workout Smoothie live on Facebook this morning! Watch the video here for the recipe — and to see a real, early morning, non-showered version of yours truly! 🙂

Lunches & Snacks

Our extra refrigerator is 100% devoted to lunch items. We’re making up a big batch of freezer-friendly PB&J on the weekends and, in addition, I have 4 different bins of items that the kids can choose one from — cheese sticks, snack packs, veggies, fruit, applesauce, chips, cookies, etc.

Each bin has something different so that when they choose one item from each, they have a well-rounded lunch.

Kathrynne helped me set this up and she took the initiative to write a board with details on how to put together the lunches. So far, I have literally done NOTHING for lunch prep other than help set the system up and make sure we had the items on hand for Kathrynne to get everything into baggies in the extra refrigerator.

And then the kids have been entirely in charge of each making their own lunch every night. I haven’t had to remind anyone and no one has yet to forget their lunch. I’m pretty excited at how well this has worked so far — especially because the kids seem to be loving it!

Jesse and I are in charge of our own lunches and I’m going to have items on hand to choose from: fried eggs, toast, chips & salsa, yogurt, refried beans & cheese, salads, fruits, veggies, and/or leftovers.

Snack: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

pm-ban-muf

(I’m trying a new Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe this week. Get the link to it here.)

Dinners

We’re planning to prep all our dinners ahead — with Jesse taking care of the grilling/smoking of the meat and me taking care of the other meals — so that there is good food ready to eat on busy nights.

  • Smoked Chicken, Broccoli, Rice
  • Build-Your-Own Haystacks, Fruit
  • Ground Pork/Onions/Potatoes Hash, Salad, Fruit
  • Dinner on the Grill (Hamburgers & Chicken Sausage), Veggies, Fruit, Chips
  • Crockpot Taco Soup, Muffins, Fruit
  • Ground Turkey/Bean/Cheese Burritos, Fruit, Tossed Salad
  • Dinner Out

Freezer Cooking

I’m doing a Freezer Cooking session on Thursday where I’m combining dinner prep with freezer cooking. This means that I’ll really only have to bake/cook one day this week. I’ll be making Crockpot Taco Soup, Burritos, and Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. Look for more details on how that goes later this week!

Look for my post tomorrow with full details on what all the groceries we bought for this week plus how much we paid for everything!

What’s on YOUR menu plan this week? Share the link to it in the comments or tell us what you’re most excited about cooking!

Related Menu-Planning Posts:

3 Recipes I Made Recently Using What We Had on Hand
Why I’m Back to Menu-Planning, Grocery Shopping, and Freezer Cooking
Why We Stopped Making Family Dinners a Priority
YEARS of Past Menu Plans We’ve Shared Here
6 Ways We’re Keeping Our Grocery Budget Low
Why We More Than Doubled Our Grocery Bill

Freezer Cooking: Blueberry Coconut Crisp, Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars, and Pumpkin French Toast

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

I did something different for this week’s Freezer Cooking session. Instead of doing a few Facebook Live videos and taking lots of pictures for a blog post, I decided to do the entire cooking session live on video!

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

You can watch the full video here — if you’re interested. This gives you a peek into how I work in the kitchen (I might appall you if you are someone who follows recipes precisely!) and how I adapt based upon what I have on hand or how I substitute when I don’t have one of the ingredients! 🙂

The entire session took me 30 minutes total — and then a little clean up time. I’d love to hear your feedback on whether you like me doing the full cooking sessions live like this. I love that people can interact live, share tips, ask questions, etc. It’s live-blogging at its finest!

Here were the final results:

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars — I love recipes from Chocolate Covered Katie! I especially love how she makes her recipes so flexible so can adapt them if you have food allergies or preferences.

These bars were pretty good. Quite soft and sweet. I’m not sure that I’d recommend subbing pumpkin for applesauce, but at least I used what I had and saved myself a trip to the store, right? 🙂

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

Blueberry Coconut Crisp — I had some leftover coconut in cupboard and some blueberries from ALDI, so they served as the inspiration to try this recipe.

I was really happy with how it turned out and think it would be amazing served over Greek Yogurt for breakfast or with ice cream for dessert.

It’s not as healthy as My Favorite Blueberry Crisp recipe, but the coconut gives it a different twist and it’s definitely a recipe I’d recommend.

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session
This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

Pumpkin French Toast — I know it’s just barely September, but I’m all about the pumpkin over here. Have I mentioned that I absolutely adore fall? Oh yes I do!

And I start pretending that it’s fall just as soon as it hits near the end of August. Gratefully, the weather has even been cooperating with my plan some of the days and it’s been cooler temperatures instead of crazy hot!

So when I saw this Pumpkin French Toast, I was all over it. It was SO easy to make and it’s a really inexpensive recipe that can be made with ingredients from ALDI!

Jesse said that this was his favorite recipe of the three I made. I was surprised and happy about that as he’s not as ridiculously into pumpkin as I am! 🙂

Did you do any freezer cooking this week? Tell us about it in the comments!

P.S. See Last Week’s Freezer Cooking Session Here.

All the details on my Freezer Cooking Day + some WINNER recipes!!

I did another Freezer Cooking session on Wednesday and it was really successful!

I love that cooking and baking ahead cuts down significantly on the time I need to spend cooking and baking and cleaning up the kitchen each week!

Here are the recipes I made this week:

And here are lots of pictures, videos, and details on how it all went down:

All the details of my Freezer Cooking Day!

All the details of my Freezer Cooking Day!

These baked egg & cheese breakfast bites are the BEST ever! They're SO simple to make on those busy weekday mornings, and they're ridiculously delicious!!

First off, I made Egg & Sausage Breakfast Bites. I used ground turkey instead of sausage since I got such a good deal on ground turkey when I went grocery shopping and I left out the veggies because we didn’t have them.

These were SOO good. SOO good! And they were incredibly easy to make!

I shot a video here while I made them if you want to watch it. And you can see how crazy simple these are to make!

Also, I used the Silicone Muffin Cups for the first time and was pleasantly surprised with how well they worked and how easy they were to clean and wash! I’m definitely sold on using these — especially because they kept the muffin pan so clean and easy to wash!

All the details of my Freezer Cooking Day!
All the details of my Freezer Cooking Day!

All the details of my Freezer Cooking Day!

Next up, I made the Crockpot Baked Potatoes. This was my first time to make baked potatoes this way and it was so easy, as well.

The only thing I will mention is that they took longer to bake through then the recipe said they would. This would be such a great way to make Baked Potatoes if it’s hot in the summer or you’re having a big group of people over for a Baked Potato Bar!

If you’re interested, I shot a quick video here while I was making them. You can laugh at my exercise shorts and how I got my shirt all wet while washing the potatoes!

All the details of my Freezer Cooking Day!

I also made the Pumpkin Spice Waffles (and forgot to get a picture of them once they were baked!). These were good, although they were almost too sweet for me. If I make them again, I’d cut back on the amount of sugar in them.

All the details of my Freezer Cooking Day!

And last but not least, I made Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken. This recipe was the BOMB. So, so, so easy. And it turned out beautifully and incredibly moist and delicious. I’d highly recommend this recipe!

I also threw together a pan of the French Toast Bake using eggs I got for $0.49 at Aldi and Bread I got marked down at Kroger. I didn’t get a picture of this, but I’m going to have to make it again soon and take pictures and share how I’ve tweaked the recipe because it is SOO good!

Did you do any freezer cooking this week? Tell us about it in the comments!

P.S. See Last Week’s Freezer Cooking Session here.

Freezer Cooking: Taco Meat, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Crockpot Taco Soup, & Chocolate Banana Muffins

I did another Freezer Cooking session on Wednesday and it was really successful!

I love that cooking and baking ahead cuts down significantly on the time I need to spend cooking and baking and cleaning up the kitchen each week!

Here are the recipes I made this week:

And here are lots of pictures, videos, and details on how it all went down:

Freezer Cooking Day

I found some great deals on meat recently, so I used that to make Taco Meat for the Taco Lettuce Wraps + the meat for Crockpot Taco Soup.

Freezer Cooking Day

I make my own Homemade Taco Seasoning mix for the Taco Meat. Well, let me rephrase that, I dump in Taco Seasoning-type spices when making Taco Meat! 😉

It’s so nice to have Taco Meat in the freezer to use in Haystacks, Burritos, Tacos, and more! Plus, it freezes so well and thaws easily, too.

Freezer Cooking Day

Freezer Cooking Day

Freezer Cooking Day

Freezer Cooking Day

Freezer Cooking Day

Freezer Cooking Day

Screenshot 2016-08-18 13.25.19

Next up, I made the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes. As the recipe had stated, the batter was very thick. But the end result was a hearty and yummy pancake that freezes and reheats really well. (I may have tested it a few times already. 😉

Freezer Cooking Day Live

Watch me make these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins live in my kitchen here.

Freezer Cooking Day

Screenshot 2016-08-18 13.25.41
Screenshot 2016-08-18 13.25.52

The Crockpot Taco Soup was SO easy to make! I made a few adjustments based upon what we already had on hand and my family really loved it! We didn’t freeze it; I just stuck it in the fridge to heat the next day.

Crockpot Taco Soup

Watch me make the Crockpot Taco Soup here… and yes, you can laugh along with me when you see how much of a flight-y, non-recipe-following cook I am. 🙂

This Week's Freezer Cooking
Screenshot 2016-08-18 13.28.28

Freezer Cooking Day

And finally, I made Chocolate Banana Muffins. This recipe was really healthful (it only has honey instead of sugar), but it’s yummy. Not anywhere near as delicious as these Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, but for how healthy they are in comparison, I think they are pretty good!

Did you do any freezer cooking this week? Tell us about it in the comments!

P.S. See Last Week’s Freezer Cooking Session here.

Come see a virtual peek into my Freezer Cooking Day!

This Week's Freezer Cooking

I’m back to freezer cooking and it feels SO good! It’s amazing the difference it makes when someone asks, “What is there to eat?” and I can list off options that are in the freezer!

On Thursday afternoon, I made 5 different recipes:

Here’s a little peek into how it all went down:

Freezer Cooking Day

I started the afternoon by unloading the dishwasher and hopping on Facebook Live to give everyone there a rundown on my plan and show my pre-freezer-cooking kitchen that was all clean.

I found that doing live videos motivated me to make sure I kept the kitchen clean during the freezer cooking session. I always need this kind of motivation because stopping to clean up as I go is not really my first choice. But it makes such a difference at the end.

You can watch my Freezer Cooking video here to see a peek into my kitchen, if you’re interested.

Freezer Cooking Day

I started off the Freezer Cooking session by making Homemade Energy Bites. This is one of those recipes that we’ve made over and over and over again and it’s family favorite.

It’s so easy to make, these are so versatile, and everyone loves them! Plus, not only are they a great snack, but they even suffice as breakfast in a pinch! 🙂

Freezer Cooking Day

I almost didn’t make these, because as I was getting ready to make them, I realized that we didn’t have any honey — which is kind of a staple ingredient in this recipe! 🙂

I put on my thinking cap and rummaged through the cupboards and refrigerator and decided to try subbing maple syrup for the honey. It made the Energy Bites a little stickier and I ended up adding a little flour to the recipe, but it worked!
Freezer Cooking Day

Freezer Cooking Day

For those of you who might be interested, as you can see in the photos above, I set up my tripod and did a quick live video while finishing up making these. It was my first attempt at actually “cooking” while being on live video and I was happy with how it went.

Freezer Cooking Day

We also had a funny conversation on the video about how I only have two kinds of looks — the dressed up look or the completely dressed down look — and I answered questions about why I was wearing a nice shirt to cook in. 🙂 Watch the video here, if you’re interested.

Freezer Cooking Day

Freezer Cooking Day

After I finished the Homemade Energy Bites, I then moved on to making Homemade Biscuits. I use the recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook — one of my very favorite basic cookbooks in existence and a cookbook I think every cook needs to own!

I accidentally mostly melted the butter, so instead of making cut-out biscuits, I made drop biscuits. They may not have looked as pretty, but they tasted just as delicious!

Freezer Cooking Day

Next up, I made the Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins. This was a new-to-me recipe and I was anxious to see how they turned out.

Freezer Cooking Day

I used some of the marked down yogurt I got recently for the Greek yogurt the recipe called for. Mostly because that was all the yogurt we had, but also because I did not like the lime flavoring of these yogurts and was trying to use them up!

Freezer Cooking Day

This recipe is made in the blender — which made it super easy! However, I also noticed that since the batter was a little thick, it got warmed up because of having to blend it for a few minutes on high.

Freezer Cooking Day

Freezer Cooking Day

This meant, that when I added in the chocolate chips, they melted somewhat due to the warmed up batter. It gave a sort of swirled look to the muffins — which was different than I was expecting.

Honestly, I might be weird, but I prefer chocolate chunks in my muffins to chocolate swirls, so I thought that was a drawback to this recipe.

Screenshot 2016-08-12 22.27.14

The biscuits were delicious (of course I had to “taste-test” one warm from the oven!), but the Banana Muffins were a bit of a let-down. I think it’s because they are gluten-free and the flour in them is oat flour. It just isn’t as fluffy and yummy as it would be with regular flour.

Oh well. Not all recipes can be homeruns, right? And if you’re gluten-free, it’s definitely a pretty good recipe to try.

Freezer Cooking Day

Freezer Cooking Day

Freezer Cooking Day

Next, I made the Carrot Cake Waffles. I devoted a whole post to these because this was the surprising favorite of the Freezer Cooking Day.

If you’re looking for a new twist on waffles, have some extra carrots to use up, or are looking for ways to sneak more veggies into recipes, go try this recipe! All my family really loved it!

Freezer Cooking Day

Freezer Cooking Day

And finally, I made Homemade Chicken Nuggets. (Can you believe it was my first time to make Chicken Nuggets?)

These were easy and quick to make, but I think that next time around, I won’t bother to cut them in chunks. My family would like them just as well if I just sprinkled all the ingredients on top and coated chicken tenderloins and baked them.

Freezer Cooking Day

If you’re interested, you can watch my quick video here — complete with spilled muffin batter on my shirt! — where I show you all of the finished recipes!

I Need Your Feedback!

I’d love to hear from you! If you followed me along for this Freezer Cooking Day, could you give me your honest feedback? Did you like me posting on Snapchat and Facebook Live? What would you like to see more of? How would like for me to blog/post about these Freezer Cooking Days?

I’d love to hear your feedback and input and suggestions. So much has changed in social media since when I was regularly live-blogging my Freezer Cooking and I’m trying to determine the best way to conduct these sessions so that it’s fairly simple for me, but also fun and inspiring for you all. Let me know in the comments!

Who wants to do some freezer cooking??

Join Me For Some Freezer Cooking!

So, at l-o-n-g last, I’m bringing back the “live-blogging” of Freezer Cooking today. I’m not sure exactly how this is going to go down and I’m going to have to find my new groove, but we’re just going to jump out and try it and we’ll figure it out as we go, okay?

From 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. this afternoon/evening, I plan to do some Freezer Cooking and I’d love for you to join me!

I’ll be making:

My hope is that I can get all of these made and the kitchen cleaned up in 2 hours. We’ll see! 🙂

I’ll be doing some quick videos on Facebook Live as well as sharing some videos/pictures on SnapChat. And then, when I’m finished cooking, I’ll do a wrap-up post with pictures and details on Friday to let you know how the Freezer Cooking went.

Want to join me? You can either just follow along vicariously by reading the post/watching the videos or you can actually join me in your kitchen and do some of your own freezer cooking. If you’re planning to do some freezer cooking yourself, leave a comment to let me know what you’ll be making. Let’s inspire one another and keep each other accountable!

And I’ll see you over on Facebook Live/Snapchat at 4:30 p.m.-ish!