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Freezer Cooking Day: Prep Work, Blueberry Pancakes, and oops, we ran out of bowls!

How’s the Freezer Cooking Day going at your house? My sister Gretchen, came to help me and we began our cooking around 9:15 a.m.

(After I made out my plan, I started panicking a little because I wasn’t sure how I could pull off making 25 meals in five hours with three little children underfoot. So I “bribed” my sister to come by telling her I’d send some of the food home with her so she wouldn’t have to cook as much in March! I’m sure she would have come without the bribe–because she’s nice like that–but I’m sure the bribe didn’t hurt anything!)

I got started on the Prep Work list while Gretchen started in on making the Butterhorns since those are a little more time-intensive.

We decided to double the Butterhorn recipe, which probably wasn’t the best idea seeing as it made a massive amount of dough and was a little hard to knead and work with. But she managed to pull it off.

While the dough was rising, Gretchen finished mixing up the Blueberry Pancakes. I already had the dry ingredients mixed up for her, so she just had to add in the wet ingredients. I told her to let me know how many eggs the recipe took since we were running short on eggs and I wanted to make sure we had enough to go around. That’s when we both realized the recipe didn’t list eggs as one of the ingredients (Do you see eggs listed here? Are we going blind?)

I finished up all the Prep Work and then got ready to make the Cheeseburger Meatloaf. Only there was one big problem: we realized that my two big bowls were up on top of the refrigerator with dough rising in them. So there was nothing for me to mix up the meatloaf in. Oops. I guess that I’m not really set up for this two-people-working-in-the-kitchen thing. Maybe I should look for some more big bowls the next time I’m at the thrift store?

Since I couldn’t sit around and wait for the dough to finish rising, I finally opted to mix up the meatloaf in a 9×13 pan. It worked, albeit not quite as great as a bowl would.

Next up: Brown-Bag Burritos and Chicken and Red Bean Burritos

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  • Cheryl Rector says:

    Is that Coconut oil that you mixed in with the meatloaf recipe? I never would have thought of that, but it’s a good way to get some of that in there! Thanks for the tip.

  • Jasmin says:

    I am just finishing up with 3 dozen blueberry pancake muffins and moving to strawberry swirl pancake muffins…yummy!

  • CountryMama says:

    We’re up and at ’em early this morning too. Here’s my update:

  • Allison says:

    You crack me up! I too have run out of bowls on big cooking days and had to get creative. Baking dishes work, especially if you’re gonna cook that food in the dish! Save on dirty dishes later, too!

  • I’m about half-way done… maybe a bit less. But I worked through the night on a caffeine buzz from church coffee and I’m fading fast!

  • janet says:

    man you are impressive! hubby broke my favorite big bowl making breakfast one morning 🙁 yay for helping sis!

  • Karen says:

    I mix my meatloaf or meatballs in my big kitchen aid mixer or food processor. That cuts down on hand work!

    • Sonya says:

      I totally agree!! I never mix meatloaf by hand any more. It is quick, easy and you don’t freeze your hands mixing. Added bonus: not scrubbing your fingertips off to get the meat mix from under your nails! =)

  • 703Traci says:

    I’m new to this. What is Freezer Cooking?

    • Susan says:

      @703Traci, Freezer cooking is prepping and/or preparing meals or parts of meals in advance to save time and money. Crystal and FishMama have written a few great posts within the last week about freezer cooking. I haven’t tried it yet, but reading about it sure is encouraging!

  • Bethany says:

    I’ve been wondering what exactly is a butterhorn?! some type of roll I’m guessing – can you post the recipe? Also I think your meatloaf instructions are out of order. I’ve never done freezer cooking days like this, but maybe one of these times I will!

  • Jen D says:

    I work outside the home part-time so I can’t do OAMC today. However, I sent DH and DD on to church yesterday (yes, I know shame on me for not going too) and got to cooking. I made 2 dozen banana peanut butter chip/chocolate chip muffins; 3+ cups of shredded chicken; browned 3.5 pounds of ground beef and onions; 1 BBQ dump chicken; 2 chicken pot pie fillings (minus the liquid ingredients) and the brown bag burrito recipe you are currently making (I cut the recipe in half for our family of three). I didn’t try the filling while it was cooking, but it smelled HEAVENLY!! I would have also made crab bisque to freeze but couldn’t find two of the required ingredients at the store. I’ll try another store tonight and may make that one yet this evening.
    This was my first attempt at freezer cooking and I am very proud of myself.

  • Saver Queen says:

    I’ve actually been focusing my efforts on freezer cooking for a while now. This winter I’ve made a ton of soups, stews, cabbage rolls, lasagnas, quiches, and pizzas for the freezer, and have blanched and frozen whatever extra vegetables I have. I can’t believe how much easier it’s made meal planning. I love it!

  • Ann says:

    I love to check out your freezer cooking days. We are leaving town in a few days, so I am not participating. Hopefully, I will be participating on my own when we get back.

    Crystal- do you freeze your rolls?

    • Crystal says:

      @Ann, I’ll share how to do the Make-Ahead Butterhorns and freeze and cook them this afternoon. It’s a really wonderful recipe!

  • Caitlin says:

    When I buy ground beef the first thing I do when I get home is separate the meat into Ziploc bags in 1lb increments. Then, when it’s time to prepare the meat it’s super easy to just pull out a lb of meat. My favorite thing about this method is how it aids in making meatloaf; you can simply mix the meatloaf in the bag! Just add all the ingredients, close the bag, and give it a few good squeezes. It’s helps save time and keeps your kitchen quite a bit neater. Hope this helps! 🙂

    • Patti says:

      @Caitlin, I also divide my ground beef into one pound per freezer bag… but I also use a rolling pin to flatten it. It takes up a lot less room and defrosts very quickly if you forget to take it out!

  • Missy says:

    First thank you so much for your wonderful site, I check it several times a day and it is soooo helpful.

    I know you like to try new receipes and that simple is good!
    When I make my meatloaf I really simplify!
    I use ground turkey (because it is cheaper than beef)
    Mix in eggs and breadcrumbs and ……
    A jar of salsa
    That’s it! everything is already chopped and mixed and it tastes great.

  • Brittany D. says:

    I subscribe via Google reader and e-mail.

  • Kim says:

    I have made 26 meals with 4 little ones 5 and under (all of them actually had the diahrea sickness that went around at the same time that day) so it can be done! I am a little crazy though. 🙂 but having meals already for the next month is great!! I have a ton of bowls since I sell Tupperware so if you ladies need more bowls, I’m your girl! They have huge ones that really help when we have 2 people making so many meals. I just love cooking this way and want to say good job to you all!! and I’m definately going to be trying the baking method of cooking chicken! Thanks for the tip!!

  • Kim says:

    and we also have been doing out meatloafs in muffin tins and making them little individual ones and making two different kinds. This last time we did a mushroom one and a bbq one. Then made mashed potatoes the same way and have individual portions for dinner or lunches even!

  • Micha says:

    No, you and your sister aren’t crazy. I didn’t see eggs listed in the ingredient list either and I checked on my phone and desktop.

    If we lived closer you could borrow some of my bowls. I have more than I have space for.

  • Kimberly says:

    I actually use soy flour as an egg substitute in things like pancakes, waffels, muffins, etc. One heaping tablespoon soy flour and one tablespoon water equals one egg. I love it. Its cheeper than eggs and I can save the eggs for places I really need them – like meatloaf or breakfast.

  • Kristin says:

    I noticed “boil noodles for lasagna” on your list. I never boil the noodles! It saves a lot of time and a dirty pot, and it makes the cheese mixture way easier to spread on the dry noodles. My mom never boiled them, so I don’t either. They are not tough or chewy at all. As a matter of fact, nowadays you can buy ‘no boil’ noodles. My mom always used the regular ones though without boiling.

  • Crystal, I used 2 eggs in the blueberry pancake recipe. Now I’m feeling guilty because I meant to tweet you about that the night I made them. Sorry!

  • Jennifer Kaiser says:

    Nope, there weren’t any eggs in that recipe. Totally weird!

  • Jill says:

    Would love to try some of these recipes ~ thank you!

  • Annette says:

    There are only 4 in my family but I work full time and often do not get home until 5:30. I don’t want to eat hamburger helper every night because of time limits so I like to cook some things in bulk that I can use later. Usually hamburger, chicken and rice. (Not on the grand scale that you ladies do but after reading your posts for the last several months, I am getting up the energy to do more) I do not have a lot of large bowls but I use my my turkey roaster (top & bottom) to mix a large amount of hamburger at one time. For example, I’m going to make some meatballs, meatloaf, stuffed cabbage and stuffed peppers. Because, I start with the same basic ingredients hamburger, onion, salt and pepper I will mix them in the roaster and then divide the mix into smaller portions (smaller bowls), add the ingredients that make each recipe unique and I’m on my way. I like this combo for hamburger because I cook some in the oven, some in the roaster and some in pressure cookers. Sometimes when our grocery store has hamburger really inexpensive I will buy 30 or 40 pounds and just cook it (each pan fits over 2 burners). Some I leave plain and some I season (taco seasoning, etc.) and then freeze 1-2 pounds per freezer bag. I do the same thing with boneless skinless chicken breasts when they are on sale. I partially thaw and then cut into 1 inch cubes, strips or whatever size I need, cook it in the turkey roaster (top & bottom), season and freeze. I work alone so sometimes after cooking the 30-40 pounds of meat I’m wiped out but when I come home after work and can whip together a tasty dinner that saves me even 30 minutes of prep work it is worth it. The other thing I like to do, is when I bring my meat (like country ribs) home from the store, I like to cut it to a size that will fit in my pressure cooker so that if I have to cook from frozen, it will fit in the pan.

  • Hey there! I have a weird tip for you 🙂 My grandma who is the cleanest woman on the planet will sanitize the kitchen sink and use that as the biggest mixing bowl, plus it’s super easy to clean, sanitize, and start again 🙂 IMO !!! I only did burger yesterday because we still have so much in the freezer. I have not been living off the pantry yet 🙂 We are newbies!! I am trying my hand at bread as well and I can never get it to rise as well as everyone else seems to. Thanks Chick!!!

  • Jodi W says:

    I sometimes just use a large pot when I run out of large bowls.

  • Crystal says:

    I am always so impressed with all of your freezer cooking. I can’t wait till we buy our new house and I have a full kitchen so I can start doing my own freezer cooking days!

  • Stacie says:

    I am new to this freezer cooking thing and have really enjoyed all your blogs on the subject. We are moving into a bigger house to better fit our growing family and have to start cutting down on the budget by not buying just whatever we want at whatever price they are asking. I have learned so much! I do have a question though. When you are making the pancakes, do you cook them and freeze them cooked? Just take out, thaw/heat, and serve or do you freeze the batter uncooked?


  • tammy says:

    so how many eggs did you use in the pancakes??

  • Kimberly says:

    I love how you “keep it real” and tell us about your mistakes, as well as your successes. I’ve seen so many comments where people call you “super woman” or whatever….you are just like us. Only perhaps a little more well known, thx to this blog! Thanks from one “regular girl” to another!

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