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Freezer Cooking in an Hour: Homemade Granola Bars & Homemade Egg McMuffins

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time for another Freezer Cooking in an Hour play-by-play post. I did the cooking this afternoon, because I made homemade soap with my sister yesterday afternoon (I’ll post more about that adventure tomorrow!).


1:40 — I crack the eggs and stick them in the pan to bake in the oven. While I’m doing this, Jesse calls to talk to me about the cover graphic for my book that my publisher just sent over and I’d emailed him to look at. (We’ve been going back and forth with my publisher doing some revisions to the cover art and they sent the final image through today. I wanted to make sure he was okay with it before I gave it a thumb’s up.) He was getting ready to head into court and could only talk for a minute, but we got things squared away.

1:45 — I put the eggs in the oven and look up the granola bars recipe. Kaitlynn plays Starfall on my computer while Silas is in and out of the kitchen.

Kathrynne finishes making her boats for our homeschooling project (we’re studying Christopher Columbus this week, so we made boats to float in the bathtub as a fun hands-on project.)

(In case you’re wondering what’s under the blanket, that’s my homemade soap curing. I’m not supposed to move it until tomorrow, so it’s stuck on our kitchen table for now!)

1:55 — While the liquid ingredients for the granola bars are melting and being brought to a boil on the stove, I clean up the mess that was leftover at the kitchen table from the boat-making project.

1:57 — One of the children starts having a bad attitude and needs to be dealt with. My assistant comes upstairs to ask me a question about something. I completely forget that I have ingredients simmering on the stove.

2:00 — What is that bad smell?? Oh no! The butter, honey, and brown sugar have been boiling for three minutes too long! Ack! I run back to the kitchen and take the boiling mixture off the stove and try to redeem it. It looks too hardened and goopy, but I add in the granola and rice crispy cereal.

2:05 — It looks like the granola bars just might fare okay. I pull the eggs out of the oven and transfer the granola bar mixture to a pan.

2:10 — Whatever did the granola bar recipe mean when it said to “gently press” the chocolate chips in? That isn’t working at all. I finally give up and decide to melt them. I stick the pan of granola bars back into the oven for a few minutes.

2:13 — I start trying to get the cooked eggs out of the muffin tin. It looked like such a brilliant idea, but the eggs aren’t coming out of the pan as beautifully as I expected. Oh well, I’ll make it work.

2:15 — I pull the granola bars out of the oven, spread the melted chocolate chips around, and stick them in the refrigerator hoping they can yet be salvaged. I read the Egg McMuffin recipe and realize I was supposed to toast the English muffins while the eggs were cooking. Oops! The toaster will have to do.

2:25 — The Egg McMuffins are finished, so I pull the granola bars back out of the refrigerator to see if I can cut them. Um, that isn’t going to work. Instead of the evenly cut bars I was envisioning, these are cutting into pieces and shapes of all sizes and sorts since it seems too hard. And so much for them being chewy. However, I eat some of the small pieces that break off and decide that even if they don’t look good, they certainly taste good!

2:35 — I resolve to try the Granola Bar recipe again someday in the not-too-distant future (maybe during naptime when I can actually remember to watch pans of stuff that are boiling on the stove?!). I wrap up the Egg McMuffins and stick them in the freezer, clean up the kitchen, and feel grateful that even if everything didn’t turn out like I’d hoped, at least I won’t have to throw any food out this time!

Have you had any freezer cooking adventures or mis-adventures this week?

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163 Comments

  • Laney says:

    Never would have thought of homemade egg McMuffins! My hubby would love this for a quick breakfast in the morning. Thanks for the great idea.

    • Linda G. says:

      Breakfast burritos are really good, too and take about a minute to heat up if thawed in the fridge the night before. For whatever reason I didn’t think of the McMuffins either.

    • Melodie says:

      I have heard that frozen scrambled egg does well, and frozen yolks do well, but whites don’t. I’d be curious to know how the McMuffins are like when you pull them out of the freezer and reheat them. It might be better to do a McMuffin with scrambled eggs than with easy over or whatever unscrambled eggs.

  • Heidi says:

    The Egg McMuffins looked tasty!

  • Paula Freeman says:

    I have been there, trying to do to much at once. Glad they turned out ok.

  • Katie says:

    LOVE The egg mcmuffins…perfect idea for my hubs. Hes a teacher and out the door by 6 every morning. He used to make them in the microwave each morning but they just arent that wonderful!
    I give you props – 3 kids, home schooling, cooking…yikes! I struggle with just my 2 year old at home 🙂
    ~Katie
    http://www.punkinheadsanddoodaloos.blogspot.com

  • Regina says:

    Thanks for the idea for the egg mcmuffins. Sorry you had so much activity going on, but thanks for the laugh. I love homemade granola bars too.

  • Camille Cunnup says:

    I would love to have the recipe for the egg mcmuffin and the gronola bars, I love them both.
    Thanks
    Camille

  • I am so going to do this!! My husband would love this also!! Thank You so much!!

  • Libby says:

    If you freeze these how long do you cook them in the microwave to warm them up?

  • Ann says:

    I tried homemade granola bars a while back. They were delicious, but they definately weren’t very pretty. Instead of bars, it was more like chunks of granola.

    • Chrys says:

      Mine too. I actually used this recipe (and didn’t have the distractions) Interested to see if it goes better the next time.

  • Trish says:

    Every time I make Egg “Cupcakes” I have one pan that sticks like that and one that comes out perfect. NO MATTER WHAT I do. I did a fun little post on my freezer cooking in 39 minutes Monday.

    Ooh and I have a FANTASTIC recipe for high protein granola bars that requires zero attention or time. The kids all love them. The husband loves them.

    • Katrina says:

      I would love your recipe for a high protein granola bar! 🙂

      • Trish says:

        http://wp.me/P1LjCe-bp. Sorry Katrina. I was out of town for a few days. Here is the link :). I am planning to do a quick video tutorial just haven’t gotten to it yet. So easy, you don’t really need one.

      • Trish says:

        If you are trying to keep it all organic you can use organic vanilla hemp protein powder which has a distinctly more nutty flavor anyway, but I just use the regular vanilla we use for our high protein mocha’s in the morning.

        Great alternative to purchasing protein bars for snacks that costs a fraction of the price.

  • Carol says:

    If you break the egg yolks before you bake them, they will cook flatter. You don’t need to stir or anything, just break the yolk with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. My youngest of 3 is now 20, but I certainly do remember the days that things were planned for naptime!

    • Angie says:

      I was going to comment and say the same thing about breaking the egg yolks. In fact, I worked at McDonald’s many years ago, and that’s how they did the eggs for the muffin sandwiches.

      And lots of butter or grease so the eggs don’t stick 😉

      • Elizabeth says:

        *nods* I worked there too when I was younger. What I would love is if I could find a steaming cover like they used at McDonalds too I thought that thing was just neat. I was thinking the same thing as you though grease for how she did it maybe some spray on butter.

  • Beth says:

    I was inspired by you to do a small freezer cooking so my son helped me today. We were going to chop veggies for kabobs later this week, brown 5lbs ground beef with onions and garlic (the start of several meals), get chicken and beef in to marinate, and make rice crispy treats. I am not sure what I was thinking but since my son was browning the meat in the big pot on the stove I though I would do the marshmallows and butter in the microwave. What was I thinking?!?!?! They turned out ok (a little too sweet) but the clean up was a mess. Everything else worked out really well but I learned a great lesson.

  • Becky says:

    I love these posts! Out of curiosity, did you spray the muffin tins with pam or equivilant before you put them in the oven?

    • Crystal says:

      I used palm oil shortening. I’m wondering if butter would work better. Or regular shortening?

      • I have a silicone pan, I wonder if it would be easier to get the eggs out of that.

        • Mary Jo says:

          I bet it would. I have a silicon muffin pan someone gave us when we got married, and nothing has ever stuck to it at all. I’ve made crustless mini-quiches in it and they came out fine, so I don’t see why a plain egg would stick. 🙂

          • Elizabeth says:

            What do you do to your silicon muffin pan? I bought one and everything sticks and falls to pieces I have to be missing a trick somewhere so maybe if I can figure that out I’ll go find where I stashed the thing since it’s suppose to be cute Easter eggs.

          • Michelle says:

            If your pan makes “cute easter eggs” then it might only be meant as a Jello mold rather than a silicone pan for baking in. That might be why stuff is sticking.

      • Dee2 says:

        Would it make a difference if the pan and oil were hot? What if you put it in the oven for a couple of minutes with the oil in the muffin wells? That’s the trick to popovers not sticking.

      • Lea Stormhammer says:

        I just use spray oil (regular vegetable oil in a kitchen sprayer) to grease my muffin tins before baking the eggs. If I thoroughly coat the muffin spaces, I can get them to slide out with ease. We usually scramble them before we bake them though, don’t know if that makes a difference.

        Lea

  • Cassi says:

    I think I am going to give the egg muffins a try! I resolve to do some freezer cooking next summer! May even try to do some over Christmas break. The school year gets a bit too crazy but it sure would be nice to make some of these things to get us through those really crazy couple of months!

  • Mary in Ohio says:

    Wow you were busy today! I waited until naptime so to my projects for the day, I made homemade raspberry jam and homemade cherry jam today. (This week is jams and jellies for me so far I have done 2 batches of red raspberry jam, 1 batch of cherry jam, 1 batch of seedless red raspberry jelly and 1 batch of strawberry jam still have 2 batches of peach jam and 1 batch of peach pit jelly to go tomorrow and Monday)

    • Stephanie says:

      Mary in Ohio ~ I can jams and jellies like crazy too. What is peach pit jelly…never heard of that one. Don’t you love the way the kitchen smells after all those jams and jellies get done!

  • Lisette says:

    We just started playing Starfall at our house too! My girls love it. : )

    Nice work on the cooking!

  • Bonnie says:

    Keep the cooking posts coming. I love how you are so REAL You should have your own show on the food network. No editing allowed lol. I would choose watching you over any of those perfection ones.

    • MPayShnt says:

      I completely agree with you!

    • Audrey says:

      I agree too. I like the chefs on the food network. But, to have someone so REAL like moneysavingmom would be encouraging and refreshing.

      • Crystal says:

        You all are way too kind! Cameras–especially the live video ones–freak me out (I’m working on that, but it’s slow going!). And I’m pretty sure that the fact that many of recipe attempts fail sorta disqualifies me from being a potential Food Network candidate. 🙂

    • TiaZhan says:

      Reality is needed in the food cooking shows. You teach us what may go wrong and how to overcome it. We feel united with your struggles that we all share. Thanks for keeping it real!

  • Jeanie C says:

    Next time just make an “all egg” open face omelet and cut it to fit the muffins after cooking.

    • Michelle says:

      I made bacon, egg & cheese biscuits today and that’s exactly how I did the eggs. Beat them up with some milk and cooked them in my electric skillet. Cut them to fit my biscuits and voila!!! 🙂

  • Sandra G says:

    When I make my homemade granola bars, I mix mini chocolate chips right into the bowl with the other ingredients (last), before I bake them. I find that the trick to getting the bars to hold together is to REALLY press the mixture into the greased pan before baking…pack it well.

    • Dee2 says:

      I make a bar cookie that is similar to granola bars. If I line the pan with “release” foil, lift out the whole block onto a cutting board, then cut, it makes a big difference.

  • jess says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one that has cooking mishaps! 🙂

  • Catherine says:

    Why do you use palm oil and coconut oil in your recipes? My understanding is that vegetable and olive oil would be healthier options. Am I incorrect?

    • Crystal says:

      There are differing schools of thought, but I’ve done quite a bit of research and believe coconut oil and palm oil to be healthier fats. However, feel free to do whatever works for your family or whatever you feel the most comfortable with!

      • Catherine says:

        Not critical, just curious – thanks for the reply. I had looked into coconut oil after you had mentioned it and found some interesting articles about the differences in fats that I had not previously known.

      • Davonne says:

        Where do you get palm and coconut oil? I’m interested in trying them!

        • I shop at Indian stores(obviously because of my ethnicity)) but they are readily available there …pure coconut oil is real yummy and it makes a difference to our cooking…

        • Lindsey says:

          Whole foods has coconut oil. just make sure it is the extra virgin coconut oil. you can also but it on amazon in bulk for a very good price!

        • The cheapest place I’ve found coconut oil is at the Amish store that is on the way to my parent’s house. Obviously, it would depend on where you live, for whether that would be available to you. But sometimes I’ve found that specialty/ethnic stores have the best prices on stuff like that, so I’d call around.

        • Debbie says:

          I saw organic coconut oil and regular at Wal-mart today! In the baking aisle.

      • Megan says:

        I’m looking forward to trying coconut oil soon, but just wanted to point something out for those who use/are considering using palm oil. Palm oil production is one of the leading causes of deforestation and the subsequent destruction of orangutan (and other animal!) habitat in Indonesia and other parts of SE Asia. Certified sustainable palm oil, or oil sourced from the US (Florida produces it) is a great alternative. I first learned about this problem from my local zoo’s orangutan installation.

        • Kathryn says:

          I use coconut oil, sunflower oil and sesame oil. I have great success keeping things from sticking with sunflower oil.

  • queuepawn says:

    I tried the Egg McMuffins (after seeing your link in your menu plan) and ended up with a mess in the cookie tin too. I’ve managed to scrub out three of the spots, and the pan is soaking now. I sprayed the bottom, but not the sides. Next time, I think I’ll try greasing them with butter or margarine instead of spraying them.

    I want to try the homemade granola bars. Thanks for so many creative ideas. 🙂

  • Crystal I did not know your book was ready for purchase yet!!! Woohoo!! Congrats I must have missed that post. Will be getting that with next paycheck 🙂

    This past weekend I made 27 breakfast sandwiches. I make them in batches on my indoor griddle. It took me about 40 minutes to make and prepapre them for the freezer. My hubs LOVES them and so do I. It makes mornings so much easier when I can just grab and go.

    I wrote a “How To” post last week on making and freezing my breakfast sandwiches. Here is the link in case anyone is interested http://www.skinnymomskitchen.com/2011/08/11/how-to-make-freeze-and-reheat-a-breakfast-sandwich-basic-egg-bacon-and-cheese-recipe/

    It is such a basic recipe but people seem to really like it.

    • Crystal says:

      I haven’t posted about it yet because we’re waiting for the cover image and a few other things to fall into place before I make the big pre-order blog post announcement. Thanks so much for your excitement; it’s all so surreal and amazing. I feel humbled, honored, and just plain ecstatic about it all!! 🙂

      Thanks so much for the post about your breakfast sandwiches!

  • Amanda says:

    I press my granola bars into muffin tins, then just pop them out after I’ve baked them. No yummy crumbs to eat, but they stay whole! Also works well with mini loaf pans, but that makes kind of a big bar.

  • We made banana muffins and biscuit mix for the freezer and some sour dough biscuit dough that can store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Not that I’ve ever had it last that long, but theoretically…

    By the way, when I’ve made some granola bars that were similar I quadrupled the recipe. The bars were so hard we had to break them instead of cut them.

  • Emma says:

    It all looks great. Amazing how much you can do in such a short time if you have a plan.

  • T-Wan says:

    Love the egg mcmuffins. I’ve made a batch for the fridge but never thought about putting them in the freezer. Do you just microwave them for a minute and eat?

  • I’ve never thought to freeze the egg and cheese sandwiches, we will sometimes make them in the morning if there is enough time. If I make them ahead and freeze them I could just pop one in the toaster oven while I’m getting ready. Brilliant!!
    I’m also going to give homemade granola bars a shot. My dad found a recipe in our newspaper that I’m going to try, I just bought a few of the ingredients I’ll need at a local Amish store. I’ll be sure to write a post on how it turns out!

  • Karen says:

    I am very excited about the granola recipe. I am hoping to try it tomorrow! My daughter has food allergies and one of the things she had to give up was granola bars because they all seem to have high fructose corn syrup (corn is one of her allergies) and/or peanuts (another allergy) in them. I know all about planning what to do during nap time! Your blog is wonderful and I love how you keep everything real!

    • Karla says:

      My son has food allergies as well. I made the granola bars today substituting for the dairy ingredients. They were a big hit but a little too soft. I think I needed to pack them more.

    • I’m excited about this granola too (and everything IS better with chocolate!). I also have food allergies (wheat and dairy), so I’ll be replacing the butter with coconut oil. I’ve dramatically increased my oatmeal intake after discovering my allergies a few weeks ago, and I’m already getting sick of just “plain ole oatmeal” – it’ll be fun to experiment!

  • marie says:

    I notice that everyone was talking about these two recipes( which I can not wait to try.) However, I did attempt the fruit leather earlier this week and my husband shut the door to the oven while I was taking our daughter to school and went the grocery store never less they were burned and tasted as bad as the look. I can’t wait to try it again but i will not be leaving him in charge of watching my freezer cooking again.

  • Donna says:

    I make “bologna cups” and “(turkey)bacon cups”.

    Spray the tins, line them with bacon, pour in the egg, and bake the same.

    With the bologna cups, you will need to heat the bologna in a fry pan for a few seconds (or microwave) so it will ‘bowl’ for you. (If you just force it in the muffin pan it won’t form a bowl very well.) But do it the same, spray you tins, line with the bologna (turkey too if you like), pour in your eggs, and bake until set.
    http://momsfrugal.blogspot.com/2008/08/bologna-cups-kids-fave.html

    • Ashleigh says:

      bologna and eggs are the only thing my 3 year old eats. the moment she wakes up she is asking for bologna. I can’t wait to try this to surprise her!

  • Koree says:

    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chewy-granola-bars/detail.aspx

    This is an excellent recipe. I add craisins to it if I have them on hand.

  • Renee says:

    I love making make ahead egg muffins but had enver thought to use the muffin tin, I think despite you difficulties that is actually a great idea. What about silicone muffins liners first. It would make for more washing up buthopefully less sticking.

  • I am trying to perfect my granola/clif bar no bake recipe and am struggling with it too 🙂 I have ended up with just plain granola (would not stick together) and overcooked sugar mixture, too (several times)- with super crunchy results.

    But I am still trying.. I found this recipe the other day and her method looks pretty good.. you might want to try it. I will be the next time.

    http://freezeyourwayfit.blogspot.com/2011/03/clean-eating-healthy-homemade-granola.html

    jen

  • Pam says:

    One more idea for the egg muffins. Insted of bacon or sausage use deli ham. Spray you pan with cooking spray. Fold or cut your ham slice to make a cup in the muffin pan, scramble your eggs, pour them on top of the ham, add a slice of cheese and bake @350 til the eggs are cooked through.

    • Denise says:

      I like this idea and will try it when I buy more eggs. Any idea how long it takes to bake?

    • Rachel says:

      We do almost the same thing. The only difference is that we just crack an egg into the ham bowl and then poke the yoke with a fork for even cooking. That way my husband still gets his “yoky” egg and it doesn’t stick in the tin.

  • carrie says:

    This is my favorite MSM post this year! So funny.

    I didn’t know your assistant worked with you at home instead of remotely. That’s cool.

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, as of the end of January (when I started writing my book), I’ve been very blessed to have an in-house assistant. It has been a huge help to have a non-virtual assistant at this season of my life! 🙂

  • chelsea says:

    I made the egg mcmuffins from your link yesterday, and I used my silicon baking cups. I didn’t even have to coat them first, and they came out easily! Those things were SO GOOD.

    I don’t know which is worse- a toddler’s tantrums or a preschooler’s bad attitude! We deal with both on a regular basis around here 🙂

  • christina says:

    I make something very similar to those- but for some reason I don’t like looking at the yolks cooked that way, or when you warm them… so when I put them in I give them a teeny little “scramble” with a fork, like poke the yolk and stir once… and they cook up really well. Just FYI- maybe I’m the only one that has a thing about the yolks? 🙂

  • Kristen says:

    My best friend and I had a cooking marathon today. We each took away 16 homemade breakfast hot pockets, 8 lasagna rolls (with homemade noodles), 2+ dozen PW cinnamon rolls, 2 pints of homemade goldfish crackers, and 1 1/2 dozen homemade Magnolia Bakery recipe Vanilla Vanilla cupcakes. I think we’ll both sleep well tonight! 🙂

  • Mary Jo says:

    Laura at Heavenly Homemakers has a really yummy no-bake granola bar recipe. I’ve made it several times, and they are delicious! and SO easy to throw together.

    http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/homemade-chewy-granola-bars-without-corn-syrup

    • Stephanie says:

      I use this recipe all the time and it is a winner!!! We like to change up what we add with the oats. So far coconut and chocolate chips are the favorite, but they are always delicious 🙂

    • MaryEllen says:

      I like her recipe, but when I use chocolate chips, the bars get all melty and gooey and sticky unless I store them in the fridge. Also, I can’t keep the chocolate from melting when I stir the chips in. Did you have any problems?

      • Stephanie says:

        The chocolate chips did melt, but I liked that about it because every bite has a little bit of chocolate. I do end up adding a little bit more oats when I use chocolate, and that helps with the gooey and sticky problem. I store them in the fridge until I cut them. Then I wrap them individually and store in the pantry.

      • Mary Jo says:

        When I’ve made them, I’ve used chocolate chunks instead of chips and they haven’t melted during stirring. But, I can’t see why the shape of the chocolate would make any difference in that regard.

        I store them in the fridge even after they’re cut.

  • Jennifer says:

    HOmemade egg mcmuffins are on my list for this weekend, except I don’t have any cheese, so it might wait until next week. Hadn’t thought to cook the eggs in a muffin tin. Did you spray it with pam first? I think I would wisk the egg with a fork first or my husband wouldn’t eat them, he can’t stand eggs looking the way yours looked, although I prefer it that way. Yum!

  • deseray yeo-jones says:

    I made the granola bars you linked to. Mine came out pretty good. They were chewy, almost falling apart, and easy to cut. I pressed the mixture into the pan, waited 20-30 min. then cut into bars. Don’t put in the fridge, it gets too hard. Also, just sprinkle the chips on top, (I used mini’s) and press down. They’ll sort of melt into the bars. Hope this helps.

  • Here is an easy granola bar recipe. Mine never spreads the full 9 x 13 pan size, but they are amazing! After cutting, let them cool and put them in storage bags or wrap them in parchment paper. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Playgroup-Granola-Bars/Detail.aspx

  • mary says:

    thanks so much for sharing. i like to make sausage egg mc muffins but never thought to do the eggs like that. what temp and how long do i put them in the oven?

  • Stephanie says:

    At my house we call them ‘Egg McMom’s’ My kids LOVE them! I never did the eggs in a muffin pan before though (we usually use scrambled).

  • Jennifer says:

    Made a double batch of WW waffles(second time this week) and 1 1/2 loaves of French toast. Need to do granola bars,banana bread/muffins next week.

  • Kim D says:

    My last attempt at making granola was a big fail, but we ate it any way. It came out too hard to eat as a bar, and was hard enough to break a tooth. I just didn’t want to waste the ingrediants. With the food chopper, I ground it up. Then we sprinkled it onto things like ice cream (home made), yogurt and oatmeal, cereal, etc. It had great flavor. The rest I froze in small batches for later.

    I’ve make the egg sandwishes before, but used a small glass bowl. Inever thought to mass make them with a muffin tin. I can’t wait to make some this week.

    I can’t wait to buy your book! Congrats on finishing it, Crystal.

  • Courtney says:

    We make homemade egg mcmuffins all the time & my kids love them! I cook the eggs in a skillet on the stove and it is so easy. Just my opinion, but cooking the eggs in the oven seems like it would be kind of a pain!

  • My baking days usually include at least one minor crisis, you did great with all three children in the kitchen! I keep telling my hubby that Paula Deen & Martha Stewart would be so much more impressive if they could bake up a few recipes while my kiddos hang out at their feet 🙂

    I can’t wait to try out the Egg McMuffin idea – thanks so much for sharing!

  • Amie says:

    I’d always been intimidated by freezer cooking until my cousin introduced me to this blog. I love the concept of freezer cooking in an hour. I’m not that efficient, but since I’ve headed back to work (I’m a full-time teacher during the school year/stay-at-home mom during the summer), I’ve started weekend freezer cooking. I do 2-3 recipes while my baby naps. It saves so much time during the work week and makes everything less stressful. I love it! I’ve been inspired to try new recipes and really get to use my bread machine for more than just bread (hamburger buns, bread sticks, pizza dough). While things are baking or mixing, I plan my grocery shopping or get some housework done. It has made it so I can really spend quality time with my kids during the work week . It was just what I needed. Thanks!

    • Me too, Amie. When the weekend comes, I can’t wait to get in the kitchen and work on stocking the freezer. This weekend it’s zucchini bread, pizza dough, and strombolis. I used to spend an ENTIRE Saturday in the kitchen, but now it’s so much easier to make a few thing on the weekend over a few hours time. Then, my freezer is constantly stocked…sort of like stockpiling consistently with dry goods.

      • Amie says:

        Carrie, I love zucchini bread. I haven’t made that in years. Your weekend’s list is similar to what I made last week: banana bread, pizza dough, and calzones. lol. I mostly focus on baked goods because I enjoy baking. This weekend, I think I’ll make a few quick and super-easy frozen meals for when my husband will cook and the kids won’t cooperate, some kind of desert option, and I’m going to try homemade english muffins. It’s always fun to see how things turn out.

  • Casey says:

    A suggestion for granola bars. By far the BEST and most FLEXIBLE granola bar recipe I have found is on allrecipes.com

    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-granola-bars/detail.aspx

    Basically it’s just:
    3 cups quick-cooking oats
    1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
    2 tablespoons butter, melted
    + 3 1/2 cups of “whatever”

    Some suggestions for the “whatever:”
    1 cup flaked coconut
    1 cup sliced almonds
    1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

    I have done a variety of combinations, chocolate chip and peanuts and peanut butter. Chocolate chips, almonds, dried fruit of some sort. If you read the comments there are SEVERAL suggestions of how to vary this recipe. I love playing in the kitchen and this really let’s me play! I also have added protein powder and/or wheat germ. Possibilities are endless.

    Oh, if you want to reduce the calories, you CAN use evaporated milk. That’s what I generally use and it turns out just fine. Depending what your other ingrediants are, I might recommend adding a little sugar or something more sweet (honey perhaps?) Still ends up being less calories than the sweetened condensed milk.

  • Sabrina says:

    I haven’t made anything for the freezer in a while, I have no time :0) I did try homemade granola bars a few months ago, and they sort of crumbled when I tried to cut them. I ended up using them as yogurt toppings, and my son and nephew loved it! Thanks for posting about the egg mcmuffins, you’ve inspired me to do that again. I used to do that for my husband all the time. I love the idea of cooking them in muffin tins. Oh, and, THANK YOU for the play by play. I can never figure out what to do with the kids when I want to accomplish anything (cleaning, cooking, new sewing hobby…). I really need to do the busy bag thing :0)

  • Suzy says:

    We make these McMuffins all the time but do so on the fly.

    Put one scrammed egg with a few drops of water or milk in the microwave for 30-50 seconded depending on your microwave. (The milk or water help the egg from sticking to the side of the bowl.)

    Toast the english muffin and grad the cheese while everything is cooking.

    Takes all of 3 minutes for everything including toasting and clean-up.

  • Heather says:

    We make homemade egg mcmuffins all the time. I follow the method I saw on onceamonthmom dot com. I beat the eggs and pour them into a greased 9×11 glass dish. I then just cut them into squares and add them to the sandwiches. No problems with sticking.

  • Audrey says:

    I really would like to try your egg muffins recipe – please let us know how they tasted! I have used your breakfast burrito recipe twice, making them for 2 large crowds: 1) my husband’s men’s group at church: 2) our sunday school class. Both times they turned out delish and both groups really enjoyed them. The leftover burrito were given to my husband to enjoy at the office when he rushes out of the house in the early a.m. and doesn’t have time for bkfst. So, I look forward to trying the egg muffins. Thanks, moneysavingmom.

  • Amy says:

    I can relate to this post a lot!

    I am going to try those granola bars. My husband loves quaker granola bars, but not only are they expensive, they have ingredients I don’t want to feed my family.

  • Andrea says:

    Hello! Love the idea for the breakfast sandwiches! My 3 kiddos LOVE these granola bars and they are easy. Combine 1 cup melted butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 cup honey (fresh local honey seems to be the best), 1 tsp vanilla. In another bowl, combine 5 cups oats (quick oats seem to work better)1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt. Pour honey mixture over dry and stir. Add in 1/2 cup chocolate chips and/or whatever add ins your family likes. Press into a greased 9X13 pan and bake 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool. Cut lengthwise and then into bars. SUPER!!

  • Dineen says:

    Starfall.com is wonderful. My 3 3/4 year-old really enjoys that site and will even ask for specific learning videos from it. We started using that early phonics/reading site for over a year now. She was very interested in learning her ABCs.

  • Carmalina says:

    LOVE this idea, I have a few suggestions…try spraying the muffin pan with Pam or any other non stick spray…or try lining the muffin pan with aluminum foil..or even aluminum foil cup cake liners.

    I’m going to try this with regular eggs and Egg beaters….I can’t wait, I have a new idea for dinner tonight!!!! (love breakfast for dinner)

  • I don’t really doing a planned hour of cooking, but when I find a meat sale I will go ahead and brown down the ground beef with onions and portion it out for meals and then freeze it, or cook and shred chicken, or make a meatloaf, etc. It makes for quick meal prep without having to have a certain meal – cooked beef and chicken can be defrosted in 3-5 minutes and used for many things from soup to tacos. (Last night we had supper ready in 15 minutes since I used already cooked meat.) We take Mondays off of school for a shopping/library/cooking day so I can take advantage or markdowns and sales (we do school through the summer so its not a problem to miss a day a week.)
    I also try to find a variety of ways to use the ingredients in my pantry, particularly if I get a lot, so I have a list of meal ideas. Many times I enjoy trying new things and getting creative with dinner, but sometimes its nice to just be able to grab something and not have to think about what to fix.

  • Ginger says:

    Enjoyed this post. You are an inspiration as an organizer and planner, and I appreciate that…but I also appreciate you sharing the “real-life” moments you experience. Thanks! Hoping to find a good recipe for gluten-free English muffins so I can try the Egg McMuffin recipe!

  • BethB says:

    I made granola bars using this recipe:
    http://www.goodlifeeats.com/2011/01/molasses-and-ginger-granola-bars.html

    They turned out chewy and did cut into bars easily. It’s not a particularly frugal recipe though. My bigger problem was that my kids didn’t like them (weirdos!) which was the point to begin with. I gave up on granola and have been making Whole Wheat Graham sqaures from Tammy’s recipes (altering a bit to make them more chewy and adding chocolate chips :)) instead.

    I’ve been working on back to school freezer cooking for a week now. Over the next few days I’ll be making 3-5 pans of enchiladas, spaghetti sauce, and my first attempt at bolognese sauce. Yesterday I made 4 loaves of bread. Today I’ll do zucchini spice muffins and make a plan for more graham squares, waffles, and maybe some cookies.

  • Natalie says:

    Thank you for all of the recipe ideas…and the honesty with which you show us a glimpse of your days. I am so glad that I am not the only one who forgets what I am doing when I am cooking and parenting at the same time. 🙂

    We recently had to go gluten and dairy free, so I am always looking for ideas that can be turned into recipes that will fit into our new menu/diet. I cannot wait to try these granola bars, making them gluten and dairy free, of course. 🙂

  • Rachael says:

    This post made me smile because I know some bachelor brothers who buy Burger King hamburgers, freeze them, and then heat them up in the microwave! Your recipe sounds like a much better way to satisfy that fast food craving 🙂

  • LOL! It’s so nice to know that I’m not the ONLY one who forgets about what’s cooking etc.

    Just the other day I decided to make my own yogurt in a crockpot (which is a very long process) and forgot to add the other 2 ingredients needed to finish it off while it turned into yogurt overnight. I was VERY upset that I had to throw away 8 cups of milk!!!

  • Nancy says:

    My first attempt at making the egg McMuffins wasn’t great. The recipe said to bake them 15 to 20 minutes, and I left them in twenty. Too dry!
    The next time, I left them in 13 minutes and they were great. I put a little butter on the lightly toasted English muffins and cooked some bacon and put the two halves of one piece on the sandwiches, and they were wonderful!

  • Steph says:

    I have been soaking my muffin pan for two days now…..any tips for getting the baked on egg off? I used real butter to grease them with – they popped out ok but the egg white residue is stuck on like glue! The Egg McMuffins are excellent though! Thank you for sharing!

  • Meredith says:

    Oh yeah, I had a huge misadventure. I was making veggie freezer burritos. I was cutting an onion and sliced my finger. Had to go to the ER and I got four stitches. It has just now healed. Got the hospital invoice (before our insurance) and the visit cost $1300. So it will cost us about $300. Talk about a frugal folly!

  • Kathy says:

    I love all the living that goes on in your home 🙂 Thanks for sharing a snapshot of your life with us. Your table cluttered with craft supplies and a home ec project and surrounded by children is so much more beautiful to me than a quiet, clean, sterile, UNLIVED-IN home. Blessings!

    • Crystal says:

      We definitely have the “living” look going on around here. 🙂 I try to remind myself that it means there’s lots of quality time, hands-on learning, and memory-making happening. But sometimes I do long for a magical cleaning fairy. 🙂

      • Lea Stormhammer says:

        A friend of mine was on bedrest with a difficult pregnancy and was feeling very discouraged about the state of her house. One day the doorbell rang and it was her MIL and SIL – both dressed in fancy thrift-store dresses with glitter hair spray and glitter make up, both waving a plastic fairy wand. One was wearing a sign that said “Laundry Fairy”; the other “House Cleaning Fairy”. My friend was thrilled beyond measure!

        I had totally forgotten about that until I read your comment.

        🙂
        Lea

      • Whenever I read my son Cat in the Hat, I always find myself wishing for the magic picker-upper-thing to come to our house!

  • Sandy B says:

    A tip that might help…I use my stove timer ALL THE TIME! If I have something on the stove for just a couple of minutes, I’ll set it so if the phone rings or whatever, I don’t forget it! I even use it if I put a load of laundry in so I don’t forget to take it out. Of course, my age (50-something…) might have something to do with that 😀

  • Susan E. says:

    Although it wasn’t this past week, but a few weeks ago I did twice-baked potatoes and threw them into the freezer. We tried them this week with some steaks and they tasted just like I had made them that night. Plus, they are easy to do since it’s just as easy to bake 10 potatoes and do the mashed potato filling as it is to do 4 potatoes. I just baked the clean, foil-wrapped potatoes at 400 degrees for 1 hour. After baking, cut in half and scoop out the middle. Make mashed potatoes with the middle (I use cream cheese and sour cream instead of milk to make my mashed potatoes), then scoop back into the potato skins/shells. Top with cheese, bacon, chives, onions, or any other toppings you like. Then bake for about 15 minutes more until the cheese is melted. Let cool, then bag in freezer bags. To eat, I defrosted them in the microwave and popped them into the oven to warm (because it was on), but I bet you could warm them completely in the microwave. They make a great side dish or lunch item.

  • Megan says:

    I’m so excited to hear about your soap-making adventure!! I’ve been wanting to make it, but am afraid of the lye. Maybe your experience will inspire me 🙂

  • Aaron says:

    Great idea on the homemade egg mcmuffins! Got to try that one.

  • Elisa says:

    My mom bakes eggs like that. She uses non-stick spray (though we’ve used just oil too). They are one of our camping breakfasts and she uses foil muffin papers, oils them, a little salt and pepper and sometimes she adds bacon bits to the tops. They always just slide out like that.

  • Sarah B says:

    I cook our eggs in a muffin pan sometimes, it’s great because you can cook eggs for a crowd while you’re doing something else, but I’ve never frozen them. I use my silicon muffin pan and they pop out without the mess. I also add a tiny splash of milk on top to keep them moist. I’m trying to save for and find a freezer on craigslist so I can do some freezer cooking.

  • Emily says:

    Thanks so much for linking to my granola bars this week! It does sound like cooking the sugar mixture for too long was the reason they were so hard. For the chocolate chips, I just sprinkle them on top and they will melt right into the granola or else you could even mix them in with the dry ingredients first. I really wouldn’t recommend putting them in the oven since that would make the sugar harder. I usually just let them set at room temp instead of putting them in the fridge. They will be more chewy at room temp.

    I’m glad you liked the taste, though. Thanks for trying them out!

  • Charlene says:

    Thank you for the great ideas!!! Can’t wait to try these recipes. Do you make your own granola or did you purchuse it from the store?

    Thanks!

  • Autumn says:

    Wow you have a lot of patience and energy Crystal! I can totally relate to the part about trying to “Salvage”. Besides your morning run do you drink coffee or tea in the mornings to get going just curious? Takes me a good hour to just wake up before my mind can think about typing a boat load. Lol Love all your recipes. 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    Could you freeze the eggs in the pan for 30 minutes or so before trying to pop them out? I’m wondering if that would help with the sticking problem…?

  • deirdre wulf says:

    Crystal I laughed my way through this entire post. I love this post and I relate to it so well. Thank you for always sharing the reality of motherhood.

  • Janet says:

    Crystal,

    I do the eggs in a 13×9 pan in the over and scramble them. Then cut them into pieces (you have to under cook the egg a bit as the person who wants to eat the meal will zap it also later in the microwave. The scramble seems to work well because of the under cook.

  • KimH says:

    I heartily suggest an egg poacher for your MakeAtHome Muffins. My mom made these for us when we were kids.. (Im turning 50 in 2 weeks). Egg poachers are MUCH faster, and easier than anything else & you dont need to use much if any oil. Either a spray/spritz oil or a little bit on a paper towel swished around the cup will do. Im not 1o0% sure, I think just putting a little bit of water in one will work too.
    Im thinking thats what my grandma used to do for my grandfather who had to give up “fat” cuz he had a heart condition back in the 70s.
    If you do consider one of these, get one that has stainless steel cups and stay far far away from no stick teflon & aluminum.
    http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-Stainless-Steel-Poacher-Skillet/dp/B00009ND90/ref=sr_1_30?ie=UTF8&qid=1314404985&sr=8-30

  • Lisa says:

    I make Egg McMom’s all the time. We’re not fans of the eggs over hard when backed and then frozen. We find they have a bit of a rubbery quality.

    I scramble the eggs and pour them evenly into the cupcake tin. I have a non-stick pan and ALWAYS spray with Pam. (or equivalent) I hardly ever have a sticking problem.

    If anyone has a “muffin top” pan — these are even better. The size of the egg is so much better matched to the english muffin.

    I tend to make up a bunch of egg “cakes” as we call them when they’re on sale cheaply. When English muffins are on sale, I get them and freeze too.

    My biggest advice – don’t freeze the cheese with the egg. It’s so easy to add it on re-heating and you don’t lose the cheese to over-heating.

  • Alicia says:

    Crystal: You MUST try this granola bar recipe. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/playgroup-granola-bars/detail.aspx It’s WAY easier than the one it sounds like you’re using. And this recipe always turns out great plus it can be made with many different variations (including chocolate chips!). I always use coconut oil and local honey when I can.

  • Hope says:

    I was wondering if you had ever tried putting a slice of round Canadian Bacon on them prior to freezing. Does anyone have any experience with that? I plan to try this recipe this week but would like to add meat!

    Thanks!

  • Kristine says:

    I tried baking eggs in a muffin pan like that once and decided that it wasn’t worth the effort of cleaning the pan afterward.

  • Cindy says:

    I made egg mcmuffins today with canadian bacon. They are in the freezer, and I haven’t tried one yet. I don’t see why it won’t work tho. My hubby will probably have one in the morning, so he will be my taster. They look yummy tho! Also, I used sliced cheese torn in half instead of shredded cheese so cheese wouldn’t be falling everywhere. I made those as well as Lasagna Casserole, Southwest Roll-Ups, and Banana bread all for the freezer all while my little man was napping….Productive day!

  • Irene R. says:

    Thank you for showing everyone how hard it is to get everything done with 3 kids! Often I have family who tell me that 3 is “just one more” than 2. No biggie. It is rough with 3! When you have kids close in age it makes it even harder I think! Plus we live in a cramped house we have outgrown. I would love to have your space!! Thank you, I needed to read this today!

  • Sakura Gallegos says:

    I wonder if you sprayed the muffin tins with oil and put a little water in each pan if it would work better?

  • Cheryl says:

    This is how we do the mcmuffins on a daily basis. Pop in English muffin. Microwave a sausage patty for 45 seconds. Remove from bowl, crack egg into same bowl, scramble a bit, microwave 40 seconds. add cheese, assemble. less than 2 minutes.

  • Jean says:

    Hey Crystal, just thought you’d like to know… I found puffed BROWN rice at my walmart yesterday! made the granola bars w/ those!! It was only a $1 per bag and it would be enough to do 10 batches of the granola bars! My only mistake was that I bought the Kashi GO Lean Crunch, cause I thought it was granola… and it really isn’t…. it has the puffed brown rice in it, too!! So I added a 1/4 cup of oats (or so), and they still look like they turned out okay! Can’t wait to cut them up and try them! Thanks for the link to the recipe!! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  • Kristin says:

    These look so good and I love the muffin tin idea to make a bunch of eggs at once.

    I wonder if you could use muffin liners for cooking the eggs? They would come out without any mess or work to clean the pan.

  • ann says:

    I tried the granola bars today. They were very tasty, but mine turned out crumbly too. I didn’t hear any complaints about them not being “bars” though! I put in chocolate chips in the raisin bars and left out the raisins. That made them a little too sweet for my liking, so next time I use chocolate chips in them I’ll leave out a little of the brown sugar. Thanks for the wonderful recipe! 🙂

  • Lori says:

    Both of these recipes sound very yummy and I like how you improvised on the granola bars! I like the frozen breakfast sandwiches that you can buy at the store, but they are pretty expensive. It is a great idea to make and freeze your own. Thanks for sharing these recipes!

  • Andrea says:

    I used my muffin top pan and the eggs came out perfect! I cooked them at 350 for 10 minutes. Super easy to get out and just the right size 🙂

  • Theresa says:

    The eggs in the cupcake pan looks like a really fun idea, but I was totally distracted the whole time I was reading this by your GREEN? laptop!! Green is my favorite color. I have a green phone, green purse, green lots of other stuff, but not my laptop. I’m in ahhhh. 🙂

  • Kim J. says:

    I can’t remember where I read it, but I saw one time where someone cooked/baked the eggs for the breakfast sandwiches in the oven. Beat eggs and milk/water, mixture was poured into a 9×13 cake pans. Bake at 350F to 375F for maybe 20-30 minutes. I guess if you wanted to, you could add the cheese to the eggs. If you don’t care about the shape of the “egg”, you can either cut into squares or you can cut out with a round biscuit cutter to fit the muffin/bagel/biscuit. You can eat the ‘scraps’ or use them in a breakfast burrito.
    NOTE: With this you can also add veggies: finely diced onion, green/red pepper, musthrooms (?) to use up what’s in the refrigerator.

  • mary c says:

    Just finished up the mcmuffins. My eggs popped out just fine. Sorry Crystal 😉 .

    I bought the cobblestone mcmuffins from the Dollar Tree. Colby Jack cheese slices from the deli so I wouldn’t have a mess with cheese. My cost per muffin after using deli ham (I had on hand) wasn’t near the original poster’s amount.

    We are happy and can’t wait for breakfast in the morning.

  • Karen says:

    I made the same recipe for McMuffins a couple nights ago. I made a few changes. I used bagels since that is what I had and I added some bacon that I cooked in the oven while the eggs were baking. The eggs, I cooked at 350 for 10 minutes and then I let them cool on the counter for a while. A butter knife around the edge and they came right out. We have been eating the frozen ones for breakfast all week.
    Hope you have better luck next time. The granola bars sound yummy.

  • JaciDoula says:

    There are lots of comments on here and I am afraid I don’t have time to read through them all but I wanted to offer suggestions on your egg muffins! Make sure to grease the pan very well (I’d actually suggest using a silicone muffin tray if you have one, it will allow you to pop the eggs out and have them the nice round shape) and break the yolks! I used to work at Mickey D’s and the real trick was to use a hard spatula to break the yolks and simultaneously twist the spatula around once, that mixes it without scrambling. Hope that helps!

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