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Freezer Cooking in an Hour: Homemade Pizza, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins, Taco Chicken Bowls

I started my planned freezer cooking session yesterday earlier than usual because I had some packing and other loose ends to tie up before my trip to Indy today. Here’s the play-by-play:

12:30 p.m. — Lunch is done and the children are busily occupied with arranging the new dollhouse furniture a friend is letting them borrow, so I start making the Taco Chicken Bowls. The only problem is, I can’t find the frozen corn that I know I have. I scour both freezers in earnest and finally find it. The search was worth it, though, because I also turned up a bag of whole-wheat flour I didn’t realize I had. Yay, I don’t have to grind any wheat to make the muffins today.

{And yes, I need to get some better freezer organization in place! Anyone have an incredible system they want to share with me?}

12:45 p.m. — I finish up the Taco Chicken mixture in the crockpot and turn it on low and head over to my trusty laptop for the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe. In the process, though, I get distracted with something on my computer (I can’t even remember what it was. Probably drooling over something or other on Pinterest.)

1:00 p.m.Um, wait, wasn’t I supposed to be making muffins, not just looking at pictures of recipes I want to make?? The clock jolts me back to reality and I start in on the muffin recipe. I decide to make a few adjustments using all whole-wheat flour, peanut butter instead of peanut flour, eggs instead of flax, coconut oil instead of olive oil, and raw sugar. Okay, so the final recipe may have ended up being nothing like the original recipe, but it still looked (and tasted) good!

1:15 p.m. — As soon as the bag of chocolate chips comes out, all three children magically appear and want to “help”. I let them sprinkle the muffins with chocolate chips and then they lick the bowl while I put the muffins into the oven. By now, my kitchen is a mess, my long to-do list is still looming, and I decide to just make the homemade pizza for dinner instead of my ambitious idea of making Homemade Fruit Leather. Oh well, I’ll try it another week!

1:30 p.m. — I quickly roll out the pizza dough and sprinkle the toppings on. I’m impressed with how easy this dough rolls out after thawing on the countertop that morning.

{By the way, the pizza crust ended up baking up really well. My husband loved it; I’m still partial to our standard recipe, but I’ll admit that the freezability of this recipe is quite appealing!}

1:45 p.m. — Done and time to clean up the kitchen!

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  • I need to try those chicken bowls! I seriously want to get into some freezer cooking this winter. I know it would help us so much!

  • Angie D says:

    I have an upright freezer too and bought some of these:

    I use some for other organziation, but have 3 in my freezer to separate meat (i.e. one has all the ground beef from the bulk buy) and veggies, etc. I’m happy with the way they are working. My side-by-side freezer/fridge in my kitchen is a different story though! I do love these crates and am glad my thrifty self “splurged.”

  • Kristen says:

    In the past, we babysat for a bunch of families while the parents were away traveling (we’re missionaries in a community where lots of people have to travel!). The wife of one family we babysat makes most things and freezes them…a month’s worth of meals for her family of seven! Now she does have two small freezers and one huge one to help her with that. But because of so much food and so many freezers, organization is key. She draws out the shelves on a piece of paper and will label what is on each shelf (in the approximate location) and how much in pencil. So she might have 6 bags of tomato soup, so she will write “Tomato Soup 123456” on the paper. When she removes one from the freezer, she erases the last number so that it is updated with how many are in there. We have been to their house multiple times to babysit their five kids, and I have always been able to find what is in the freezer when it comes time for meals at their house!

    • SlowInSuburbia says:

      *Very* clever system that I’d never heard of – or thought of myself!

      I’ll be implementing the “123456…” system quite soon, thank you very much!

  • Ali Federwitz says:

    I keep a small dry erase board that I just velcro to the freezer door. I list the freezer items on the board when I put them in and erase it when I pull them out. It doesn’t stop the need for digging for an item but it does help me to know what is in there all of the time.

  • Katie says:

    Crystal, we have two deep freezers at our house. My husband is a deer hunter so we keep all of our deer meat and meat I buy reduced at the store in our upright freezer. In our chest freezer, I keep all the fruits and vegetables I put up during the summer along with my freezer jam, freezer cooking, and any flour I can buy on sale. Because the chest freezer gets so full (I’ve got all of our breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for the remainder of 2011 cooked and frozen), I keep a simple inventory list taped to the lid of the freezer. I created it myself using Microsoft Word. The first column is the date the food is put in the freezer, then the item name, then the quantity. The last column I put a check mark in each time I remove one of those items from the freezer. If I have 12 jars of blackberry jam, I put a check mark each time I take one out in the final column. After the twelfth jar, I scratch the item off the list completely. It takes a little bit to inventory all the food, but from there on out it’s easy and totally worth it. I can’t STAND to waste food. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves! Hope this works for you. It costs nothing but time, ink, and paper! 😉

  • Cortney says:

    Hey there,
    I make a freezer inventory sheet thats broken down in categories: bread/muffins, meat/cheese, juice, baking/nuts, fruits/veggies , prepared meals and on and on etc…. Make it unique to what you store. I then laminate it(you could also use a sheet protector) then write everything with wet/dry markers since they have a finer tip so I can read what I write:) you could always use a fine tip expo. I make a table in a word program for this. I include the dateit goes in the freezer and the quantity. I just erase and change qty as I pull things out or erase it completely when its gone. You can store this in your home management binder but i find it easier to keep up with if its right on the fridge clipped to a clipboard with magnets I glued on the back or, a magnetic chip clip, or even a command hook(havent tried those on the fridge but do have one for my clipboard in the pantry).
    I also store things in labeled clear boxes since I only have the freezer above my fridge and theres no shelving. It helps me eye whats in there and I can groups these items together, and stack for more storage. Put most frequently pulled out things on top without a lid so your not constantly pulling out all the boxes… You could also use bins if you have shelves or even shoeboxes as long as you label them so you don’t drive yourself nuts wondering whats in there:) Hope this gives you some ideas….

  • Mom's Plans says:

    I am loving this series. Not only have you inspired me to do some freezer cooking when I don’t have a lot of time to devote to it, but I am finding new recipes. The fruit leather and pizza crust are on my list for this weekend. 🙂

  • Lana says:

    I use any kind of plastic tub or dishpan and even some cardboard boxes to organize my shelves. I keep all the frozen veggies in the freezer of our second refrigerator and all the bread items in the frezzer of the main refrigerator. That leaves the deep freezer for mainly meat and main dish items. Just having those main divisions helps me locate items.

  • Diane says:

    My freezer has shelves (upright) and I try to keep it somewhat organized:
    frozen veggies top shelf, meals I’ve frozen 2nd, frozen milk and others on 3rd, a basket for froz cheese and the lowest basket is for our raw meat (vs already cooked and chopped like I do with chicken about 18 lbs at a time every few mos). It’s not perfect and it fluctuates depending on how much we have of each item but it helps. I also have a list inside of meals ready to eat that I’ve cooked.

  • cathy says:

    Hey! I’m wondering….do you cook your rice in a large batch and also freeze for the taco bowl meals? How many meals do you get out of your taco chicken mixture and do you freeze it? TIA

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, I usually cook rice up and freeze it. I got two meals’ worth out of this recipe, but I added extra beans to stretch it a bit.

      • SlowInSuburbia says:

        I always freeze beans, but have never frozen rice. Not sure why…?

        Adding to the agenda for next week. ;-

      • Katie says:

        What kind of rice did you freeze? Did you do anything special? I froze instant white rice a while back and it was gross!

        • Valerie says:

          Do you put it in a tupperware container and then freeze it? What do you do when you are ready to eat it? Sorry for the silly questions, but I am new at this!

  • Yes those chicken bowls look fantastic. I love this series…it inspired me to do one as well only mine is 90 minutes because I could never get it all done in an hour 🙂

    I am hoping to do a couple this weekend.

  • I saw a blog post a while back about freezer organization and wished I had a big freezer just to organize it. The author used…wait for it…milk crates! Genius idea: they stack well, and you can still (sort of) see what’s in the one underneath.

    The article is at

    • Rachel says:

      I also use milk crates in my chest freezer. I do print out an inventory sheet for each crate and tape it to the outside. That way, even when the crates are stacked, I can read what is in each one.

      It has helped me find things and keep food from being wasted (we used to find old things and have to throw them away before this).

  • Heather says:

    So how much egg did you add to sub out for the flax seed? That recipe looks yummy. You are really fast on this freezer cooking. I made one peach pie and one batch of blueberry cream muffins (yielded 34) the other day and I’m sure that from start to finish I spent at least two or three hours. At least I was able to freeze 12 of the muffins – the rest went rather quickly with my three boys and my parents (who stopped by to help “sample”)

    • Crystal says:

      I used two small eggs. I think one large egg would work, too.

      I’m not anywhere near as fast as my friend Jessica from, but I’ve found that setting the timer and having a list really helps me.

    • SlowInSuburbia says:

      The beauty of freezer cooking is that once you’ve done it a few times – even with only 2-3 recipes – you’re continually adding to your meal stash.

      After only a few weeks/sessions, you see the fruits of your labor and the range of meals and snacks is really impressive.

    • Amanda says:

      1TB flax + 3Tb water is one egg, , and pretty commonly used in vegan cooking. It’S also great for making cookies with kids, because if they eat the raw dough, it’s not a food poisoning risk. The blog with the muffin recipe has LOTS of good looking stuff, so thank you Crystal for the link!

  • Melinda says:

    Just wanted to add that I made fruit leather last year out any over abundants of fruit that we had. First apples, peel, cut up and cook like applesauce then add what flavor Kool-Aid you want and put it on the plastic fruit leather maker for the dehydrator(I also used plastic wrap because I had so much) and dried. My daughter and grandson loved it. We made grape!! Then came the pears I did the same with them.

  • Lisa says:

    My method is simple. I have extra sticky post it notes on my fridge, one for each month. As I add something to the freezer, I note it on that month. I don’t lose anything and can plan meals using the oldest foods first.

  • Laura says:

    Can you post the recipe you used for the muffins with the substitutions you made?? Thanks!

  • Connie says:

    So do you combine the rice with the chicken mixture and freeze it all together?

  • Amy says:

    Upright freezer organization: like others, we do shelf by shelf. I do not label them because it is easy to tell that the bottom shelf is frozen vegetables. I try to stack it by type: tomatoes on left, then corn, then broccoli, etc.

    Chest freezer organization: we use boxes. Feel free to label them. Easy to pull out and stack on a shelf/the floor if you need the bottom box. (Don’t we always need the one on the bottom?) Easy to tell when you need to stock up soon because the box will be getting empty.

  • You are way more productive than me during the day. LOL. I strive to be like this.

  • Ally says:

    You can make really quick, easy, and yummy apple fruit leather by just dehydrating apple sauce.

  • Amy says:

    I started following Simple Organized Living a few months ago and love it! Here is a recent post she did about organizing the deep freeze. Her tips are at the bottom half of the post.

  • Hi, Crystal! I have a freezer inventory I use for my deep-freeze, and it helps tremendously! We’ve had the freezer for over five years, and rarely have I really lost anything or even gotten off count. Here’s the link to a post I did about it:

  • Amanda says:

    That pizza looks great. I love making home made pizza. I had a similar recipe to yours except I love the dough rise a few times at like 30 minutes each. After I saw your recipe I tried it without letting it rise and it tasted just as great. Thanks!

  • Ashley says:

    So, is coconut oil better for you even than olive? Do you mind explaining why you use coconut? I’m curious. I always thought EVOO was better for you than most oils.

  • Laney says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I just saw a blog post from I Heart Organizing, where she gave a tour of her kitchen cabinets, frigerator, and freezer. I was thoroughly impressed, and I think you will be too! It gave me a lot of inspiration for organizing the kitchen.

  • Kristie Long says:

    Even though I have no wisdom on organizing your freezer (I still struggle with that one myself!), I wanted to mention your trip to Indianapolis. I was born and raised just about 50 miles north of Indy, so I am quite familiar with the area. As a matter of fact, we are heading that way tomorrow ourselves!
    I trust your time away will be blessed beyond measure and that you’ll go home thoroughly refreshed!

  • I also use a white board in the garage. When I put something in the freezer, I write it down. When I take something out I erase it. But, we purchased an upright freezer for that reason. I throw away far too much “lost food” in chest freezers.

  • Chris says:

    Well, I joined Pinterest because of you 🙂

  • Faith says:

    I looked up your recipe for fruit leathers and I thought you might be interested in a different (and much easier recipe) to make them. There is no stewing required. Just put your fruit in a food processor, and honey (raw sugar, or any other sweetner), pour on sheet and bake. I’ve been making these for a while now and they turn out great! Here is the link to the recipe I found a while back:

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for mentioning the standard pizza crust recipe that you love. I followed the link and followed the recipe tonight. We grilled the crust and IT WAS AMAZING. A regular family menu item now. YUM!

  • Shari Lynne says:

    I love your 1 hour freezer cooking. I have done freezer cooking for many years. I’ve scaled way back from once a month (too exhausting) to just making an extra meal of whatever I’m cooking and freezing it. but I have to say this is the best idea yet! One hour a week, Now that’s my style.!
    Thanks again
    Shari Lynne

  • Ginny says:

    Freezer organization: Each shelf holds a specific type of food. For instance, frozen treats; fruits & veggies; meat; bread. I am also in the process of putting things like vegetables, fruits, individual frozen ice cream treats, etc. in plastic bins from the dollar store. Once I figure out the exact configuration of the bins, I will label them. Have fun!

  • I love reading this series – your post is so genuine!! Thanks for the inspiration and new recipes to try. I keep thinking I need to try freezer cooking in a hour. Problem is, I don’t have a deep freezer, or an upright freezer.

    I only have a standard refrigerator with the small freezer in the top portion of it. I was getting tired of opening the door and having this falls out every time. So I added some hard plastic wracks:

    I’m on the lookout on Craig’s List for a deep freeze of some kind now!!

  • lyss says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who cooks like that! (Regarding your muffins) Usually if my husband asks me if I used a recipe, I say that I used three recipes and then made my own concoction. lol

    I must say that it would have taken me much longer to do all that, though, even without distractions. 🙁

  • Christina says:

    When I double or triple a recipe, I store it in a freezer bag. Fill the bags with a meals portion, lay them on a cookie sheet and spread it out. It will freeze flat and square and then you can pile them on top of each other or stack them like books on a bookshelf depending on what else is going on in your freezer. After you use it wash the bag and re-use.

  • Brandette W. says:

    Can you post what your cooking instructions were for the honey pizza crust after you took it out and let it defrost, for us new-to-homemade pizza girls?

  • Katrina says:

    Your substitutions make it possible for me to make these muffins (which sounded yummy but used all sorts of ingredients I didnt have). Could you repost it with your substitutions so it would be easier to follow? Thanks!

  • Keira says:

    A source of inspiration as always!
    I am wondering if you made an entire pizza and then froze it? If not, have you ever?

  • Melissa says:

    Did you use the almond milk in the peanut butter chocolate chip muffin recipe, or did you substitute regular milk? Thank you so much for this (and many other!) recipe!

  • Amy says:

    Hi I happen to be a Tupperware sales lady and our Freezer mates are great for organizing your freezer. A one time purchase and you save on plastic bags and help save the landfill from all those bags and best of all they are lifetime guarenteed! I love them. You can see thru them and use freezer labels for info. Just and idea. I also LOVE this site you have some awesome ideas!!!!! Great for a busy mom of four whose husband is a full time pastor. Thanks for all your work on here.. god bless…

  • WilliamB says:

    I don’t use a whiteboard because I know that one day I’ll brush up against it and erase everything. So I use an excel sheet. I have a fridge freezer and an upright, both small enough – and contents well-enough labeled – that I can find what’s in there. I type in what I have and the date bought/made – for example, “6x pea soup, 8/11” – and color code for which freezer.

    I just bought a chest freezer so I can buy happy meat in bulk, so I expect I’ll have to refine my method with some way to indicate sub-compartment. Maybe green for upright (assuming I keep it), blue for fridge-freezer, and the chest freezer in black and numbers for whatever I use for subcompartments.

  • April says:

    Hello All!
    I am new to this and have never freezer cooked, but I am very interested in learning how to do so. What kind of packaging do you use to freeze pre-prepared food? How would you store a pizza, for example? Or any other standard item?
    Thanks for your help!

  • Dawn says:

    love the bbq chicken cannot wait to try the chicken bowls this week!

  • Meredith Burk says:

    Did you cook the chicken breasts for the chicken taco bowls before putting it in the crockpot or just put them in raw? Thanks!

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