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Freezer Cooking in an “Hour”: Taco Meat, Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge, Whole-Wheat Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Yesterday was one of those whirlwind days. My doorbell and phone rang a lot (I counted at the end of the day and nine different people came over during the course of the day!). I got the freezer cooking done, but there were so many different interruptions that it ended up dragging out over two hours. But at least I got it done!

And then I did another impromptu cooking session this afternoon — some for the freezer, some for us to eat this weekend. So, here’s everything I made the last 24 hours:

6 meals’ worth of Taco Meat (I threw this recipe together using cooked pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, chili powder and salt. We used some of it for our Build-Your-Own Haystacks last night and I’m freezing the rest to use for tacos and haystacks over the next month or so.)

1 pan of Cinnamon Roll Biscuits

1 dozen Whole-Wheat Blueberry Streusel Muffins (These were okay. I like some of my other blueberry muffin recipes better, though.)

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (This turned out pretty well. Everyone thought it was good — not fabulous, but good.)

2 bags of cooked chickpeas

Homemade Hummus

Homemade Tahini

Did you do any freezer cooking this week? If so, I’d love to see your links and/or recipes if you blogged about it.

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66 Comments

  • charity crawford says:

    Haystacks?

  • I made Meatballs to freeze last week, but, none of them made it to the freezer! I’m going to try the same recipe this weekend, and DOUBLE it this time, so we won’t eat them all before freezing 🙂

    Freezer Friendly Meatballs
    http://www.savemoneylivejoyfully.com/2011/06/freezer-friendly-meatball-recipe.html

  • Joy Belcher says:

    How did your tahini come out? I really want to make some hummus, but the only store with tahini in my town sells it for 10$ a pint! I would love to try this.

  • Abigail says:

    Recipe for cinnamon roll biscuits, pretty please?!

  • Amanda says:

    I tried freezer cooking for the first time ever. And it actually worked out well. I made the breakfast burritos and chicken with a marinade. Question, is it bad to take out a piece of chicken and then reseal the bag (like if only my husband wants chicken that night)? To keep opening the bag?

    • Annie P says:

      If you thawed it out, yes. If it’s separated and you were able to pull one out, it should be fine. It might get a little freezer burn if you don’t eat it in a shorter period of time, but it should be safe.

    • Erin says:

      Any time you open a bag or container you are introducing air to the food, which is what causes freezer burn. If you know you will probably pull out 2 of the 4 pieces of chicken to be eaten separately, you are better off freezing them individually and then putting the rest together in one container. That’s what I do and it works out great.

      • Amanda says:

        Thanks both of you, that’s helpful!! Does the sane go for something like muffins? She made muffins above and I assume they won’t eat them all in one sitting! Haha

        • flutemom says:

          if my muffins even make it to the freezer 😉 i put them in a tupperware container, and just take out what i need each time. ditto for cookies. opening and closing the container multiple times doesn’t seem to affect the product at all. i also freeze pieces of birthday cake when we’re overwhelmed with birthday season. just take out what you need and let it thaw.

    • When I cook chicken breasts or tenders for the freezer, I line a cookie sheet with wax paper and line them up on that for the freezer. Then, when they’re frozen, I put them in a freezer bag. This way, they don’t stick together and I can just pull out a few at a time. I also do that with cookie dough and cinnamon rolls if I think I’m going to make just a small pan of rolls or a few cookies for an afternoon snack.

  • jenny says:

    I made the brown bag burritos you occassionaly post about this afternoon after work. I didn’t realize we were out until I went to grab one for my lunch this morning! I like to keep a stock-up of them because DH and I both spend lunches at work and it saves us a lot to bring our own food! I also used up a bunch of aging bananas and made two loaves of banana bread (with chocolate chips!) and put one of them in the freezer for later. I have the house to myself this weekend, so I’m hoping to get some dinners put together.

  • Heather Leiby says:

    Do you freeze the Cinnamon Roll Biscuits cooked or uncooked?

  • Autumn says:

    Crystal everything I try from your freezer cooking is so yummy but we are barely able to keep the freezer closed. Lol. The Asisan chicken and muffins and I’m trying to keep up but please tell me how many freezers do you and Jesse have? Must be at least one HUGE one. I definitely need to invest in another because I like to keep a variety of frozen fruits on hand for the smoothies so that takes up a nice chunk of space right there. 🙂

  • Meredith says:

    I didn’t get any freezer ‘cooking’ done – but I did do some organizing of our chest freezer (need to save for a second one apparently – one for fruit/veg and one for meats/freezer cooking) and I’m shocked how much we have in there! Because it’s just the two of us and a five year old it seems like even when I HALVE a recipe we still have half to freeze! Does anyone else ever have that happen too? So, we’re set up for a number of meals a month or so from now (I rotate through three menus, one per month) which is great b/c I’m due August 11th but we’re thinking (just like last time…) this one will be here quite a bit before that. Also have lots stocked up ingredient-wise, so I’m breathing a sigh of relief right now, as I’m on practically total bed rest and haven’t been able to do as much deal shopping as I’d normally like. I will credit all of that to the encouragement I have found on here to meal plan and stockpile – Crystal (and all the MSM-ers!) – thank you for blessing us with your wisdom and ideas – you are a life saver!!

  • betty says:

    can you tell me about the chickpeas? my daughter they super picky eater that she is happens to love chickpeas – go figure! Anyway do you just cook them from dry beans or ?

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, I just cooked them from the dry beans.

      • Cathy says:

        try the beans in a crockpot–no presoaking, just toss the beans in, add the amt of water called for on the bag, turn on high, walk away and do other stuff!

        times vary w/crockpots, but 4-6 hours, depending on the bean, has done it for me. you could even borrow a crockpot or two and prep multiple types for the freezer–and your kitchen stays cool. 🙂

        • They’re super fast in a pressure cooker; done in 45 minutes from dry beans, without any pre-soaking. I cooked half a #10 can of pinto beans that way yesterday.

        • betty says:

          Thank you I make pinto, kidney, & black beans in the crockpot or on the stove, but chickpeas I’ve only ever had from the can. Any deals on beans that you know of? Willing to order coupons if I need to. Will check the prices of the dry chickpeas at my store too.

  • I am freezer cooking this weekend. I typically only do dinners but I am going to try and venture out with some breakfast and lunch menu items…especially now that Hubs and the kids are home for the summer.

  • Cassie says:

    Crystal – did you use your cooked chickpeas to make the hummus? I know the recipe you posted said canned chickpeas make a smoother hummus, but the bagged, cooked-yourself variety is insanely cheaper!

  • Heather says:

    You mentioned that you weren’t “in love” with the blueberry muffin recipe you used. Do you have a link for your favorite bluberry muffin recipe?? It’s blueberry season around here and I would love to try a few new recipes for blueberry muffins! 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      I don’t have a link, but I might have a chance to share it sometime soon.

    • Laura says:

      I think the blueberry struesel muffin recipe from Southern Living is the best I’ve ever had. I can post/send it to you if you cant find it online.

      • Heather says:

        Laura – thanks for the tip. I will google it.
        And Cystal – hopefully I will have enough blueberries if you do post. I have a bad habit of eating them before I have enough left to bake.

        • Laura says:

          I LOVE fresh-picked blueberries! They are sweeter than candy.

          • Heather says:

            I hear you! I drove over to one of our local farms the other day and bought a ten pound box thinking it would last the week. It lasted about a day and a half! 😉

  • Erin says:

    I didn’t freezer cook this week but I did make supper last night from a previous freezer cooking session. =)

    My 3 favorite freezer friendly recipes are on my blog:
    http://dutchgirldiary.blogspot.com/2010/04/im-going-to-have-fun-with-my-new.html

  • Andrea says:

    I am due any day now, so this week during my daughter’s naptime I threw together a few things for the freezer. Most of them are MSM recipes that we have come to love!

    http://benandreahamilton.blogspot.com/2011/06/freezer-cooking-in-100-hour.html

  • Misty says:

    Thanks for all the work you do for us on this site! Is there anyway that you could provide the ingredient quantities that you use for the Taco Meat? My daughter has decided to eat vegetarian and refuses to touch meat no matter what I do. The Taco Meat looks like something my whole family will eat and it’s full of healthy protein. Thanks.

    • betty says:

      Will she eat beans and rice? You can basically season the same way for that “flavor”. OT a lil’ bit if she’ll eat eggs when I refused to eat meat my mom upped my beans, eggs, cheese, and leafy green veggies intake – lots of broccoli

  • Elizabeth says:

    Crystal,

    I saw several weeks ago that you froze rice. I was wondering how this turned out. It would be such a great convenience item.

  • AmyP says:

    I completely filled my freezer this week – literally no room for anything else! yay! I am going to have to get the Hyvee freezer deal next time they do it for more freezer space! 😉 Almost all were your recipes from past weeks (Italian Pasta Bake, Corn dog muffins which the kids loved, Breakfast burritos, Brown bag burritos, Pumpkin french toast casserole, and a taco cornbread casserole combining leftover cornbread and extra burrito filling.

  • Laura says:

    I am trying a little more freezer cooking. I’ve always pre-cooked and frozen meat and grains, but never whole dishes. I made the chocolate chip banana bread last week. It was great as a loaf and in muffin form! When I took the frozen loaf out yesterday, it turned out mushy. I put it in the oven to firm up and the kids enjoyed it although it didn’t have a nice presentation. I guess I am still learning and experimenting.

  • Melissa says:

    I did my first freezer cooking session yesterday!!! It was a total success! I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to but I did get 3 pans of Mim’s Mexican Chicken, 2 pans of Mexican meatloaf, 3 pans of Mom’s Pasta bake and 3 pans of Honey cornbread!!!! I will do another on saturday and make the green rice and stuffing chicken!

  • I did some freezer cooking yesterday late morning. Your Breakfast Burritos turned out great, and now I can’t wait to make the Cinnamon Roll Biscuits. Good thing I made some Homemade Bisquick yesterday!

    http://myfavoritefinds.blogspot.com/2011/06/2-hours-in-kichenfood-in-freezer.html

  • Jan says:

    take a couple cups cooked or canned chick peas- rinse and drain and pat dry with a paper towel- toss with some olive oil and salt and pepper and cumin or cayenne pepper- bake in oven is a single layer on a cookie sheet at 350 watch they don’t burn- you get the most yummy crunchy snacks!

  • I have a big weekend planned — for my crockpot! Here’s what I want to get done:

    http://cookingluck.blogspot.com/2011/06/to-do.html

    I think I’ll also get my DS involved with making some ice cream.

    I’ve been making haystacks since you posted about them a while back and we love them!

  • Crystal,

    Yep–looks like a normal everyday cooking to me! 🙂 I cooked 3 1/2 pounds of pinto beans yesterday, and 2 1/2 cups of rice. I canned 2 quarts of sweet pickles, 4 pints and 3 half-pints of apricot-vanilla jam, and picked more apricots for canning today. Also, we still had school.

    I cooked 4 cups of oats for breakfast (they ate it and wanted more!), and today’s plan is banana cream popsicles, cooking 7 pounds of mashed potatoes, making fig jam and an apricot tart.

    Your homemade hummus reminds me that I need to make some! I had the best hummus I’ve ever tasted a couple of weeks ago when I was speaking across town, and the person who made it promised to send me the recipe, but I haven’t received it yet. I’ll check out yours!

    • Meredith says:

      just curious if you freeze mashed potatoes and how you do it? I would love to be able to do that, but any time I’ve researched it it looks like people say it doesn’t turn out – or that I would need to add an egg to them – which I’m not diggin’ the idea of… LOL TY!

      • Melissa says:

        I just made mashed potatoes for the freezer not long ago. I peeled, cooked and mashed a bag of potatoes as I normally would, then I scooped them into 1/2 c serving sizes into a muffin pan, put them in the freezer, when frozen I transfered them to a freezer bag. Three times we’ve used them for our meals. Once I made them in the microwave and once I made them in the oven, both ways worked and you would not have guessed they had been in the freezer.

  • Debbie says:

    I didn’t make any meals but did freeze lots of cooked chicken.

    Freezer Friday: Cooking & Freezing 10 lbs of Chicken for Future Meals: http://www.happyclippings.com/2011/06/freezer-friday-cooking-freezing-10-lbs-of-chicken-for-future-meals-2.html

    BTW, I love this series. Thanks letting us leave a link. 🙂

  • august says:

    Is there anyway you can send me a link to the recipes you use/have used? My husband and I have a two year old, so we seriously eat the same meals every week. Sense I only have one child we just do what we know. I’d love to mix things up a bit. I got the baking mix and cinnamon rolls, but nothing else really.

    • Becky says:

      There is a hover link at the very top of the page that says “From My Kitchen.” If you hover your cursor over that, you’ll see a menu of options, including “recipes” and “weekly menu plans.” Lots of good stuff there! 🙂

  • Rebecca B says:

    Crystal, I’m wondering why you always just make a dozen muffins? It’s not much more work to make 2 or 3 dozen, fill the oven & have more to freeze. Is it because you only have pans for a dozen? 🙂

  • Melissa says:

    Here is my link for what I made this week…

    http://confessionsofacandylady.tumblr.com/post/6837777956/i-dont-usually-do-videos-so-here-goes-nothin-lol

    Thank you so much for all you do Crystal! I couldn’t/wouldn’t have started freezer cooking without your site!! <3

  • Carrie says:

    I found this blueberry streusel muffin recipe and it is amazing!!!
    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/blueberry-streusel-muffins-2/detail.aspx

  • Jasmine says:

    Thanks for the link to homemade tahini! I will definitely try it! Here is a recipe for some super-delicious Tahini cookies. I used to buy them at our EarthFare store, and found the recipe online, posted by someone who bought them at EarthFare, too! My family loves them. Infact, we like just the dough, too! I often halve the recipe, but for freezer cooking, this would make a huge amount! Also, I cook them at 350 for about 10 min. I have found they are best barely cooked, and if you let them sit until cooled, they will hold together well. I’d love to hear what you think of them!
    http://www.food.com/recipe/that-fabulous-tahini-cookie-315101

  • Sabrina says:

    I did a chicken alfredo-ish bulk batch. I also did chicken and rice but that post isn’t up yet. You can check out the chicken alfredo at http://sabrinasathomeadventures.blogspot.com/2011/06/chicken-alfredo-ish.html.

    BTW, this website is my inspiration for freezer cooking. Thanks for your posts!

  • Jackie says:

    How was your homemade hummus with the homemade tahini? Do you recommend it like a store-bought? What’s the shelf-life? Thanks for your input. I shared our freezer cooking menu for a 2 day camping trip.http://momonamission.me/?p=1984

  • Jordon says:

    http://blueberry1610.blogspot.com/
    there is a link for my blog where I posted about my latest freezer cooking session! THanks for all the inspiration!

  • Heather says:

    i love your freezer cooking crystal! you have inspired me to freezer cook more, although i still don’t do sessions, per se…i find that i take too long to make stuff, so i normally try to do at least 2 items a week that i can make large batch of and stick some in the freezer. in the past week i’ve done baked oatmeal, pancakes, some muffins and just recently tried these cornbread muffins, which i decided to try since i had bananas to use and was kind of craving cornbread after your corndog muffin posts!

    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/breakfast-corn-muffins/detail.aspx.

    not sure how they will freeze, but the little one sure likes them!

    thanks for being so inspirational!

  • Ruth says:

    I made taco soup, bacon bean soup and cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot for shredded chicken. For the chicken, I added celery, carrots, onion and garlic, so I could freeze the broth with some chicken for chicken noodle soup. Actually, I made all of the recipes in the crockpot (over a couple of days this week) and then put in pans for freezer meals. Using the crockpot to aid in freezer cooking is great. Plus with the hot summer, it keeps the house cooler.

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