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Freezer Cooking in Two Hours: Homemade Pizza Pockets, Morning Glory Muffins, Pumpkin Scones, Taco Meat, Pumpkin Pancakes

So, I cooked up a storm this afternoon and am so excited because, for once, nothing flopped and everything turned out really delicious. I have no idea why, because that is so not like me–especially since I was trying four new recipes.

But anyway, everything went smoothly and there were no mishaps–which I’m pretty sure will be a once-in-a-lifetime sort of occurrence. 🙂

My willing taste-tester!

It ended up taking me a little over two hours to make all of these things and each one ended up being a home run winner. And my family members agreed. I’ll definitely be making all of these recipes again.

I’m pretty sure the Pumpkin Scone recipe is the best scone recipe I’ve ever tasted. It was just about perfect–not too dry, not too doughy, and just the right amount of sweetness (I only did one glaze, instead of the two that the recipe called for, as that seemed possibly like a little bit of sugar overload!).

The final results:

16 Homemade Pizza Pockets — I used my Pizza Dough recipe and filled these with ground beef, cheese, and a little pasta sauce.
18 Easy Morning Glory Muffins — These are fabulous–by far the best Morning Glory Muffin recipe ever (thanks, Angie!).
8 Pumpkin Scones
A quadrupled batch of Pumpkin Pancakes
3 bags of taco meat

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  • I LOVE all things pumpkin! Did you find any good deals on pumpkin for your recipes? I’m glad to see you wrote “Freezer Cooking in 2 Hours” because I was quite amazed that you were able to all that cooking in 1 hour!

  • Amy says:

    Your freezer cooking posts are so inspiring! I love the idea of breaking them into one or two hour blocks! That is much less intimidating than planning an entire day’s worth, which I have always been to scared to attempt. I need to start planning an hour into my week to do this. Occasionally I’ll just do a project or two…like make some broth in the crockpot overnight….or cook beans all day and freeze into portions..but it isn’t ever planned. I need to be more purposeful about this!

  • So glad you liked the Pizza Pockets! I love the idea of just doing a little at a time, in 2 hours. Sometimes thinking of cooking the whole day for the freezer can be overwhelming.
    Thanks for the mention 🙂
    ~Liz@HoosierHomemade & Pocket Change Gourmet

  • Anna says:

    This is a great and inspiring post, as always. But I would just like to thank you, more generally, for consistently being such a person of integrity with regard to your blog. You and your site are a treasure. Thank you for all that you invest here for the benefit of others. Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Tara says:

    I’ve got a question about the morning glory muffins.What would I be able to substitute for cinnamon? I’m allergic to it but these sound too good to pass by.Any help would be fabulous because I never get the taste right for any recipe that calls for cinnamon.

  • The pumpkin pancakes link is going to the pumpkin scones. I’d like to try your pump. pancakes recipe.

    • Trish says:

      I was going to post the same thing. I would love to see the pumpkin pancake recipe. And do you freeze the batter or the pancakes themselves?

      • sarah says:

        I don’t have the recipe but i freeze the pancakes themselves. First freeze them on a cookie sheet and then move to a freezer bag. I find a few seconds in the microwave(about 30 sec per cake) or some time in my toaster oven warms them up nicely.
        I do the same for waffles. I find making a double batch of something one morning helps stock the freezer for the next week or so, depending on what my kids want in the morning.

  • This looks like a very productive session! You have inspired me!

  • Crystal, I just wanted to tell you good job on the photo of your frosted scones! You found really nice light in that photo.

  • Jen Pazdur says:

    Can’t seem to get through to the pumpkin pancakes recipe. It always shoots me through to the pumpkin scones…. is the link correct on this one?

  • Victoria says:

    Oh yum the pumpkin scones look good! Thanks for sharing I love scones.

  • Missy says:

    I have never tried freezer cooking, but am definitely interested in it, especially in the 1-2 hour blocks. One question, is there anything special that needs to be done in regards to the freezing or thawing to ensure quality of the food? (freezer burn, dried out, etc.)

    • Jenny says:

      I was just wondering about this, too. I love the idea of the pizza pockets, but did you bake them before freezing or just assemble them? (I’m assuming bake…) And I’ve often wondered about the instructions “from frozen” for some of the things you make (thaw overnight, goes straight into the oven for x amount of time, etc.). I love love LOVE your freezer cooking section! Have been stalking it and getting inspired for a couple of weeks now 🙂

  • Stephanie says:

    Curious as to why ou did not use your uual spiced pumpkin scones recipe. We love that one, though I’m excited to try this one with more pumpkin and what looks like slightly less sugar.

    • Crystal says:

      Which recipe is that? I can’t recall off the top of my head.

      I’m always trying out new recipes–just for fun!

      • Stephanie says:

        1 cup ww flour
        1 cup flour
        1 1/2 tsp baking powder
        1/4 tsp salt
        1 tsp cinnamon
        1/2 tsp nutmeg
        1/8 tsp ginger
        1/8 tsp cloves
        Mix all together and cut in 6T cold butter.
        Combine together
        1/3 cup pumpkin
        1/3 cup cream or half and half
        6 T brown sugar
        2 tsp vanilla
        Add in to dry ingredients till just mixed. Press into a circle 3/4 inch thick cut in to 8 wedges. Bake 425 for 15 minutes. Drizzle with cinnamon icing on hot scones.
        1 cup powder sugar
        1 tsp cinnamon
        1-2 T milk

  • Heather W says:

    I showed a picture of the Pumpkin Scones to my son & he decided we need to make them this weekend!

  • I did the same thing when I made those scones. I only used a basic powdered sugar/milk glaze, instead of the two it called for. We had pumpkin pancakes for breakfast yesterday-a different version of your recipe, but they were REALLY good. I had served the pumpkin scones with homemade pumpkin spice lattes.

    Did you end up roasting/pureeing your own pumpkin? If so, what did you think of it? Our WalMart has canned pumpkin, 15 oz cans, for slightly less than $3. That’s slightly less than 2 cups in a can. I made 10 cups from 3 pumpkins, which the pumpkins cost $3.50 total. I made it a part of a cooking afternoon, so I didn’t feel like it was overly time consuming.

    • Jen says:

      Did you buy pie pumpkins? If so, did you buy them locally or at a store that’s nationwide?

      I just used regular pumpkins last year and they taste okay, but they aren’t the deep orange color I was expecting.

      • I did use two small pumpkins and one larger, regular one. I got them at Meijer, as I was there looking for canned pumpkin and couldn’t find any. I don’t really notice a difference, but it ended up being all mixed together anyway when I pureed it. Also, the color is a nice, even orange, not too dark. I think that I would buy some pumpkin pie pumpkins again, and maybe 2 smaller regular pumpkins. Just for ease of handling. If you click on the link by my name, it should lead you to the post I wrote on how to puree your own. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

        • Crystal says:

          I ran out of time yesterday, but on Monday or Tuesday of next week, I’m planning to cook and puree five pumpkins.

          • Did you know (probably because you are friends with Jen of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam…) that you can brown meat in the crockpot? I tried it, and it worked awesome. I’ve used it for chili and tacos, and it tastes fine. I could get 5 lbs in my crockpot, and next time I’m going to make it all taco meat by adding the seasonings in with it. It’s so much easier to clean up, and can just cook away while you’re doing the rest of your batch cooking.

            • Crystal says:

              How long did it take to cook? I’d be curious to try this!

              • I’m not sure if you were asking me about the beef in the crockpot or about the pumpkin…but your comment “How long did it take to cook?” showed up as a reply to one of my comments via email. Anyway, if you were talking to me, the ground beef takes a little over 2 hours on high. I didn’t time it quite right, and had to leave the house for the day shortly before the 2 hours were up, and it wasn’t quite done. So, I set it on low and let it sit the rest of the day…about 6 hours…and it turned out fine.

                Pumpkin, it takes about 45 minutes to roast in the oven at 350, depending on how small the wedges are. You might have already done so, but if you follow my link by my name, I think it’ll take you to my post on pureeing the pumpkin. Live and learn, but my best advice is to use small pumpkins. Those big ones can be hard to cut into!

                If you weren’t talking to me, sorry for “interrupting” :). Have a great weekend!

                • Crystal says:

                  Yes, it was for you. The comment threads are being wonky. Thanks so much!

                    • angela r says:

                      another idea that I love… is dumping 5-10 lbs (or more) in a roaster in my oven at 350. You can put it in frozen or whatever… then again check maybe every half hour until close to the end and maybe more frequent…. stirring it or chunking it up as you go. When all browned.. voila… drain it all.. bag it up.. and you have lots of browned hamburger and the only mess is the roaster. I love this… love my crockpot.. but like this method just as well.

                • Emily says:

                  I have a question about the beef in the crockpot. Do you do anything to it when you put it in, or do you just put the lump of ground beef in there and walk away? You know how packages of ground beef come in lumps, and you usually have to sit there while browning it on the stovetop and break it up with a wooden spoon or something? That’s what I’m wondering. Do you break it up after you put it into the crockpot, or just put in in there in a lump and let it separate as it cooks?

                  • We get a 1/2 of a steer from a local farmer, so the ground beef comes in 1 lb packages. I just defrosted some the night before. The, I dumped it in the crockpot and sort of broke it up a little before it really started cooking. It’ll cook like you put it in there, so I broke mine up right away, and just kept checking and stirring it throughout the day. I think when I do it again, I’ll break it up pretty good right away, so I don’t have to worry about checking it so often. It only takes about 2 hours, though.

      • karen says:

        I found pie pumpkins (also called sugar pumpkins) at our local nursery. They are small (6″ diameter) and heavy. The flesh was about 70% of the pumpkin, instead of 25% like a jack-o-lantern pumpkin. The week after Halloween, they were $1 each.

        • I did notice when I compared the flesh from the pumpkin pie pumpkins with the regular ones, it was a bit meatier and there was more. I didn’t have ANY idea what I was doing, and wanted enough to freeze. It turns out, I will for sure buy the smaller , pumpkin pie ones every time I puree pumpkin because you do end up with a lot of pumpkin.

  • Melissa says:

    Looks yummy! This is my favorite scone recipe: I usually make it with lemon zest and dried blueberries or orange zest with craisins and chocolate chips. They’re so easy and just use butter and sour cream which is good because I never have half and half on hand. I usually make a simple glaze to drizzle on top with some extra zest. I cut each triangle into 2 smaller triangles as well so I have to adjust the cooking time down.

  • Everything looks amazing!!! You’re making me want to try making some scones with your posts this past week! 🙂

  • Lana says:

    Pumkin scones look yummy! Wish there was someone besides me at my house who would like them! Our youngest daughter thought Morning Glory Muffins looked like meatloaf when she was little, so she called them meatloaf muffins. We still call them that although I don’t think it makes them sound appetizing first thing in the morning 🙂

  • Ann B says:

    My baking wasn’t all that efficient. I had carpet installers here all day and my water was off for a few hours. So, needless to say, had a few distractions.
    I’ve declared Thursdays my “make ahead, bake ahead, experiment with new things day”.
    I made cookies and muffins for the kids to sell at our garage sale this weekend.
    And I finally got the nerve to make yogurt in the crockpot. It’s a little on the runny side and I’ve discovered some things I’d do different next time.

    Thanks for your inspiration to try new things.

  • Theresa says:

    I plan to make the morning glory muffins today. We’ll make them gf, of course, but I was curious what you did with the oil and sugar? It seems like a lot of both.

  • Carrie says:

    Those pizza pockets look like the easiest lunch ever, once they’re in the freezer. Or, yum … breakfast.

  • Denise says:

    I’m wondering about the pizza pockets – were they worth the time? A little different situation as I have 5 kids, ages2-12, so 18 would never work for me LOL! I know they’re just for a snack, but…:) I am definitely going to be making the other 3 things – oh my!! And the scones look amazing! :9

    • Crystal says:

      They were actually really easy to do. Next time, I’m going to make a double batch of pizza dough and cut them all in rectangles, fold over, and seal.

      • Prudence Weaver says:

        I made these earlier in the week when I saw your post and I agree…next time I am double or triple batching my crust and I need to come up with a better idea for cutting it. Rolling all that dough and cutting circles was not efficient! BTW I made 12 of your breakfast burritos the other day and they are not going to last long….everyone is loving them!

  • I bet the scones smell sooo good! Yummy! 🙂 I’ll have to try them out.

  • Deb says:

    I see a couple of people already mentioned trying ot find the pumpkin pancake recipe. Sounds good, can you fix the link or post the recipe?

  • angela r says:

    Cooking pumpkin is so easy and nice… I cook some every year and can it. I’ve never froze it…. but I’m sure that might work just as good. So nice to always have pumpkin on hand. I just put the pumpkins whole with a few pierce marks on a cookie sheet in oven, bake until they start to cave in… then once cool… then cut off peel and scoop out seeds… then I can the chunks and when I wanna use it.. run it through blender with other ingred. so simple! I will be anxious to hear about your experience.

    • angela r says:

      LOL.. I’m not sure if your time question was for me or not… it was posted before I sent my comment =) On time, I don’t have an exact answer … depending on size it could take like an hour? at 350? it’s one of those things… I pop in the oven before school… check periodically… and when done… take out and let cool.. until I’m ready to work with it?

      • BethB says:

        I do mine at 400 for 40 minutes to an hour (depending on the size). The past few years I’ve been freezing 1/2 to 2 cup portions for baking and to slip into numerous other dishes since I have a vegetable avoider. Surprisingly good in spaghetti sauce and chilli!

        My recommendation is to mix butternut squash and pumpkin for better flavor. I’ve heard canned pumpkin is really butternut. The lables say otherwise but the color leads me to believe that’s correct. Everyone raves about my pumpkin bread and not to toot my own horn but I do think it’s more flavorful than most others I’ve had due to the squash. Turban squash works too although it’s not as sweet as butternut.

        • So Beth, do you think you can substitute pumpkin puree for vegetable oil in recipes? You know, like you can substitute applesauce for the oil?

          • BethB says:

            I have but only in pumpkin bread. For some reason I never think of it and usually reach for the applesauce or a mashed banana. I can’t imagine why pumpkin/squash wouldn’t work in other things.

            I think Crystal has mentioned this before?

  • BethB says:

    Why, oh why do you have to post such yummy looking things when I’m trying to lose weight??? 😉

    Seriously, that pumpkin scone recipe looks fantastic. I signed up to take Pumpkin Bread to the Sunday School Teacher’s Luncheon at church this week but I may have to substitute those scones. I’m starting the process of baking, pureeing, and freezing batches of pumpkin and butternut squash so we can always use more pumpkin recipes around here.

    Those pizza pockets look great too. They’d make a perfect after school snack for my son!

  • Rebecca Kipe says:

    did you bake the hot pockets first and then freeze? then do you microwave them or put them in a toaster oven to reheat? I think if i made them hearty enough they could easily be a lunch

  • Zanna B. says:

    These recipes look fantastic. I didn’t see the recipe for the taco meat though. Also I’m not sure how to know how long to microwave when I take them out of the freezer. Can you really freeze pancakes?

    • Crystal says:

      I freeze pancakes all the time! Taco meat is just ground beef with onions browned, taco seasoning, and then beans mixed in.

    • Brandy says:

      When I wonder if I can freeze something, I look in the grocery store to see if a company is doing it. Pillsbury and Aunt Jemima freeze pancakes, so I figured I could too. This helps when I’m trying to decide.

      • Mary Jo says:

        Makes sense!

        I recently got some BirdsEye Steamfresh brown/wild rice with veggies. It was really cheap with a sale and coupons, or I wouldn’t have bought it. When I looked at the ingredients it was just whole grain brown rice, whole grain wild rice, broccoli, and carrots. No seasonings, no preservatives or anything. Totally something I could make myself. 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    With the pizza pockets, I do not have a bread maker.

    It says:
    Pizza Crust for Hand
    Mix dry ingredients together
    Add wet ingredients and stir until combined

    Does it need to rise at all? Or after this do you just start creating the pizza pockets and bake??

    Thank you!

  • Wow, you got a lot done! This week I made 2 dozen pumpkin muffins to freeze, and 24 twice baked potatoes!

  • Those scones look great! I keep meaning to freeze up some scones — I think these may be the ones.

    I got a great deal on some bruised apples, and have been cooking with them all week. I made a ton of baby food, apple sauce and cake. Yum! I love Fall!

  • Lori F. says:

    I just pulled a batch of the pumpkin scones out of the oven and used the spiced glaze but omitted the plain glaze. They are soooo good. I will try to stay away from eating them all. myself. today. I will be making these for our church bake sale in a couple of weeks. I will also be making them several times for the family. You are right, this is a homerun recipe! Not too dry or crumbly or dense. Perfection!!!

    By the way, I used Organic Valley French Vanilla Half and Half in the spiced glaze and it is tasty.

  • Angie D says:

    I may be missing out on roasted flavor or something else that I’m oblivious to, but after I wash the pumpkins, I cut them up and put them in my crockpot all day with a 1/2 cup water. They get really soft and makes it easy to scoop the flesh off. Then I puree it to make it smooth. I add spices and such and keep cooking it down if I’m making pumpkin butter or freeze it as-is in 2-cup baggies (which I lay down flat for easy freezer storage).

    • ACMommy3 says:

      Hi Angie, would you mind sharing your recipe/method for making pumpkin butter? I am going to be cooking up some pumpkin soon, and would love to try making some pumpkin butter, which I’ve never done before. Thanks to you or to anyone who had recipes/tips. 🙂

  • lisa says:

    Probably a silly question, but is there a difference between pie pumpkins and regular ones? Are pie pumpkins hard to find?

  • Those pumkin scones are looking good!! I’ve just been woofing down some pumpkin ice cream.;0) Have a great weekend.

  • Michelle says:

    Very inspiring! I managed only one of my two freezer cooking projects this week:

    I can’t wait to cook my pumpkins and have my own pumpking cooking week!

  • Tiffany says:

    Thank you for sharing (and testing first!) all the great recipes. It’s inspired me to do more freezer cooking myself. Two weeks ago, our natural grocery had organic chicken breasts for $3.99/lb which is about half of what I normally pay. So I bought 20 pounds and seasoned and shredded 10 pounds of it and then froze it in 1 pound bags. It is so easy to pull one out, defrost it (in warm water in about 5 minutes) and use. I will definitely be making these pumpkin scones!

  • Kim says:

    I cannot wait to try the pumpkin scones!!! They look fabulous. Thank you for all you do. You are such an encouragement.

  • Joy says:

    I think I’m a little sad you had no mishaps this week. Just kidding. I love reading about your mishaps and chaos when you do freezer cooking. I always giggle when I read them because it’s so real life! I can totally relate because I’m always multi-tasking or getting distracted when I’m cooking, too. Try making Christmas cut-out cookies with three rambunctious boys. Talk about chaos. It’s a little bit easier now that they are older (12 and 9), but still … well you know how it is. 🙂

  • Lorrie says:

    I made the pumpkin scones today and they are wonderful!! I know this will be a keeper and I love the idea of freezing them and pulling them out as needed. You always inspire me with your cooking and healthful eating. Thanks Crystal.

  • Theresa says:

    I’m not sure what kind of seasoning you use for your taco meat, but it’s super easy to make your own. I use this recipe and make up a bunch at a time. Then use 2 T of the mix plus 1 T of cornstarch and 1/2 cup water. It’s super good and I like not having the “extra” stuff that’s in the packets. The seasoning also work out to be a great price when you get them from the bulk jars at the health food store.

  • Elias says:

    I had to come back and post that I made the pumpkin scones and they are very good! I had to a little flour at the end to make it stiffer and my triangles arent’ very pretty but I”m not complaining! Thanks again!

  • sarah says:

    I just started freezer cooking at first I was going to do one big day but I’ve decided to do a months worth of 2 or 3 items. And its works well. Plus started using my bread maker, love it. Now we will always have homemade rolls never buying frozen store ones again.

  • Angie says:

    Pumpkin is such a great ingredient to add to baked goodies. I’ve been baking pumpkin chocolate chip muffins as a autumn treat for years. This scone recipe looks wonderful, can’t wait to give it a try.

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