Monday, August 19, 2013

Make Ahead Meals

So, many of you have posted on my Facebook page that you'd like recipes for the freezable meals I'm doing for the first month of here goes!!  I will try to post blogs throughout my process of doing this!  Hope it helps you!

** I'm 100% sure this process would be easier without 4 kids running around....bringing their massive rock collections in the house (not kidding...a shoe box, 2 easter baskets, and a tin full of rocks!)....and blaring the tv.....but I'll cope!  LOL!  It may require taste testing some of this as I go!!

My process went like this....find a bunch of awesome websites for crockpot and freezer meals on Pinterest, pin them, wait about 3 months before you look at them again, feel very overwhelmed with the amount of recipes to look through, take a deep breath, and dive in!!!  All kidding aside, it was very overwhelming at first.  My approach was to just go through pages of recipes and save what I thought my family would like in a Word document.  Then I printed the documents (one for breakfast, one for lunch, one for dinner), made a grocery list from them, and will go from there.  I did add some of our family favorites to the list as well. 

Make sure you also add things like foil pans, foil, gallon ziplocks, etc to your shopping list!!

My plan was to get about 15 freezer dinners for the month (I figure surely I can come up with 15 other meals!!).  I wanted to get as many breakfasts as possible since mornings are a little crazy around here!  And then I wanted something other than PB&J for my kids' school lunches too, so I found some recipes we can make ahead of time for that too.  I also asked them what kinds of things they want in their lunches and made a list of all that. 

I know it would be so much easier to go out and buy pre-packaged chips and pretzels and all that, but have you priced it?!?  CRAZY!  So, I bought these things at Sam's this weekend and will pre-package my own!  Animal crackers, goldfish, pretzels, crackers, and Veggie Straws are just some of the things I grabbed.  Now...I DID buy individual containers of applesauce & pudding, but you could do your own with that too. 

I still need to go grocery shopping, which will make this process so much easier (I'm talking...we're even out of the basics like sugar and vanilla!!), but I thought I'd go ahead and make up one batch of muffins that I already had stuff for. 

 1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed, ripe bananas
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time. Beat in bananas, peanut butter, milk and vanilla.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in separate bowl; add to creamed mixture until just moistened.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill greased muffin tins (or lined) 3/4 full.  You can also do these in mini-muffin tins.  Bake at 350 for 14-16 min or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5 min before removing to wire rack.

I am flash freezing mine before putting them in a ziplock to go in the freezer until school starts.  To flash freeze, just put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer for about an hour.  Once they are hardening, you can put them in a ziplock.  This just helps them not all stick together in a clump!

These are sooooo good.  It's a good thing I'm putting them in the freezer immediately!  The kids are already begging to eat one too because they are so YUMMY!!!!

I'm going to go ahead and post this now....will post more when I return from the store this afternoon!  And will try to get this silly site to add some pictures!!

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