As my baby’s due date creeps closer and closer, I am reminded how after a baby is born, I don’t feel like doing anything except sleeping! So I have been trying to work on getting some extra food in the freezer to prepare for baby’s arrival. When I think of freezer cooking, I think of a whole day of cooking and washing dishes and being completely exhausted. But I found a method on a blog, Money Saving Mom, that this mom does, she does one hour of freezer cooking a week. Of course she doesn’t get a ton put away in one hour, but one hour a week over a few weeks will start to add up. I don’t have that much time between now and when baby comes to get very much put away if I only do one hour a week, so I decided to adapt that idea to doing one hour a day for the next couple of weeks.
Perhaps you also have a due date in the near future, or maybe you would like to get some extra food put in the freezer for time crunched days. Here is my plan, and I hope it will help you out too!
Week 1: Breakfast Foods
Week 2: Dinner Foods
Week 3: Finish Dinner Foods
Week 4 (if energy allows!): Rolls, Muffins, and Desserts
Last week was my week for Breakfast Foods, and this week I will get started on dinner foods. For breakfast foods I made granola bars to accompany smoothies, granola, bread, and breakfast burritos. Of course, everything was put into the freezer, minus a little snacking along the way (you can’t just put homemade bread in the freezer, you have to cut into at least one loaf and enjoy fresh bread!).
Monday: I went grocery shopping and made a trial batch of granola bars. I have always loved granola bars, but the ones in the store are too expensive and not very filling to be eaten for breakfast, and many of them tend to be more like candy bars than a healthy breakfast food. I made a trial batch since my other attempts at granola bars had not been successful (crumbly or too sugary), but I found a recipe that promised to fulfill all my hopes and dreams for granola bars, and upon testing it, I found it to work out quite well! These bars were filling and yummy without being like candy bars.
Tuesday: Made a double batch of granola bars. These bars were pretty easy, except that I made the mistake of buying dried fruits and nuts that needed to be chopped up. For ease, I would recommend just buying raisins or cranberries, and sunflower seeds.
Wednesday: Made bread. If you don’t make your own bread, you could use this day to make another favorite breakfast food such as muffins or banana bread.
Thursday: Made granola. The beauty of granola is that it is highly adaptable. You can add more or less of pretty much anything you want. If you don’t want nuts, then skip the nuts, if you want more nuts, then add more nuts! You can add in any desired variety of nuts and fruits, even dried coconut if you like. The sky is the limit! Here is the recipe I used (compliments of my mom):
10 cups oats
1 1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses, brown sugar, or maple syrup, or more honey. This is a flexible recipe, so whatever you have on hand!
3/4 cup peanut butter (optional)
1 Tb cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tb vanilla
3 cups chopped nuts
3 cups dried fruits
Measure oats and nuts into a bowl and mix. In a saucepan combine honey, peanut butter, molasses or other sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. I also like to add a container of juice concentrate to give the granola a more fruity taste. If you want, you can skip the 1/2 cup of molasses (or other sugar) and just add the juice concentrate to the honey as the juice concentrate is a natural sweetener, but it doesn’t give the granola the same “level” of sweetness as the molasses will, and so you will have a less sweet granola. So basically, it just depends on how sweet you like your granola! Anyway, put those ingredients in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until all ingredients combine. Pour the syrup over the oat and nut mixture and mix well.
Spread mixture over two or three cookie sheets or jelly roll pans and bake in a 300 degree oven for 1 hour or until lightly browned and crunchy. Stir mixture every 15 minutes. When finished baking, allow the granola to cool, then mix in the dried fruits and store in an air tight container.
Friday: Made breakfast burritos.
Hope this was helpful! Stay tuned to next week for my plan on freezer cooking for dinners. In the mean time, if you plan on cooking some extra freezer meals, watch the store ads for deals on meats. After haunting the meat clearance bin at Safeway for the last month, I finally snagged some deals on ground meat ( I probably could have gotten the same thing during a weekly sale, but I was hoping to get an even better deal by watching the clearance bin).