Food Prep Week 5 – Cookie Dough, Cookie Bars, Granola Bars, & Puppy Chow

It’s the final week of the food prep parties! In case you are just joining us I’m spending time every week stocking my freezer and pantry with items that will make life, especially meal prep, significantly easier now that school is starting. This is week number five but here are week oneweek twoweek three, and week four.

My freezer is so full I’m not sure it can handle much more! We’ve eaten a few containers of the beans from week one and we couldn’t resist eating some of everything I made in week two. The chicken from week three barely had a chance to freeze before I used some for dinner one night and one loaf of banana bread from week four never even made it to the freezer! It’s no surprise that in week five some of the food was sampled before it it the freezer as well. At least we know it’s good! 

I’ve got a wicked sweet tooth and I’ve learned that although I love to bake and would eat it all it’s definitely better if I store it out of sight in order to make it last. I have the mindset that I need to eat something before it “goes bad” and in three days an entire batch of cookies is gone! No need with the freezer. I make my desserts or snacks and stash them in the freezer so they are ready when I need them but don’t have immediate access when I get hungry. It’s perfect!

Food Prep Week 4 – Peanut Butter & Jelly, Banana Bread, Banana Muffins, and 30 Minute Rolls {Recipes}

Welcome back for another round of stocking the freezer to prepare for back to school season! If you are just joining us I’m posting recipes and ideas every Tuesday in August to fill your pantry and freezer with foods that will make life a tad easier once school starts. I don’t make full blow freezer meals but I like having meal components ready to go so I can pull a breakfast or dinner together in less time. Here are week oneweek two, and week three

This week I’m making some “extras” and I got the kids involved. First up: Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches! Many people don’t realize you can freeze them but have you ever seen Uncrustables at your grocery store? They are in the freezer!

Food Prep Week 3 – Taco Meat, Shredded Chicken, & Pizza Crusts {Recipe}

Here we are at week 3 of prepping food to get ready for that crazy back to school season! I’m trying to fill our freezer and pantry with easy meal components to take some of the time out of meal making. I’m not making full blown meals during these food prep sessions, just cooking or prepping things ahead of time to make the actual cooking times shorter and my meal planning a little easier when we have extra things on our schedule. 

During week 1 we made pantry staples like enchilada sauce and “refried” beans and for week 2 we focused on breakfast foods prepping English muffins and freezer biscuits. Ready to hop in to week 3?

I kept things a little simpler this week because I have other tasks on my agenda but I still wanted to get some items we use consistently into the stash. These aren’t difficult tasks and could easily be knocked out in an hour or so. I chose to spread it out between other parts of my day to make things a little simpler but it’s definitely possible to make these all faster!

Food Prep Week 2 – Pancake Mix, Sausage Balls, Biscuits, and English Muffins {Recipes}

It’s week two of prepping food to make the back to school season a little easier. (You can find week 1 here.) This week I want to focus on breakfast so I’m going to make pancake mix, sausage balls, biscuits, and English muffins. Let’s dive in and get started!

I know lots of people make a huge batch of pancakes and freeze them already cooked but I’m not a huge fan of how they reheat. Never as good as fresh! Instead I’m mixing up the dry ingredients in storage bags labeled with the wet ingredients and amounts that need to be added. This makes mornings just a little smoother because I can dump the dry ingredients in a bowl and add in the wet ingredients while the griddle heats up. Yes it may only shave a few minutes off but anything is better than nothing in my mind! And since it’s only a mix of flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bag I can continue to reuse it for the same purpose. Win-win!

I searched high and low for a pancake recipe that I loved. I think I tried at least a dozen! I love this recipe because the pancakes cook up super fluffy, not thin. They remind me of a diner style pancake because of how thick they are. Yum!

Freezer Food Prep Week 1 – Refried Beans, Black Beans, Enchilada Sauce {Recipes}

I mentioned in my Monthly Goals for August that I want to spend time each week prepping food for the freezer and pantry that will make life easier once school starts. I don’t really like making full meals for the freezer. I’ve done it and it’s handy but there are only a few meals I’ve found that I enjoy as freezer meals as much as their freshly made counterparts. 

Instead of making freezer meals I make meal components. These are often items the get bought as canned or boxed foods that I make homemade and stick in the freezer or pantry until it’s time to use them. This week I’m making refried beans, black beans, and enchilada sauce. All of these get used very frequently in our house. I like having refried beans for burritos, as a dip for tortilla chips, and I’ve even used them as the “sauce” on taco pizza! Black beans are the easiest on the plan this week since all I have to do is soak the beans, cook them until soft, and then divide into freezer containers. Enchilada sauce is our go-to sauce for breakfast pizza and we also use it for enchilada pasta as well as regular enchiladas. 

Slow Cooker Beef & Mushroom Stroganoff {Recipe}

Okay, so this isn’t a typical summer recipe but it’s a family favorite and since I made it last week I knew I needed to share it with all of you. 

I love using my slow cooker in the summer because it doesn’t heat up the whole house! I’m amazed at all the recipes available for making different kinds of foods in the slow cooker these days. I remember the days before pinterest and food blogs when you only cooked a few select types of dishes in a slow cooker. Roasts, soups, and dips were about the extent of the slow cookers regimen. I’m so glad people have experimented and come up with an abundance of ways to cook in a slow cooker! 

But back to this recipe. This stroganoff is creamy and rich but not heavy. I’ve included the beef in this recipe but often times we make it with only mushrooms. It keeps the recipe on the frugal side and offers a vegetarian option if you need that. 

This recipe is also a great choice if you work during the day because the broth part can cook all day (no need for timers) and once you are home switch it to high and continue with the sour cream portion of the recipe while you make the noodles. Make sure to really blend the sour cream and corn starch together well so that you don’t end up with clumps in the finished dish. This is usually my only “fail” with this recipe because I rush the mixing before pouring it into the broth. Don’t be like rushed me!