Monday, August 4, 2008


Café Rio-Style Pork
(updated from L. Rhoton)
3-4 lbs pork roast
2 ½ cups Dr. Pepper or Coke (NOT DIET!)
1 12 oz bottle taco sauce
1 ¾ cup brown sugar
Juice from 3-4 limes
½ tsp. chipotle chili pepper seasoning
1 Tbsp. cumin

Combine in slow cooker. Cook Low 8-12 hours, or until shreds easily. Shred pork. Divide into family-sized portions and place in freezer bags. Let cool. Remove air from bag, seal, and freeze. When ready to eat, reheat in microwave. Serve on salad, tortillas, or chips.

Saucy Pork Chops
(Fix It and Forget It Cookbook, adapted for freezer by Avalie)
4 pork chops
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. oil
2 cups ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. hickory flavored liquid smoke
1 cup onions, chopped

Season chops with salt and pepper, and garlic powder. Brown on both sides in oil in skillet. Drain. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, liquid smoke, and onions in freezer bag. Squeeze around to mix sauce. Add browned pork chops. Squeeze air out of bag and seal. Freeze. To cook, let thaw in refrigerator overnight. Pour contents of bag into slow cooker. Cover. Cook on Low 7-9 hours, or High 4-5 hours. Great with rice, fries, or potatoes.

Sweet Pork Roast
1 can Coke
1 tsp. garlic
¾ cup ketchup
½ brown sugar
¼ cup barbeque sauce (we like Bullseye best)
¼ cup Coke

Pour 1 can Coke on 3-6 lb pork roast. Cook on Low 15-24 hours. After roast has cooked, shred with coke still in pan. Drain Coke and fat. Mix rest of ingredients together. Pour over shredded pork. Cook another 1-2 hours. Serve on toasted buns. Or cool and freeze in Ziploc freezer bags in dinner-sized portions. To serve from frozen, simply remove from freezer bag and reheat in microwave.

Kalua Pig (Luau Pork)
(my recipe from living in Hawaii and experimenting with my crock pot)
6-8 lb pork roast (bone in is fine)
1/8 to ½ cup Kosher salt (depending on how salty you like it...start with less and increase...if you are using Sea Salt or Table Salt, use about half).
3 cloves minced garlic (optional)
½ cup liquid smoke
1 cup water

Rub salt over roast. Set roast in slow cooker. Add other ingredients to slow cooker. Cover. Cook on Low 12-24 hours, or until meat shreds easily with fork. Shred meat. Serve over rice. Or cool and freeze in Ziploc freezer bags in dinner-sized portions. To serve from frozen, simply remove from freezer bag and reheat in microwave.

Ground Beef

Meatball Mix
(Make-A-Mix Cookbook, pg 44)

4 lb. lean ground beef
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup dry bread crumbs
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all ingredients (I like to use my Kitchenaid mixer to keep by hands clean). Blend well. Shape mixture into 1 to 1½ inch balls (I use the medium scoop from Pampered Chef). Place balls on ungreased baking sheet (or mini muffin pans) and bake 25 to 30 minutes, until browned.Remove immediately and drain on paper towels. When cooled, put about 20 meatballs each into four 1-quart freezer containers, leaving ½ inch space at top. Seal and label with date and contents. Freeze. (Reheat in microwave.) Use within 3 months. Makes about 80 meatballs.

Easy Pleasing Meatloaf
2 lb. lean ground beef
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 cup water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce, divided

Non-Freezer Directions:PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Mix all ingredients except 1/4 cup of the barbecue sauce.SHAPE meat mixture into oval loaf in 13x9-inch baking dish; top with remaining 1/4 cup barbecue sauce.BAKE 1 hour or until cooked through (160ºF).

Freezer Directions (by Avalie):MIX all ingredients together in Ziploc Freezer Bag, squeeze out air and close bag.FREEZE.When ready to eat, THAW meatloaf in refrigerator and BAKE 1 hour or until cooked through (160ºF).OR BAKE frozen meatloaf, covered, for 2 hours or until cooked through (this method can produce a drier meatloaf).

Seasoned Ground Beef
(my recipe)
3-4 lbs ground beef
4 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, minced
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning

Brown ground beef, drain fat. Add garlic and onion to pan, return to heat. Simmer until garlic and onion are soft and transparent (2-3 minutes). Add Italian Seasoning and stir until mixed. Remove from heat. Divide into labeled quart-sized freezer bags (I like to freeze in 1-lb portions, since many recipes call for this amount). Let cool. Remove air from bag and freeze. When ready to use, reheat in microwave or thaw in refrigerator. Or use it in your slow cooker recipe frozen, and add an hour to your cook time.Add this to any casserole, soup, or any other recipe that calls for ground beef. If your family doesn’t like garlic or onions, simply omit them.

Crock Pot Sloppy Joes
(Fix It and Forget It Cookbook, adapted for freezer by Avalie)
3 lbs ground beef, browned and drained
1 onion, finely chopped (dehydrated is fine--just add extra water)
1 green pepper, chopped (dehydrated is fine--just add extra water)
2 8-oz cans tomato sauce
¾ cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. garlic powder

Combine all ingredients (except rolls) in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on Low 8-10 hours, or High 3-4 hours. Divide into meal-sized portions for your family and put each family-sized portion in quart-sized freezer bag. Let cool. Remove air from bag and seal. Freeze. When ready to eat, remove bag and reheat in microwave. Serve in rolls or on baked potatoes.

Hamburger Patties
(my recipe)
4 lbs ground beef
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
1-2 eggs
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl with your hands (or put half at a time into a ziploc freezer bag and squish it around) until well mixed. Shape into patties, place each pattie in Ziploc freezer bag, separating each layer with waxed paper (to keep them from sticking together). Remove air from bag and seal. Freeze laying flat, so patties keep proper shape. When ready to grill hamburgers, do not thaw. Simply place frozen patties on grill, and cook until cooked through. If pan-frying hamburgers, thaw first.

Taco Meat
(my recipe)
4-5 lbs ground beef
Taco Seasoning

Brown ground beef, drain fat, add taco seasoning and water. Follow directions on taco seasoning package for proportions and simmer times (each brand is a little different). Package 1-3 cups (depending on how much your family eats in one meal) of cooked taco meat into labeled quart-sized Ziploc freezer bags. Let cool. Remove air from bag, seal, and freeze. When ready to serve, simply remove from bag, and microwave until heated through. Makes great burritos, tacos, and taco salads.

Meaty Lasagna
(Simply Casseroles Cookbook, adapted for freezer by Avalie)
1 lb cooked, seasoned ground beef
1 28-oz jar spaghetti sauce
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 6-oz can tomato paste
½ tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 16-oz container Ricotta cheese or Cottage Cheese
2 cups (8-oz package) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, divided
1 16-oz package lasagna noodles, uncooked
Disposable 13x9 foil lasagna pan, multiple loaf pans, or foil for “phantom container method” (see tips on Intro to Freezer Meals Posting for details)

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and Italian Seasoning. Mix until well blended. In another bowl, combine Ricotta/Cottage Cheese, half of mozzarella, and half of Parmesan. Mix until well blended. Place 3 uncooked lasagna noodles lengthwise on bottom of baking dish; break a noodle in half and set it at end of dish to fill entire length. Spread 1/3 of ricotta mixture over noodles. Using a large ladle, spoon ¼ of meat sauce over cheese. Repeat layers two more times, alternating pattern of noodles. Top the last cheese/sauce layer with noodles (there may be a few noodles left over) and remaining meat sauce. Place remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in a freezer bag. Wrap top of lasagna in foil, label, tape bag of cheese to pan, and place in freezer. When ready to bake, thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours. Bake lasagna, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Sprinkle on remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and continue to bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and browned.

Beef and Gravy
(my recipe)

In small or medium saucepan, heat:
1 lb Seasoned Ground Beef --see recipe above (or one can of ground beef)
(add 2 Tbsp Minced Garlic and 1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning if using unseasoned beef)

In small bowl, combine:
1 Tbsp Kitchen Bouquet
2 Tbsp Flour
1 Cup Water

Mix together until well blended
Slowly pour mixture into saucepan with Seasoned Ground Beef
Simmer, stirring constantly until sauce thickens into gravy.
Remove from heat.
Serve over rice, noodles, baked potatoes, or anything else that sounds good to you!

Crock Pot Potato Casserole
(Cheri Robinson, adapted for freezer and Crock Pot by Avalie)
Put into Crock Pot:
1 lb Seasoned Ground Beef --see recipe above (or one can of ground beef from cannery)
1 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoning Salt (or Red Robin Seasoning Salt...our new favorite!)
5 Potatoes, cubed
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Milk (use soup can to measure milk)
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup frozen peas

Cover. Cook on Low 7-9 hours, or high 4-5 hours. Casserole is done when potatoes are fork-soft. If frozen peas fall apart, try adding them during last hour of cooking.OR Mix all together (omit ½ can milk) in large casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Taco Soup with Black Beans
(Fix It and Forget It Cookbook)
1 lb Seasoned Ground Beef (see recipe above)
28-oz can crushed tomatoes
15 ¼ - oz can corn, undrained
15-oz can black beans, undrained
15-oz can red kidney beans, undrained (or pinto work great, too)
1 envelope dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 envelope dry taco seasoning
1 small onion, chopped

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on Low 4-6 hours. Pour into clean jars or freezer containers. Cover, leaving at least 1 inch headspace. Freeze. When ready to serve, heat in microwave or on stovetop. Serve with cheese, chips, and sour cream.

Great Chicken Meals

Fried Chicken Chunks
(my recipe)
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, thawed and cubed
2-3 Tbsp. Cornstarch
2-3 eggs, beaten

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Coat chicken cubes in cornstarch, dip in egg, immediately fry in oil, turning after 1-2 minutes. Cook on both sides, until chicken is no longer pink in middle. Drain on paper towels. Let cool. Place in freezer bags. Freeze. When ready to eat, reheat in toaster-oven or microwave. Serve with rice and sweet and sour sauce, orange sauce, plum sauce, or other asian-style sauce.

Mushroom Chicken
(Pampered Chef)
2 lbs frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup milk
8 oz. carton fresh mushrooms, sliced (or one can sliced mushrooms)
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed/minced
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Grated Parmesan cheese

Place all ingredients except frozen chicken and parmesan cheese into gallon-sized freezer bag, mix well. Add frozen chicken. Squeeze air out of bag and freeze. Chicken will marinate as it defrosts in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Pour contents from bag into baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 45 minutes (30 min for tenderloins). Grate cheese onto chicken after baking. Serve with pasta or rice.

Caesar Chicken
(Pampered Chef)
2 lbs frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
1 (16 oz) bottle Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed/minced
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Place frozen chicken in freezer bag; add garlic and one bottle of dressing. Coat chicken well. Squeeze air out of bag and freeze. Chicken will marinate as it defrosts in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Pour contents from bag into baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 45 minutes (30 min for tenderloins). Grate cheese onto chicken after baking. Serve over cooked pasta with grated cheese. Try it as a wrap. Make Chicken Caesar Salad, using 2nd bottle of dressing. Note: the oils from the dressing will separate a little as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon when serving.

Mexican Chicken
(Pampered Chef)
2 lbs frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
16 oz jar mild or medium salsa
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed/minced
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 can black olives, drained and sliced
Grated Monterey Jack cheese

Place all ingredients except frozen chicken and cheese into gallon-sized freezer bag, mix well. Add frozen chicken. Squeeze air out of bag and freeze. Chicken will marinate as it defrosts in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Pour contents from bag into baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 45 minutes (30 min for tenderloins). Grate cheese over chicken after finished baking. Serve with corn bread, rice, and steamed veggies. Or try it in a tortilla, or on a salad.

Apricot Chicken
(my recipe)
2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup apricot jam
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. powdered ginger

Combine all ingredients in a labeled freezer bag. Seal and squish around to mix. Squeeze out air and freeze. Chicken will marinate as it defrosts in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Pour contents from bag into baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 45 minutes (30 min for tenderloins). Serve with rice and stir-fry veggies.

BBQ Chicken
(my recipe)

2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
½ bottle BBQ Sauce (we like Bullseye)

Place frozen chicken and BBQ sauce in gallon-sized ziploc freezer bag. Squeeze out air, seal, and freeze. When ready to eat, let thaw in refrigerator. Pour entire contents of bag into baking dish and bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. OR put entire contents of bag into crock pot, cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.

Introduction to Freezer Meals

Freezer Meals Tips
by Avalie (the Freezer Meal Diva) :)

It’s never too late to learn! When I got married, I had lived in the dorms for almost my entire college education. I did not learn to cook, since my meals were served at the cafeteria (I remember calling my mother to find out how to cook spaghetti noodles). My sweet husband had worked in a bakery, so he had great baking skills (another area where I was at a loss) that he shared with me, and my little sister became a great resource (she has a Bachelor's Degree in culinary management). The only thing I knew how to do was follow directions (thanks to my high school cooking class and my mom). So I learned to follow recipes. I spent a lot of time at the side of women who I consider master chefs and bakers. I started out simple (with many mistakes…ask my husband about my first attempt at Chicken Parmeseana), and have moved to more complex recipes.

Over the past ten years I have been searching for ways to feed my family on a very limited budget (we were students for a LONG time), and ways to keep my sanity with four small children before dinner time. That meant learning to use inexpensive ingredients, grocery shopping once a month with a list, shopping the sales, cooking with food storage, using a menu calendar, and reading A LOT of cookbooks. This is what I have discovered. I hope it helps you.

Once-A-Month Cooking (OAMC): Spend one or two days each month preparing all the dinners for the entire month. Website and book written on this strategy.

“Bargain Shopper” Cooking: Look at what meat and ingredients are on sale this week. Purchase large quantities of sale items that your family likes to eat, prepare the meals and freeze them.

Bulk Foods Cooking: Purchase large quantities of ingredients from warehouse store (#10 can of spaghetti sauce, 5 lbs of shredded cheese, etc), and assemble many of the same casserole at once (make 5 lasagnas…eat one for dinner, freeze 4 for later). If you’re going to make the mess, it’s not much harder to make a lot of something than to just make one. Plus you have a backup meal on hand for someone in need.

Styles of Freezer Meals:

Raw Ingredients: Freeze raw meat, shredded cheese, tortillas, (or other basic ingredients that would otherwise spoil if kept too long in the refrigerator) for easy, quick meals. The key to success with this style is to pre-measure the ingredients in handy sizes so they are easy to manage. One pound portions of meat or cheese are much easier to thaw and cook than a 5 or 10 pound package. Resist the temptation to just put the entire package in the freezer. You are more likely to use it if it is easy to prepare! This is a great style if you find a really good meat sale, or want to have some ingredients around for trying new recipes. Example: Ground Beef, Hamburger Patties, or Shredded Cheese.

Pre-Cooked: Meat is prepared, fully cooked, cooled, and then frozen. This type of freezer meal just requires re-heating, and usually takes the most prep work, but is the fastest meal when you’re ready to eat. Example: BBQ Pulled Pork or Meatballs.Marinade: Meat is frozen in its marinade, and is frozen raw. These meals are often designed for the crock-pot or the oven. These meals are quick to assemble, but take longer to cook when you’re ready to eat. Example: Saucy Pork Chops.

Assembled: Casseroles and side dishes are assembled and frozen in their cooking containers. Usually the meat (if there is any) is pre-cooked, as in lasagna, and the casserole needs to be heated through. These meals are great candidates for the “Bulk Foods Cooking” strategy because the casseroles often take a bit of work to assemble, so you might as well make multiple dinners at once. Example: Lasagna or Funeral Potatoes.

Basic Mixtures: Meat can be pre-cooked and seasoned for a variety of uses. For example, bake chicken with garlic salt, cool and slice into strips for salads, quesadillas, burritos, or casseroles. Freeze in quart size freezer bags, just a serving at a time, or with enough to throw in your favorite recipe. Another good example is to brown ground beef with minced garlic and onions, cool and freeze. Great with taco seasoning for Mexican dishes, or in tomato sauce for Italian dishes, or in soups, Crock Pot recipes, or other casseroles that call for ground beef. I like to freeze 1 pound per bag, so it’s easy for me to measure into recipes.

Uncooked Mixtures: Some mixtures are better frozen uncooked. This would include meatloaf, which freezes beautifully before it is cooked, but can become crumbly and dry if it is frozen fully cooked.

-Invest in good quality freezer bags and containers.
-Label all meals with meal name, cooking directions, and date assembled.
-Make a list of what is in your freezer, tape it to the freezer or inside a cabinet. Cross off items as you eat them.
-Decide at least the night before what you will eat for dinner. Pull out the ingredients and thaw frozen items in the refrigerator. Figure out what time you need to start cooking to have dinner ready on time. You can even set an alarm to remind yourself to start cooking. Let kids help pull out ingredients, sometimes it helps them get excited about the meal.
-Invest in a Crock Pot with a removable pan (Beware of the digital kind…there have been lots of problems and recalls with them. Go with the classic kind with the knob). They are a breeze to clean, since you can put the pan in the dishwasher. Or use Crock Pot plastic liners to prevent the mess in the pan.
-Each time you open the freezer, it lets in moisture and warm air. That means that meals that are in the back of the freezer will stay frozen longer. The closer items are to the door of the freezer, the more they will experience temperature changes and freezer burn.
-Freezer burn is caused by the dry air of the freezer. It dries out the meat and leaves it looking white (and tasteless). Freezing meat in a marinade or sauce will help prevent freezer burn because the air will never touch the meat.
-When freezing items in a plastic bag, try to squeeze all the air out before freezing. This will prevent freezer burn and give you a little more space in the freezer.
-Organize your freezer using plastic boxes. Keep bags of food in categories so they’re easy to find (one box for veggies, one for beef, one for chicken, etc).
-Thaw items on a dish or pan in the refrigerator. Freezing causes the bag to expand, sometimes causing little holes or cracks which can make a mess in your refrigerator!
-Don’t want to leave your pans stored in the freezer? Phantom Container Method to the rescue!! Simply line the pan with aluminum foil before you assemble your casserole. Then put the casserole in the freezer until frozen solid. Gently pull the casserole out of the pan and wrap in Ziploc freezer bag or other plastic wrap. Put the casserole back in the freezer until ready to use, then remove outer covering, return to pan (since it’s already in the right shape), and bake. (Super Baby Food Book by Ruth Yaron)
-Make your own baby food. Cook and puree fruits or vegetables that your baby can digest, then freeze in ice cube trays. When frozen, pop the cubes out of the trays and store in Ziploc freezer bags. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator or microwave and serve to your little angel. (Super Baby Food Book)
-Meat CAN be cooked from frozen. Crock pots are great for this, because they won’t dry out the meat. Realize that your cooking time and temperature in the oven will need to be altered, and that you’ll need to watch the food carefully to prevent it from burning or drying out, while ensuring that it is cooked through.
-Create a menu calendar for your family. Include everyone in the planning.
-If your family doesn’t eat leftovers, learn to make the meals smaller. Instead of one 9x13 casserole, try putting it into two 8x8 pans, or two large loaf pans. This gives your family two meals for the effort of one…without the leftovers.
-When the produce overfloweth in your garden or kitchen, find a way to freeze it. Zucchini can be shredded, diced, or cubed—then measured and frozen in bags for use later in soups or zucchini bread. Peas and beans can be blanched and frozen for use in stir-fry, soups, or as a steamed side dish. Berries can be washed, then frozen on a cookie sheet (so they don’t end up in one big frozen lump), then transferred into freezer bags for use in smoothies, on cereal, or in baked goods. Bake winter squash and puree it, then freeze it to use later (this makes GREAT baby food!). Even potatoes can be frozen. Quarter, shred, or cube the potatoes, add oil and seasoning to the bag, shake, and freeze. Just realize that freezing changes the texture of produce, so it will be mushy when you thaw it. But when you’re baking it into a recipe, it usually doesn’t matter.
-Get some great cookbooks, and make LOTS OF NOTES in them. Write down freezer cooking time, changes to the recipe, and how much your family liked (or detested) the recipe. That way when you make it again, you can remember.-Learn to make bread, and freeze the dough. You can make the dough for two or three loaves at a time, bake one, and freeze the other two for later use. You simply need to thaw the dough for a few hours before you bake it.-Make pizza dough ahead of time, freeze it, and enjoy easy homemade pizza.
-Cheese can be frozen, it just changes texture. It freezes great if shredded before freezing. I freeze one pound in each bag, for easy measuring.
-Don’t forget dessert!! Next time you make cookies, double (or triple) the recipe. Drop balls of dough onto a cookie sheet, and put in the freezer for a few hours. Then put the frozen dough balls into freezer bags. Voila! You have homemade “Otis Spunkmeyer” cookies ready to bake! --If you like to eat the dough, try using powdered eggs (available in the Preparedness section at Macey’s Grocery in Utah or online) in your cookie dough in place of raw eggs. It is pasteurized, so you won’t get salmonella from eating the dough.
-Fruit pies freeze wonderfully. Make the crust, make the filling, put into pie tin, cover with foil and freeze. Or, you can just make the crust and freeze it. You can also just make the filling, put it into a gallon-size freezer bag and set the bag inside the pie tin. The filling will freeze into the shape of the pie tin, so when you add the crust, the filling will fit perfectly. I do this in the summer when the fruit is cheap (or free!) and plentiful.

How do I get started?
First, find a friend or family member to help! It’s way more fun.
-Make a list of the meals your family loves to eat.
-Decide which meals take the most work to make.
-Figure out how to create a freezer meal or mix for your meal: which parts freeze well, what can you do ahead of time, what needs to be done on meal day?
-Decide how many of that meal you would like to make.
-Check your freezer space and clean it out if needed.
-Make a list of ingredients you need to make the meals.
-Look at what you have and make a shopping list.
-Go for it!! Buy ingredients, assemble, bake (if you choose), freeze, and enjoy!!
-Start again, and work on filling your freezer (and your tummy) with great-tasting homemade food without the daily stress.

Other Ideas:
In a rut? Need ideas? Hit the freezer aisles at the grocery store or COSTCO and figure out how to make your favorite freezer convenience foods at home. Schwans is also a great place to get ideas (that’s where I got the idea to freeze my bread dough).

Homemade Mixes are a great, quick way to feed your family. Some are frozen, and others are dry (like pancake and cake mixes). Either way, mixes are a quick and inexpensive way to eat. Check out the recipes for Pancake Mix and Meatball Mix on the next post.

Breakfast Foods

Oven-Baked French Toast
Everyday Food Magazine, adapted by Avalie
4 Large Eggs
1 and 1/2 cups milk (can use church cannery dried milk reconstituted)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
4 thick slices challah bread or other egg bread (recipe for Challah bread below)
2 Tbsp melted butter
In a 9x13 baking dish, whisk together eggs, milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt.
Arrange bread in dish in a single layer; let soak 15 minutes in refrigerator. Turn bread over; cover, and refrigerate until most of the liquid is absorbed, at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. Preheat oven to 350. Brush a rimmed baking sheet (I like stoneware better) with butter. With a spatula, carefully transfer soaked bread to sheet. Bake until French toast is set in center and lightly browned on the bottom, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve or cool and freeze in ziploc freezer bags. To reheat frozen French toast, heat in microwave or toaster oven until warmed through. Serve with syrup, powdered sugar, or jam. SO TASTY! This is as fast as Eggo Waffles to reheat from frozen. Way better for you, and WAY better tasting (not to mention very cheap to make!) I make one or two batches of Challah Bread, and it makes LOADS of French toast. I just cook up a few dozen pieces, then freeze them. My family can help themselves to a great meal out of the freezer whenever they want it!

Challah Bread (for French Toast)
Handmade Breads by Kathy Summers
You don't need a mixer to make this delicious bread. I have to admit, I do use my KitchenAid, since we make bread multiple times each week.
1 and 3/4 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup light olive oil
4 large eggs
6 to 7 cups bread flour (or unbleached flour)
Spray large baking pan with non-stick cooking spray (I use stoneware baking pans)
Measure warm water (110 to 115 degrees F) into a large mixing bowl
Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the warm water, add the sugar and stir until they dissolve.
Add salt, oil, and eggs to the yeast mixture. Stir.
Add 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture. Stir vigorously.
Add 1 to 2 cups more flour, approximately 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the dough pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead in 1/2 to 1 cup flour until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough should not be hard to knead.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the dough into two pieces for two loaves, or three pieces for one large braided loaf. Roll each piece into a loaf shape (or long ropes if you are going to braid it). Place on a greased baking pan.
Let the dough rise until almost doubled in size
Brush the top with a beaten egg, if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from pan. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before cutting.
If making into French toast, cut into 1-inch thick slices

Breakfast Burritos
(Cheri Robinson)
1-2 baked potatoes cut into cubes
2 eggs
2-3 tortillas
Green onion, chopped
Onion, chopped
Salt & Pepper

In a skillet, brown potatoes, onion, and pepper in butter or Pam cooking spray. Add eggs, cook. Add Salsa and Cheese. Pour into tortillas, wrap and eat or wrap in Saran Wrap and freeze. To reheat, remove plastic wrap and wrap in damp paper towel and microwave until warmed through. Option: add bacon, sausage, or other meat.

Pancake Mix
Not a freezer meal, but just as fast!
(Mix-A-Meal Cookbook, pg 36)
8 cups white or whole wheat flour
¾ cup dehydrated shortening (or 1½ cups vegetable shortening)
¾ cup powdered milk
¾ cup brown or white sugar
2/3 cup dehydrated whole eggs
1/3 cup baking powder
1 scant Tbsp. salt

To Make Pancakes
Combine:1 scant cup Pancake Mix
1 cup water (if you used regular shortening, you might use a little less water)
Let stand a minute and cook on a hot, oiled griddle. Turn when bubbles break on top. Makes six 4” pancakes.