Back to School Batch Cooking – Mission Complete!

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on August 20, 2011

(Please pardon the little iPhone photos. I was feeling especially lazy this morning and didn’t want to get out the “big camera.”)

I shared my back to school batch cooking plan earlier this week, and I’m pleased to share that I managed to get it all done today! I was hoping to do half yesterday and half today, but I ended up taking the kids on a spontaneous lunch date out to daddy’s office. They’ve been bugging me for weeks and yesterday was the day it finally worked with our schedules. So we enjoyed our family time…and everything worked out in the end!

Despite the fact that they didn’t have the whole wheat tortillas that I like at the store, I’m adapting as much of this as I can to be whole wheat and no-low sugar. Replacing sugar with sucanat or maple syrup, and whole wheat flour for white flour.

We had eggs and sausage for breakfast, and while in the kitchen I got half of my list done while making breakfast…

  1. Spicy Bean and Cheese Soft Tacos with jalapenos
  2. Breakfast Tacos made with sausage, eggs and salsa.
  3. Frozen Banana Bites made to be after school snacks

And I’m also pleased to share that I DID NOT lick my fingers (see the no sugar, no flour challenge) while making the frozen banana bites. It was HARD HARD HARD not to have a littly chocolate-y taste. But I managed to move onto the next task without being too bummed about it!

This first round took me about 35 minutes to complete. The bean and cheese tacos are “dump and mix,” then assemble, so they took little time. And the breakfast tacos took just a few minutes to assemble and place into the freezer.  The banana bites took a little bit of time to get made and placed on the paper on the baking sheet…but I know the kids will love them, so they are totally worth the extra prep time.

Then for lunch, I made pancakes. I doubled the batch and let the kids have the first few pancakes to eat. Then I scurried around getting the muffin batter made whilst flipping pancakes. Then getting the brownie batter ready once the muffins were in the oven.

  1. Ginger Maple Pancakes plus assemble 4 batches of make ahead mixes
  2. Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Strawberries
  3. Pantry Trail Mix- divide into snack bags for the lunch packing drawer
  4. Black Bean Coconut Brownies – cut into small squares and freeze…for easy lunch box packing.

All in all, round 2 took me about 30 minutes to do…plus the baking time. I made the pantry trail mix last while everything was baking.

I’ve shared the details on Facebook as I went along earlier…and Demetria asked the following question:

“How do you accomplish batch cooking with 3 little boys running around?”

Great question…I do as much as I can while they are eating…and then while they are playing right after they eat. The boys do a wonderful job of playing together and independently, and I’ve found that they are happiest when their bellies are full.  I was “on my own” this morning, as Steve was at church. Which is why I split it up into 2 batches…1 while they ate breakfast, and the 2nd while they ate lunch. That’s what works for me!

I just love knowing that I have some goodies on hand in the freezer…makes packing lunches so much simpler!

Have you done any batch cooking to get ready for school to start?!?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea Graf August 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I love the idea of batch cooking, I’m all about spending as little time in the kitchen as possible so most of my meals take 15 minutes or less to prepare but I make up double and more batches of things that take more time but freeze well along with making TONS of frozen pancakes because my kids love them so much.

I’d love to share some of my recipes with you sometime if you are interested, they are cheap, healthy and fast.

Reply

Barb @ A Life in Balance August 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Yes, I’ve been doing small batches of baking and making for back to school. So far, I’ve frozen pancakes, zucchini bread, crisp topping, ginger cookie dough and chocolate chip cookie dough.

The black bean brownie recipe looks very interesting. I have some black beans in the pantry that I need to use up. I made black bean brownies before and the kids loved them. I think the recipe came from the 101 Cookbooks site. I remember it had agave syrup in it which I don’t use anymore.

The trail mix recipe looks good, too, and it’s something my kids could put together for me. Always a plus!

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Dina August 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Not sure what’s going on, but all the links to the recipes has an extra 2011/ in it, so none of them work. I don’t know if this is just in Chrome, or something else.
LOVE the recipes though! I have both of your cookbooks and just love them!! Thank you so much!

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Shannon August 21, 2011 at 9:32 am

I usually batch cook my chicken and hamburger, but it is just to hot to batch cook muffins and brownies right now! Anything that raises the temp in my house will have to wait. I am sure looking forward to even slightly cooler weather, at this point anything under 100 will seem cool!

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Heidi August 22, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Hey Erin I was unable to check out any of your recipes as none of the links are working. I am on Safari on my iPad if that helps. I was really wanting to check out your frozen banana bites and breakfast tacos.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Thanks for the heads up…interesting. Will pass along to my tech team!

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The Prudent Homemaker August 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I made 4 loaves of Rosemary Olive Oil bread yesterday and my family ate 2 1/2 loaves with dinner! I have started that days’ lunch while making breakfast, though (usually soup at my house).

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Nancy August 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

When you make the Breakfast Tacos, can you freeze them?

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 25, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Yes Nancy…I freeze them all the time. Steve takes them out the night before and leaves them in the fridge. Then he reheats the completely in the microwave. Hope this helps!

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