Cranberry Pork Roast

Cranberry Pork Roast

Batch cooking and freezer meals are my favourite meal prep strategies. 

Over the years I have tried many meals that you prepare ahead and freeze, some you prep partially and mix together when cooking and others you simply combine ingredients in a freezer bag and dump into a slow cooker for an easy flavorful meal.

I have shared a few Chicken Freezer Meal recipes before, but this one is a simple dump Pork meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pound bone-in pork shoulder (or pork tenderloin)
  • 15oz can whole berry cranberry sauce (or 1 1/2 to 2 cups homemade cranberry sauce)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest (optional)
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on “low” setting for 6-8 hours.
  2. Remove any bones and shred meat.
  3. Serve on buns, with tortillas, or with a salad or other side.

**Freezer Meal: Combine all ingredients in freezer bag and freeze. When ready to cook, dump into slow cooker and cook 8 hours on low.

 

Overnight Oats 

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

In mason jar (or cleaned small salsa jar, like I used), place the following ingredients, give it a good shake, and place in fridge overnight. In the morning you will have a lovely creamy pudding packed with goodness!! Great for breakfast or snack mid morning.
  • 1/3-1/2 cup oats
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (regular yogurt if you have it is fine, simply reduce milk to 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4-1/3 Cup Almond Milk, (soy, dairy, etc works as well)
We made ours with this base and added the following combinations.
Cocoa Berry:
1 Tbsp Cocoa, 3 Chopped Strawberries, 1 tsp Vanilla and 1 Tbsp Honey. 
Peanut Butter Cup:
1 Tbsp Cocoa, 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter, 1 tsp Vanilla and 1 Tbsp Honey. (I would add a little more honey when I eat this one, a little bland...next time I am going to try Maple Syrup) The variations are endless. I will be sharing all the combinations we try. So far, these are the first 2 and both are great.

Our Perfect Buttery Biscuits

Our Perfect Buttery Biscuits

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Buttermilk (or milk with 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar, let sit 5 min)
  1. Combine dry ingredients and then cut in butter (with pastry cutter or fork). Leave butter a little chunky to allow for airy biscuits when cooked
  2. Once a crumbly texture add milk.
  3. Combine stirring and then knead on floured surface for a minute.
  4. Roll out in rectangle, fold over (making 2 layers of dough) & roll again.
  5. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees 30 minutes or until browned.

Big Mac Salad with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing 

Big Mac Salad with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

This really and truly tastes like a Big Mac!  Even my 13 year old said it was awesome...that's a huge compliment coming from him.

This salad will be put in our meal planning rotation for sure. I did not have cheese in my bowl, but took a couple close up pics with the cheese added. 

Big Mac Salad with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing 

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb cooked Extra Lean Ground Beef OR Lean Ground Chicken, crumbled

  • 6 cups Lettuce, diced

  • 4  Dill Pickles, diced

  • 1⁄4 cup raw Onion, diced

  • 1 oz Light cheddar cheese, Shredded

  • Thousand Island salad dressing (homemade recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. Cook ground beef in a skillet & drain.
  2. Place a bed of lettuce in your serving bowl.
  3. Combine ground beef, pickles and onion and spoon over lettuce.
  4. Top with dressing and sprinkle with cheese (optional).

Thousand Island Dressing is one of my favourite sauces for burgers and salads.

Here is how to make it from scratch.

  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic (1/2 clove)
  • 2 Tbsp Sweet Relish (or 4-5 sweet pickles chipped fine)
  • 2 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Cover and place in fridge for 1 hour minimum.
  • Lasts up to 5 days in refrigerator.

Enjoy this Big Mac Salad with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing.  It sure is a hit in our house and U hop it will be in yours as well!

Naan Bread

Naan Bread is a great option to have on hand for many meals. Pizza, wraps and for dipping. I like making a batch of smaller flat breads and putting them in my son's lunch with pizza sauce or hummus. We also make pizza often with it, as you will see in the pics.
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ cup warm water (not hot)
  • 2½ cups flour, plus more for kneading (up to 1 cup more)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup plain yogurt (I prefer greek)
  • 1 large egg
  1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir to dissolve then let sit for 5 to 8 minutes until a froth appears. Once frothy, stir or whisk in the oil, yogurt, and egg until well combined.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, combine ONLY 1 cup of the flour with the salt. Next, create a well in the flour and pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir until combined. Continue adding flour, a half cup at a time, until you have a thick dough that is not overly sticky, about 1 to 1.5 cups more.
  3. Turn the ball of dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the ball of dough for about 2-3 minutes. You can continue to add small amounts of flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.  The dough should be smooth and very soft but not sticky. Adding dough while kneading should be done in small amounts, to avoid mess, and dough that becomes too stiff.
  4. Once you are done kneading, place dough in a clean bowl (you can rub a little olive oil on bowl). Cover the dough with clean dish towel and let it rise about 1 hour, it should be doubled in size.
  5. After it rises, gently flatten the dough with your hands and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball and set aside. Do not handle a whole lot.
  6. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Roll out one ball at a time, until it is about ¼ inch thick. Place the into the hot skillet and cook until the bottom is golden brown and large bubbles have formed on the surface. Flip the dough and cook the other side until golden brown as well.
  7. Stack the cooked bread on a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm,until remaining pieces are ready.
 

Chicken “Pot Pie” Wreath

Chicken "Pot Pie" Wreath

Here's my take on an easy Chicken Pie!Crescent rolls were on sale a few weeks ago for $0.99 a package. I picked up 4 and here is what I did with 2 packs.

Over the holidays, my mom was visiting and when we have company, I like to serve more planned meals that are easy to throw together. This was one of the meals I made that is quick and super easy....and delicious.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pk Crescent Rolls
  • 2 cups cubed cooked Chicken
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas & Carrots (cooked)
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.

 

- Place crescent roles in circle to for a "sun". Using floured fingers, press the dough flat around the center of the wreath, giving you about 2 inches of solid dough all the way around the ring.

- In bowl, combine remainder of ingredients and stir.

- Scoop spoonfuls around the dough wreath. Create a full circle around the  wreath shape.

- Fold the points of the crescent rolls up over the chicken mound and connect to dough at inside of the ring.

- Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes.

Makes 4-5 servings

COST BREAKDOWN

  • 2 pk Crescent Rolls ($0.99 each = $1.98)
  • 2 cups cubed cooked Chicken (approx. $2, marked down chicken breast)
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas & Carrots (cooked) ($0.50)
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup ($o.50)

TOTAL COST: $4.98  or $1 - $1.25 per person!!

Chicken Salad Lettuce Wrap with Ginger Peanut Carrots

Chicken Salad Lettuce Wrap with Ginger Peanut Carrots

I love using lettuce as my wrap or or bun when making wraps or burgers. As I was searching for new salad recipes I came across a recipe for Peanut Ginger Carrot Slaw, which was my inspiration for creating this wrap recipe. If you like peanuts and ginger, you will love the flavour in this healthy wrap! When I come home from the grocery store with chicken, I usually bake it all with a little seasoning, the cool it and freeze for later use. This recipe calls for cooked chicken. You could also use rotisserie chicken, if you don't have time to cook your own.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, cooked and diced or shredded
  • 2 tsp Coconut Oil 
  • 1 bag Carrots, matchstick cut (approx. 2.5 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp Water
  • 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter 
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 2 tsp ground Ginger, or 1 Tbsp fresh chopped Ginger 
  • 6-8 portions, Romaine Lettuce or any other Leaf lettuce you wish to use as a wrap.
  • Chopped nuts (peanuts or pecans) to garnish 
  1. In skillet, heat 2 tsp Coconut Oil and then add carrots to sautée. 
  2. Add 2 Tbsp water to carrots, cooking for about 5 minutes and stir occasionally. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter, 1 Tbsp Lime Juice, 1 tsp Garlic Powder and 2 tsp ground Ginger or 1 Tbsp chopped Fresh Ginger. Add to carrots in skillet and stir to combine. Turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes.
  4. In larger bowl, combine diced/ shredded chicken and carrot mixture. 
  5. Spoon chicken mixture onto lettuce, sprinkle with chopped nuts and wrap to serve.

Freeze Ahead Breakfast Options

Make Ahead / Freeze Ahead Breakfast Options

 

Freeze Ahead Breakfast Options to make your morning run smoother

If you do not do any meal prep or freezer meals yet, then start with breakfast. Morning can be hectic and stressful in a household with kids or even on your own. When we have breakfast options ready to pop in the microwave or blender, it makes for a less stressful day. Anything that saves time in the mornings is welcome!

These are my top Make Ahead/  Freeze Ahead Breakfast Options :

Pancakes 

(Recipe for Pancake Mix)

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Mix up a batch of pancakes and make them small enough to fit in your toaster. Let cool and place on parchment covered cookie sheets in freezer. Once frozen (about 1 hour) place in zippered freezer bag. OR you can cool, place in zippered freezer bag with wax paper between the pancakes.

To serve: Take out of freezer and toast in toaster.

French Toast

I usually watch the bakery discount racks at the grocery store and pick up a couple extra loaves to make French Toast. Make them up, and then let cool & place on parchment covered cookie sheets in freezer. Once frozen (about 1 hour) place in zippered freezer bag. OR you can cool, place in zippered freezer bag with wax paper between the pancakes.

To serve: Take out of freezer and toast in toaster.

Breakfast Burritos

(Recipe & Instructions)

burritos

My favourite grab and go breakfast!
I usually make these up in batches of 20 at a time now. You can make these using many variations of ingredients,  here is my recipe.

To Serve: Microwave for 40 to 60 seconds. (Time may vary due to varieties of microwave )

Smoothies

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Smoothies are a fast and healthy option and, Yes, they can be prepped ahead.

I purchase yogurt that has been marked down, 50% off, then freeze it in ice cube trays. Then put 2 or 3 frozen blocks in the freezer bags with the other items for the Smoothie.

Measure out 1 cup of berries or other frozen fruit and place in freezer bag with yogurt. Add spinach,  kale, wheat germ, or any other items you want to add.

When ready for a Smoothie,  simply place contents of the bag in the blender and add some coconut water, juice or milk.

Also check out: 5 Awesome Smoothie Recipes

Muffins

Muffins can be one of the best breakfast options out there. Having so many recipes to choose from, and most can be frozen and thawed for 15 seconds in the microwave. Or if you prefer, that however many you need by taking them out of the freezer the night before.

These are a few of my favourite recipes:

Omelets and Omelet Muffins

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Omelet Muffins are one of my favourite make ahead breakfasts. You can put anything in them that you like. One egg per muffin tin and then bacon, chopped veggies, cheese, you name it. Be creative and use up what you have in the fridge. Here is how I make mine.

We like basic omelets as well, so my make ahead packets are simply the veggies all in a freezer bag ready to thaw and add eggs. I cook up a large batch of onions, peppers and any other veggies and seasonings I want, then divide into snack baggies. Then place the baggies into a larger freeze bag and label. These are great to ass to soups and sauces as well.

Looking for some inspiration for more make ahead meals?
Check out some of the other recipes on our page.

5 Awesome Smoothie Recipes

 

Smoothies are not just for those wanting to lose weight. In fact, smoothies are great for everyone who is busy and needs a portable breakfast or snack. Getting up early to get the kids off to school, or maybe your kids have early morning sports practices? Smoothies are a super option to kick start their day and yours. Why not add a smoothie drink or smoothie bowl to your breakfast routine. They can pack a punch of protein, nutrients and you can add veggies and fruit that maybe the kiddos wouldn't normally try!

Early morning swim practices will give me a chance to get Lorne eating healthier during the week. Our smoothies will be prepped and frozen, some made up already, and some in smoothie packs (all the ingredients except liquid, in a freezer back to just pop in the blender).

Smoothies are something I have always wanted to be able to make well, and for some reason, I have had a hard time getting them to turn out. So I have compiled a few that are awesome and my goal for the New Year is to have smoothies on our menu on a regular basis!

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Kale-Strawberry-Banana Smoothie Recipe - Everything Unscripted


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Lunch Box Smoothies- East Coast Mommy

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Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie Bowl - Older Mommy Still Yummy

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Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl - Older Mommy Still Yummy

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Persimmon Smoothie - Country Parent

Do you need some more inspiration for easy make ahead breakfast options? 

Click Here for Make Ahead and Freeze Ahead Breakfast Ideas!

Crunchy Snow Mounds

Crunchy Snow Mounds
snowymounds White chocolate goodness with a little crunch! These little gems are so quick and easy to make. Whip up a batch in no time to take to a potluck, or for company arriving in a few hours. These little treats can be made year round, but I tried them and decorated for a Christmas Cookie Exchange. If you want to make them for Valentine's day, add a little red food colouring to make pink treats topped with a couple cinnamon hearts, or at Easter top with a couple mini eggs.

You will need:

  • Mini muffin tin
  • mini muffin liners
  • microwave safe bowl
  • wooden spoon for mixing
  • teaspoon for scooping into muffin liners

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups Rice Krispie Cereal
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 1/4 cups White Chocolate Chips
  • candy sprinkles (optional)
Place muffin liners in mini muffin tins. In microwave safe dish, combine Chocolate Chips and Coconut Oil. Melt in microwave in 20 second increments until smooth when stirred. Add Rice cereal and Coconut. Stir to combine. Scoop out into lined muffin tins. Sprinkle with candy topping. sm03 sm02 sm01 Let sit at room temp for approximately 1 hour, or place in fridge for 30 minutes to set. Makes approx. 22 mounds. smcollage

For more cookie ideas, check out this roundup of 34 Holiday Cookie Recipes!