Lime Cupcakes and International Freezer Meal Plan

Lime Cupcakes_6 on Whisk Together

Book Update:  Here is a list of books I’ve read so far this summer.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger: Ever wonder why certain youtube videos go viral?  Or why some companies make the choices they do?  This book explains a lot and explains how things that are contagious belong to one or more categories:  social currency, triggers, emotion, practicality, public and stories.  I would recommend reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point first.
Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs: I’ve loved reading AJ Jacobs since his first book about reading the entire encyclopedia.  Nothing new for me in this book, but some great stories.  I would recommend it for anyone who does not enjoy non-fiction exercise or nutrition books, but wants to learn more.

The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs:  This is his most popular and best rated book on Amazon.  I can see why – he goes through a year trying to live his life exactly by the bible.  That includes all those rules from the Old Testament that we just glance over and never really quote.  I mean who puts “Whenever a woman has her menstrual period, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. If you touch her during that time, you will be defiled until evening” from Leviticus on their Facebook page or frame it in their hallway?

Superfreakonomics by Steven Levitt: Fun read for the inner economist in all of us.

The Bigs by Ben Carpenter:  Every person under the age of 25 should read this book!  It should be mandatory for every senior in high school – a wealth of knowledge of getting through the working world, the differences between the school world and the working world – and some great stories to boot.

Talk like TED by Carmine Gallo:  Great for anyone in public speaking or will ever need to make a presentation.

The Apple Experience by Carmine Gallo:  He refers to the Apple company so much that I just had to read this one next.  It outlines how Apple turned their corporation around and got a huge customer following/base.

Before Happiness by Shawn Achor:  This book was written after The Happiness Advantage but should really be read first.  He takes what he learned from outside the classroom and uses that to finding the keys to success, finding happiness and making lasting positive change.

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor:  7 ways to fuel performance and success at work or school.  I think Before Happiness was better, but this has its merits.

…Well, that’s all I can remember so far!  🙂


*****************International Freezer Meal Plan***************

I have been requested you contact myself, or another Wildtree representative, for information on purchasing the bundles with their recipes, meals, shopping list and labels.  Thank you!

Lime Cupcakes_19 at Whisk Together

Recipe:  As you know I’m a sucker for citrus.  We made lime sherbet this summer and for white bear’s 8th birthday, the kids and I made lime cupcakes.  White bear is 8 years old because my 7 year old son figures that is about how old he must be since I received him at a baby shower before he was born.  Per his calculations, and the desire for a new lego set, he created a birthday for his stuffed animal on August 1st.  So, every year we celebrate his stuffed animal’s birthday with a toy and some cake.  Granted, my son’s real birthday is Christmas Eve and kinda gets mixed in with the Christmas week, we can’t really have a party that week because everyone is busy, etc. etc.  So, hey, why not?

Feel free to make these into lemon-lime or lemon cupcakes just by mixing up the zest.  They are whatever you want them to be – but in the end they will be delicious!  The texture reminds me more of a muffin than a cupcake perhaps.  I still really liked them and ate too many.  They whip up in a jiffy and have a great flavor for any time of year.  Something light.

Lime Cupcakes_4 at Whisk Together

Lime Cupcakes


  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar (5.25 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (6.25 ounces) cake flour or AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • For the Glaze
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (6 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 teaspoons water
  • grated lime


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line muffin pan with liners.
  3. In a great big bowl: mix oil, sugar, salt and lime zest. On medium high, mix for 2 minutes.
  4. Add lime juice. Add eggs. Mix another 2 minutes on medium high.
  5. In a not so big bowl: mix flour and baking powder.
  6. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk in 3 increments. Always start and finish with flour and mix on low. So, add 1/3 the flour, then half the milk. Add another 1/3 the flour and the rest of the milk. Add the rest of the flour.
  7. Divide batter among the muffin pan. I like to use a large cookie scoop. Bake 16-20 minutes.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes on rack. Remove from pan and cool completely.
  9. For Glaze:
  10. Mix it all up!! Add a little water if it is too thick. Using a spoon, gently pour the glaze onto the cupcake. Or, dip the cupcake into the glaze. Sprinkle with lime zest for garnish to make it pretty!

Lime Cupcakes
yield 12 cupcakes

6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar (5.25 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 eggs, room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups (6.25 ounces) cake flour or AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk, room temperature

3 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons lime zest
1 and 1/2 cups (6 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 teaspoons water
grated lime

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Line muffin pan with liners.
3.  In a great big bowl:  mix oil, sugar, salt and lime zest.  On medium high, mix for 2 minutes.
4.  Add lime juice.  Add eggs.  Mix another 2 minutes on medium high.
5.  In a not so big bowl:  mix flour and baking powder.
6.  Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk in 3 increments.  Always start and finish with flour and mix on low.  So, add 1/3 the flour, then half the milk.  Add another 1/3 the flour and the rest of the milk.  Add the rest of the flour.
7.  Divide batter among the muffin pan.  I like to use a large cookie scoop.  Bake 16-20 minutes.
8.  Cool for 10 minutes on rack.  Remove from pan and cool completely.

For Glaze:
1.  Mix it all up!!  Add a little water if it is too thick.  Using a spoon, gently pour the glaze onto the cupcake.  Or, dip the cupcake into the glaze.  Sprinkle with lime zest for garnish to make it pretty!

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Pineapple Coconut Muffins

Pineapple Coconut Carrot Muffins_2 on Whisk Together

I finished “The Chaperone” by Laura Moriarty.  I was pretty good and neat to read about the era of silent movies and prohibition.


I was trying to use up my carrots and pineapple and arrived at this recipe.  If you like pineapple and coconut combos, then you will like this recipe!

Pineapple Coconut Carrot Muffins_3 on Whisk Together

Pineapple Coconut Muffins


  • 1 cup AP flour (or white whole wheat)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup or 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or sub applesauce)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 and 1/2 cups grated carrots (about 3 medium to large ones. I use a small grate.)
  • 1/2 cup plus additional sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup of pineapple cut into small chunks or drained from a can


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep your muffin pan with cupcake liners or baking spray. This recipe makes 18 muffins.
  2. In a great big bowl, mix the dry stuff: flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
  3. In a medium size bowl, mix the wet stuff: milk, applesauce, brown sugar, oil or applesauce, egg and vanilla.
  4. Add wet to dry. Stir until just combined and leaving streaks of flour.
  5. Add the carrots, 1/2 cup coconut and pineapple. Stir gently.
  6. Scoop into the muffin about 3/4 - to almost full.
  7. Sprinkle more coconut on top. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on cooling rack. Store at room temperature or freeze for later.


Recipe from Kitchen Treaty

Homemade Cereal Bars and Figure Friendly Freezer Meal Plan

Honey Nut Cheerio Bars on Whisk Together


Good morning!  I hope everyone had a fabulous Mother’s Day!

One person has requested the Figure Friendly Meal Plan that I have, so I will post it here.  This is a Freezer meal plan written by Wildtree.  You can use and purchase their ingredients (I sell them as well), or you can swap them out for your ingredients at home.  Some are easier to swap out than others.  Wildtree prides itself in all organic ingredients that are made in a peanut free facility.

Garlic and Herb Pork Chops
Shrimp Scampi
Lemon Rosemary Tenderloin
Opa! Greek Kabobs
Zesty Lime Fajitas
Opa! Greek Burgers
Italian Chicken Tenders
Baked Chicken Scampi
Herb Crusted Tilapia (or chicken)
Easy Tacos

Wildtree Everyday Freezer Meal Workshop_11 on Whisk Together

Please contact myself or your local Wildtree representative about the bundle and great recipes, shopping list and labels that come with it!

The recipe below is also freezer friendly!  You can totally make it with whatever ingredients you want.  Instead of Honey Nut Cheerios, you could use plain Cheerios, Chex, Cocoa Puffs, etc.  Instead of craisins, you could use any dried fruit.  Instead of peanuts, you could use another nut or eliminate the nuts altogether and add extra fruit.  Just make sure to keep the total measurements of liquids and dry ingredients the same.

Honey Nut Cheerio Bars_1 on Whisk Together

Homemade Cereal Bars and Figure Friendly Freezer Meal Plan


  • 3 and 1/2 cups honey nut toasted oat cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
  • 4 Tb. butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Prep a 7x11 pan with parchment, wax paper or nonstick foil on the bottom and sides.
  2. In a great big bowl (glass would be good), combine the dry stuff: oat cereal, nuts and dried fruit.
  3. In a medium pot, heat the butter, brown sugar and honey on medium heat. Bring to a boil. Stir constantly and let the mixture boil for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove pot from the heat and add the vanilla and ground cinnamon. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Drizzle hot mixture over the cereal mixture. Stir gently and quickly before it cools too much.
  6. Press into the prepared pan with a spatula. Cool for 1 hour. Cut into 12 bars.

Recipe adapted from Once a Month Meals

A Freezer Thanksgiving

Freezer ThanksgivingYes, you too can create Thanksgiving TODAY!  It is difficult to get food ready, the house ready and keep up with the normal day to day at the same time.  I can’t help clean your house (want to clean mine?  :-D), but I can help you have Thanksgiving dinner ready to go for that special day.

I created a “Freezer Thanksgiving” post last year, but since then I have added many more recipes.  Target has frozen turkey on sale this week for 79 cents per pound for their store brand and 99 cents for Butterball.  I buy the store brand because most of my recipes are for 12-14 pound turkeys.  The Butterball turkeys were around 20 pounds each.

One Month Before:

Make any bread recipes and fully bake them – maybe a little underdone even.  That way when they are heated up on Thanksgiving, you just need to pop them in the oven for a few minutes and have perfectly baked goods.

Pumpkin Biscuits_ on WT  Pumpkin Biscuits:  Not big on pumpkin taste, but great color for the table.

Honey Wheat Rolls Honey Wheat Rolls: Makes tons of these.  They go fast and are excellent for leftover turkey sandwiches!

Cranberry Orange Bread_3CR  Cranberry Orange Bread:  Pretty and delicious.

honey butterCR Honey Butter – Don’t forget to freeze and thaw out that honey butter.  Yum!

Maple Cornbread on Whisk Together  Maple Cornbread or a Corn Casserole

2-4 Weeks Before:  Put side dishes together in foil pans for easy clean-up and your pans will not be tied up in the freezer.  If you cannot get foil pans, simply place a piece of foil and plastic wrap into your dish about 2 times larger than the dish itself.  Fill the dish and wrap in plastic wrap and foil.  Freeze.  Pop out of the container once frozen.  To bake, simply remove from the freezer and remove the plastic wrap and foil.  Place the food back into its original dish.  Thaw if necessary.  Bake as directed.  **Most of these you cook some ingredients first and then pop in the oven to bake.  Do NOT bake – just freeze.  You can bake it from frozen on Thanksgiving and free yourself from side dishes **

sweet potato casseroleCR Sweet Potato Casserole and Low Fat Sweet Potato Casserole

Wildtree Mashed Potatoes on Whisk Together Mashed Potatoes – I like to add dill dip mix and garlic or roasted garlic

Cheesey Spaghetti Squash and Spinach on WT Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Spinach

Roasted Broccoli Side Dish_1CR Roasted Cheddar Broccoli – Bag the broccoli and oil together.  Bag the crumb mixture topping together.  Put both bags in one large gallon freezer bag.  On Thanksgiving, just dump and roast!

(No Photo of Green Bean Casserole)  But you can freeze it!  Simply make the sauce and add the green beans.  I believe raw, fresh beans would yield the best results.  Wrap the casserole with foil and then plastic wrap.  Freeze.  Unwrap and cook from frozen.  Add fried onions.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with  Butter Pecan Glaze

pumpkin pieCR Pumpkin Pie – can’t have dinner without it.  This is my favorite.  To cut calories, I have even made it without any crust and 2% Evaporated Milk.

Pumpkin pieCR Pumpkin Pie #2 – In case you wanted variety.

Dutch Apple Pie_1 Dutch Apple Pie

cherry blueberry pie Cherry Blueberry Pie 

lemon mascarpone barsCR Lemon Mascarpone Blondies– something different, but very portable and delicious

One Week Before:


Thaw out that turkey!  Generally, this takes 4 hours per pound.  My 12 pound turkeys need at least 3-4 days.

The Day Before:

1.  Wrap any appetizer platters and place in the fridge or out  – depending on the dish.  Cheese and crackers.  Candy.  Nuts.  But have them on the dish you want them on.  Then, all that needs done is to take off the plastic wrap.

2.  Brine your turkey if you are brining.  I have used Alton Brown’s Turkey recipe which includes brining.

3.  Have ingredients out for dishes that you cannot or didn’t have time to freeze.  Deviled Eggs or Grandma’s potato salad from example.

4.  Cook Breakfast.  I know it sounds weird.  But, sometimes when I know we will have a hectic day I will make breakfast and freeze it the night before.  Just like laying out your clothes for the next day.  Some things I make are pancakes, waffles or egg casserole.

5.  Remove baked goods from freezer and place on counter to thaw.  Place any frozen flavored butters in the fridge or if you are a room temperature butter kind of person, leave the butter on the counter as well to thaw.

The Day Of:

1.  Depending on the time of your guests you can make the turkey the day before or the same day.  A guest here noted that she makes the turkey the day before, carves it and covers it with 1-2 cans of chicken broth and foil.  Reheat in the oven when needed.  Keep the carcass!  It’ll be good tomorrow for stock!

2.  Bake pies first.  They need time to cool.

3.  Bake casseroles and if you need time or room, put the contents into a slow cooker on low and add milk or chicken stock to keep moist.  Only up to 1-2 hours though.

4.  Warm rolls.

The Day After:

1.  Freeze any excess turkey leftovers.

2.  Throw the turkey carcass into a stockpot with some water and veggies for turkey stock.

Make Them a Meal Ideas

Like in most families and church families, we are asked to bring a meal to someone who just had a baby or sick or had a death in the family.  My first question is always, “What do I make???”  I have ideas and then nothing sounds good.  Or I will try to double a recipe so that we have something at home to eat here.  Sometimes, I just draw a blank!

Therefore, here is a list of ideas, links and photos to meal ideas that are “stock” meals for bringing to families in need.   I also tried to pick things that double easily because we know you have to eat, too!  I put “dessert” as a catchall on each one.  Cookies, cakes or bars, I’m sure it will be delicious!  And don’t forget breakfast.  Freeze some pancakes so the kids have something to eat in the morning.  Or include some homemade doughnuts for the morning.

Tip for travel:  It is hard sometimes to get pans back, or you don’t want to burden the recipient with returning the pan.  If your grocery store has a hot deli section, ask for Styrofoam take out containers.  I always offer to pay for them and most of the time I get them for free or for 10 cents.  There are the foil pans in the regular stores as well of course.  The dollar store sells a 3 pack of foil round pans for $1 with a lid!

Meal 1:

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic Bread

Meal 2:

Apple Butter or BBQ Pulled Pork
Hamburger Buns or Thin Buns
Fruit Salad or Vegetable

Meal 3:

Pizza Casserole

Meal 4:

Roast Beef
mashed potatoes
dessert or applesauce

Meal 5:

Skillet Lasagna
Green Beans

Meal 6:

Chicken Tenders
French Fries or Sweet Potato Fries
Cole Slaw

Meal 7:

Sausage Penne Bake
Fruit Salad
Roasted Asparagus or Cauliflower

Meal 8:

Easy Enchiladas
Spanish Rice
Refried Beans
Chips and Salsa

Meal 9:

Cincinatti Chili
Cheddar Cheese
Chopped Onion
Cooked Spaghetti

Meal 10:

Veggie and Fruit Tray
Cheddar Cheese, crackers, etc.

Meal 11: 

Taco Soup
Tortilla Chips
veggie and fruit tray

Freezer Meals – Saving Time and Money

I have a presentation on Freezer Meals and Power Cooking on Saturday morning for 30 moms of our preschool, so I thought I would include the information that I have accumulated here for everyone to read and for anyone on Saturday morning who wants to share it.  (Just a reminder, none of these links are paid or pay me.  It’s just stuff I’ve found and nothing is for profit.)

Here are the Handouts and Power Cooking Recipes in PDF format.

Why Freezer Meals?  Well, I started making them mainly because having a new baby doesn’t allow you a lot of time to cook.  I ordered and made 3 months of meals at  Time for Dinner in St. Louis after having baby Juliana and it was absolutely wonderful.  Food just needed popped in the oven or crock pot and it was finished.  Clean up was a breeze, I didn’t have to meal plan, and I didn’t feel like we needed to go out to eat as much as before.  But making my own recipes is more fun and a little more convenient than the 45 minute drive to Time for Dinner.  So, I started reading more and making more freezer friendly food  — sometimes hit and miss experiments and sometimes using techniques that Time for Dinner used like the Apple Butter BBQ Pork.

1.  Save Time:  You are condensing repetitive dinner preparation like cooking onion, garlic and meat into one session instead of 4-5.
2.  Save Money:  Most of the time, eating at home is less expensive than going out to eat.  But sometimes I go out to eat because I don’t have time to cook or I don’t want to deal with the dishes and freezer meals solves both problems.  (Of course, then I go spend the money I saved on stuff to make more food like espresso powder and vanilla beans.)
3.  Save on Last Minute Gifts:  Several times a year I need to make a meal for a friend who has had a baby or who has fallen ill.  I also had a few friends actually request a freezer meal instead of a fresh one because their mom would be in town to cook and clean for so long that she wanted the meals for later.

Books for Further Reading:

Some books that I have used and have great step by step guides are: Don’t Panic – Dinner’s in the Freezer, Don’t Panic – More Dinner’s in the Freezer and my friend Jackie liked Fix, Freeze, Feast.  Check them out at the library and always try a few recipes before you buy.  I found that most were tasty – not outstanding perhaps like Cook’s Illustrated, but good.

Method to Time Management:
There are several options and I have tried them all depending on the time I have available to me.
1.  1-2 hour freezer sessions.  Here I will take the ground turkey/beef or chicken that I bought and split it up into several freezer recipes after the kids go to bed.  They are asleep by 8:30pm, so I work  on cooking for about 90 minutes or marinating for 60 minutes (or less).
2.  Full or half day freezer sessions.  This might work better if you have everything ready to go and precut like at the “make a meal” places like Time for Dinner or Dream Dinners.   I made 12 meals in 3 hours when the ingredients and steps were all listed and everything already precut and ready to go.
3.  No time freezer session:  This is more like very little time.  Instead of one batch of pancakes, make two and freezer the other one.  Instead of one big 9×13 casserole of lasagna that your small family never finishes (like mine!!), split it and save the rest in the freezer.  You are out little time, but have another meal all ready to go as long as you know how to freeze it.

My general rule of thumb in freezing meals is this:  if it is frozen in the grocery store, then I can probably freeze it at home.  For example, I had seen frozen pre-chopped onion at Schnucks (St. Louis grocery store) and tried it at home – it worked!  I have never seen frozen green onions/scallions and well, that does not work.  My one exception is yeast breads.  You can freeze pre-cooked yeast dough (like Rhodes rolls), but it is difficult to gauge how much of the yeast will die in the freezing process.  Therefore, I always just bake the yeast baked goods first and freeze afterwards.

1.  Bag Method: Keep everything air tight.  Sometimes I even use a straw to suck out the remaining air in a ziplock bag.
2.  Foil and Wrap Method: Line a baking dish with foil.  Put food in it.  Wrap and freeze.  Then once frozen solid you can remove the food from the dish, and wrap in saran wrap.
3.  Double Wrap Method:  Once baked good is cool, wrap baked goods in saran wrap and then stash in a freezer bag.

(**In the photo I used and tried the Ziplock slider freezer bags.  I would not recommend them.  I had more freezer burn using those than regular offbrand zipper bags.  The make a meal places provide Ziplock brand zipper freezer bags.  In a pinch, a regular zipper bag will work, too.  Just don’t use sliders!)

Flash Freezing:
Lay out your cookie dough balls on a lined cookie sheet.  I use silicone.  You can use parchment or grease a cookie sheet.  Put in the freezer for at least 2 hours.  Then drop the frozen dough into a ziplock bag.  Bake as many or as few as you want.  You can also freeze baked cookies as well.

Why so glad you asked that!  I made a handy dandy planner sheet.  Most sheets I find online don’t have a location for the recipe.  I use recipes from websites and all kinds of books, but I would forget which recipe came from where.  So, I included that column as well.
1.  Plan the meals you want to make.  List all of the ingredients you have on hand and add what you don’t have to your shopping list.
2.  Make several similar meal steps at the same time.  If three recipes require sauteed onion, then saute all 3 onions at the same time.
3.  Don’t overload.  Start by freezing food in 1 hour, or half a day or a full day.
4.  You don’t need to freeze an entire meal.  Freeze some chicken, some veggies and put it all together later.  Use little steps.   If chicken is on sale at Schnucks for $1.89/lb. I take one night that week to divide that chicken into 4 different baggies with four different marinades.


What Do I Make?
Start off with your family’s favorite meals.  Things you eat every month or every week like tacos, chili, steak, pork, chicken, fish, meatballs, etc.  You can make the entire meal or just one part of it.  Using a lot of lemons to make lemonade?  Freeze the zest and keep it for later!  Don’t be limited by accumulating an entire meal each time.

1.  Meatballs
2.  Taco meat
3.  Lasagna
4.  Pot Roast
5.  BBQ Pulled Pork
6.  Chicken Noodle Soup
7.  Chicken strips
8.  Chili
9.  Pancakes, waffles, morning glory muffins
10.  Breakfast burritos
11.  Breakfast Casserole, Oatmeal
12.  Stuffed French Toast
13.  Marinated or Rubbed Pork
14.  Marinated or rubbed chicken
15.  Chocolate chip cookies
16.  Chopped veggies: bell peppers, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc.
17.  Calzones
18.  Fish
19.  Honey Butter
20.  Chicken Tortilla Soup

Food You Can Freeze
-meat and fish
-chicken and turkey
-cheese, block and/or shredded  (like Cheddar, Mozzerella, Monterey Jack, Colby)
-vegetables, pre-chopped (like green bell peppers, onions, carrots, etc.); but not scallions
-cookie dough
-already baked muffins, cake, pancakes, waffles, brownies, cupcakes, bread, cookies etc.
-pureed pumpkin, carrot, squash
-soups and chili (with no potatoes)
-meatloaf, meatballs
-buttercream frosting

Do Not Freeze
potatoes (unless they are already baked and cooked like twice baked potatoes, or mashed)
-eggs (unless already baked)
-royal icing

To serve, always thaw in the refrigerator.  Most meals will thaw overnight and during the day to cook for dinner.  Breakfast items like oatmeal and such and not thick cuts of meat and always fine for me in the morning.  Pancakes and waffles can be put directly from the freezer into the microwave or toaster.


(Most of these are based on Pampered Chef recipes although I adapted and added notes to make your own spice mixes from scratch)

Beef Base Recipe: 3 lbs 90% lean ground beef, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic

Chop onions.   Press garlic in garlic press.  Place onions, beef and garlic into a 12 in skillet. Cook over medium-high heat 15-18 minutes or until beef is no longer pink.
Divide beef mixutre into 3 portions as follows:

Easy Beef Stroganoff:

8 oz sliced mushrooms, 1 can cream mushroom soup, 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp ground paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Add this to one portion of the beef mixture, combine in large resealable plastic bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.

If cooking immediately…..combine ingredients in skillet and bring to simmer over medium heat. Stir 8 oz sour cream into beef mixture. Spoon stroganoff over 1lb  of cooked egg noodles.

Beef Tacos:

1 cup Chunky salsa,  6 oz. tomato paste, 3/4 cup water (or chicken stock), 1 pkt taco seasoning mix**

Add this to one portion of beef mixture & combine in large resealable plastic bag. Freeze up to 3 months.

If cooking immediately…..serve with your favorite toppings and your choice of hard or soft shells.
**To avoid prepackaged stuff, I make my own: 1 Tb. cornstarch; 1 tsp. of each: garlic powder, cumin, paprika and chili powder; ½ tsp. onion powder; ¼ tsp. cayenne;  OR I use now: 2 Tb. chili powder, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. coriander, ½ tsp. dried oregano, ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (or omit for kids), ½ tsp. salt and then I add 1 tsp. brown sugar and 2 tsp. cider vinegar at the end of cooking

BBQ Beef Sloppy Joes:

1 cup ketchup, 2 tbsp Pampered Chef Smoky Barbeque Rub**, 2 tsp cider vinegar

Add this to one portion of beef mixture, combine in large resealable plastic bag. Freeze up to 3 months.

If cooking immediately…..combine ingredients in skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
**I make my own: ½ cup chili powder, ¼ cup brown sugar. ¼ cup kosher salt, 2 Tb. black pepper, 2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Saucy Beef Chili – Add the following ingredients to one portion of the make-ahead beef:

1 can (16 ounce) chili beans in sauce, undrained; 1 can (14.5 ounce) petite diced tomatoes, undrained; 1 ½ cups water; 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste; 1 packet chili seasoning mix**. Freeze. When it’s a chili night, just put the frozen mixture into a skillet over medium heat and cook until heated through. Once it’s hot, the chili’s ready for bowls and you can add your favorite toppings like shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions or sour cream.

Italian Beef Hoagies

1 red & 1 green bell pepper
1/4 C. water
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 (1oz.) package onion soup mix
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning

Chop onion and garlic, then place in a large skillet and cook until onions are almost transparent. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain off any grease from the ground beef. Add all other ingredients to the ground beef mixture and cook until heated all the way through. Serve on a hoagie roll and top with a slice of provolone cheese.


Chicken Base Recipe:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tb. olive oil
1 and ½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder and salt.  Drizzle 1T olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount on the chicken.  Keep the rest.  Bake chicken for 25 minutes or until it reaches for 165 degrees.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 Chicken Recipe
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup Diced Onion
¼ cups Diced Green Bell Pepper
¼ cups Red Bell Pepper
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies (for less heat/spiciness, use Tomatoes with lime and cilantro!)
32 ounces Low Sodium Chicken Stock (least expensive I found was at Aldi)
3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
3 Tbs. cornmeal

1.   Shred chicken.
2.   Heat 1T olive oil in a pot over medium high.  Add onions, red pepper, green pepper and cook until tender.  Stir and add garlic and rest of spice mix.  Add shredded chicken.
3.  Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, and black beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.  Simmer 45 minutes uncovered.
4.  Mix cornmeal with a little water.  Pour into soup and simmer 30 minutes.
5.  When serving, garnish with red onions, cheddar cheese, salsa and tortilla chips

Chicken Fajitas
1 Chicken Recipe                                  1 Tb. olive oil
1 green bell pepper                          1 red bell pepper                              1 medium yellow onion

1.  Slice chicken into strips.
2.  Core and slice green bell pepper and red bell pepper and onion.  Cook in skillet over medium heat with 1 Tb. olive oil and remaining seasoning until tender – about 10 minutes.
3.  Add chicken with the pepper mixture and toss to reheat.  Roll up a portion of the mixture into a tortilla.


1 pizza dough recipe or ball of dough from Trader Joe’s
Marinara or Pasta Sauce
Toppings: cooked sausage, green peppers, onions, etc.
1-2 Tb. Cornmeal

1.  Freezing:  Put mozzerella in one quart freezer bag.  Put cooked sausage, green peppers, or any other freezable toppings in one quart freezer bag.  Put pasta sauce in one quart freezer bag.  OR***  Roll out your dough, add your sauce, toppings, etc. and Flash Freeze
2.  Put all 3 quart bags into one gallon bag and label “pizza”.  The next time you want pizza, thaw the pizza bag in the fridge overnight.
3.  Pull out your pizza dough 20 minutes before shaping.  Shape dough into pizza (size really depends on your dough.  Trader Joe’s makes a 12″ pizza.)  Spoon sauce, sprinkle cheese and add toppings.  Place onto a baking stone or cookie sheet lined with cornmeal.  Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Linked to and

Copyright © 2011 - 2019 Mary Ellen Riley All Rights Reserved. WP Plugins