Make Your Own Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal

When you think “homemade cereal” you might think tedious, time consuming, or labor intensive. Um, hi. Would I be sharing this recipe if it were any of those things? Ok then.

You mix up the ingredients, you dump it into a pan, you bake it, and you eat it. I’ve already taken it upon myself to double the recipe from what it originally was, because why make a little when we can make enough for two or three meals or snacks? You can make this with wheat flour or gluten free flour – whichever you need.

Huge thanks to my friends Katie and Kim for sharing this amazing recipe idea with me!!

Homemade Cracklin' Oat Bran
I have no idea what the actual boxed variety looks like or tastes like. Don’t know, don’t care. You know why? This homemade version of Cracklin’ Oat Bran is amazing. I’m quite sure making it homemade saves me a nice chunk of change and I know the homemade version is healthier.

Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal RecipeYum

Make Your Own Cracklin' Oat Bran Cereal
 
Author:
Serves: 10-12 cups
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups rolled oats (ground in the blender to become flour*)
  • 1 cup whole grain flour (I used freshly ground wheat, but you can use rice, sorgham, or another gf option if you like.)
  • ½ cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 3-5 teaspoons cinnamon (the cinnamon is what makes this really yummy!)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup sugar of choice (sucanat, coconut palm sugar, or brown sugar)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
  • 4 egg whites, whisked to frothy**
Instructions
  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Add all wet ingredients to the dry ingredients at the same time, mixing until combined. Mixture will resemble large crumbs.
  3. Crumble the mixture onto two baking sheets or Pyrex casserole dishes.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-40 minutes, stirring and breaking up large chunks every 10 minutes. (Baking time varies as every oven is different.)
  5. Once cereal is golden brown, turn off oven but leave the cereal in the oven to crisp up.

Here’s what the mixture looks like in “crumb form” before being baked. I found it easiest to break up the mixture with my fingers before putting it into the oven. Then, as it’s baking, I use a wooden spoon to break it up more so it becomes bite-sized cereal pieces. :)

cracklin oats1
* It’s very easy to make Oat Flour in your blender. Simply put the 4 1/2 cups of oats in your blender and whirl until the oats become fine. You can read more details about this here. Be sure to use gluten free oats if you need this cereal to be GF!

** I often have egg whites hanging out in my fridge after I make Tapioca Pudding, so this is a perfect way to use them! Otherwise, separate your eggs for this recipe and save the yolks for scrambled eggs. To “whisk to frothy” I simply put the egg whites in a bowl and whip them with a fork for a couple minutes. Easy as that!

Make Your Own Cracklin' Oat Bran

Want other Homemade Cereal ideas?

So far this recipe has been a huge hit with our family! I hope to keep at least one variety of homemade cereal on hand during the school year so I can fall back on it as a breakfast option on busy mornings.

Have you tried any other homemade cereal recipes I should look at?

How to Make Bacon Bits and Why You Should Make Them

Five pounds of bacon. That’s how much I cooked at one time a couple weeks ago. This might sound excessive to you, but have you met my family? 

The following are conversations I have every single time I am at the grocery store when people see my shopping cart:

Person: Wow, what are you going to do with all those berries?
Me: Eat them.

Person: Wow, what are you going to do with all that chicken?
Me: Eat it.

Person: Wow, what are you going to do with all those peaches?
Me: Eat them.

And on it goes. Every time. Without fail. At least one person at the store comments on the abundant contents of my shopping cart. Apparently my cart looks like one big party. This is what happens when you have a household of teenage boys. Also, when there is a good price, I buy in bulk. It only makes sense, but apparently people aren’t used to seeing a woman with 15 packages of cheese. I had no idea I was such an anomaly. As if 15 packages of cheese at one time is somehow weird. It’s a day in the life, man. A day in the life.

So back to the bacon. No, we did not eat all five pounds at once. Goodness.

I found it for a fantastic price, which of course means that I bought 10 packages. (Wow, what are you going to do with all that bacon? We’ve been through this already…)

I froze five packs and then proceeded to cook the other five pounds. Why?

  1. Because why cook one when you can cook five and only dirty one pot?
  2. Having bacon bits in the freezer saves oodles of time and means all I have to do is grab the cooked bacon and use it in a meal (see ideas below).
  3. When I cook bacon, my clothes and hair smell like bacon. I’d prefer this scent to be my perfume of choice only occasionally.

How to Make Bacon Bits and Why You Should Make Them

What’s the easiest way to make Bacon Bits?

I pick up the entire package of bacon, with the strips all stuck together, and I cut it with kitchen shears like this:

bacon bits 1

For five pounds, I use my largest pot. Once the pieces are cut, I cover it and cook it on medium heat for about an hour, stirring every once in a while so it cooks evenly. (A smaller amount of bacon would take much less time, but I know nothing about cooking in small amounts.)

bacon bits2

Once the bacon is fully cooked, I strain out the grease, allow it to cool, then package it up in meal-sized portions for the fridge and freezer.

bacon bits4

bacon bits3

What will I do with all the Bacon Bits? As needed, I’ll pull some out to quickly make:

In other “why you should make your own Bacon Bits” related news, I believe it is important to be aware that we’re aware that: “Bac’n Pieces™ Bacon Flavored Bits are artificially flavored textured soy flour to imitate bacon pieces.” Ingredients include Textured Soy Flour, Canola Oil, Salt, Caramel Color, Maltodextrin, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Lactic Acid, Yeast Extract, Disodium Inosinate And Disodium Guanylate (Flavor Enhancers), And&Nbsp;Fd&C Red 40.

I’d stick with real bacon if I’m you. It’s not difficult and the taste is no comparison.

Ever made your own bacon bits? Ever get amazed comments at the store because of the amount of food you buy? Ever cut bacon with scissors?

Freezer Cooking I’ve Been Doing to Prepare for Back-to-School

With a houseful of teenage boys, it’s difficult to get ahead.

I’m talking about food in this case, although I guess the same statement is true in every area of life in a household full of kids. (I’m looking at you, Laundry Pile. Dirty Dishes. Mail. Shoe Closet.) Bah.

This is why I did some freezer cooking a few weeks ago when three outa four of our boys were still at church camp. With hardly anyone here to eat, I actually had leftovers to put in the freezer. Yay me!

I took a few pictures along the way to share with you. Take note that not all freezer cooking involves making casseroles. There are many other ways to get ahead. For instance…

I had a cheese shredding marathon:

school food1

It only takes a few minutes and NO EFFORT to shred 8 packages of cheese when I use my food processor. I ran it through the shred piece, so now I have two big bowls of shredded cheese ready to add to everything we need for the next couple of weeks! (Yes, this will be gone by the time we start school. Whatever.)

Almost as important as shredded cheese is the double batch of frozen cookie balls I made. These won’t last long once the boys discover them, but I love that they can take out a few and bake them for an afternoon snack. I used this Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

school food2

If you don’t have any of these Silicone Baking Mats,
I encourage you to read more about why I love them here!

I made two bags of our favorite Apricot Chicken. I’ll dump this into the crock pot on a busy school day. (This is a recipe from our Eat Right Away Collection. These are a must have because they save so much time!)

school food3

You know I didn’t do all of this, all on the same day, right? No way. But, there was a day I made not one but SIX batches of homemade whole wheat tortillas. That was a tortilla making record for me!

Malachi helped me use the tortillas to make 24 Lazy Dogs and 24 Meat and Cheese Burritos. We still had leftover tortillas for a few quesadillas, so I felt very accomplished that day.

school food4

Another time, I cut and cooked 5 pounds of bacon to have on hand for salads and scrambled eggs. More on that later. :)

school food6

I mixed up a double batch of Blueberry Muffins and froze the batter so we can bake the muffins fresh on a school morning. I love this time saving technique!

frozen muffins

Last, I made a double batch of Giant Breakfast Cookies. Instead of baking them, I froze them into unbaked cookie balls. This means we can take out a few and bake them fresh any morning we want/need them. I’ll share specifics on how to do this another day soon!

breakfast cookies1

I’m hoping to make a triple or quadruple batch of this Real Food “Velveeta” and Rotel Dip for the freezer during the next few days. That will be great to have on hand for Nachos, Spicy Mac and Cheese, or Simple Taco Soup.

Now your turn! Have you done any freezer cooking lately? What have you been making in an effort to get ahead before school starts?

Easy Chicken With Cream Cheese Sauce

I have a wonderful chicken recipe to share with you. But first, a story.

Cream Cheese Chicken

Once upon a time, I was dating my husband. I mean, my boyfriend. I mean, we weren’t married yet when we were dating but then we did get married and all of that barely has anything to do with this recipe.

But back in the days of our dating, engagement, and early marriage we drove an hour away from our college town each Sunday morning to a small church with a sweet youth group. Matt was their youth leader, teaching Bible classes and forming relationships with the teens. These dear ones became our church family, worshiping with us, throwing us a wedding shower, celebrating our marriage, being a part of our first pregnancy, and welcoming Baby #1 into the world with us.

Some of our fondest memories of those years are looking back to the Sunday afternoons in the homes of various church family members. They took turns signing up to feed us after church. Those meals!!! Talk about a church full of good cooks. The fellowship was precious and I can remember in detail many of the ladies’ specialties. We were very well taken care of, that is for sure.

Well, one of these ladies frequently made chicken that was slathered in the most delicious cream sauce. When we knew Carlene had signed up to feed us, I’d always say to Matt, “Ooooh, I hope she made that chicken this time!” Anytime she did make it and we sat there gushing over the meal, she’d always shake her head at us and say, “Oh. It’s just food.”

Right. Just food. Just the best chicken I’ve ever eaten!!!

Since that time, I’ve always regretted that I never got her recipe. I’m not even kidding you that 20 years later I still get hungry for that meal. Finally about a month ago I thought to myself, “Laura, are you or are you not the lady who invents recipes? For Pete’s sake, woman. Go to the kitchen and figure out how to make Carlene’s chicken.”

You’d think I would have considered this option before.

Well, my friends. I now present to you Not-Quite-Carlene’s Chicken with Cream Cheese Sauce. Make this.

Easy Chicken with Cream Cheese SauceYum

Easy Chicken With Cream Cheese Sauce
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat flour
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup palm shortening or other oil for frying
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 2 cups chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, salt, and pepper.
  2. Dip chicken in egg, then coat in flour mixture.
  3. Fry in oil for just a few minutes on each side. (Do not over cook or the chicken will become dry.)
  4. Remove chicken from pan.
  5. Pour chicken broth into the pan, scraping up the chicken drippings.
  6. Add softened cream cheese, stirring until smooth.
  7. Place cooked chicken back into the pan, coating on both sides with sauce.
  8. Serve with rice or pasta.

Make-Ahead Instructions

Prepare and fry meat as directed. Allow it to cool, then cover and store in the refrigerator for up to two days. Prepare sauce as directed and stir in the chicken, heating through.

Freezer Instructions

Prepare and fry meat as directed. Allow it to cool. Freeze in a well-sealed freezer bag for up to three months. To serve, thaw cooked meat. Prepare sauce as directed and stir in the chicken, heating through.

Easy Chicken with Cream Cheese Sauce Recipe

I can’t think of a brilliant way to end this post. Go make this chicken! There. That oughta do it.

Stir-and-Pour Dinner Rolls ~ Freezer Edition

stir and pour rolls 1Guess what? 

One of my darling readers, Vicki, experimented with the Stir-and-Pour Dinner Rolls to see if we could make them even more convenient by making them ahead and freezing the dough. I won’t keep you in suspense!!! —–>

Okay, maybe just for a little bit.

I’m wearing a new sweater today. I got it on sale, of course. I got it the same day I got all the butter on sale. That was a great day for sales, no doubt. I sure do love good sales. And butter.

So how about those dinner rolls? Does it work to make and freeze the dough, just like we make and freeze muffin batter? Vicki tried it. She reported back. Drum roll please…

It worked!! This is great news, and much more relevant than pointless talk about my new sweater. Although the sweater led me back to talking about butter; and butter and rolls go together. Therefore everything I’m writing today makes sense and is on topic.

You must be wondering, is there even a way to make this very easy recipe even more convenient? I mean, how can it get easier than the Stir-and-Pour Bread and Stir-and-Pour Dinner Rolls recipes? But actually, it does. It gets easier. Vicki proved it.

Make and Freeze Stir-and-Pour Dinner Rolls

1. Mix the ingredients as normal.
2. Scoop batter into muffin pans. I super love my new silicone baking cups. I use them alllll the time.
3. Freeze dough immediately.
4. Remove frozen dough from muffin cups and transfer them to a freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to three months.
5. To bake: Place frozen dough into muffin cups. Cover with a cloth. Thaw on the countertop for 4-6 hours.
6. Bake as directed.

Vicki said that these taste just as good prepared this way as they do when prepared fresh. I mean, these are still fresh. They’re just frozen first before baking them. I love this time-saving tip!

This is especially helpful for days such as…I don’t know…Thanksgiving maybe? That day we’re putting forty-seven ~ give or take ~ other dishes on the table all at the same time? If there is a way to dirty up fewer dishes and execute fewer food preparation steps, by all means, let us do it!
Yum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Stir-and-Pour Dinner Rolls ~ Freezer Edition
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
  • 2 teaspoons active rise yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons sucanat or sugar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 cups warm water
Instructions
  1. Stir all ingredients together.
  2. Cover and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour contents into buttered muffin tins or silicone muffin cups.
  4. Place filled muffin cups in freezer immediately.
  5. Once frozen, transfer frozen dough to freezer bags, storing for up to three months.
  6. To Bake:
  7. Place frozen dough back in prepared muffin cups.
  8. Cover and allow dough to thaw 4-6 hours on the counter-top.
  9. Bake in a 350° for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
  10. Serve right away.

Make and Freeze Stir-and-Pour Dinner Rolls

Vicki said she used the leftover rolls to make Stuffing Muffins. I did the exact same thing a few days ago!

Let’s hear it for another great make-ahead tip!

This post contains an affiliate link.

Make-Ahead Turkey ~ Yes You Can!

There are people who wake up in the middle of the night to begin cooking their turkey for a holiday meal. There are people who baste and stuff and rub down their bird. These people are so very nice and dedicated to poultry perfection.

And then there’s me.

huge turkey 1

That is one huge bird.
Read the whole tale here.

I cannot find it within myself to do any of this to my turkey. I’m just not as devoted of a holiday baker as some. I’m a plop the bird in a pan, add nothing to it, cover it, put it in the oven, and take it out a few hours later kind of girl.

And…my favorite turkey baking tip of all: I cook my bird before the holiday. Like, two days before, usually.

I bake it, de-bone it, prepare all the broth, dispose of the carcass – basically I do all the messy, tedious, laborious turkey work ahead of time. Then on the day of the holiday feast, I take out my big dish of cooked meat, pour on a little broth, cover it, rewarm it, and we eat it. This is stress-free turkey baking.

My turkey always still tastes delicious.

That’s why I keep doing it this way.

No, our table doesn’t hold a big un-carved turkey. There is no turkey carving tradition at our house. For those who love traditions like this, I say go for it! Baste and carve and enjoy that special tradition.

But for those who find the turkey to be tedious, you might instead consider making it ahead of time.

But won’t the meat be dry?

Not if you don’t over-bake it in the first place.

The trick is to drizzle broth over your cooked, de-boned meat (I’d say one-two cups of broth per 9×13 inch dish full of meat), then cover the dish well. I warm it on Thanksgiving day for 30-45 minutes in a 300-350° oven along with other dishes that are baking. I pull it out and have a steaming, moist, delicious pan of turkey.

Make-Ahead Turkey

Yum

4.7 from 3 reviews
Make-Ahead Turkey
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 Turkey
  • 1 Large Roasting Pan
  • Foil if necessary
Instructions
  1. Place the turkey in the refrigerator for 3-4 days until thawed.
  2. Remove the bag of giblets from the inside of the turkey.
  3. Empty the giblets into your roasting pan as they help make a good, rich broth.
  4. Place the bird, breast side up, into a large baking pan or roaster.
  5. Cover with foil or with your roaster lid.
  6. Cook at 325° for 15-20 minutes per pound.
  7. You know your turkey is done cooking when the red thing pops up, or when the legs start to pull away from the body. It should be golden brown and slightly crisp looking.
  8. Be sure to save the broth that formed naturally!
  9. Allow the turkey to cool, then de-bone completely. Store meat in baggies or in covered pyrex dishes in the refrigerator.
  10. Save turkey carcass to make another round of broth for gravy, soup, and other nourishing meals.
  11. On serving day, drizzle a liberal amount of broth (one-two cups per 9x13 inch pan of meat) over turkey, cover and warm in 300°-350° oven for 30-45 minutes or until meat is hot and steamy.
  12. Serve right away.

Simple Make-Ahead Turkey ~ Easy, Moist, Delicious

Additional Turkey Tips:

  • Adding a few onions to the turkey while baking is an effortless way to add more flavor.
  • Be sure to save the broth that forms naturally while your bird bakes.
  • Do not wait until your turkey is cold to take the meat off the bones. This makes the job much harder!
  • After you’ve taken all the meat off the bones, save the bones and put them into a stock pot. Fill the pot with water, carrots, onions, and any other veggies you like. Salt liberally. Cook on low for 4-6 hours to create a wonderful broth. Strain out bones. Blend the veggies until smooth and stir them back into the broth for added richness.
  • Use turkey broth for gravy. Use it to make Turkey and Noodles a few days after Thanksgiving. Use it for any soup or recipe that calls for chicken broth.
  • While making your turkey ahead of time is wonderfully helpful in cutting down work on your holiday meal serving day, you don’t want to make it too far in advance! I recommend making it on Tuesday or Wednesday, then serving it on Thanksgiving Thursday.

What’s your turkey tradition? To carve, or not to carve? To baste, or not to baste? Ever made a turkey ahead of time?

Getting Ahead for the Holidays

How to Cook Beans in the Crock Pot

Cooking beans is crazy easy. It’s remembering to soak them the night before that is the hard part.

My morning brain and my night brain are two completely different beasts. My morning brain is like, “Wooooo yeah! We gonna cook all day and do school work with the kids (let’s do art today!) and organize ourselves completely and make all the phone calls and make 20 quarts of applesauce and finish the laundry and write two blog posts! Let’s do this!”

As the days wears on, I knock out about three of my twenty lofty goals (because my time and energy always run out before my to-do list ends –  and also because I hate making phone calls). After a full day of thinking hard and working hard and loving hard, my night brain is like, “I’m not speaking to you right now.”

This is why it is hard to soak beans.

The irony is that I never forget to grind coffee beans at night to put into my coffee pot for easy coffee making the next morning. Obviously, I have my priorities. Perhaps my two bean worlds could collide and I could let my coffee beans trigger a reminder about my pintos? It only makes sense.

On the rare occasion I do remember to soak beans, I feel so accomplished when I get into bed at night. Forget all the other stuff I did for 15 hours all day long. I totally put my beans in a pot with water! I am so very amazing!

Once the beans have been soaked, we can put them into a crock pot to cook all day for our dinner that night.

How to Cook Beans in a Crock Pot

How to Cook Beans in a Crock PotYum

1. At night before bed, put about 4 cups of any variety of beans into a pot with 6-8 cups of water.

2. Splash in a little vinegar. It’s supposed to help with the toots. I offer no guarantees.

making beans1

3. Let the beans soak overnight.

4. Strain and rinse them in the morning. Put them into a crock pot and cover them with fresh water.

5. Add a couple of chopped onions to the post for flavor. This is optional but yummy and recommended.

6. Cover and cook the beans on low for 8-10 hours or until they are tender.

multitasking 5

At this point, you can enjoy your beans in any way you enjoy beans. Our favorites are:

What are your favorite ways to eat beans? Please tell me about your morning brain vs. your night brain. Which works better for you?

Easy No-Knead Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls For the Freezer ~ With Honey’d Orange Glaze!

No-knead breads are THE WAY to go.

Cinnamon Roll with Orange Glaze

I’m not sure that my dearly missed, hard working grandma would be too pleased with me about this – but I’ve decided that kneading bread dough just isn’t my favorite thing. I mean, I’ll do it if I have to. But I’d rather stir ingredients, smile at the pile of dough (you know, for encouragement), then walk away.

This is how I found myself experimenting with my Whole Wheat Cinnamon Roll recipe. I had all the ingredients mixed together, but then I was like, “Really? Do I really have to knead this now? That just sounds soooo hard and time consuming.” (Really, Grandma. I know you lived through the Great Depression and fed nine children three meals a day from scratch with food that you grew or raised on your farm, that you worked from sun-up to sun-down in your teeny-tiny kitchen, and the only time you rested was to watch Judge Wapner after you turned 80. But do try to understand what I’m up against here.)

I figured that at the very worst, I’d have little hard cinnamon roll hockey pucks we could dunk in milk. So I did it. I walked away from my dough without kneading it.

It looked like this when I covered it up:

cin rolls 10

An hour later, it looked like this:

cin rolls2

Did it work, or did it work

Thus, my Whole Wheat Cinnamon Roll recipe is being turned into a No-Knead Whole Wheat Cinnamon Roll recipe because our lives are too full from all the hard work it takes to think about Grandma scrubbing all of the manure-crusted clothes on a wash-board.

What you see here is absolutely not a picture of me kneading the dough. It is simply me working a little flour into the dough after it rose so that I could roll it out without it sticking to the countertop.

cin rolls3

After I rolled it out, I spread melted butter over it and sprinkled a little sucanat and cinnamon over it.

cin rolls4

Then (like a boss) I rolled both ends until they met in the middle and separated the rolled dough with a knife. (Start on the outside, top and bottom, and roll them into the middle.)

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cin rolls6

I then proceeded to cut individual rolls, making a huge mess in the process.

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My rolls went on a pan in a most unattractive way because I leave perfectionism up to the perfectionists. Do not poke fun. They can’t help how they look.

cin rolls8

I froze the dough rolls on the pan, then transferred the frozen rolls to a freezer bag for another day. I will use them when I am busy not having to pluck a chicken for our dinner.

cin rolls9

No-Knead Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls – for the freezer (or for directly into the oven)

Easy No-Knead Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls For the Freezer ~ With Honey'd Orange Glaze!
 
Author:
Serves: 15-18
Ingredients
  • 1 cup warm (but not hot!) water
  • 2 Tablespoons yeast (active dry)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2½ cups milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 7-8 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mush the yeast and 2 teaspoons honey together with the warm water and set aside. It will begin to form bubbles soon.
  2. In the meantime, stir together milk, butter, ½ cup honey, and sea salt on the stove until the butter has melted and the mixture has reached 120°.
  3. If the temp exceeds this, allow it to cool before moving on.
  4. Pour the milk mixture into the bubbly yeast mixture and stir.
  5. Mix in flour, two cups at a time until a nice dough has formed.
  6. Do not knead. (There is no need.)
  7. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for at least one hour, or until you remember that you were making rolls.
  8. Prepare the innards:
  9. Ingredients for the “innards” of your cinnamon rolls:
  10. /2 cup melted butter
  11. /2 cup sucanat (you can use brown sugar if you want)
  12. /2 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  13. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough to about ¼ inch thickness.
  14. Spread melted butter over the rolled dough.
  15. Sprinkle with sucanat, then cinnamon.
  16. Roll up the dough from the outsides of the "dough circle" as pictured above.
  17. Cut apart the two rolled lengths, then cut the dough into ½ inch thick rolls.
  18. Place the rolls side-by-side on a baking pan.
  19. Allow them to rest/rise for about 20 minutes, then bake the rolls in a 350° oven for about 25 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  20. Glaze and serve!

Honey’d Orange GlazeYum

2 teaspoons orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons honey

Whisk ingredients together on the stove until smooth. Drizzle over baked cinnamon rolls.

To Freeze and Bake:

Place the prepared rolls about a 1/2 inch apart on a baking sheet. Freeze for about two hours, then transfer them to a freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to two months.

To bake, place the desired number of frozen rolls on a baking pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (In the winter, I leave them on the countertop overnight.) Place the rolls into a cold oven, then turn the oven on to 350°. Bake as directed above, adding a few minutes of additional time as needed.

Easy No-Knead Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls for the Freezer with Honey'd Orange Glaze

These are deliciously easy, and mostly low in sugar! They kind of resemble those frozen orange rolls you can buy in the freezer section – except that these have a little bit of nutritional value and not nearly as much sugar, so we can all rejoice.

Are you a perfectionist? Did my frozen roll picture cause you to cringe? I’m just a “get the job done and move on” kind of girl…which basically means that I am a mess when I cook.

Easy (Make-Ahead) Baked Potato and Bacon Casserole

It’s a Potato and Bacon Casserole. Life is good.

Bacon Baked Potato Casserole

This is so easy we can hardly call it a recipe. I’m pretty sure my family will be having this every other week for the rest of our lives for the following reasons:

  1. Bacon. Of course. And also, cheese.
  2. We can slather it with Spicy Ranch Dressing, which tastes so good I believe I shall become addicted to it.
  3. I can make several of these casseroles at once and freeze them for later, making this easy meal even easier.

This “casserole” is basically baked potatoes cut up in a dish with bacon and cheese all over it. I’m sorry that I can’t make it more complicated for all of you who would rather spend many more minutes sauteing, braising, and broiling. This time, you’ll have to get your steeping and zesting fix elsewhere.

Everyone else: I lovingly suggest that you go scrub some potatoes. You’re having this for dinner tonight.

Baked Potato and Bacon CasseroleYum

Easy (Make-Ahead) Baked Potato and Bacon Casserole
 
8 medium-sized potatoes (any variety) 1 pound bacon 2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese Sour cream, chives, and/or Spicy Ranch Dressing for topping
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 medium-sized potatoes (any variety)
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
  • Sour cream, chives, and/or Spicy Ranch Dressing for topping
Instructions
  1. Scrub and bake potatoes by putting them into a covered dish in a 350° oven for 1½ hours.
  2. In the meantime, cut bacon into bite-sized pieces and cook thoroughly on the stove-top.
  3. Cut baked potatoes into chunks, spreading them out into a 9x13" baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle cooked bacon over the potatoes.
  5. Top with shredded cheese.
  6. Bake in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Offer sour cream, chives, and/or Spicy Ranch Dressing to complete this main course. Serve with a salad and another fruit or veggie. It is too easy. Makes 6-8 servings.

Baked Potato Bacon Casserole

To Freeze This Dish: 

Make it as directed above. Allow it to cool completely. Cover and label. Put it in the freezer.

To Reheat and Serve This Dish:

This is my favorite trick. Get the casserole out of the freezer. Cover the frozen dish with foil (somebody needs to invent a 9×13 glass cover for my pyrex dishes). Put the frozen casserole into a COLD oven. Turn the oven on to 250° allowing it to heat up along with the casserole. After one hour, turn the oven up to 350° and bake for one more hour or until the casserole is thawed, heated through, and looks like wonderful cheesy deliciousness.

Let us all add this recipe to our “Reasons to Make Extra Baked Potatoes When We’re Making Baked Potatoes Anyway” list.

7 Ways to Use Baked Potatoes

Switch out the bacon in this casserole for other cooked meats. Switch out the regular potatoes for sweet potatoes. Just whatever you do, try it with the Spicy Ranch Dressing. Ah-mazing.

Busy Morning Breakfasts That Can Be Made Ahead of Time

I am so messed up on breakfasts right now. Our second son started taking a college class on MWF and he has to be on campus at 8:00. Color me late to this “get your kids out the door for school on time” game, but well, that’s exactly what I am. We work from home and we’ve home-schooled forever, so getting out the door to church with combed hair on Sundays has been our only morning schedule struggle. On school days, we usually eat while beginning our Bible time and school time in our jammies a few minutes after we wake the kids. Now, if you can possibly imagine, I must actually be dressed and have breakfast on the table by 7:20.

Yes, I’m sure most of you can possibly imagine, and many of you are thinking, “Really, girl? 7:20 am is practically mid-afternoon at our house.” God bless all of you early morning head-out-the-door-to-work-and-school friends. I have some recipes to share with you. We shall all eat well together…at whatever time each of us considers to be early.

Busy Morning Breakfasts That Can Be Made Ahead of Time

Busy Morning Breakfasts That Can Be Made Ahead of Time

My goal this week was to prep breakfast foods and put them into the freezer so that I’ll be perfectly organized and never have to think again. Scratch that. My goal this week is simply to prep some breakfast foods and put them in the freezer. I’ll never be perfectly organized and in typical mom-life fashion, I found myself having to think straight and answer difficult questions like “are my soccer socks clean?” just a few minutes ago.

Here are my favorite breakfast foods to put into the freezer. They save time, money, and brain – my favorite things to save.

1. Hashbrowns and Hashbrown Patties

I’ll be baking a few pounds of potatoes this week to shred and put into the freezer. Fry up some eggs with these, serve with fruit – done. Everyone loves these and thinks you’re wonderful when you make these. It is fun when everyone thinks you’re wonderful.

Homemade Hashbrown Patties

2. Muffin Batter

You knew I would say this one. I can’t help it. Making and freezing muffin batter saves so much time. Not to mention dirty dishes. Deliver me from dirty dishes.

frozen_muffins_3

3. Cooked Turkey Sausage and Prepared Biscuits

I can make biscuits and gravy sooooo fast when I do this. My family is always amazed. Let’s just let them keep thinking that I am incredible to pull this off. Add the above mentioned Hashbrowns to this meal and you can picture my kids breaking into a lively Mom is Our Favorite Person in the Whole World dance (not really).

Freezer Biscuit Tutorial

4. Oatmeal Cups

You wouldn’t think that this would save time, but it truly does. At least it saves brain. That’s worth a whole lot.

frozen oatmeal3

5. Giant Breakfast Cookies

Best thing to pull out of the freezer for breakfast…ever.

breakfast_cookies

6. Pancake Muffins

Yep. My newest favorite. I cannot get over how easy these are.

Easy Pancake Muffins

7. Quick Breads

Find our favorite quick bread recipes here. I usually double or triple a batch. If I allow them to cool completely, then wrap them well before freezing them, quick breads thaw and serve well. It is so very nice to pull a prepared loaf or two out of the freezer to go with breakfast in the morning.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

If you freeze nothing else to save yourself time, brain, and money (while also eating healthy, because you are just that awesome) – make and freeze some of these breakfast foods. It will make your morning routine so much easier. Pick the recipe that looks the easiest to you – then go for it!

What are your favorite breakfast foods to prep ahead? Have any new ideas for me? What time to you eat breakfast at your house?