Working Ahead for Healthy Food Convenience

For the past two weeks during our Funky Fresh Kitchen series, we’ve talked all about getting your kitchen cleaned out and organized, getting rid of unhealthy foods and working toward making your own healthy foods from scratch.  One thing I didn’t cover during the series which has become a very imporant way for me to keep my kitchen organized and healthy is making healthy foods ahead of time and freezing them for quick meals.

Whole Wheat Waffles are great to make ahead and
put into the freezer for a quick, healthy breakfast!

Having foods like healthy burritos, whole wheat waffles and homemade pizza pockets in the freezer to pull out for quick meals has been a life saver for me many times.  This week, I plan to work on putting a few more healthy foods into my freezer for quick, convenience items.  Here’s what’s on my list to try making this week:

At the end of the week, I’ll be back with an update on how my extra cooking times went.  I can’t wait to try those new bologna and pepperoni ideas!!

Care to join me in trying to get ahead just a little bit? Think you might have time to make just one extra dish or item for your freezer for some healthy convenience?  Leave a comment letting us know what you’re up to in the kitchen.  I love hearing new ideas!!

P.S.  I’ve got a new “Make Ahead Meals” recipe to share with you later this week!

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Comments

  1. says

    I just made breakfast burritos a few weeks ago. Tortilla with scrambled eggs, bacon and or sasuage, scallions (and if you have them on hand, peppers and onions etc). Wrap up as usual. Then I wrap in plastic wrap. Pop in freezer until hard. Then toss all of them in a zip bag.

    When I want to eat one (actually, I typically eat two as a single girl dinner even though I keep calling them breakfast burritos), I unwrap it and place a damp papertowel over it. Microwave for a minute or two. MMMM!

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  2. says

    Do you have ideas to substitue all the artificial flavorings in the pepperoni recipe? If so would you share? I would love to try this as we split a cow with my parents so I have lots of ground beef that is super lean and would work great I think.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    For liquid smoke flavoring, I’ll be using my liquid smoke (not sure if that’s the same thing as what she’s talking about or not, but my research hasn’t led me to believe that liquid smoke is too bad for us). I’ll use my sea salt for the Morton’s tender quick salt, which will be much better for us!

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    Dione Reply:

    Which liquid smoke do you use?

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    baking mama Reply:

    I’ve noticed some liquid smoke has caramel coloring, which is not really a “natural” ingredient.

  3. Angie says

    Well you are making me hungry. I am on a diet with hubby, we are doing great losing weight. I never have made whole wheat waffles before. Sounds yummy to me. It is true you can eat normal but not with all of the yucky stuff that you gain weight on.

    [Reply]

    Colleen Reply:

    Hi Angie! Yes, you can. Just making simple changes like EVOO, coconut oil and butter in place of hydrogenated oils like soy and canola and switching to butter from magerine will make a HUGE difference! Also, getting rid of HFCS and using maple syrup and honey will make a big impact, too.

    One note of caution, like with anything we eat – moderation, moderation, moderation. I wasn’t even trying to lose weight when we switched over to REAL food and I lost like 5 – 10 lbs without even trying. Good luck to you and your hubby!

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  4. says

    Hi Laura!

    This sounds like a great idea! And my kitchen sure could use it. LOL The breakfast cookies sound good to me, because I am notoriously bad about not eating anything all day. These would be good for me to have on hand for a quick breakfast/brunch. :-) Those breakfast burritos sound really good too!

    Slightly off topic, do you have a handy, made up list of places you buy your ingredients and such from?

    Happy Monday!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yep, here you go! http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/our-whole-foods-pantry-freezers-and-refrigerator

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  5. rebecca k says

    I just mixed up a batch of the spicy pepperoni with a few modifications. I skipped the liquid smoke and used smokey paprika. I also cut back on the salt but added celery juice (which has a natural form of nitrates). We’ll see how it goes!

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  6. Tina says

    This last week we made and froze pumpkin waffles, pancakes and pumpkin choc. chip muffins. Love pulling these out for quick breakfasts (especially since my oldest gets on the bus @ 6:35 am)!

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  7. Sarah Manlupig says

    Do you have a smoker or will you use the oven. It doesnt look like bologna tho, more like salami.
    We recently got a smoker did salmon, it was delicious, im thinking this would be amazing in it too!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I plan to use my oven. We don’t have a smoker. :)

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  8. says

    I love freezing meals ahead of time. In fact his morning I needed a dozen cookies so I took out a dozen frozen oatmeal raisin cookie dough balls and just baked them. Tonight we are having white chili which I made a double batch about 6 weeks ago and put one in the freezer. Your freezer is your very best friend. I plan on making a huge batch of biscuit dough and cutting them and then freezing. To avoid any thing you freeze from sticking together I put each individual item on a sheet of parchment paper and freeze on a cookie sheet first. Once frozen I put each piece in a freezer bag, much easier to get out of a bag. They will never clump together. My hint for the day.
    Be blessed
    Jill

    [Reply]

    DorthyM Reply:

    Can u freeze them without cooking them first?

    [Reply]

    Jill Roper Reply:

    absolutely do the dough for cookies and breads and biscuits uncooked. Just freeeze se[

    [Reply]

    Tiffany Reply:

    You can freeze both cookie dough and biscuit dough to bake later. I really prefer fresh baked cookies and biscuits, so I started doing this. I freeze the dough in little balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet and then toss them in a bag. Then I can bake fresh cookies in smaller amounts…biscuits too. I have walked down the frozen food section at the grocery store to come up with ideas of what I can make and freeze ahead of time.

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    DorthyM Reply:

    Thank you both! This will help a lot!

  9. says

    I want to know all this stuff……ugh we are just starting out and I was doing everything wrong! Haha can’t wait till all this is common knowledge.

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    I just want to encourage you to hang in there, and keep taking baby steps! Don’t try to change too much at once, or you risk getting overwhelmed and giving up. We began changing our diet almost 3 years ago now, and there are still a few things I’d like to add in. We’re not perfect, but we eat 100% better than we did before. The health benefits are definitely worth it! Laura has a few great series on here about how, why, and where to start. Best of luck!

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  10. says

    I’ve been trying to come up with healthy lunch food for my daughter. She is a senior this year and can use the microwave at school. This will expand my options. Yesterday I made her some homemade pizzas and cooked them half of the time needed then froze them. She can pop the pizza in the microwave and have a great lunch. We are making homemade burritos tonight to freeze.

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  11. Jenny says

    I made a pot of stuffed baked potato soup last night with a bag of hash browns I had mDe and frozen ahead of time. We went from suggestion to soup in 25 minutes. It was so nice to have that ready go go when we needed it.

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  12. Alyssa says

    This week I have to make spaghetti sauce…I usually make 6 batches at once and freeze it so that I have a couple of dinners, a lasagna and enough to send home for my in-law’s freezer, too! :)

    Can’t wait to try the pepperoni and hashbrown recipes!

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  13. Lana says

    We are empty nesters and most everything I cook can be eaten for 2-3 meals. I often freeze meal size portions without any extra work at all. We don’t get sick of eating the same foods over and over that way. It is absolutely amazing how little cooking I actually do now that there are only the 2 of us. Yesterday we had a roast with potatoes and carrots. After dinner I used the leftovers to put together a dish of beef stew for tomorrow night and I froze a container of roast beef and gravy to use for beef and noodles in a few weeks. Three meals for the work of one! After raising and feeding 5 kids this is awesome!

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  14. Sarah says

    I was wondering what you cooked your waffles in, since I didn’t think you used non-stick pans. We have a cast iron waffle griddle, but it’s very hard to get the hang of and the waffles usually don’t turn out too good. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I just use a waffle iron we received as a wedding gift 17 years ago and unfortunately it is teflon. I’d sort of put that out of my mind, but I guess yes, that is our one teflon item left in our kitchen. At least I think it’s teflon. My husband is convinced it looks like cast iron, and it has never flaked or anything like teflon typically does. Maybe he’s right? I WANT it to be cast iron. :)

    [Reply]

    Lana Reply:

    Hubby and I stayed in a hotel with waffles for breakfast as a feature a few years ago. A lady came in while we were eating and threw a temper tantrum because the waffles were cooked on a nonstick waffle iron! I think if they are not nonstick then the waffles would be ‘welded
    to the iron! I just don’t think about it either because we adore waffles of any kind! Comment feild is doing something weird and I cannot see what I am typing so please forgive the typos!

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  15. says

    We are expecting baby no. 3 in two weeks so I’ve been nesting and freezer cooking so we aren’t eating takeout every night after the baby arrives. So far I’ve made lasagna, beef burritos, chicken taco filling (using your homemade taco seasoning), spaghetti sauce, granola, cinnamon raisin bread, and ham and cheese casserole.

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  16. Lena Courbron says

    This week I am going to be cooking and freezing
    ground beef
    pizza pockets
    pancakes
    waffles
    With a two month old, It is hard to get things done ontime. So, I will be working hard to atleast get a couple things done.

    [Reply]

  17. Lena Courbron says

    This week I am going to be cooking and freezing
    ground beef
    pizza pockets
    pancakes
    waffles
    With a two month old, It is hard to get things done ontime. So, I will be working hard to atleast get a couple things done.

    [Reply]

  18. Lena Courbron says

    This week I am going to be cooking and freezing
    ground beef
    pizza pockets
    pancakes
    waffles
    With a two month old, It is hard to get things done ontime. So, I will be working hard to atleast get a couple things done.

    [Reply]

  19. Lena Courbron says

    This week I am going to be cooking and freezing
    ground beef
    pizza pockets
    pancakes
    waffles
    With a two month old, It is hard to get things done ontime. So, I will be working hard to atleast get a couple things done.

    [Reply]

  20. G'ma Neise says

    I keep Hamburger and sausage browned in jelly jars in the freezer so it is ready for quick meals like spag.and pizza. Also I have cookies and muffins- blueberry, banana choc chip, pumpkin right now. Want to get some casseroles done and tacos and maidrites It just make life so much easier.

    [Reply]

  21. says

    I always keep a bag of banana muffins in the freezer. I make them as our bananas go bad and use them on those days when I don’t feel like making breakfast, or we’re out of breakfast essentials like goat’s milk.

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  22. says

    My son’s very favorite breakfast food is French Toast (slathered in real butter with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar). I make it every Sunday morning and I came up with the great idea of cooking up a batch every Sunday. It’s as simple as pastured eggs, whole milk, vanilla extract, bread and coconut oil for cooking. It’s so easy to make extras, freeze them and pop into the toaster for a quick and easy school morning breakfast that I know he will eat.

    Now, if I could just get organized like this with other foods that I cook for my family… LOL!

    [Reply]

  23. Tammy R. says

    Oooh, I’m in! I definitely want to try one or both the lunchmeats. I desperately need something quick, convenient and most important nutrient dense for lunches/snacks. This post also reminds me that I really need to get a new waffle iron soon as my old one that was teflon began to flake and it wasn’t nearly as old as yours! So I threw it out and have been without for probably 6 months.

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  24. Gabby says

    I was just talking to my friend about this yesterday! Over the summer I made lots of things for “later convenience”, like whole wheat waffles, whole wheat bread, muffins, cookies, and your “high five” burritos. Well, we have depleted most of that already! (Funny how we seem to eat all that food). So yesterday as I was meal planning I made a list of the items I would like to make ahead and replenish my freezer. Thanks for the inspiration!

    [Reply]

  25. Amanda W says

    I’m pretty new to all this, and sometimes baking all the time starts to feel pretty overwhelming. I’ve thought about making extras and freezing them like you do (especially my giant English muffin breakfast pizzas. Yum!), but I’m concerned about spending a fortune on a billion freezer bags every month. How do you freeze everything? And how do you make it economical for your family? Does anyone know whether it’s cheaper to just buy freezer bags or to get one of those machines that seals your freezer foods for you?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s a post I wrote about how I freeze foods: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/how-i-freeze-food. I reuse my freezer bags all the time, which helps save a lot of $$!

    [Reply]

  26. says

    I think I’m going to make some burritos and some giant breakfast cookies this week, if the weather behaves. Early mornings its been a little cooler so i may have a chance to get some baking done before it gets too hot. And I want to take a look at the homemade bologna recipe. My two guys love bologna so having a healthier version will be good!

    [Reply]

  27. Dione says

    Busy canning this week but just bagged up 15 quarts of homemade creamed corn for the freezer and am planning on making the pepperoni and lunch meat. I will use real salt and add a touch of cumin and paprika for the smoky flavor. What liquid smoke do you use? I have used toasted sesame oil in the past when doing sausage.

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  28. says

    I am so thankful for this post! I wrote a post a couple weeks ago about the importance of breakfast. I always appreciate some new ideas (and especially recipes). Getting my food allergic kids out the door in the morning with some protein in their bellies is always my #1 priority, but is also my biggest challenge!

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  29. Deanna says

    Can’t wait to hear how your pepperoni turns out and how you tweak it. It’s on my list to try, but I think I’ll wait to see if you have any suggestions. :-)

    [Reply]

  30. Blair says

    I canned 27 pints of peaches a week and a half ago. I cut bagged and froze the celery carrots and onions for 3 batches of chicken soup. Today I will grind bag and freeze 15 lb of steak for future meals. Contimplating browning it first, I think I will… about to also start a batch of the beef pepperoni. Also plan to boil and separate a whole chicken, freeze the broth. Cooking roast for dinner, freezing leftovers for bbq sandwiches.

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  31. Cara C says

    I recently made a big batch of beef pot pie filling, and used it to make two pies (one for the freezer) and several mini pies to put in the freezer for quick lunches.
    I can’t wait to try the pepperoni recipe!!!

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  32. Christa says

    I like to make up big batches of soup, eat some and freeze some for later. This is great on those chilly days with some fresh (or frozen) bread!

    [Reply]

  33. Melissa says

    I am so excited that you are trying out the bologna and pepperoni recipes for us!! Thank you! I have been thinking about those for a couple of months, but can’t get past the chemicals in the special salt she recommends. I am excited to hear how they turn out with my beloved healthy sea salt!!

    [Reply]

  34. Lena Courbron says

    YAY!! I got to ground up 10 lbs of beef and got it into the freezer. This week has been crazy so I have not gotten as much frozen as I hoped. But! It is a start!!! OH!! and I got a roast in the crockpot for lunch tomorrow! I am on a ball today! If I have time, I will be making pizza pockets too.

    [Reply]

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