I’ve been singing the praises of Once a Month cooking for a while now, but if I’m honest a whole day of cooking can get pretty tedious.
This time it took 7 hours – and I ended up spreading it over 2 days – but I ended up with:
- 19 meals
- 1 raisin loaf
- 12 banana muffins
- 2 lots of lemon shortbread
The meals cost £118 which is ~ £6.50 per meal (for four adults).
I also discovered again an important fact which I forgot to share with you last time. Like the Ancient mariner surrounded by all that water (and nor a drop to drink!) – you can spend hours peeling, chopping, grating and mixing, surrounded by all sorts of different foods – and still end up hungry and wondering what to eat during the day! So don’t forget to include something for lunch in your planning.
And, of course, a little snackerel to be going on with if your energy needs boosting at any stage!
Which leads me to baking. This time I did add some baking for the freezer, having left it out entirely last time. I don’t do as much baking as I would like as I’m not one of those people who can eat cake and stay the same size – but the rest of the family can, so in the summer holidays, with two Bottomless Pits at home, baking is high on the agenda.
So we’ve been doing some ‘research’ at home into what cakes and biscuits can be frozen easily. And, of course, how best to defrost them so it’s not obvious they’ve just come out of the freezer.
Here are some ideas:
This recipe makes 12 muffins.
Cook at 180°C for about 30 minutes until golden brown on top.
When cool, arrange them in one layer on a freezable tray and put in the freezer. When frozen (after about a couple of hours) transfer to a freezer bag.
To defrost, put on a microwaveable plate in the microwave and heat for 30 sec bursts.
Ours is a 900w microwave and one muffin needed 1 min at full power to turn out deliciously warm, as if they’d just come out of the oven (gorgeous split in half spread with melting butter).
Chocolate brownie cupcakes
These also freeze well. Let them cool completely. Then pack in layers separated by baking parchment or foil in a freezer container.
Defrost at room temperature and enjoy either as they are, or heat for a few minutes in the oven if you want lovely warm fudge brownies with your ice=cream.
No bake oat and seed bars
Make these as usual and put in the fridge to chill.
When set, cut into bars, wrap each individually in foil and put in a freezer bag.
You can just grab one for breakfast, lunch or snack time. They don’t need very long to defrost (about an hour depending on how thick you make them).
The best time to freeze these deliciously crumbly shortbreads is before cooking.
Make up the mixture and roll into a sausage. Wrap and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Then slice into rounds about ½ cm thick.
Lay these on a layer of baking parchment on a (freezable) baking tray and place in the freezer. When frozen tip into a freezer bag.
Cook straight from frozen, just add another 5 minutes or so to the cooking time.
Easy Cheese and Chilli Crackers
Or if your taste runs to more savoury tastes try this recipe for easy Cheese crackers – wafer-thin, buttery, deliciously cheese-y bites that you can have from the freezer in less than 12 minutes!
Freeze them uncooked as the lemon shortbread. Ad another 5 minutes to the cooking time
And an apology…
Having done this I realize that there are several of the cake recipes on this site that I haven’t tried freezing (in this house, cakes rarely live long enough to get to the freezer). But don’t worry – the family has volunteered to test them out over the next few weeks and I’ll add to this list as we do!
What snacks or treats do you like having in the freezer??
– do let me know in the comments below if you have any freezer-friendly cookie or cake recipes!
As baking is an essential part of any menu and there is enough here to last even my family for a week, I’m linking up to Mrs M’s meal planning monday – a great source of inspiration for your evening meal!