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It's the final week of the food prep parties! In case you are just joining us I'm spending time every week stocking my freezer and pantry with items that will make life, especially meal prep, significantly easier now that school is starting.
Here are the links to the other weeks of the five week Food Prep series:
Week 1: Refried Beans, Black Beans & Enchilada Sauce
Week 2: Pancake Mix, Sausage and Cheese Balls, Biscuits, & English Muffins
Week 3: Taco Meat, Shredded Chicken, & Pizza Crusts
Week 4: PB&J, Banana Bread, Banana Muffins, & 30 Minute Dinner Rolls
Week 5: Cookie Dough, Cookie Bars, Granola Bars, & Puppy Chow
My freezer is so full I'm not sure it can handle much more! We've eaten a few containers of the beans from week one and we couldn't resist eating some of everything I made in week two. The chicken from week three barely had a chance to freeze before I used some for dinner one night and one loaf of banana bread from week four never even made it to the freezer! It's no surprise that in week five some of the food was sampled before it it the freezer as well. At least we know it's good!
I've got a wicked sweet tooth and I've learned that although I love to bake and would eat it all it's definitely better if I store it out of sight in order to make it last. I have the mindset that I need to eat something before it "goes bad" and in three days an entire batch of cookies is gone! No need with the freezer. I make my desserts or snacks and stash them in the freezer so they are ready when I need them but don't have immediate access when I get hungry. It's perfect!
First up is cookie dough. I love having a variety of flavors ready to go so I can pop whatever kind we want in the oven for fresh cookies when the mood strikes. I already have peanut butter cookie dough in the freezer from several weeks ago so I decided to do other flavors. The first flavor I chose is a Softbatch Funfetti Sugar Cookie from Averie Cooks. The addition of corn starch plus chilling the dough are what makes these stay super soft. Plus sprinkles! I doubled the recipe and used a small cookie scoop to keep the cookie dough balls bite sized. I managed to get about 4 dozen cookies from the double recipe.
I wanted a classic cookie as well so I went for a SUPER classic recipe, the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie. But instead of only using chocolate chips I decided to do a triple chip cookie and use semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. I scooped half the dough into dough balls for the freezer but I totally forgot to snap a picture, oops! But then...
Because I doubled the triple chip dough I made a pan of cookie bars as well. I'm all about doubling my efforts if I can skip extra dishes! Once these cooled down I spread them out on a regular cookie sheet to flash freeze then stuck them in small freezer bags. We've already eaten through about half the pan in a matter of days! Straight out of the freezer it almost tastes like eating cookie dough. Yum!
I haven't made granola bars in nearly a year - shame! They are so easy and incredibly delicious. I really like granola bars with peanut butter but since these will be a snack for the boys to bring to school I didn't want to go that route. Instead I went with this recipe from Lauren's Latest. It's incredibly simple as long as you follow the directions. The first time I made these I didn't let the mixture cook long enough so the bars didn't want to stay together. Make sure to boil the liquid long enough or your bars will crumble as soon as you pick them up!
I doubled this recipe as well but the original doesn't make a huge batch to begin with so even the doubled recipe did not fill up my jelly roll pan so I had to squish it to one side and press it down to make sure the bars would stick together. The boys joked about me cutting the bars into triangles instead of normal bars so I did just that. They thought I was crazy and hilarious, ha! I love an easy way to make them smile.
I'm a huge puppy chow/muddy buddy fan (which do you call it?) and I especially love making it for group events. But again, that whole peanut butter thing can cause issues for people. The web is FILLED with various flavors of puppy chow - it's amazing! Brownie batter, red velvet, mint chocolate, and the list goes on. Pretty much any flavor you can imagine has been recreated as puppy chow. My latest favorite is funfetti! I know you are totally surprised, right? I also discovered that puppy chow freezes really well.
Instead of regular almond bark or melting chocolates I used some Wilton Candy Melts I had left in various colors from past kids' birthday parties. I melted these down and mixed in the cereal then tossed it with the powdered sugar. This stuff is sweet so I divided it up into about 1/3 cup portions that I stuck in snack sized zip bags then put all the little bags into a large freezer bag. These will be easy to grab when we want a fun treat!
I had such a great time getting my freezer stocked with so many helpful foods. I think this is going to be a monthly task now to make sure I always have foods on hand that make life easier. I know I'm going to need pizza sauce soon so look for that recipe in September. Thanks for joining me these last five weeks!
Did you make anything for your freezer this week? What's your favorite type of treat to make ahead? Let me know in the comments!