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Ultimate Recipe Swap: Make Ahead Meals

I don’t have enough time, arms, or sleep. Such is the life of a mother. So, in order to make my “life as MOM” as pleasant as possible, I’ve been trying to develop ways to save time.

More than two arms would look weird, and sleep will come eventually.

Over the weekend I put together a month-long meal plan. While this may take a little spontanaeity out of my life, it may well, take a little spontanaeity out of my life. As a mother of SIX KIDS, I have that in abundance. Who are we kidding?

This week I’ve also been working to cook a bunch of meals ahead of time. While I didn’t prepare 30 meals, I did fill in a lot of the holes in my meal plan so that dinnertime prep should go quicker in the weeks to come.

One of the things that I like to have on hand are custom-made mixes. I’ve been doing this for 101 years and it continues to be a boon to me on a busy morning when kids are crying for food, but the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. Not only is it a quick help in the morning, but since you’re making your own, you can dude them up with fancy or healthy ingredients that your family likes.

Make Your Own Mixes
You’re going to laugh when you hear how terribly easy this is. Stop paying for boxed mixes! (Confession: I do keep cake mixes on hand, but nothing else.)

  1. Line up quart size ziptop bags.
  2. Mark each with the date, the mix name, wet ingredients to be added and baking instructions.
  3. Fill the bags with the premeasured, dry ingredients called for in the recipe.
  4. Store in the pantry, or for longer storage, in the freezer.

I regularly do this for brownies, pancakes, waffles, scones, muffins, and quick breads. It’s so nice to just empty the bag in a bowl, add “the wet team” and bake. It also makes it a little easier to let kids help me bake.

Got a great make-ahead or freezer-friendly recipe? Share it with us!
 1. Post your recipe on your blog. Please mention www.LifeasMOM.com in your post. Then, come back here to add your link to Mr. Linky below. (Find instructions for Mr. Linky here.)

OR

2. If you don’t have a blog, simply tell us about your recipe in the comments section.

Go here for details on this week’s giveaway.


1. Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free (My 1st Baking Day! Loved it!)
2. SwappinSpoons – Better than – – – Dessert
3. SwappinSpoons – Corn Pudding
4. SwappinSpoons – Pumpkin cream cheese bars
5. SwappinSpoons – Lasagna and a snowman made of cheese
6. Marie@Beginning, Meet End
7. HoosierHomemade(Baking Day-Prep Work)
8. Leaving Excess (Hot Cocoa Mix)
9. Christian Frugal Mama (Slow Cooker Kielbasa & Beans)
10. Melissa @ Mom’s Plans (Freezer Burritos)
11. Mother Hen (Crockpot Applesauce)
12. Beth@TheNaturalMommy (Easy Peasy Granola Bars)
13. Beth@TheNaturalMommy (Half-Whole-Wheat Zucchini Flax Bread)
14. Beth@TheNaturalMommy (Cinnamon Crunch Granola)
15. Beth@TheNaturalMommy (Applesauce)
16. Gretchen @ EOL (Zesty BBQ Chicken used 3 ways)
17. Amanda (1st baking day – prepping for baby!)
18. Life as a Friedrich- Prep for Baby!
19. Ann Marie (1st baking day – apples, squash, and potatoes oh my!)
20. Sidnie [Muffins & Soup]
21. The Prudent Pantry (Chicken Marbella)
22. Kitchen Stewardship (Apple Squares for Breakfast or Dessert?)
23. A Busy Mom of Two (Spaghetti and Meatballs)
24. Fancy Frugalista! (Whole Wheat Banana Bread)
25. MasonDixonMagnolia
26. MasonDixonMagnolia (Black Bean Chicken Chili)
27. Cara @ The Picky Apple (Favorite Freezer Friendly Meals)
28. Cents to Get Debt Free (Beef and Broccoli)
29. SnoWhite @ Joy in My Kitchen (Flexible Make Ahead Muffins)
30. Linda @ Gluten-Free Homemaker (breakfast casserole)
31. SwappinSpoons – Walnut & Chocolate Chip Cookies
32. Hannah @ Mulberry Spot (Sweet Potato Burritos)
33. Lucky @ Making My Own Luck Fall Harvest Muffins
34. Sarah @ Mum In Bloom (Pumpkin Muffins)
35. sara (wild rice quiche for freezer)
36. sweetjeanette Grilling Day Steaks
37. Laura @ Brand New Housewife (Easy Italian Pasta Bake)
38. Deidra (Cook Ahead Roast)
39. Jimi @ What’s Cooking
40. Shannon (grain-free garlic & rosemary crackers)
41. annies home –
42. LFinn (perfect for freezer baked ziti)
43. Holly @ A Mommy’s Blessings (Kids won’t eat spinach? Make this!)
44. Rebecca at Turned Loose (easy cream of chicken dry soup mix)
45. Recipes for Moms (Overnight Coffee Cake)
46. Adventure Mom Janna ~ Monkey Pancakes
47. Anne (Make-Ahead Hot Chocolate)
48. The Domestic Contessa – Easy Freezer Meal!
49. Couponing 101 – Cinnamon Rolls, Stuffed Bread Sticks & More!
50. Tara @ Feels like home (crock pot mashed potatoes)
51. ElizabethG (Vegetable Soup)
52. Janel (The Best Lasagna)
53. Megan @ Smidgen of a Kitchen (Golabki – Stuffed Cabbage!)
54. Stephanie (Hamburger Vegetable Soup)
55. Good (&Cheap) Eats – Multi Grain Blueberry Pancake Mix
56. Micha @ Cookin’ Mimi (Enchilada Stuffed Shells)

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Comments

  1. Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free says:

    I linked to my baking day post – it shows how I made my sugar-free applesauce. Some of the recipes are archived on my blog, others were experimental and I'll be posting them soon.

    I am so glad I joined in – I have 5 dinners worth of marinated meat and a whole slew of meatballs ready, not to mention a loaf of bread I can actually eat. I learned so much from everyone. I'm a great cook but have lots to learn about running a household. :) Thanks for hosting & big hugs!

  2. LOVE this idea!! Where do you store the bags of 'dry ingredients?' Fridge, freezer or are they ok in the pantry?

  3. Marie@Beginning, Meet End says:

    I forgot to type the name of the recipe after my link- so sorry! My computer is being so jumpy right now! It's a version of Haystacks with ideas of how to freeze parts of the recipe to make it a fast-fix meal.

  4. Hoosier Homemade says:

    I have pre-mixed pancake mix before, but no other mixes. I will have to give it a try.
    Thanks for hosting! Hopefully tomorrow I can finish baking :)
    ~Liz

  5. Allyson, they are usually fine in the pantry as long as you don't have bug or rodent problems. Otherwise toss them in the freezer. Unless it has brown sugar in it, the freezer seems to be fine. (The brown sugar gets a little hard.)

  6. What a wonderful, easy, time saving idea!
    So would have never thought to do that!
    But you better believe I will now!
    Thanks!

  7. I love the pre-made mixes! An easy step that makes life a little simpler later on. :) I think having a well stocked freezer is super important. I'm hoping to get some meals prepped and frozen this weekend or next week to have on hand during the holiday season. Great topic!

  8. I LOVE this idea!! I was just dragging myself to the kitchen, dreading measuring the pancake mix…….Thank You for such a great tip!

  9. Ann Marie says:

    LOL – "the coffee hasn't kicked in yet"…

    This is a great idea!
    Convenience of the box- without the pricetag!

  10. srlsfamily says:

    Can you post some of the other mixes you do this way? I have been using your pancake / waffle mix for the last 6 months and it is a life saver for me as my 8 year old (who weighs 42 pounds soaking wet) will only eat waffles for breakfast. I double it into gallon bags and usually make 1-2 of those batches every 3 weekends or so (and freeze the completed waffles).

    I have never made brownies from scratch (um Betty Crocker?) but would love to do this!

  11. What a GREAT idea:-)

  12. Katie @ goodLife {eats} says:

    I really need to at leats have a pancake mix ready to go on hand. I'd love pancakes right now for breakfast, but the kitchen is a mess ( busy evening last night) and I don't feel like starting from the beginning to make something.

  13. I would love to have some of your mix recipes. I try to make as much as I can ahead, but still revert to boxed mixes.

  14. sweetjeanette says:

    OOOOhhhh One of my fave subjects! Freezer cooking is my "bag" ! LOL Since today is not "cooking day" here, I decided to share how I take care of a good deal on sirloin steaks for grilling day and how I do it "freezer friendly style" ! LOL

    http://sweetjeanette.blogspot.com/2009/11/freezer-meals.html

  15. I would love to have some of your MYOM recipes too. By the way, these make great gifts. You can attach a note to the mixes telling what to add and how to cook and then fill a gift bag or basket with bags.

    ~Deidra
    http://deidrasheart.blogspot.com

  16. I love this idea! I make dry mix for cream soup, and we routinely make homemade pancakes, but I never put it together that I could do this for brownies, cookies, or those pancakes.

    But put on the pout now: I just asked my daughter to join me in the kitchen to do a little "baggin' up" and she doesn't want to! Guess I'm on my own this afternoon…

  17. Thank you, Thank You for the wonderful idea. I am an Air Force homeschooling mom of four whose husband is gone a lot. Wednesday is our baking day. Preparing the mixes will make things go so much faster, less of a MESS, and all boys can help and not fight over who gets to help or whose turn it is next to help. My third son wants to be a chef when he grows up but all three like to help bake. I am very blessed and very thankful and grateful! Happy Thanksgiving! I enjoy reading your posts each day. Thank you for the help, hints, and lessons.

    Angie

    ang1194@yahoo.com

  18. Great idea! I never thought of mixing up just the dry ingredients. Problem is I don't have hardly any recipes I make often…. don't think I've ever made pancakes with the same recipe twice! Actually, one thing I make a lot is my grandma's biscuit recipe. Prepping the dry ingredients for that would be a cinch.

  19. I've been doing a ton of reading on once-a-month-cooking and freezing, so these tips were so helpful, and especially the photos. It's hard to envision how to get all of it done in my head!

  20. Can you post some recipes that mix ahead of time (waffles, biscuits, brownies, etc.) I think this is a great idea, but I don't know where to start. Thx

  21. I noticed a lot of comments about pancakes and waffles so i'll offer my 2cents for a parenting shortcut… Batter Blaster pancakes. They are organic and come in a spray bottle so its super fast and no mess prepping. I know that sounds crazy but it is actually pretty good and my kids go nuts when they get to help make them. Enjoy

  22. I would love a list of what kind of mixes you make! I’d LOVE to make my own!

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

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