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Together we’ve been holding each other accountable and learning practical ways to prepare food for our families without spending hours and hours in the kitchen. With school season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to create a regular prep time routine.
Remember, prep time can be a dedicated hour or two each week (for example an hour or two each Sunday), or an activity that’s divided into multiple days: Monday night, 15 minutes- wash and prep weekly greens; Tuesday night, 30 minutes-place a whole chicken in the crockpot for shredded meat; Wednesday night, 30 minutes- prep a double or triple batch of waffles for the freezer.
I say the following sentence every week, but I have a lot of favorite foods to prep, so….
Some of my favorite foods to prep are muffins, quick breads (banana bread, etc.), pancakes/waffles, and biscuits. These foods fall under the “non-yeast bread” category in my mind. Basically, if it’s made with flour, mainly consumed for breakfast and doesn’t require yeast, a food falls into this category.
Before I share the details about prepping these breakfast goodies in advance, let’s focus on the main reasons why you should think about making muffins, quick breads, pancakes/waffles, or biscuits during your prep time. After all, if you’re going to include a task on your prep day printable or mental plan, it must help maximize your time throughout the week (AKA: it better be important!).
Why You Should Prep Muffins, Quick Breads, Pancakes/Waffles, and Biscuits in Advance
1. Relaxed Mornings:
Did you just read the word relaxed and laugh? I get it! Busy weekday mornings aren’t generally described as “relaxed” in our house–they are busy!
Prepping breakfast in advance certainly adds a sense of calm to our mornings. When I’ve taken the time to prep in advance, based on our schedule, busy mornings are more relaxed. I’m not stressed about breakfast being made in less than fifteen minutes; therefore, my family is able to enjoy a healthy breakfast and a happy mom.
Muffins, quick breads, pancakes/waffles, and biscuits are super easy to prep in advance. When these foods are paired with a pre-made smoothie pack or hardboiled egg, a complete and healthy breakfast is ready in just minutes!
2. Family Participation:
I’m slowly training my family to take responsibility for some of the food-making in our house. Since Dustin isn’t really known for his cooking skills (I love you, honey! You’re amazing!) and our kids are still young (five and three), prepping easy foods in advance has been a win-win.
When Dustin has to leave super early in the morning and my body is saying, “Stay in bed for five more minutes!”, he can grab a waffle, muffin, biscuit, or slice of quick bread from the freezer, and voila…breakfast is ready without my help!
3. Ready-to-Go Breakfast, Snack, or Lunch Side:
As I mentioned in number two, prepping food in advance means there aren’t just a bunch of ingredients laying around your kitchen; rather actual food that can be prepared in just minutes! That’s huge for a real food lifestyle. Just because processed convenience foods aren’t apart of a real food lifestyle doesn’t mean we can’t make our own healthy versions at home. If Pillsbury preps food in advance, so can you!
4. Cook once, Eat Twice:
Muffins, quick breads, pancakes/waffles, and biscuits are some of the easiest foods to “cook once, eat twice.” Instead of making just one batch of muffins, double or even triple the recipe. Real food prep is really that simple! With a double or triple batch of muffins sitting in your freezer you won’t need to make muffins for roughly two months (or something like that). Talk about using your time wisely!
How to Prep Muffins, Quick Breads, Pancakes/Waffles, and Biscuits in Advance
1. Go Raw:
“Go raw” means you can make muffins during your prep time and freeze the batter to bake for later. Simply follow the directions on your muffin recipe. Then, line a muffin tin with liners (paper or silicone work great), and freeze the muffin tray until the muffins are frozen solid. Once the muffins are frozen, transfer them to a baggie or freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to enjoy a muffin simply pull as many raw muffins from the baggie/container and bake, adding an extra few minutes to the baking time (just keep an eye on the muffins until they are ready). I try to use my raw dough within 6-8 weeks from the date it was initially frozen.
Use this method to prep muffins that have a thicker batter consistency. I use this method to make Chai Zucchini Muffins and Oatmeal Raisin Muffins in advance. This method also works well for biscuits (plain or sweet potato). Freeze biscuit dough in ready-made biscuit shapes on a sheet pan, and then transfer to a baggie/container when frozen solid.
2. Prep Dry Ingredients:
To use this method, whisk together all the dry ingredients in a recipe, then place the combined ingredients in a sealed container/baggie. Label the baggie/jar with the name of the recipe (maybe even what else is needed–the wet ingredient list and bake time/temperature). When you’re ready to make a recipe, the dry ingredients are already prepped. Simply combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, and bake/cook according the recipe instructions. Dry mixes will last for months when stored in a sealed container.
Use this method to prep muffins, biscuits, pancakes/waffles (banana pancakes, blueberry surprise pancakes, soaked waffles, gluten-free waffles, soaked waffles), breakfast cookies, and quick breads in advance. If you plan to double a recipe using this method, it’s best to make all the muffins, pancakes/waffles, etc. at once versus trying to divide and only use a portion of the dry ingredients.
3. Make it Ready-to-Go:
This is my favorite method for making muffins, quick breads, pancakes/waffles, or biscuits in advance. Simply make one of these foods according to the recipe, and then freeze the final product for later use. Making a double batch of any recipe will provide you with the greatest return on time spent in the kitchen.
To use the ready-to-go waffles, muffins, biscuits, etc. without reheating them in a microwave, simply defrost them in the fridge (optional) and warm them in the oven or toaster. Note: We still own a microwave…I know, I know…so reheating in the microwave is always possible. When it comes to packing school lunches, place a frozen (cooked) muffin, quick bread slice, biscuit, etc. in the lunchbox for a natural “ice pack” that will defrost by lunchtime.
Use this method to prep muffins, pancake/waffles, quick breads, breakfast cookies, or biscuits in advance. Pancakes and waffles can be taken directly from the freezer and defrosted in the toaster. Quick breads can be frozen in half loaves, whole loaves, or pre-sliced so you can easily grab just one piece at a time.
The method you choose will depend on your family’s needs and schedule.
This week, your homework is to create a meal plan, go shopping for the food you’ll need to implement the meal plan, set aside a specific day/time for prep time, and then print and fill out the Prep Day Action Plan printable. Focus on five foods you can prep this week based on your meal plan and schedule: making soup, cooking and shredding chicken, washing storing greens, prepping muffins/biscuits/pancakes, etc.
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If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #LIVESIMPLYBLOG. I'd love to see what you make!