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Make Ahead – How Batch Cooking Saves You Time

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February 15, 2012

Batch cooking is a great way to spend a little extra time to save a lot of time and money later. Once the food is prepared, all you need to do is prepare and serve later. And even better, there’s less clean up. Here are a few batch cooking recipes I love to whip up:


I have never been that great at making pancakes. For some reason they never cooked inside but they were always brown on the outside – until I found this recipe. This recipes makes a ton of pancakes. Once they are cooled, I put them in a large storage bag and freeze them. When we want to re-heat them I put 2 pancakes in the microwave for about 25 seconds.


  • 2 ¼  cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons oil


  1. Mix all ingredients with wire whisk until free of lumps. You can add a little more flour or milk depending on if you prefer you batter thick or thin.
  2. Spray a frying pan or griddle with Pam.
  3. Heat pan over medium heat.
  4. I pour the batter into a measuring cup and pour into the frying pan. You could also scoop it out with a small measuring cup.
  5. Heat until the edges are a little dry and there are several popped bubbles.

Twice Baked Potatoes

This is one of those recipes that I can’t believe I haven’t made all my life. It’s so easy and it’s such a great addition to any dinner. I love that I can “bake” the potatoes in my crock pot.


  • 4 Potatoes
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • Splash of milk
  • Shredded cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Poke the potatoes with a fork a few times. Wrap them in foil and put them in the crock pot for about 4-5 hours on high. (Make sure the potatoes are completely dry before you wrap them in foil.) I turn them over about half way through baking. They actually will brown a little on the bottom and taste like you grilled them.When you can easily poke a fork in them, take them out of the crock pot and let them cool.

Pre-heat oven to 375. Once they have cooled, cut the potatoes length-wise, scoop out the insides and put them in a bowl. Put the skins on a cookie sheet. Add butter, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix with a potato masher. Scoop the mixture into the potato skins and top with cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Once cooled  place in a storage bag and freeze. When you are ready to eat them just put them on a microwave safe plate on top of a paper towel for 4-5 minutes. The paper towel will absorb any excess moisture.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars


  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats, quick cooking
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9X13 pan.
  2. Mix the peanut butter, honey, egg, oil, and vanilla extract until well blended.
  3. In a separate bowl combine oats, sugar, salt and mini chocolate chips; add to peanut butter mixture and mix for about a minute.
  4. Press the mixture into a 9X13 pan.
  5. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Let the bars cool completely before cutting. I cut them into large bars and it made 15 bars.

* You could even change the chips to milk chocolate or peanut butter chips. Or swap out creamy peanut butter for chunky. Store in an air tight container. And check out our other granola bar recipes.

Make Ahead Rolls

These are very delicious rolls. I like to make a batch and eat some that night for dinner. Then I freeze the rest so we have fresh rolls for another night.


  • 1 cup warm milk (microwave for about 2 seconds)
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast


  1. Add all the ingredients into your bread machine. Set it to the dough cycle.
  2. When the dough cycle is completed, lay it on a floured surface.
  3. Grab small balls of dough and shape them into balls – you should get about 24 rolls
  4. Place in a greased 9X13 baking pan.
  5. Cover with a clean cloth  and let them rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Enjoy them warm with a little more butter.

When they are completely cooled place them in a storage bag and freeze them. Take them out of the freezer the day you want to serve them.

I like to use all my appliances to help make this day a lot easier. After I use my crock pot and bread machine, I like to use my dish washer to help cleanup the mess! I love that I can spend a little time in the kitchen and I have food to use in the future. The best part is you only have to clean the mess up once.

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