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Impromptu Freezer Cooking Day: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Chicken and Bread Dough

First up, I mixed up the Chocolate Chip Pancake batter.

I used some milk from the freezer in the batter. I also grab up marked down milk when I find it on a great deal and then freeze it to use in pancake batter.

While cooking the pancakes, I laid the chicken out on a cookie sheet and popped it in the oven to bake. I used to boil chicken breasts, but a reader left me a tip last year about baking them in the oven instead and I’ve found this to be much easier and the chicken ends up a lot more tender and juicy.

I then dumped all the bread dough ingredients in the bread machine and set it on the dough cycle. I just seriously love how simple it is to make dough using my bread machine!

I let the children have Chocolate Chip Pancakes for lunch. I guess they are getting their share of chocolate chips today! 🙂

The only problem is that they love Chocolate Chip Pancakes so much, that after they’d had their fill for lunch, we only had four pancakes left. I guess I need to make a bigger batch next time if I want to have any left for the freezer.

Next up: Brown Bag Burritos and my experiment with freezing oranges

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82 Comments

  • amy says:

    Thanks for these posts! They are very informative!

    Do you bake your chicken from frozen?
    I have always thawed it out, but would be happy to cut out that step, if possible.

  • says:

    How long to you bake your chicken?

    • Crystal says:

      Usually somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour on 350. It depends on how many I’m cooking and how thick/big they are. I usually check them at around 30 minutes and see if they are done.

  • Natalie says:

    How long do you bake chicken breasts for and what temp?

  • says:

    I’m down to 4 kids still at home (down from 6) and they will always eat everything before I put it in the freezer. If I let them. lol The think I’m mean, because I feed the freezer, but won’t let them have anything. lol

    Linda @ Linda’s Lunacy

  • says:

    Crystal I had no idea you could freeze milk! Does this keep it past the expiration? Also, do you have a strategy for finding these amazing mark downs on organic food? I try to go to the store every so often , as time permits to find markdowns on organic products, usually after reading one of your amazing steals but I never find any.

  • says:

    Way to go! You got a lot done today! Way to make the most out of a snow day!

    Do you freeze your bread dough after mixing up a batch or do you bake it right away?

  • Megan A says:

    After you have cooked all the chicken breasts, do you re-freeze them individually w/ marinade?

  • Diane says:

    How exactly do you use frozen milk? Just scoop and measure? I’ve never heard about this, but I’m interested. 😉

    • Crystal says:

      I thaw it first, then use. You can thaw it overnight in the fridge or in a sink full of hot water.

      • Carol says:

        In a sink of hot water? Doesn’t it curdle?

      • Erin says:

        Is the thawed milk any good for drinking, or do you just bake/cook with it? I’m always seeing marked down organic milk, but never buy it because I just can’t think what I’d use a whole half gallon for at once. Perhaps for an entire day of freezer baking! I freeze nearly everything else, but milk has always just intimidated me. 🙂

        • says:

          You can drink it, but you have to make sure to *completely* thaw it, and then shake it up before drinking it, or you get all of the fat in one portion, because it sort of separates in the freezer. If you totally thaw it before using it, it’s fine, but if you start drinking it when it’s half-thawed, it isn’t all the same.

  • keely says:

    Can I use All Purpose flour if i dont have whole grain in the pancakes??? They sound sooo good…

    Is making pancakes this way cheaper than using a mix liek bisquick??

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, you definitely can substitute all purpose flour. And it is slightly cheaper as well as better for you — and I think pancakes made without a mix are much yummier, too. 🙂

      • Keely says:

        Thanks so much. Ive always used mix..but I have all these ingredients. My boy may get a surprise before school in the morning!!

        • Becky says:

          Keely, I sometimes make my batter after I put the kids to bed and refrigerate ’til morning. It works well for us because it cuts out a step in the morning.

  • Valerie says:

    I love this chicken breast idea too. What I am hearing you say is that you take the frozen chicken, spread them on a cookie sheet, and bake at 350 for 30 to 60 minutes. This is definitely a will try idea for me. I always think my chicken gets too dry and tough when i boil it.

  • Ton says:

    When you freeze your milk in the type of containers shown, do you pour a little out before popping them in the freezer?

    • Crystal says:

      It depends. If it’s a big gallon, then I usually use a little before freezing. If it’s cardboard container like this, I’ve found it will freeze just fine without using any of it.

  • Heather says:

    Are they boneless chicken breasts?

  • says:

    Yum…I may have to have some pancakes for dinner. I LOVE breakfast for dinner. Do you use dark choco. chips? I wonder how those would taste vs. the milk choco? We always try for the “healthier” version of things.

  • says:

    I absolutely love my bread machine! I’ve got plenty of ready to bake frozen dinner rolls in the freezer, and even some extra pizza dough!

  • linda says:

    i noticed the pan you have your chicken in looked a lot like mine..no matter how much i scrubbed it..i could not get the cooked on stains…i stumbled on this by accident…i forgot them in the oven one day cleaning my oven with the self clean option i had….boy was i surprised…they came out looking brand new…let me know if this works for you

  • says:

    I put my boneless/skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot with about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and let them cook on low for several hours. I have found it to be the way to yield the most tender and moist chicken!

    • SJVSJV says:

      Jenae – do you put the chicken breasts in the crockpot frozen or thawed?

    • Becky says:

      Me too. I was just reading how much less energy it takes to cook in the crockpot vs. the oven. The article said that an hour at 350 degrees in the oven uses about 3 kwh and a crockpot for seven hours uses only .7 kwh. Energy savings = money savings, especially for us if we cook during off-peak hours (we’re on a Time of Use plan with the electric company)!

      I also agree that they come out way more tender than oven-baked chicken. Yum!

      • says:

        I do frozen breasts in the crockpot too. I put a couple chicken bullion cubes in with enough water to cover the chicken and cook until tender. They literally fall apart! I freeze portion size amounts in quart size bags. Makes for a really quick meal! I do this so often that I even added a “cooked chicken” column to my Recipes at a Glance sheet which I use to meal plan every week. Here’s a link if you’re interested:

    • Whitney says:

      Me too! Though I put in a whole chicken (.89 a lb at Kroger!) and not even extra water is necessary. 3 hours on high for a 4 lb chicken and about a half hour extra for every additional pound. The chicken turns out incredibly moist and you’re left with some great chicken stock at the bottom of the crockpot. I make mine on Sunday or Monday and the leftovers make 1-2 more meals that week. Wish I’d known about cooking chicken in the crockpot years ago.

      • says:

        I do a whole chicken the traditional way…..boiled in water with my veggies. In not much time, I have pulled chicken and fresh chicken stock, which I freeze in quart size containers for use anytime. I find it has the best flavor for the stock!

      • Sandy says:

        So, does the chicken skin get color?

        • Whitney says:

          No – the skin stays pretty light, except for the wings which tend to get some extra heat from the sides of the crockpot. Since we discard the skin anyway it doesn’t matter to us. It doesn’t make a pretty chicken to place in the middle of your dining room table – I’d stick with oven roasting for that – but if you’re looking for moist, flavorful chicken then it’s perfect. Sometimes oven roasting can still result in a dry chicken. Cooking it this pretty much guarantees it will be moist.

  • says:

    I think I will try some chocolate chip pancakes for the freezer that looked super. I have a bread machine but i’ve never used it. I got it from a relative and dont have any instructions to go with it. Maybe I will try that tommorow too.

    • Annie says:

      I got my bread machine from my sister-in-law practically new. I didn’t have an owner’s manual either, but found it online.

  • Denise C. says:

    I will have to try chicken in the oven, I usually poach it, but find it dry.

    Also, I did not know you could freeze milk. When you use milk from the freezer is the consistency the same as milk from the fridge?

    • kimberly2 says:

      No, the taste and the texture change. I personally don’t care to drink it frozen, but I would use it to cook with.

      • Denise C. says:

        Thanks! 🙂

      • JulieJ says:

        We buy 6 gallons of milk at Costco and freeze 2 of them. I pour a little off the top before I put them in the freezer. When I need the milk I take it out and let it thaw. The fat will rise to the top. Then shake it and it will taste just fine.

        We also freeze the small chocolate milk cartons they serve in schools. They last way beyond the expiration date if you freeze them before they expire.

  • Heather says:

    I am so glad that you are a convert to baking chicken! Baking is sooooo much better. Tastes like chicken! Boiling: well, I can hardly find polite words to describe it. The smell is disgusting, it looks bad, tastes like tuna, and who knows how much nutrition gets poured down the drain with the water.

  • Julie says:

    I agree with Jenae. I use my crockpot for chicken. I start it in the morning and then have chicken ready for freezer meals in the afternoon during naptime!

  • Lea Stormhammer says:

    I completely agree with Heather on the boiled chicken! Honestly, it didn’t even occur to me that you could boil chicken until I read about you doing it Crystal! We’ve always baked ours.

    I love ‘watching’ you do your freezer cooking and I always come away inspired.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Lea

  • says:

    Before you bake the breasts, brush them with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. No matter what you plan to add them to, it adds a ton of flavor to the final dish.

  • jenny m says:

    I’ve had good luck putting frozen chicken in the crock pot with italian salad dressing- low for 8 hours- great moist chicken as well=). I’ve been know to forget about the oven.

  • Elizabeth Horton says:

    I’d love to know about this freezing oranges experiment. I’ve got some that I need to use up somehow.

    • says:

      Yes! Me too! I always see oranges on the clearance produce rack at Meijer. I would love to be able to stock up and freeze them!

  • Christy says:

    I’m guessing you didn’t use a half gallon of milk for pancake batter. What did you do with the rest? That is the challenge I have run into when freezing–using it all quickly after thawing.

  • says:

    What did you add to your chicken prior to baking? do you free dough or do you freeze the baked bread? thanks

  • Valerie says:

    You can freeze milk (especially skim, 1% or 2%) and when it thaws, it turns out PERFECTLY. We do this when we go camping for longer than 3 days and we need more than 1/2 gallon. I freeze it, then keep it in the ice chest. By day 3, its defrosted and ready to use. Whole milk thaws at a different consistency, IMO. I usually pour 1/4 – 1/2 cup out first before I freeze the gallon. Just so you know, you can also freeze coffee creamer and it thaws great too! Perfect for the limited time only flavors!!!!

    I’ve always boiled my chicken too, so Im excited to try the baked from frozen version, as well as the crockpot!

    • Shirley says:

      Yes!! I have always wondered about coffee creamer. I would like to stock up on it when it goes on sale cause I usually have great coupons but I’m not a big coffee drinker and I know I can’t drink it all that quickly. Now I think I am going to start doing that and maybe even try some milk.

  • theresa says:

    just i today realized that i am out of holiday sale chocolate chips, so i paid my boys to unwrap free rite aid hershey’s kisses in the christmas packaging – they got one kiss each and i got enough chocolate to make two loaves of chocolate chip banana bread!

  • says:

    I am looking forward to hearing how freezing oranges went, although we never have any extra to freeze though around here. I have to buy brown bananas on purpose to make banana bread.

    • says:

      almost the same around here…..i go through 5-8 bananas a week with my 3 kids! I barely have enough in the freezer for banana bread!

  • says:

    We LOVE homemade pancakes/waffles! I jut put our recipe on my blog the other day!

  • marie Ray says:

    My daughter will not eat pancakes if they are not homemade. She is 4 and she will refuse to eat it.
    Also have you tried cooking chicken in the crockpot. I love you can put it in frozen it also makes shredding chicken easy to.

  • says:

    I’m so glad you started roasting your chicken, it changed my chicken life – ha!!

    You always have such wonderful, new ideas for all of us, my roasted chicken was one of the only things I was able to bring to the table back during your old freezer cooking link ups! 🙂 I dont know if I could let my children in on the chocolate pancake secret…they may never eat anything else for breakfast again.

  • Clare C. says:

    Crystal,

    How fun to see you do a freezer cooking day again. I love those! I always get inspired… 🙂

  • Deb says:

    Crystal,
    what brand of bread machine do you use? I am looking to get one, and with all the options out there, I just thought i would ask you as you seem to really like yours. Sorry if you have covered this already, I just can’t seem to find the info on your site.

  • stephanie says:

    We freeze all sorts of fruit for smoothies & they come out great. Your oranges will be fine. Always clean & prep (remove rind, pits, etc.) them to just pop in the blender. Whenever I find a good sale on fruits I stock up. I have pretty much frozen all fruit for smoothies without issue. Some other fruits to consider: all melons (yes even watermelon), cherries, pears, pineapple, grapes, mango, papaya, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, plums, any berry etc.) I have found that my kids like the smoothies when I have a good assortment of different fruits 1/4 to 1/2 cup of each fruit I have on hand. Its important to remember that you may not need ice if you have a blender full of frozen fruit though.

  • says:

    You can also pop those breasts in the crock pot overnight with a little bit of water- then you get some great broth, too! (I found an awesome Spanish rice recipe that uses it on all recipes.) We’ve also been throwing in a few choc. chips to our banana bread recipe- yummy afternoon snack.

  • says:

    Great ideas! How long does milk last in the freezer? And once you thaw it how quickly do you have to use it before it goes bad?

  • Ashley says:

    How do you freeze the already cooked pancakes and how do you reheat them when you want to eat them?

    • Crystal says:

      I just stick them in a ziptop bag and stick them in the freezer. We usually reheat them in the microwave, though a toaster oven would work well, too.

    • says:

      I cool them completely then put them in a freezer baggie getting out as much air as possible. If they’re not cooled separately, mine freeze together. I used to add wax paper between the pancakes, but no longer need to do this. Reheat in the microwave about 30 seconds.

      My kids love chocolate chip pancakes! They call them “daddy pancakes” because my husband makes a huge batch on the weekend for the kids to eat during the week and me to freeze.

  • Beth says:

    How do you store the pancakes in the freezer? Freezer bags? How do you reheat them….microwave? Thanks!

  • kirby janus says:

    Yay! Never knew about the milk and creamer….it’s crazy how something like that could make me so happy!! Lol. It would be neat if they made a huge list of stuff we never knew we could freeze! It would make bulk shopping for smaller families so much more worth it!!

  • Amy says:

    Chicken Baking Tip: Sprinkle you chicken with salt, then drizzle with olive oil before baking. I also bake mine in a covered casserole dish…moist, delicious chicken!

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