Friday, November 14, 2014

Easy Bake Pancake Muffins

Winter is coming.

Ugh, I hate winter.

I live in the wrong state.

My friends are all "yay! Winter!! Yay!! We can stop working out, eat brownies, and wear big sweaters!! Yay winter!!" and I'm all "I still have to stand in front of a group of women several times a week in my underwear. Screw winter."

With that being said, winter is upon us and I feel myself slipping into the baking and cooking frenzy that seems to accompany fall in this household. By the time I get the kids home at night, lug everyone in, peel off 3 layers of slush covered winter wear, and turn the heat on that I turned off when I left for work that morning, the last thing I want to do is make dinner.

But....we are all most likely frozen from the inside out and starving; thus enters the cooking frenzy of fall.

As a single working mom I simply do not have time to make three meals a day. Combined with the fact that my financial situation doesn't allow for much wiggle room in the food-budget department, I really need to plan ahead. What this means is that I usually designate a couple hours in the beginning of the month to making meals in bulk and then freezing them. Last week I made 6 pounds of chili. SIX POUNDS of chili you guys.

I then split it up into family sized servings and froze it. After that I made four pounds of taco meat and ten pounds of baked sweet potato cinnamon bites. None of the meals took me longer than twenty minutes to prep and when everything was done cooking, I had quite a bit of food ready to pull out of the freezer as needed.

The food pantry is really good about giving us baking ingredients and let me tell you, they do not go to waste in this house! You guys know that I feel bad about not being able to give my kids very much, so when the opportunity arises to bake a little treat, we jump on it!

Apple pie anyone? My daughter insisted on using money she got for her birthday to buy ice cream to go with it. I like the way that kid thinks...

Since we already had ice cream and all the other ingredients, we may have also made homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches....

I have to say though, it's a good thing for me that my kids will eat anything because we can get some pretty strange combinations when we have run out of food stamps at the end of the month. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I thought that peanut butter on a waffle with peas, carrots, raspberries, almonds, and turkey were a good combination. YUCK! Sure it was fun to make, but eat? No. Thank. You.

(They actually thought it was fabulous, me, not so much.)

I don't want my kids to grow up remembering "when we ran out of food" so sometimes I take the little we have leftover and try to make it into something they will remember for reason's other than what really occurred.

Anyways, I don't know about you guys, but my house is freezing when we wake up. Groggy kids, cold wood floors, 29 feet of snow outside; yuck. Mornings are crazy in our home. With one kid to get to school, one to get to daycare, and myself to get to work, I barely have time to get dressed let alone make breakfast, so just like our other meals, I plan ahead of time.

I'm going to share one of my favorite breakfast recipes below for breakfast pancake muffins. Not only are the ingredients cheap, but they are so easy to make it shouldn't really even be allowed to be called "baking." They take literally 6-7 minutes to make from start to finish, plus bake time. I always make more than one batch at a time and then freeze them. They easily warm in the microwave and are a great way to start out the day, or in my case, shove into your kids hands as you buckle them into their car seats.


Pancake Muffins

(Please note that I did not invent this. I think it may have started with Betty Crocker, I'm not really sure where I first heard about it, please don't sue me.)

What you will need for 12-16 muffins:

(In these pictures I was making several batches, but I will post the recipe directions for a single batch and you can multiply as you need)

2 Cups Dry Pancake Mix (I used gluten free Bisquick this time, but I usually use a high grain gluten free mix)
2 Eggs
2/3 Cup Milk (I used Almond Milk)
1/2 Cup Honey (The original recipe calls for pancake syrup)
Whatever add-in's you desire (sliced banana's, blueberries, chopped nuts, raisins, etc. If you use bacon or sausage I would probably use the recommended pancake syrup instead of the honey)

Step #1. After preheating the oven to 350 degrees, mix pancake mix, eggs, milk, and honey together into a bowl.

Step #2. Pour into a lightly greased muffin tin (I grease with coconut oil)

Step #3. Sprinkle add-ins on top of the muffins and then push in with a knife.

I did one batch with strawberries and one with bananas. On the top of the banana batch I sprinkled nutmeg and cinnamon and then at the last minute I stuck a few raisins into a few.

Step #4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, testing with a tooth pick to see when they are done.

Now when I'm running out the door in the mornings I don't feel bad shoving a muffin into each of their hands because I know they are starting out their day with a grain packed muffin that has the antioxidant and antibacterial power of honey, plus whatever was added in such as protein packed nuts, vitamin filled fruit, or antioxidant cinnamon.



  1. Looks yummy. You are one resourceful mommy!

  2. How much do you currently run short every month?

    1. It fluctuates so much to be honest. Last month for the first time my ex paid his entire child support amount and we were fine! This month he isn't paying again so I'm not sure how we will end up. Because my work and income fluctuate, it's so hard to gauge. :/

  3. I have found batch cooking to be a sanity saver! And I am totally going to try those muffins because they look really good. Thanks for making me hungry after I already ate breakfast!!!! ;)

    1. Exactly! I feel like if I'm going to make a mess and spend the time getting all the ingredients out and what not, I might as well just double or triple it at once and save some time later.

      Make the muffins! You won't regret it :)

  4. A hot breakfast, in any form, is a great way to start the day. Ah, memories...Way to go momma bear!

  5. Awesome, I am totally going to make these.

    1. Let me know how they turn out for you!

    2. I'm baking them now and they smell great. I'm sure dd will love them.

    3. Her review was "yummy!" and she had 2 or 3 for breakfast so I think they are a winner! Thank you!

    4. Haha, nice!! Just out of curiousity did you use pancake syrup or honey? I use honey and don't taste the sweetness, was just wondering if you do with the syrup? The main point of it is to give it some moisture and hold it together but I sometimes wonder if it might taste better if it was sweeter, although I don't want just the added sugar, so... I don't know. Lol

  6. Yummo!! Those look delish. :) Thanks for sharing some of your tips.

  7. the chili and muffins look good! Thank you for the recipe. Are you using the recipe I gave you for the chili?

    1. Oh I forgot about that!! Darn it!!

      This was from the back of the chili seasoning box haha. Then I added in a few things ;)

  8. I just made a big batch of gumbo today. I don't know if there's a gluten-free way to make a roux, though, or I'd post my recipe.

    1. Gumbo! Sounds delish, what time are we eating!? Always feel free to post, someone else might use it too!

    2. I got the idea for an oven-based roux from America's test kitchen, but I don't remember the rest of the recipe, so I substituted parts of it for an average gumbo recipe. I got the idea to cook meat in the roux because I was pressed for time. It doesn't work with frozen meat, because the water will pour off into the roux, diluting it. If you have frozen, put it in during step 4.

      Cajun Gumbo

      3/4 c flour
      1/2 c vegetable oil
      1 onion chopped fine
      1 green bell pepper chopped fine
      1 celery rib chopped fine
      4 garlic cloves, crushed
      1 tsp thyme
      1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
      1 tsp paprika
      1 tsp oregano
      1 (14 oz can) tomatoes, diced
      1 bullion cube
      4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
      4 andouille (or Italian spicy) sausages, sliced thin
      OPTIONAL: substitute 2 chicken thighs for a half pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined. I don't like leftovers with shrimp so I almost never use it, but you can sub some or all of the chicken for seafood for a more authentic feel.
      1 bag frozen sliced okra
      pepper to taste
      instead of salt: soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or fish sauce to taste. I usually use 2 tablespoons of fish sauce for a big pot, which adds to the meatiness without tasting too fishy
      One oven safe pot, 3 qt capacity

      1. Take out the frozen bag of okra, set oven to 350F. Pat moisture from chicken and sausage with a paper towel. I usually use two paper towels, you don't want any water on there.

      2. In an ovenproof pot, whisk flour and oil together. Nestle meat in the pot and bake, stirring every 15 minutes or so until the flour takes on the color of an old penny. This takes about a half hour in my oven and it makes the chicken and sausage really crispy. If you don't like crispy in this recipe, you can add the chicken and sausage later in the recipe and save on paper towels.

      3. Take out the roux and put it med heat on the stovetop. Saute onion, celery, green peppers until soft, about eight minutes. Add in the garlic and saute until it smells like garlic, about a minute more. I add in the spices here.

      4. When the bottom of the pan starts to get sticky, add tomatoes, bullion cube, shrimp, if using, (you can add in the chicken and sausage here if you don't like the crispy texture on meat) and enough water to stir comfortably without overfilling the pan. I think I usually average three cups of water, so start there and add more if needed.

      5. Allow the mixture to simmer for a half hour more. It will thicken considerably from the okra, which is usually the last thing to cook through in my recipe.

      6. Taste and add in salt substitute. Worcestershire and fish sauce are both made with anchovies, but I find Worcestershire is sweeter. Soy sauce is also a good substitute, and you can just use leftover packets from the last time you got takeout. Each packet is roughly 1 tbsp.

      Serve warm over rice or with crusty French bread. Makes 8 cups of gumbo.

    3. Now that is what I call full blown cooking! Looks amazing! I'm going to need to carve out a chunk of time to try this one, thanks so much for sharing!!!

      You rock!!


    4. Thanks that was nice of you to say :)

      Gumbo is one of those things that isn't *difficult* but it is enough effort that I only make it every now and then in a huge batch. I get enough out of it for eight meals for one, so I imagine you could stretch it to ten or twelve meals with young children.

    5. Wow that is a LOT lol! I might need a bigger freezer, or a bigger pot! ;)

  9. How to make a roast chicken last an entire week
    Day 1 roast chicken dinner, made in whatever way you desire with fixings. Save the carcass after
    Day 2 take a thigh and some white meat and stir fry with a whole lot of veggies and rice
    Day 3 make soup with carcass
    Day 4 use whatever chicken is remaining for chicken salad lunch
    Days 5-7 continue eating soup for lunch
    Day 8 Roast chicken dinner. Use leftovers for Chipotle style burrito bowls or tacos

    Mish-Mosh (Fridge Clean Out Pasta)
    1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    1 onion
    2 cloves garlic
    1lb ground meat of choice (I prefer beef or turkey)
    questionable produce or bits and bobs of frozen veg
    spices (I lean Italian on this, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, thyme)
    Half box pasta

    Put up water to boil, make pasta as directed. Dice onion and saute until translucent over high heat then add pressed or minced garlic (or powder, w/e) then add tender vegetables such as zucchini, peppers, or green beans. Steam harder vegetables in the microwave to half done-ness first. Add meat and break up like for meat sauce or chili. Then add in the tomatoes and spices. Don't be shy with the spice. If using frozen veg or greens, add them next and put the lid on it and turn the heat down to medium. It's done when the meat and pasta is done. I mix the pasta in with the sauce on the stove and then serve it mixed up, it makes sure that more of the sauce is eaten.

    My low budget secret weapon of choice is the black bean burrito bowl from simply recipes. I can gussy it up with as many fixings as I like or serve it simply with full fat greek yogurt and hot salsa. It's healthy and my kid thinks it's delicious.

    I also like to make a 3 bean chili using black, pinto, and kidney beans. I can usually get three meals out of 1 pot. Day 1 as chili in a bowl with cheddar cheese and corn bread, day 2 as chili spaghetti with cheese and onions and whatnot, and day three with rice. I pretty much live on pasta, rice, and stew with oatmeal for breakfast.

    1. Very creative with the chicken!!

      I am totally making the burrito bowl like asap :)

      I use beans in my chili but never thought of stretching it further by adding different kinds of beans; genius!

      I love how everyone has their own version of a "clean out the fridge" meal. Yours looks awesome!!!

      Thanks so much for sharing with me and the other readers!! I always appreciate it when you guys get involved in the posts :)

  10. You know you don't need pancake mix, right? Pancakes are basically flour, eggs and water. Much cheaper than anything from a packet.

    1. Yea what is in pancake mix anyways? So since the mix is dry, I'm assuming it doesn't have the eggs and water in it yet, so what would you use, just flour?

    2. Ok, I googled it. It's baking soda, flour, sugar, and salt. So I guess you could make it yourself!

  11. I made these this morning and they are my new favourite, they were so easy! I added a bunch of seeds and fruit to them and my baby loved them :)

    1. I'm glad you liked them!!! I agree, they are so easy!

  12. I made the breakfast cookies and muffins. Do you go straight from freezer to microwave or defrost first? Also love your recipe section. I can 't wait for more.

    1. I'm glad to hear you like the recipe stuff, I am never sure if anyone wants to read about food here!

      For the muffins I go straight from freezer to microwave.

      For the cookies I tend to just put them in a Ziploc bag and the kids eat them within a couple days, so I haven't frozen them yet. I'll have to ask my friends, I know they freeze them. :)