mama jess back to school tips: batch cooking and healthy muffin recipe for school lunches

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in blog, recipes

mama jess is preaching about batch cooking again…


Hello friends –

Our Back to School Tip today is BATCH COOKING. I cannot say enough about batch cooking and how easy it can be and incredibly helpful it truly is to a busy families schedule. Batch cooking is simply taking a recipe (I prefer recipes that can be frozen) and scaling it up by doubling it or tripling it. For my growing boys, I always batch cook at least 40 meatballs a month! It’s a time saver and I hate the kitchen mess, so this way it’s messy once for multiple meals! This also works fabulous for items like:







Quinoa Clusters


Salad Ingredients (grilled veggies, grilled chicken, quinoa, beans, dressings)



Grains (barley, quinoa, brown rice)

Soft Pretzels


Just think – this Sunday morning make homemade, whole-wheat waffles and keep cooking them after everyone is full. Then you can serve these waffles easily every morning the next week for breakfast or school lunch (they can be frozen and thrown in the toaster). If you can commit to batch cooking just once a week only one item, you’ll start to see the benefit.

Some handy tips:

–       Before you freeze anything, make sure it has cooled at least an hour.

–       Make sure you store in saran wrap, foil, Ziplock or freezer safe containers to keep out as much air as possible.

–       Add a piece of a paper towel to the top of the container when freezing muffins/bread type items – this collects any moisture that could lead to freezer burn.

–       When covering lasagna or casserole, cover first with foil (so you can bake just like that), then cover with saran wrap and a tight plastic bag (good place to re-use those shopping bags)

–       Mark and date what you freeze.

–       If you have a kitchen bulletin board or chalkboard, it is very helpful to write down what is available in freezer. That way when you’re in need of a quick meal, snack or lunch item, you know it’s there. I need a visual reminder, so I keep a list on my kitchen whiteboard by date.

Below is a recipe for my favorite Back to School Muffins. The timing is perfect because it’s also zucchini season. I’ve made these with yellow squash as well…just as delicious and moist! The best tip: grate the zucchini really fine (even a puree will work!). Be sure to use organic, medium sized zucchini (usually 3 work in this recipe).

mama's favorite zucchini muffins
Yields 18
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Total Time
55 min
Total Time
55 min
  1. 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  2. 1 cup all purpose flour, unbleached
  3. ½ cup oat bran
  4. 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  5. ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  6. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  8. ½ teaspoon salt
  1. 2 eggs
  2. ¼ cup canola oil (or your choice)
  3. ¾ cup Greek yogurt 0% fat
  4. 1/3 cup buttermilk
  5. 1 cup brown sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  7. 2 ½ cups finely grated zucchini
  8. 4 oz. mini chocolate chips
  1. preheat oven to 350°F. spray a muffin tine or use paper liners.
  2. sift dry ingredients together in large bowl.
  3. in another bowl, beat eggs and rest of wet ingredients, saving zucchini and chocolate for last.
  4. fold dry mixture into wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. spoon batter into muffins tins, filling ¾ full.
  6. bake 35-40 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean). cool muffins for 15 minutes and then enjoy!
  1. these freeze very well – and reheat in microwave for 30 seconds or in a school lunch after a couple hours!
mama jess

eat your veggies,

mama jess (we would love to hear your favorite items to batch cook)