I was given a wonderful opportunity to read and review Jane Doiron's new cookbook, Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms. I have only reviewed one other cookbook and have found these so much fun to review! I try out a recipe or two and salivate over the rest! haha! I definitely have a ton of recipes out of this cookbook to try but for now, I made two main dishes today that one I froze all but one serving and the other, my daughter and I ate and froze the rest!
From Jane's Website Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms (Psst, be sure to sign up for her newsletter, once a month she gives away a Reynolds Handivac Sealer and bags and I won one this month! I have had so much fun using it. What a great idea to have with the concept of her cookbook!) Also, if you click the adorable little button above you can also visit her blog!
Your busy mom lifestyle dictates quick get-on-the table meals, but how do you prepare and cook a delicious meal at the end of your busy day when you are simply out of time and energy?
It’s simple! Here's how: Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms Cookbook. This is Jane Doiron’s cookbook of savory, family-favorite recipes that were individually home-tested and selected. Make Ahead Meals are:
• Simple to prepare.
• Simple to assemble ahead of schedule.
• Simple to freeze ahead.
• Simple for the whole family to enjoy.
Jane Doiron helps you, a very busy mom like herself, to put a fabulous dinner on the table every night for friends, or just for the family, with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of flavor.
Jane's goal was to seek out main dish, family-favorite recipes that could be make ahead meals without sacrificing the food’s taste and texture by freezing. After years of home-testing recipes, Jane has compiled this must-have cookbook with specific make-ahead directions. In addition, Jane includes her best recipes for clever side dishes, flavorful appetizers and luscious desserts. Imagine opening your freezer to pick out a family-favorite appetizer, main dish, or dessert, and all you have to do is thaw and heat it!
Make-ahead meals are a healthy and economical alternative to take-out and preservative filled, pre-packaged foods. With make ahead meal planning, you are making fewer trips to the grocery store, and saving money otherwise spent on unhealthy, take-out and fast foods. It’s simple. Give yourself a break during the hectic weeknights with Jane’s make-ahead meal recipes. Spend the time that you save outside of the kitchen doing something that you enjoy.
First off, one thing I appreciate in a good cookbook is the font. The font size is excellent! Not too small and not too big either. Her introduction and helpful tips section were excellent. She gives many fantastic tips, such as purchasing powdered buttermilk instead of liquid. Maybe I am behind on things, lol, but I had no clue there was powdered buttermilk! I never make recipes that call for buttermilk because #1., I don't want to buy one container just for one recipe and #2., I have tried all the substitution tricks (adding lemon or vinegar to milk) and they never work for me and just doesn't taste the same!
The recipes are listed as: Appetizers, Breakfast and Brunch, Desserts, Main Dishes, Side Dishes and Soup. Following Soups, there is a section for measurement equivalents, and then the index. The total pages are 211 but it doesn't feel nor look like it. The recipes are written simply enough and makes them easy to follow. She gives step by step instructions on what to prepare ahead of time (maybe a day) and what to prepare on the day of making the dish. She also let's the reader know if freezing is a good option for the recipe and if so, what the steps are to insure optimal results.
I prepared her recipe for BBQ Country Ribs/Pulled Pork. This is an easy 7 ingredient crockpot recipe and it came out fabulous! My daughter and I each ate two pulled pork sandwiches (Emma is ridiculously picky and pigged out!) and we just had fresh fruit for the side dish. I portioned the remaining into Reynold's Handivac freezer bags, vacuum sealed them (cooled down first, of course!), and now have two meals awaiting for us in the freezer to thaw and reheat. Her recipes include how long you should thaw the meal before finishing the cooking process.
The other meal we prepared was Chicken Cannelloni. This definitely looks daunting due to the ingredients list, but it was so simple to make! I have never made any kind of stuffed manicotti and was a little worried I would destroy all the shells (hint, buy good quality manicotti shells, not the generics. I bought the Kroger store brand shells and they just tore! Then I had to go back and buy more and purchased Barilla's brand and they came out much better. They aren't the best quality of pasta but the Italian market was already closed or I would have gone to them for advice! haha). At Jane's note about freezing, the cream sauce will seperate when frozen so what I decided to do was hold off on making the sauce until I defrosted and baked the cannelloni. I wrapped them in saran wrap and then in freezer bags. Also, what I loved, Jane Doiron also notes that this will freeze well for 2 months! That helps me since I am so weird about food safety (I had food poisoning once that I nearly ended up being hospitalized so... yeah, little paranoid! haha)
As many of you know, I am a single mom, I go to school full time, and with Emma's disabilities and multiple doctor's appointments, therapies and such, I am busy. I know many of you are too! Regardless of whether you have families or not, making meals ahead of time in our busy lives makes things so simplified. Maybe spend one weekend a month just making these meals and you are set! Instead of ordering take out, just defrost and go!
If you would love the opportunity to make some of these meals, guess what? Jane sent me an extra copy just for one of you lucky readers!
Here's the deal to enter:
Very simple. Just answer this question in a comment:
What do you do to simplify your life, whether it be cooking, cleaning, laundry, studying, whatever!
Please note, this is for ONE copy.
I do not require you to follow my blog, however, I will NOT contact the winner. Winner will be notified right here on my blog and it will be up to the winner to contact ME within 48 hours of my posting the winner. This contest ends on October 15th. Winner will be chosen randomly by Random.org.
With that said, good luck!