"Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms" review and Giveaway!


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!


  1. To simplify my life, I try to keep up on things like laundry - I do it every day & when I shop, I stockpile on sales. With 5 kids...I have to do this:)

  2. Being a single father, simplifying is easier said then done. One thing I've tried to do is keep to a routing. Certain chores get done on the same day and no matter what i will not put them off to another day.

    This book looks wonderful and I'm always looking for quick meals. Thanks for holding this giveaway.

  3. To simplify my life, I often buy several pounds of hamburger when it is on sale and browning it ahead of time. I then season half with taco type seasonings, the rest with just a little onion/garlic/etc. Then, I freeze! Easy Mexican, Italian and goulash type meals await on our busy nights. Very easy to thaw a mere one pound container or flattened ziploc too! This cookbook looks awesome, thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  4. Thanks so much for this fantastic giveaway. I sooooo want to win this one, because it would be great to be able to make a whole bunch of meals when I Feel Like cooking!

    I simply my life by using the Fly Lady's rotational cleaning plan. Check it out - it's free:-)

    www.flylady.com or www.flylady.net

    I'm a follower!


  5. This books great!

    Things I do to simplify are when cooking I pick up as I go, I also make extra so leftovers can be eaten the next day or 2 if someone doesn't like what I am making (2 boys...enough said on that..LOL)


  6. To simplify my life with four small kids, I do a load or two of laundry every day. It takes forever when it piles up. Also, I try to make double batches when cooking so I can freeze the extra.


  7. Lists! it somehow helps to prioritize and sort out needs to be done now as against needs to be done at sometime!



  8. I would so love this book with 2 little ones.
    What I TRY to do for simplify my cooking is plan what I want to make for dinner the night before. This helps, but sometimes I just can't find the time to.


  9. something that has saved me some time is that when it came time to buy a new washer/dryer, I talked my husband into the front loading kind. I can make one load out of what would have been 2 loads in my old one, and that time saved adds up.

  10. I would love to be entered in your draw. I am a follower of your blog.

  11. my number one tips is to always do a load of laundry a day, at least one so you never fall to fall behind and the crockpot is a save all


  12. My tip is to always clean up after yourself and do dishes while you are cooking so that you wont have so much left when you are done.


  13. I simplify my life by delegating household chores to family members. Even the little ones can be a big help.
    allmycrazycats @ aol.com

  14. Things like soup and chili, I'll fix in large quantities so there is enough for leftovers. Would love to win this. :D


  15. When I was still teaching I would spend a Saturday here and there making multiple meals. One Sat. I would focus on ground beef and another chicken. I would cook double of 2 or 3 casseroles. I only needed one frying pan to brown the burger. Usually I would do a slower cooker meal, too. The meals would go in the freezer, except the one we ate. I loved pulling something out of the freezer, put it in the frig the night before a busy day. It helped if hubby was around to help, but I didn't always rely on him.

    Those pulled-pork sandwiches sound delicious.

    booklogged AT gmail DOT com

  16. To simplify my life, I set my phone to remind me to give my two daughter's their twice a day medications. This is also the reminder to make sure homework is done and clothes are ready for school.

  17. To simplify my life I do a once over every single day with cleaning. It helps keep up on things and it actually takes less time than cleaning the house through once a week. With 4 cats and a working dog, the hair alone would be out of control.

    Another thing to keep things simple. Is putting things back were they belong, instead of waiting until later. Later never comes and things tend to stockpile.

    I guess it just comes down to having a routine. Thanks for the opportunity! Indigo

  18. I don't cook as my DH does all the cooking! I get to clean up after him though! One thing we do to simplify is use Robots to vacuum in between the weekend vacuuming. I tried to use a 3 slot basket to sort laundry but DH doesn't seem to train to that! LOL
    Thanks again for a good giveaway!

  19. We simplify in a lot of ways that not only work for us and our kids but also the environment and our very limited budget:

    1. Get a deep freezer! It's not just for meat. Produce, pies, you name it.
    2. If you can, grow some of your own foods (or at least buy locally as much as possible). Even if it's just herbs, it saves money and time (not having to run to the store for just some basil), and fresh just tastes better.
    3. Scour newspapers, the Internet, etc. for sales.
    4. Make a list before you shop and stick to it. This saves a huge amount of time. Also take an impatient spouse shopping with you. : )
    5. As others have said and this book espouses, make meals ahead. For example, we recently took 2 days and canned 40-plus pounds of apples and will be enjoying cinammon applesauce all winter long.

    Thanks again for the giveaway; would love to read this book!

    Best regards,

  20. To simplify my life I make means in the crock pot a few times a week I can just put them in and forget them while I finish other things around the house

  21. I try to work out big batch cooking (on occasion) so that I can freeze extras for meals=)
    Please enter me in your giveaway & thanks so much!
    Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

  22. I make a to-do list of activities and chores that need to be done for the day/week and try to stick with it!


  23. I try to simplify my life by making kids lunches the night before because mornings are so hectic.

  24. This sounds kind of weird, but I try to color code everything, especially clothes. That way I know what belongs to who! So far it's worked while the kids are very young.
    HobartsMama at AOL.COM

  25. Madwoman-doing-cartwheelsOctober 15, 2009 at 1:06 AM

    I really try to simplify cooking prep by having an assortment of things like veggies, grated cheese already prepared and in the fridge several days ahead of schedule. It seems that the little chores around cooking like cutting, dicing, and grating take up a lot of time.

    rubymoonstone at gmail dot com