Source: e-arc provided in exchange for an honest review
Review:The Make-Ahead Kitchen: 75 Slow-Cooker, Freezer, and Prepared Meals for the Busy Lifestyle grabbed my attention because, even though it’s just my husband and I, because of work schedules, we often eat our meals separately, so making something ahead works best for us.
The cookbook is divided in sections; breakfasts, soups & salads, appetizers, snacks & sides, main dishes, cookies & bars, desserts, drinks. There are quite a few gluten-free recipes – even though this is not a gluten-free cookbook. Those recipes are marked with a “GF or GFA” (gluten-free alternative) symbol.
There are a few tips and ideas to try such as adding your Parmesan cheese rind and lemon to her Easy Lemony Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup recipe. I’ve been doing this for years and the rind adds SO much flavor and the squeeze of lemon a nice clean brightness.
Thomas explains how to make homemade condensed soup. I was oddly excited about this. I guess it doesn't take much. lol I have an aversion to canned soups and sauces – high in sodium and additives - but it never occurred to me that I could do it myself.
The Slow Cooker Calico Beans (a cross between chili, baked beans & sloppy joe filling) was easy peasy and great as is or on a Hawaii roll with it's tangy barbecue sauce.
I also tested the Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff (using that homemade condensed soup) and it was delicious! This is not a dish I usually like – I made it for Kevin to test – but it was full of flavor and the meat was incredibly tender.
A few more I still would like to try:
Roasted Veggie & Ham Overnight Egg Bake (loaded with veggies instead of carbs like potatoes & bread)
Freezer Friendly Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole (I love my quinoa!)
Roasted Cauliflower & Curry Pasta Bake (seems like another good one for Kevin and I to reheat and a bit different from the typical versions I’ve found)
There are quite a few roll recipes. Like pizza rolls, cinnamon rolls. They make huge batches ( 3 9x13 pans for the cinnamon rolls) so that’s definitely a make-ahead meal but way too labor intensive for this lazy girl!
The layout is simple with easy to understand instructions. As for the photographs (which are very important to me in a cookbook) – I had an advanced electronic copy so it’s hard to tell for sure what the final version will look like but there appear to be photographs for each recipe.
I don’t know that I would recommend this cookbook so much for the make-ahead aspect, although most of the recipes can be, but for the family friendly, large portions, entertaining crowds home cook.
This isn’t quite the way I personally eat since I tend to wing it with fresher finds from the farmer’s market but I can see parents going to this book over and over again on busy work nights. So many recipes have that creamy comfort food feel while still sneaking in a few new, fresher, healthier ingredients.