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Aren’t we always looking for ways to simplify life and cut back on weeknight stress? I’m convinced after reading Fix, Freeze, Feast: Stock your Freezer with Ready-to-Cook Meals, 2nd Edition, that bulk cooking and freezing meals is a great way to maximize time and still have nutritious, tasty meals. But bulk cooking is certainly not a new concept, particularly for homesteaders.
You’ve likely seen plenty of cookbooks about bulk cooking but what really stands out about this book is the use of healthy ingredients and the recipes look really delicious! In fact, there are many meatless/plant-based, globally inspired, and gluten free recipes in this book. The authors of the book, Kati Neville and Lindsay Ahrens, formerly owned meal preparation businesses and developed this cookbook by adapting their tried and true, long-tested recipes.
The more than 200 recipes included in this book can be prepared right up until they are ready to be cooked, so that all you need to do is thaw and cook them. Some of the recipes can even go straight from the freezer into the slow cooker, oven, or skillet without needing to be thawed. Here’s a photo (right) showing what’s included with each recipe.
The authors explain how preparing food to be frozen is different than cooking a meal you are going to eat right away. Some ingredients simply don’t taste good or hold up well when frozen so they provide a list of the best and worst foods for freezing. Each recipe also includes its recommended freezing shelf life.
There are also really helpful tips for how to:
- develop a shopping list for bulk cooking,
- prepare your kitchen and ingredients to be most efficient,
- label and store meals in your freezer (including the best containers for freezing),
- avoid food-borne illness and other issues when preparing, freezing, and thawing meals,
- correct cooking mistakes,
- adapt your own recipes once you’ve become experienced cooking with the Fix, Freeze, Feast method,
- form cooking clubs or co-ops to share the costs, time, and fun of bulk cooking, and
- share make-ahead meals with others in your community.
Recipes are divided into the following categories: chicken main dishes; beef main dishes; pork main dishes; veggie and seafood mains, sides, and soups; sauces, marinades, and flavored butters; and breakfast, snacks, and sweets. Some of the recipes I’d like to try first are a beef and bow tie soup, smoked gouda and ham strata, apples and cheddar with pecan crumble (a side dish or a dessert), breakfast burritos, and lemon-lavender butter cookies.
Janie Hynson is a beginning homesteader in North Carolina. She works in public health and sustainable agriculture and is interested in how health can be improved through homesteading.