Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What to do when cook is away - Make-Ahead Meals

The dilemma that I face every time Cook takes off on one of her little getaways is somewhat overwhelming for me. Frankly, I never expected to have to know the difference between a sauté pan, an omelet pan and a griddle. Just give me a delicious, well prepared (and because I'm attempting to lose a few pounds), healthy meal and DON'T expect me to cook or clean up.

When I met Mr. S, some 30 years ago - he owned a couple of successful restaurants in Providence and Newport. There was never a need to cook. Either food was brought home, we ate dinner out or Mr. S took control of the kitchen.

In all seriousness, I DO cook dinner most nights, but I find myself simply rotating meals from the dozen or so that I've been making over and over again for YEARS.

When Jane Doiron asked me to review her cookbook Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms I figured that I'd give it a shot. I needed to expand my repertoire (as long as the recipes were easy and I wouldn't have to slave at the stove EVERY night.

I have to say, that I was PLEASANTLY surprised when the book arrived a few weeks ago. I decided to give it a real workout and PRETEND that I'm a real domestic goddess.

One thing that was left out of the title of this cookbook was EASY. It's probably because Jane is a mom herself and understands HOW CRAZY dinnertime can be for a mom who has so little time. This was a collection of recipes that is SO EASY even I - queen of the spa can actually make dinner. The beauty of it all is that the recipes are perfect for freezing, so that you can just pop them in the oven and reheat for a FABULOUS dinner ANY TIME.

In this cookbook I found recipes that the entire family will enjoy (even the pickiest of eaters). The directions are very clear and include Make Ahead instructions if you're planning on cooking in advance. Frankly, this would be a GREAT cookbook to allow for once a week (or even once a month) cooking.

Since Mr. S was in the mood for Italian, I made the Lasagna. Using Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms I was able to actually use the meatballs left from the Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs and Sausage from dinner that I had prepared the week before (which dramatically cut down on the time factor). The best part is that I was able to make and freeze enough for 2 more meals, so I have dinner all set for a busy night next week and then for when I go away in a few weeks. Tonight we're having a REAL TREAT and I'm making the mouth watering Stuffed Beef Tenderloin (stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, Swiss, and more).

At this rate, cook can just stay on her little island (although she is with the gardener and there's NO WAY that I'm trimming bushes).

If you'd like a sneak peek at some of the recipes. Jane has put 4 of the recipes from this cookbook up on her blog. You'll also be able to access the table of contents and see JUST how family friendly her recipes really are.

Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms can be purchased at, Barnes & Noble, or downloaded instantly from the blog.

Thanks to Jane Doiron for providing a cookbook that will be a staple in my kitchen for many years (oh and for this review). The Review Broads will be giving away a copy of this fabulous book, I'll let you know when it goes LIVE.


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