75 Slow-cooker, Freezer, and Prepared Meals for the Busy Lifestyle
Years ago when my family lived outside of Seattle we belonged to a make ahead meal group. We would plan our menu and the organizers would purchase the ingredients for 2 weeks of meals. We would go to their kitchen and bag it all up in meal portions, which would then go into the freezer at home.
I loved having these already made meals handy for stressful days. All I had to do was pop one in the oven and within an hour, we had a home cooked dinner.
We moved away and I’m sorry to say that I did not continue with the practice of preparing simple meals for the freezer.
It’s a shame really. because this craziness happens to all of us. Life get’s in the way of healthy eating and even the most organized cook has days when things do not come together as planned.
We need less stress and more easy cooking ideas. This is why The Make Ahead Kitchen by Annalise Thomas works so well.
I found this book to be inspiring. It has me thinking about the days when I was better prepared with our meals and offers a way to get back to my ideal. With a bit of planning and freezer space, I can take the stress out of busy days. The book has recipes for breakfast, soup and salad, appetizers, main dishes, cookies, and desserts.
The recipes are easy to follow and offer a wide variety. Some of the things I will soon be trying include:
- Roasted veggie & ham overnight egg bake
- Sour cream pumpkin bread
- Thick & hearty split pea & ham soup
- Mexican chicken corn chowder
- Freezer-friendly chicken broccoli quinoa casserole
- Cashew chicken and brown rice casserole AND
- Slow cooker beef stroganoff
If any of these meals would be at home in your freezer then this book is for you!
This morning as I write this post I’m eating Slow Cooker Pumpkin & Spice Oatmeal. Here’s my twist on Annalise’s recipe using food storage items from my pantry.
This make ahead breakfast smells heavenly and is sure to please pumpkin lovers everywhere.
- 4.5 cups water
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp pumpkin spice
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup powdered milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Place the oats, sugar, spices and powdered milk to a large slow-cookert, stirring to incorporate
- Add the water, pumpkin puree, and molasses, completely coating the oat mixture.
- Cover the pot and set the temperature on low.
- Cook for 8 to 10 hours.
- Stir before serving
- Note: you can substitute 1/2 cup of milk by reducing the water and powdered milk accordingly..
The Make-Ahead Kitchen (Amazon) is full of feel-good recipes, best suited for the fall and winter months. While I found a few make-ahead salad recipes, 90% of the book covers things your family will likely eat on a crisp fall day, not in the heat of the summer. I would have liked to see a few more meals presented and less desserts, but overall there were many recipes that my family will love and it will make a fine addition to my cookbook collection.
About the Author: With 4 kids, a large extended family, and a passion for feeding others, Annalise is no stranger to finding ways to simplify life in the kitchen. There is nothing that makes her happier than hearing from someone who was once intimidated in the kitchen “I made this! It was great, and now I’m feeling more confident in trying more homemade recipes!”
Annalise spends her time in the kitchen and exploring the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington, where she lives, with her family. If you want to find her, look in her kitchen, or at one of the many beautiful beaches nearby watching her children play and combing for beach glass! You can find her at http://sweetannas.com
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own. There are affiliate links in this post. Thanks for supporting PreparednessMama in this way.