Everyday Easy: Freeze-ahead Meals

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DK Publishing
  1. justpj
    "Frozen Gourmet?"
    Pros - wide variety of recipes
    Cons - some harder to obtain ingredients but not many
    “Honey the boss and the new client are going to be here in about 40 minutes for dinner.  That’s not a problem is it?”    Those words could be grounds for divorce or no problem if you’re properly prepared.  This book Everyday Easy – Freeze Ahead Meals could just save your marriage.

                This review took just a bit longer than most would, only because, to do this book justice, I felt that I needed to make, freeze, and reheat a meal to know if the book was hitting its mark.  I am very pleased to say this book did just that.  The first thing that impressed me was the wonderful photographs for every dish.  I do like to know what a dish I am making is “supposed” to look like.  The book next impressed me with the well thought-out layout and icons located on each recipe.  Those include total prep, and cooking time estimates, a list of equipment needed and an easy to follow step by step instruction list for preparation, cooking, and freezing as well as reheating instructions.    

                Perhaps one of the most surprising things about the book was its non-run-of-the-mill recipes.  Gourmet flair permeated this book. The recipes range from the mundane Shepherd’s Pie to Thai Crab cakes, and Coquilles St. Jacques (an impressive scallop dish that would be great for a dinner party).  This would be a lovely introduction for the everyday meat and potato cooks to the more adventurous side of cooking.  While all the time still keeping that working moms busy lifestyle in mind.  I would think however that this book might also be of use to the small [​IMG]business owner who wants to offer their customers a wider variety of menu choices.

                And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the desserts!  One can find a variety of ice cream recipes such as White Chocolate Chip ice cream, and Zesty Lemon Granita. 

                I highly recommend that anyone contemplating the purchase of this book try the recipe posted at the bottom of this review.  Once you have tried it …you will want to see more.

    Caribbean Stew with Allspice and Ginger


    1-2 Scotch bonnet chiles, seeded

    4 large skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

    2 teaspoons allspice

    1 Tablespoon all purpose flour

    Handful of fresh thyme leaves

    5 cups hot chicken stock

    2 teaspoons tamarind paste

    4 bell peppers (a mix of colors) seeded and coarsely chopped

    2 in (5cm) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

    5 tomatoes, skinned and coarsely chopped

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    3 tablespoons olive oil

    1.  Put the chiles, allspice, thyme, tamarind, ginger, and some salt and pepper into a food processor and pulse, turning the machine on and off, until the ingredients become a paste.  Add a little of the oil and process again.  Pour into a plastic bag, add the chicken, and squish together.  Allow to marinate for 30 minutes (or overnight in the refrigerator).
    2. Heat the remaining oil in a large cast-iron pot, add the chicken and paste, and cook, stirring often, over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the chicken is evenly browned.  Stir in the flour, then add a little of the stock and stir the scrape up any crispy bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Pour in the rest of the stock and keep stirring until the flour has dissolved. 
    3. Stir in the peppers and tomatoes and season well with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until the sauce has begun to thicken slightly.  Taste and season again if needed.
    Freezing Instructions:  Let stand to cool completely, then transfer to a sealable freezer proof container, making sure the chicken is covered by sauce.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  To serve, defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then transfer to a casserole dish, cover and reheat in an oven preheated to 350 F  (180 C) for 30-40 minutes, or until piping hot.  Add a little hot water or hot stock if the stew starts to dry out.

    Good with baked or mashed sweet potatoes.