It usually takes me about a month to get around to making a meal from a new review cookbook – a week while it sits in the envelope waiting for me to have time to open it.
Another week or two sitting on my end table waiting for me to sit down with nothing else to do.
Maybe a few days waiting with some folded corners marking recipes I thought sounded interesting.
Then a new recipe might make its way onto next week’s meal plan, and if all goes well, I actually try it out.
I just received Jessica Fisher’s new Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook last week, and I’ve already made two new recipes from it.
It’s refreshing to hold a book in my hands that is geared toward saving time and cooking quickly AND totally demonizes canned soups and convenience mixes, just like I do!
Jessica won’t put up with canned cream of mushroom soup, and she makes her own spice blends. All the recipes that I’ve read so far (what, you don’t read cookbooks? They’re the best!) need little to no adjustments for total real food bliss.
Monday Dinner: Sloppy Joes and Creamy Cauliflower Soup
“Did you name them yourself, Mom?” my 4-year-old asked about our dinner – apparently she’s a Sloppy Joe rookie!
Maybe we should call them Sloppy John’s…you would have thought that if you had seen our 14mo John after about six helpings and his “I do it myself” eating attitude.
Many of Jessica’s recipes include a little (or a lot of) spice and not so much sweet, which is just how our family likes things, too. I was pretty sure we’d have a winner on our hands when the Sloppy Joe description talked about many recipes being too sweet for people, but not this one.
The Sloppy Joes, served over those gluten-free box mix biscuits that I discovered in my kitchen reorganization, received rave reviews from all five of us.
The recipe was incredibly easy to follow, and the fact that I only had one pound of ground beef when it called for two didn’t seem to matter – I filled in with some cooked lentils I had frozen last time we made tacos and a bit of ground beef heart from the freezer. (The lentils are a great way to accomplish the “spending less” part of “eating well.”) Notice how I relied on my freezer stash to make a meal from a freezer cookbook. Nice touch, don’t you think?
I had to make a spice blend from Jessica’s sister to use in the sloppy Joes, and as I was mixing the basic items, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, paprika, and a few more, I realized I was basically committing to making more recipes from her book so I didn’t waste the rest of the blend. Luckily, the other recipe I chose used the blend as well!
Creamy Cauliflower soup was also a hit and made a nice big pot, which I love. We use it for easy leftovers rather than freezing it, but it’s nice to know when things freeze well. For my own tastes, I thought the celery was a little heavy, but that’s easy to change next time.
I may have made a few changes…ahem. I replaced the 4 cups water with homemade chicken stock, used cheddar instead of cream cheese because it’s what I had, and changed out the flour for arrowroot to keep it gluten free, and in so doing I made a two-pot meal into a one-pot wonder. (The original recipe has veggies cooking along in one pot while you melt butter, add flour, then milk for a cream sauce in another pot, then combine them after blending the veggies.)
I noticed that many of Jessica’s recipe, including this soup, call for dill, yet another reason her family and mine would get along just fine – we love dill.
The recipes in Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook are simple, whole foods cooking, with everything from homestyle all-American fare to spicy Mexican to Indian and more.
The book is peppered with time-saving tips, and of course the whole point of freezer cooking, which Jessica does in small pieces instead of a three-day marathon, is to make life easier and mealtime quicker. This mother of six is a master at it, and I love learning from her.
I’m excited to be able to give one copy to a reader today so you can find some new family favorites, too!
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