Book Review—Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family








 

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© 2015 Shanna Lea

Introduction 

Kati Neville is co-author of Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family. She created Make and Take LLC in 2002, a meal assembly service located just outside of Portland, Oregon. Following the birth of her first child, Kati realized she needed to make better use of her time in her new, busy lifestyle. She began making meals in bulk and freezing them to save both time and money.

Co-author Lindsay Tkacsik has a similar background. She created and managed a make ahead meals business as well. Tkacsik learned her money-saving, bulk buying, cooking and freezing process as the busy mother of 3 daughters figuring out a way to arrange quick and healthy meals working around various schedules.

Like her co-author Kati Neville, Lindsay Tkacsik has had her recipes shared on Every Day with Rachael Ray. Her recipes can also be found in the CostCo Way cookbook.

The Idea

As successful founders of make and take food services, the authors decided to share their successful money and time-saving cooking strategies. Both authors separately learned how to save time and money in the kitchen, while still delivering delicious, nutritious meals.

Their premise is based on a simple 4 step process:

1 – Buy groceries in bulk to save money, combining this strategy with sales and coupons whenever possible.

2 – Prepare large quantities of healthy, tasty, “family-friendly” entrées, appetizers and other meals.

3 – Package the cooked food in meal-sized freezer bags, as well as in smaller serving sizes.

4 – Remove from the freezer, defrost, heat and serve for a fast time-saving meal with minimal cleanup.

Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family details the exact process these busy moms / authors / entrepreneurs / businesswomen use in their own households. The result is a budget based guide of more than 200 pages and 100 recipes that has earned a high 4.4 / 5.0 customer satisfaction rating on Amazon. Let’s take a closer look at just what you can expect.

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How the Book Is Laid Out

(Available for immediate digital download, and in paperback) Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family begins with the authors revealing the mission statement of the book – to publish practical and useful meal preparation information that encourages money-saving, independence and harmony with the environment.

The book then lists its Table of Contents, which reads as follows:

  • Warehouse Shopping, Family Cooking
  • Becoming a Warehouse Gourmet
  • 1 – Chicken Main Dishes
  • 2 – Beef Main Dishes
  • 3 – Pork Main Dishes
  • 4 – Meatless Mains, Sides and Soups
  • 5 – Sauces, Marinades and Flavored Butters
  • 6 – Breakfast, Snacks and Sweets
  • Branching Out
  • Appendixes
  • Resource List
  • Index

Let’s take a closer look at those sections individually.

Warehouse Shopping, Family Cooking 

This section begins by explaining that even though there is so much smart cooking and nutrition information out there, families still struggle to make healthy, economical meals that taste great and require a minimal time investment. Typical “busy lifestyle” scenarios are covered. You are also introduced to the warehouse club Tray Pack Method of purchasing large quantities of food to lock in a lower cost per serving. You discover that the time and money-saving method these authors have developed is flexible and customizable for any family situation.

Becoming a Warehouse Gourmet

A lifestyle evaluation begins this section. The authors encourage you to figure out exactly how many meals you need every week, and whether you will want to “cook from scratch” from time to time. A couple of basic recipes are suggested if this is your first effort in preparing make ahead meals, such as Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs.

The authors then the list the 7 major benefits of the fix, freeze, feast process:

  • Economy
  • Time management
  • Convenience
  • Adaptability
  • Variety
  • Fun
  • Accomplishment

The 6 step process that gets you planning, shopping, cooking, freezing and eating is then covered in detail. Developing a shopping list is your first step. There are some good points here discussing how you will plan your shopping schedule. The authors then cover exactly which ingredients should be going on your list, according to your family’s specific taste and flavor requirements.

You are then taken on a virtual shopping trip to a warehouse club like Sam’s Club, Costco or BJ’s. This section includes some really smart shopping tips. For instance, carrying an ice-filled cooler to keep meat from spoiling, especially if the weather is hot or you will be shopping for a few hours. The authors also recommend carrying your book along with you so you can refer to recipes and instructions with no guesswork.

The next step is actually getting in the kitchen and cooking. A long kitchen utensils and accessories list prepares you properly for the logistics of large batch cooking. A handy reference is mentioned, which allows you to create food label templates online at the book publisher’s website.

Food safety and proper internal food temperatures are covered, as well as how to tweak the quantities mentioned to fit your particular lifestyle. This section also includes more than a dozen FAQs and answers covering common problems or situations that may arise. Heat and Eat, Thawing and Cooking wraps up the fix, freeze and feast process.

The next 6 sections cover 125 recipes, broken down into food type. Here are just a few of the delicious, nutritious meals you will be preparing.

Chicken Main Dishes – Cherry Skillet Chicken, Chicken Broccoli Bake, Chicken Cordon Bleu

Beef Main Dishes – Beef And Bean Burritos, Classic Lasagna, Habanero and Chili Hamburgers

Pork Main Dishes – Pepper Jelly Pork Chops, Cam’s Ribs, Firehouse Pork Skewers

Meatless Mains, Sides and Soups – Asian Market Marinade for Portobello Mushrooms, Fresh Vegetable Stir-fry, Asparagus and Potato Frittata

Sauces, Marinades and Flavored Butters – Chipotle Roasted Tomato Sauce, Brown Sugar and Bourbon Marinade for Salmon, Gorgonzola Pecan Butter

Breakfast, Snacks and Sweets – Breakfast Burritos, Cheese Bites, Pumpkin Muffins

Branching Out is a short section which discusses customization and personalization. Suggestions like joining a local food club for recipe ideas and team shopping are discussed. Appendixes include sample shopping lists, a list of standard warehouse club tray packs, and a freezer inventory chart. A recommended resource list is followed by author acknowledgments, and a handy Index which allows you to quickly locate a specific term or food item.

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Here is a customer review of Fix, Freeze, Feast—

I just got this book a few weeks ago, and I LOVE it! I live in a household of two, and am not a Costco-type shopper when it comes to meats, so everything I have made from this book, I have just halved the recipes to fit my smaller-packages-of-meat shopping patterns. No biggie. I still have three plus meals out of each type of meat I buy for the two of us.

My husband absolutely raved about the Sticky Ribs recipe…and being a die-hard foodie, he is VERY difficult to impress. He has insisted I make them again for a potluck this weekend. I won’t give the recipe away, but trust me, for just four ingredients, this one can’t be beat. It was worth the price of the book for this one recipe alone.

Overall, this book was a great intro for me on the pleasures of make-ahead cooking. I think I am addicted now! And the fact the recipes in this book do not contain any horrible ingredients like Velveeta cheese, canned “cream of” soups, or refrigerated biscuit dough is great, too! You can feed your family easily, healthfully, and with fewer preservatives and if you purchase this book and make some of the recipes as they are written. I highly recommend it!

(You can read more customer reviews here)

Who Benefits from Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family?

If the title to this simple to follow shopping and cooking guidebook attracted your attention, you can probably benefit from the information inside. Instead of simply telling you to shop at your local bulk quantity food store, and then prepare and freeze meals for later use, the authors go into great detail. You are shown exactly how to approach each step of the process.

The information comes from 2 busy moms who have years of experience running make and take food organizations. They learned their skills in their home kitchens, successfully saving time and money while juggling multiple meal schedules. If saving money and freeing up valuable time while still serving your family on-demand meals that are nutritious and delicious is something that interests you, then Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family is definitely a book you will want to check out.

 



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