Thanks to Jane Doiron and Tracee for the opportunity to review this book!
I love cookbooks! I have quite a collection but there’s always room for one more. So, I was very happy when I was asked to review this book – cookbooks are right up my alley.
Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms is a nice looking book. The cover has a photo of Italian Restaurant Chicken and the back has three more photos of various dishes. The book is organized according to type of food – appetizers, breakfast and brunch, dessert, main dishes, etc. There is an introduction as well as a section called Helpful Hints which are all geared toward saving time. At the end of the book there is a section on Measurement Equivalents and last, the Index of Recipes.
Each recipe has a short comment from the author or a time-saving tip. Also included on each page are freezing directions or suggestions on ‘making ahead’ a portion of the recipe and directions for the remaining part to be prepared at a later time.
Overall I liked the recipes. They’re simple and easy to make and most importantly for me – adaptable. I like a cookbook I can open up and know that I’ll likely have most of the ingredients on hand. And if I don’t, well, I substitute. (I wish I were more organized and plan for what I’ll need during the week but things don’t always work out that way so I customize!)
I made the Cinnamon Bread (page 29) but since my daughter likes to bring muffins to school, I used a muffin pan instead of loaf pans. They turned out to be 12 large and very good muffins and a perfect mid-day snack. Next I made the Penuche Fudge (page 91). I found it a bit sweet so I took a batch to work and conducted a taste test. My co-workers loved it! (Fudge is supposed to be sweet! Duh!)
I next tried the Sloppy Joes recipe (page 154). Here I did some serious ingredient replacing because I did not have the called-for ‘Bull’s-Eye Original Barbecue Sauce’. I used HP sauce instead. I know, I know! But it was the closest substitute I had! Actually, I thought it was pretty good but my daughter wasn’t crazy about it. I think it was too spicy and not tomato-y enough for her. I plan to make it again with the proper ingredients.
Another recipe I tried was the Pumpkin Bread (page 45). It was delicious but I found it more like a cake than a bread. It’s made in a bundt or tube pan. The texture was definitely cake-like, denser than a loaf would be. This might very well have been my fault for not creaming the butter and sugar longer than I did and therefore not beating enough air into the batter. (Ok, I was impatient). Despite that, the Pumpkin Bread was a hit with my family.
Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms lives up to its title. The recipes are fast and most have easy to find ingredients that many people already have in their cupboards. For me, the only thing missing from this cookbook are photos of some of the dishes. I like seeing a picture of the final product. Other than that, though, I have no complaints and I do think this book would make a very nice birthday or holiday gift for a favourite teacher or a friend.
You can visit the author’s website here.