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Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy: Exceptionally Delicious and Nutritious Freezer-Friendly Recipes You Can Prepare in Advance and Enjoy at a Moment's Notice Paperback – July 1, 2011
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
2 tablespoons (28 ml) olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic
3/4 pound (340 g) extra-lean ground beef
2 tablespoons (12 g) grated lime zest
2 scallions, chopped
1 can (15 ounces, or 425 g) diced tomatoes
1 can (4 ounces, or 115 g) diced green chiles
1 cup (140 g) sliced black olives
3 cups (700 ml) water
1 cup (140 g) coarse cornmeal
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup (154 g) corn kernels
3/4 cup (86 g) shredded Mexican blend cheese
Preheat your oven to 350ºF (180ºC, or gas mark 4). Spray a 11 x 7-inch (28 x 18 cm) baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and a little salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onions are softened. Stir in cumin, coriander, oregano, and garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Add beef and cook, stirring often, until browned. Stir in lime zest and scallions, cooking for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, chiles, and olives, stirring to combine. Cook until heated through. Reduce heat to low.
Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add cornmeal and season with salt and pepper. Whisk continuously until mixture starts to thicken. Add paprika and corn and continue to whisk until cornmeal has a thick oatmeal consistency. Stir in cheese. Remove from heat. Spoon beef mixture into prepared baking dish, spreading evenly. Pour cornmeal mixture over top and spread evenly to cover.
Bake for 30 minutes or until corn bread topping is set. Cool completely on a wire rack.
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Top Customer Reviews
Already it's working great! I've spent the last 2 Sundays shopping and cooking nearly all day. I've cooked 10+ meals from this book so far, though some are still in my freezer waiting to be sampled. It's just my husband and me, but he is pickier when it comes to healthy meals. Basically, if it "tastes" healthy, he avoids it. He's eaten everything so far without complaint.
In addition to healthy eating and convenience, we've noticed another side effect. Though some of the meals require obscure or higher-priced ingredients, freezer cooking has saved us money! I'm not 100% sure how, because I was already planning a week of meals and shopping ahead. (I suspect it's because none of my fresh produce goes to waste when I'm using it in 3 or 4 meals cooking in a single day.)
This book provides instructions for freezing both individual servings (reheat at work) and entire dishes. For us, I like to divide the recipe in half to make a medium-sized meal + one round of leftovers for 2 people. I was worried I may need to buy a lot of Tupperware or other similar products for freezing. Instead, there are clear instructions on freezing with large ziplock bags, casserole dishes, aluminum foil, freezer tape and freezer wrap - all pretty affordable!
So far we both really liked: Chinese Pork with 5-Spice Apples (wow!), Mu Shu Pork, Sloppy Janes, Coconut Chicken Strips, Whole-Grain Pesto Pasta Casserole, Ginger Fried Rice, and Red Lentil Sausage Soup.Read more ›
This cookbook is different with its focus on real, healthier ingredients, all of which can be found at any larger grocery store. The recipes themselves are not complicated so cooks of any level will be able to master them. Included are casseroles, meats, poultry, and seafood; soups, stews, and chilis; side dishes and vegetarian options, breads, rolls, and pizzas; appetizers, breakfast dishes, desserts, and sauces and condiments.
The book starts with helpful tips on freezing and organizing for a cooking session. While one doesn't have to spend an entire day cooking for a month, suggestions are given for making multiple dishes at the same time in order to have several meals ready for the week(s) ahead.
There are several recipes I look forward to trying, including an unusual butternut squash and chard lasgagne, three-bean Italian minestrone soup, turkey sausage and broccoli rabe calzones, low-carb mini quiche, creamy turkey casserole with broccoli and cauliflower, raspberry-lavender crumb cake, and dark chocolate mint cake. I did make a modified version of the All-Occasion Sloppy Janes recipe with good results.
There are many color photographs which always makes a cookbook nicer and although it isn't spiral bound, it does lay open while in use which I also appreciate. This is a cookbook I recommend for those who like to plan ahead and have meals ready in the freezer that are also healthy.
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher but the opinion of it is my own and was not solicited, nor was a positive review required.
For example I now do the following when preparing make-ahead or freezer meals:
Use leaner cuts of meat
Drain off fat
Sneak vegetables in casseroles and sauces
Use low-fat cheese
Use whole grains such as white wheat flour when baking breads
Like I wrote most of this is commonsense and I discovered I really didn't need this cookbook.
For those just starting out on the healthy road to eating, or learning how to prepare make-ahead meals, this book will suit your needs.
Recommend with caveats given.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great information and really good recipes. The only reason I didn't rank it higher is because the recipes are pretty time consuming and for my hectic life I need something more... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Misty Green
The photos are beautiful, the directions are easy to follow, the meals freeze well, and almost all tasted amazing.Published 17 months ago by Peter Huwe
This is a really awesome cookbook. Please please please make the butternut squash lasagna. There's no meat, and you seriously don't miss it. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Jameela