So you’ve seen your friends (or maybe just people on Instagram) raving about how they meal-prep for the week, and you’re not quite sure it’s for you. Won’t you just get stuck eating leftovers every night?
Finding a practical, non-boring solution to weekly meal prep is how Cook Once, Eat All Week: 26 Weeks of Gluten-Free, Affordable Meal Prep to Preserve Your Time and Sanity was born.
If you’re short on time, here’s our bottom line: the method is a little tricky to get the hang of, and assumes that you have around two hours each week to devote to prep time. This might work great for some schedules.
If you prefer to prep lots of meals all at once and freeze them for quick cooking when you are ready to eat, you might want to try the freezer cooking method instead. You can learn all about this – and get some tasty, customizable freezer meal ideas in cooking class style at FreezerFit.
Who Is This Freezer Meal Cookbook For?
Like the subtitle says, gluten-free folks were remembered in the creation of this cookbook! There are also adaptations and notations for people following Keto, dairy-free, paleo, low-carb, egg-free, or kid-friendly diets.
This meal prep cookbook is also a good fit for people who want to follow a plan without having to improvise too much. There are 26 full-week meal plans in here, complete with the shopping list and instructions for prep day.
This is also full of meal prep ideas for people who like to plan for a week at a time and don’t mind cooking a partial “meal” during the preparation phase. While there is some hands-on cooking when you are ready to eat each meal, the idea is that everything is about halfway ready to go.
Most of the recipes are fairly simple and require familiar tastes and ingredients, so it’s a good fit for families with kids.
Who Is This Cookbook NOT For?
The Cook Once, Eat All Week cookbook has a very particular approach to meal prep, and it’s different from big batch cooking or freezer meal prep. If you don’t really want to commit to Garcia’s method, then the recipes don’t work quite as well as timesavers, since the whole point is that you prepare the ingredients for multiple meals all at once. So if you already like your meal prep method, this one might not integrate quite so well with it.
Most of the meal prep ideas do feature meat as the hero ingredient. So that’s great if you like beef, pork, bacon or chicken, but not so great if you try to focus more on vegetables and fish as your mains.
Cook Once, Eat all Week in a Nutshell
Food and meal prep recipe blogger Cassy Joy Garcia brings us her take on planning and prepping a week’s worth of meals in Cook Once, Eat All Week: 26 Weeks of Gluten-Free, Affordable Meal Prep to Preserve Your Time and Sanity.
This meal prep cookbook spends a lot of time up-front on the method, meal prep tips, and instructions. You definitely don’t want to skip this section, because Garcia’s approach to meal prep is a little different than other methods you might have tried in the past.
Each week features three main dinner recipes featuring core ingredients that you prep all at once. For example, one week features chicken breast, rice, and broccoli. You cook these all at the beginning of the week, and then combine them into three different dinners with different seasonings and sauces – BBQ Chicken and Rice Casserole one night and Broccoli Fried Rice another time, for example. So while there IS hands-on cooking time for each dinner, a lot of the most time-consuming work is done earlier.
There are also two “Bonus Recipes” included with each week’s meal plan. Note that these meals aren’t with the initial base ingredients for your “Main Three Meals” – these have separate ingredients.
Each recipe also has notes at the end suggesting substitutions for specialty diets, like paleo or Keto. Each week has a nutritional information chart you can use to look up total calories, fat, etc.
Our Verdict: Cook Once, Eat all Week Cookbook Review
The format of this meal prep cookbook is similar to the popular food subscription boxes – it has ingredients and meal prep ideas for three dinners to get you started if you stick to their prewritten meal plan, with some “extras” you can add on if you want more.
If you like a little more control over your weekly meal plan – or don’t want to have chicken every single night in one week – we’d direct you over to FreezerFit.
With just a one-time subscription (no renewal fees!), you get access to literally hundreds of prep-ahead recipes that you can configure in any way you want, and then freeze for up to 3 months. All that’s left to do is thaw and toss in the oven or slow cooker when you want a healthy meal.
Sounds too good to be true? Check out our full review here.