Are you pretty new to the world of cooking for yourself and wondering if it really needs to be this time-consuming? Are there shortcuts you could be using that still result in a home-cooked meal?
Check out our Ultimate Make-Ahead Cookbook review. This cookbook has 125 freezer meal recipes that claim to shave 1-2 hours off your weekly time spent cooking.
Our opinion? After reviewing, the Ultimate Make-Ahead Cookbook: 125 Delicious, Family-Friendly Freezer Meals to Prep Now and Enjoy Later is a bit of a hodgepodge. There are some solid freezer meal recipes in there that will be familiar to most traditional American cooks who like things pretty simple. A lot of the book is an explanation of kitchen basics that might be elementary for a lot of people.
If you still want a recipe library with solid basics like spaghetti sauce and chicken legs but are looking for a little more variety in your life, then a FreezerFit membership is our recommendation.
It’s great for both beginners and more experienced cooks since all the freezer meal prep and cooking tutorials are included in the lifetime subscription or you can just go straight for the fully customizable catalog of hundreds of freezer meal recipes. That’s a much better value, in our humble opinion.
Who Is This Freezer Meal Cookbook For?
Like the title suggests, this cookbook is created with families in mind, so most of the recipes are scaled for about four people.
These freezer meal ideas are good for people who want to find a way to make familiar “weeknight” recipes freezer-friendly. Each recipe does indicate whether or not it is suitable for a vegetarian, gluten-free, or nut-free diet at the top, though cooks with allergies or other food restrictions will need to make a lot of substitutions to make most of the recipes work for them.
The Ultimate Make Ahead Cookbook could be a good gift for someone who is just learning how to cook. There’s a lot of information on how to substitute food amounts, basic food safety, what kind of freezer prep containers you can use, and even how to defrost your freezer to make room for all the good stuff you’re about to cook!
This is also a good fit for people who are totally new to big-batch cooking or freezer meal prep and want an assortment of basic meals for breakfast, lunch/dinner, and dessert. It’s pretty traditional fare – brownies, egg burritos, bbq chicken, etc.
If you don’t have any dietary preferences to work around and you’re okay with a fairly basic repertoire of food, this may be a good starting place for your freezer meal prep journey.
Who Is This Cookbook NOT For?
A lot of the book is taken up with kitchen basics – food safety information, conversion charts, basics of freezing food, etc. If you are used to cooking, this material might be a lot of wasted pages for you.
While this book has a lot of easy and inexpensive recipes, it’s not really tailored for people who are trying to lose weight or intentionally eating a healthier diet. While cooking at home is obviously healthier than fast food, this isn’t a specifically low-calorie or diet cookbook.
If you really love your slow cooker or Instant Pot, these might not be the freezer meal ideas for you – most of the recipes are for more traditional oven or stovetop cooking. A lot of them require thawing out some pre-cooked ingredients and then cooking others when you’re ready to eat, so we wouldn’t call these “dump dinners,” or no-prep meals.
If you’re looking for something for even more specific diets – like Keto, Whole30, or Paleo – we’d direct you to FreezerFit instead.
The Ultimate Make Ahead Cookbook in a Nutshell
Take your classic cookbook, but make it freezer-friendly. That’s our key takeaway from The Ultimate Make-Ahead Cookbook.
This cookbook isn’t quite a freezer meal prep cookbook – it’s also a beginner’s guide to big-batch cooking, which is more about doubling or tripling a conventional recipe and then freezing your leftovers.
Some of the recipes are for freezer meal prep, where you prep a bunch of ingredients all at once and then freeze them in freezer meal containers for cooking later.
Switching back and forth between the different methods might be confusing if you’re new to both types of cooking. Instructions are provided for both types of cooking, though, so you could just select the recipes that align better with how you like to cook food.
Our Verdict: The Ultimate Make Ahead Cookbook Review
This cookbook has lots of fan-favorite recipes adapted for freezing, especially if you have kids or want to prep for large-group gatherings.
Ultimately, the methods in the Ultimate Make-Ahead Cookbook can get a little confusing. Some of the recipes involve cooking everything and then freezing, some require cooking SOME of the ingredients in big batches and then freezing raw ingredients in separate freezer meal containers to cook later.
At the end of the day, FreezerFit is going to give you a more streamlined approach to freezer meal planning and more customizable freezer meal ideas. Plus, once you’ve mastered the basics of freezer meal prep, you can concentrate just on creating your own meal plans and trying new foods, all without ever paying additional fees. You can read our full review of FreezerFit here.