Something to clarify right off the bat – this is a cookbook of meal prep ideas for people who want to spend an hour or two prepping food beforehand so they can spend less time assembling ingredients and hands-on cooking during the week. While some of the recipes are freezer-friendly (and that is noted), this isn’t specifically about freezer cooking.
Bottom line: If you like spending a Sunday afternoon chopping vegetables and prepping rice for the week – but don’t mind doing some hands-on cooking each night -this will fit your lifestyle well.
If you’re tired of marathon prep sessions, you might want to look at a FreezerFit membership instead. It offers all the same ingredient-saving planning features, only you can actually customize them for the specific recipes you want to cook, not be set to pre-determined weekly meal plans.
Who Is This Freezer Meal Cookbook For?
A lot of skilled cooks enjoy spending an hour cooking a special meal on a day off, but just don’t have time to pull it off on a busy weekday. This book has lots of meal prep ideas that still feel upscale, but involve strategic planning so a lot of the work is front-loaded onto a weekend (or whenever your day off/useful chunk of time happens to be). This is nice for people who don’t like “boring” food but are crunched for time.
This book is full of meal prep ideas if you’re starting to get tired of the standard enchiladas and pork chops. There’s a fair amount of variety in the recipes, including mixing some pricer ingredients (like scallops) with lower-cost grains and produce to stretch the grocery bill a little bit further.
As one reviewer noted:
“If you’re into the meal subscription boxes- this style of cooking might be great for you.
If you like filling up the little black meal prep containers- that is NOT what this book is.”
In other words, there’s a lot of chopping and big-batch cooking once a week, but there is still some hands-on cooking time to put each individual meal together. It shaves off a lot of time on weeknight dinners but still introduces some creative meals for those who like to try new things.
Who Is This Cookbook NOT For?
We wouldn’t exactly call these recipes “kid-friendly,” – but that depends on your kids! Most 8-year-olds we know aren’t going to go crazy for spinach-stuffed portobello caps, however. This isn’t your standard chicken-legs-and-lasagna freezer meal prep book.
This also isn’t exactly big batch cooking or freezer meal prep. It uses some of those techniques, but it’s more of a weekly shopping list and meal planning guide with included recipes. If you don’t want to do any hands-on cooking time, and just reheat fully cooked meals in the crockpot, skillet, or instant pot, this probably isn’t the meal prep ideas book for you.
Some of the recipes also tend to run on the pricier side, with ingredients like cod, strip steak, and cremini mushrooms. If you’re only cooking for one or two people, you’ll still probably save money compared to a lifestyle of eating out a lot. If you’re trying to cook for a large family or keep the budget down, this might not be the best fit for you.
The Ultimate Meal-Prep Cookbook in a Nutshell
Do you like the variety, novelty, and pre-chosen ingredients of meal subscription kits but don’t love the price? America’s Test Kitchen brings some upscale recipes to this cookbook along with meal prep tips, instructions on how to stock a pantry, and ideas on how to use fresh ingredients without wasting leftovers.
The Ultimate Meal-Prep Cookbook delivers a very similar experience to using a meal prep kit, with pre-set menus for each week that each involves four different dinners of about four servings each. The shopping list for each week is included and designed so that each ingredient is completely used up with no waste.
This book relies on two “weekend power hours:” one for prepping produce and another for prepping pantry ingredients like grains or broth. The rest of the recipes are cooked more traditionally.
Our Verdict: The Ultimate Meal-Prep Cookbook Review
In our opinion, this cookbook would probably be a lot of fun to cook through once – if you have access to the right ingredients and don’t need to substitute too many of the individual recipes to fit with your dietary needs.
Once you’ve used all the meal plans though, this meal prep cookbook might have outlived its usefulness to you. That’s why we like the flexibility of a FreezerFit membership – you can keep your favorites in the weekly rotation of your customized meal plan and add in some new recipes, too.
Check out our full review of FreezerFit here if you’re interested.