A couple of weeks ago, Jane Doiron sent me a copy of her new cookbook to review and give away. The fresh-off-the-presses cookbook is called Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, and I absolutely love it.
In the introduction, Jane explains that, like the rest of us, she has a busy life! Time is precious. So, she’s transformed some really tasty recipes into meals that can be made ahead of time and frozen until you’re ready to eat them.
To review the cookbook, I decided to test 2 dinners, 1 appetizer, and 1 dessert. This was enough food for my husband and I to eat for the whole week! And best of all, I was able to prepare everything in one afternoon. In a matter of hours, I had enough dinners for the entire week ready to go. Amazing!
The recipes I tested were delicious! And what I love even more about this book is that with a little practice, I can hope to apply some of the same “prep & freeze” techniques to my own family favorites.
The first recipe I tested was Mini Bacon Quiches. Honestly, I tested this recipe to see if it pleased my hubby’s super-critical palette. He loves bacon, but he is a very picky eater! If he likes the Mini Bacon Quiches, the recipe is a keeper for sure!
Mini Bacon Quiches
1 package (15 oz.) refrigerated pie pastry
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon black ground pepper
2 tablespoons flour
A Day Ahead:
Remove the pie pastry from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Cook the bacon and drain on paper towels.
Oh yea, now we’re talking…smell that bacon cooking!
Here’s the cooked bacon…ignore the burned parts. I’ll be honest, I’m not the best cook. Baking is definitely my forte. And I happen to know that Rachel Ray is the exact opposite! She can cook just about anything, but ask her to make cookies or a cake and she’s lost.
In a medium bowl, mix the bacon, ricotta, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, egg, garlic, and pepper.
Sprinkle the counter with flour. Unfold one pie crust and lay flat on flour dusted counter. Use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut out 12 circles of dough. Repeat the same procedure with the second pie pastry.
Press each piece of dough into the bottom and sides of a mini muffin cup.
Fill each cup evenly with the cheese mixture.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Remove the muffin trays from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Remove the plastic wrap and bake at 400 degrees F for about 17 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Serve hot. Makes 2 dozen.
Ok, I cheated a little here. I actually stuck the whole tray in the freezer for about an hour, until the quiches were frozen solid. Then, I threw them in a zip-top bag and put them back in the freezer. I pull a few out & bake them on a cookie sheet for an appetizer before dinner or for a small breakfast on the weekends. They’re so yummy, and YES, Adam loves them!
If you liked that recipe, you’ll love Jane’s cookbook! You can purchase it on Amazon.com and enter to win one here. The book is packed full of recipes that are simultaneously family friendly and taste bud pleasing. It is organized in a logical manner with sections for appetizers, breakfast & brunch, dessert, main dishes, side dishes, and soup. And, BONUS, there is a table in the back with unit conversions and an index of recipes so you can find what you need quick!
To enter to win a copy just by leaving a comment on this post telling me your favorite time-saving tip (and it doesn’t have to be for in the kitchen). I can’t wait to read them!
The giveaway will end Saturday, January 23, 2010 at midnight EST. Good luck!
20 thoughts on “Cookbook Review & Giveaway!”
When preparing a meal using grated cheese, chopped onions, etc., prepare more than the recipe calls for and refrigerate the rest for another meal
My time saving tip is to buy in bulk, such as, tomoto sauce, paste and nacho cheese. Freeze single portions in an ice cube tray and then pop them out into a ziplock bag, that way, when a recipe calls for one of these ingredients, you just plop a frozen cube into the pot.
I make a menu for the week. That way there is no questions asked. I can cook extra chicken on Monday for something we want on Thursday and so forth, also, when I make my menu, I make my grocery list and buy only what is on the list, this saves money!
Want handmade hashbrowns in the morning for breakfast? Bake some potatoes in the microwave the night before, place in the fridge over night peeled and ready to go, or cool and cut them up that night. Sprinkle a little salt over them and they won't turn brown.
audreyscountrycrafts at gmail dot com
Cooking in the the crock pot is my fav time saving tip
bargainfun1 at yahoo
My food processor is my time saver. It saves tons of time with chopping and preparing veggies, grating cheese, and lots of other stuff.
When I make my spaghetti sauce, I make a huge pot and then freeze into smaller portions. This gives me 5 easy dinners. Just microwave the sauce and cook some noodles. And the kids love it!!
My best time saving tip I use now is for the morning I get everything ready for the car the night before and stick it on the island ready to go for daddy to put in the car for me! No rush in the mornings for me!
My boyfriend and I are pretty spontaneous when we make meals, so to save time for us, we keep miscellaneous ingredients around the house that don't spoil, like canned goods and soup/gravy/taco mixes. We also have muffin and cookie mixes (even though we prefer to make them from scratch).
Cook twice as much as you need a freeze half – this way you only have to cook 1/2 as many times!
urchiken at gmail dot com
I make a meal plan for nights we both know we will be home so I can know what to add to the grocery list and we get to spend time together.
Using a crockpot is a time-saver for busy people! The last thing I want to do when I get home from a long day at work is prepare and cook a meal. For crockpot meals, I prepare the ingredients over the weekend, such as chopping veggies, pre-cooking pasta, grating cheese, etc. The night before I want to serve the dish, I put the necessary ingredients in the crockpot & refrigerate the overnight. The next morning I simply put the crockpot on the base & let it do its thing all day. The delicious aroma hits me as soon as I walk in the door & dinner is on the table with ease.
I always brown 2 lbs of hamburger even if I need only one. This way I can freeze a pound for another time when I don't have the time!
ebeandebe at gmail dot com
I've started making meal plans the week before and shop specifically for them. It really does work! Nothing's worse than realizing at 4:00 you have no idea what to make for dinner. Also, I hate chopping onions, so I may be guilty of buying frozen chopped onions from time to time.
When making ganache, I heat the heavy cream in a glass measuring cup. Then I add the chopped chocolate to the cup. The narrower opening helps contain the heat so that the chocolate melts faster and the mixture is easier to stir. Then after adding a flavoring, I just pour the ganache over the dessert I am decorating. Clean up is easier because I just used one container.
The crockpot is my weeknight must-have! So easy and quick, and I don't have to think about making supper when I get home from work.
sugarandsnails (at) gmail (dot) com
My favorite time saving tip is to prepare the night before. Whether that be packing the diaper bag, planing breakfast, etc. Just prepare!
I like to make a menu for the week and cook as much as I can on Sundays! This book would be perfect!!
My time saving tip is to buy ready made meals. I know its cheating, but it does save time. So as you can see, my family needs me to have this cookbook!
Hi! I just stumbled across your blog while looking for brownie recipes. I wanted to give you a suggestion for your bacon dilemma. When I try cooking bacon on the stovetop, I always end up with a mess and usually burned bits… which is why I now bake my bacon! It's much easier. If you have a broiler pan, you don't even have to drain it. I don't have a broiler pan, I just lay the bacon on cookie sheets and pop in the oven (350) for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the bacon and how "done" you like it. Sometimes I flip it halfway through, sometimes I don't… Works everytime!
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