I LOVE Dinners Ready. If you haven’t heard of them, they’re a franchise store that allows you to come in and assemble meals that you take home and freeze or refrigerate, and then when you’re ready to eat, you cook them! Simple! It was also a fabulous way for me to cook meat for my meat-loving husband that didn’t require me to actually do more than pop it in a freezer bag! This was great for me, a vegetarian! I also liked that I could halve many of the recipes and make one vegetarian and the other with meat during the assembly process.
This prepare/freeze/cook method produces a superior product to the normal bulk cooking method where you cook huge batches of food and then freeze them with for a later reheating. This method may work great for a large family, or a family where the kids are in charge of reheating, but with just the two of us, we wanted something more. Many bulk cooking recipes rely on cans of Campbell’s soup, Stove Top stuffing, or some other processed food as a main ingredient. We definitely want to stay away from that for health reasons.
Since sales are down at our store, we’re looking at ways to economize. No more $200 trips to Dinners Ready – I need to come up with an alternative that is inexpensive but still good. I’ve been scouring the internet for free recipes and will share the links for those below. I’ve also found a few paid sites as well as books – I tried out several and found two worthy of buying – see below.
If you’re still curious about this method, view the video – 5 for the freezer – for a better idea of how it works. The dinners shown are more simplistic than the DinnersReady full meal kits, but I’m going to incorporate what I’ve learned from DinnersReady with the SavingDinner recipes.
Freezer cooking has become a fun thing for my mom and I to do. The recipes with the * are ones we’ve tried and I’ve put notes with them about what we liked/disliked about them and any changes we made.
Freezer Cooking Books We’ve Tried
I checked out all of the books below from my local library. Only two (marked with an asterisk) are worthy of purchasing in my opinion.
- *– companion website and book.
- Fix, Freeze, Feast: More than 125 recipes to prepare in bulk and by the serving – This book also got great reviews on Amazon and has a companion website with several sample recipes which all fit the prepare * freeze * cook method.
- – This appears to be more of a bulk-cooking book, but the reviews on Amazon are great so I’m going to take a look at it and see if the recipes can be easily adapted.
- *– This one has been likened to DreamDinners – another make-ahead franchise. I’m very excited to get this one, but every copy in the library is out and reserved for some time. The bad news is there are no pictures and no nutritional values. I’m still looking forward to seeing the recipes.
I’ll be adding to this list as well as rating the recipes and suggesting changes or alternatives when necessary.