30 Meals in One Day - Dinner is Ready Cookbook Review

Make-ahead Crockpot Beef Stew served over mashed potatoes

I love cooking in bulk.  As a vegetarian it allows me to cook meat for my husband 1-3 days a month and then not have to deal with it again for weeks. I’m always looking for great Freezer Cooking books and I have a few criteria for what makes a OAMC cookbook worth purchasing.

30 Meals in One Day - Swiss Steak Recipe

When I received the Dinner is Ready – 30 Meals in One Day cookbookit instantly failed several of my must-haves – it didn’t have photos of the recipes and it had lots of recipes which use canned soups as a base.  Still, I felt I might be judging it too harshly, so I picked out two recipes to try and both of them were a hit with my husband.  Both were cooked in the crockpot and then reheated on serving day – exactly what my hubby needed.  The first was a crockpot stew – simple to make and absolutely no fuss.  You could easily make this in the morning and server it for dinner the same day.  The other was Swiss Steak which is browned first on the stove and then finished in the crock pots.  I made a few changes to both recipes like adding vegetables and substituting soups when Beefy Mushroom wasn’t available locally (I added beef stock to mushroom soup).

But what sold me on the the Dinner is Ready – 30 Meals in One Day cookbook, and the reason I’m recommending it even with my personal prejudices, is the software that’s included.  By far it makes the cookbook and the recipes worth every penny.

So to step back a bit in case you’ve not heard about bulk cooking before let me tell you a little bit about it.  The more cooks you ask, the more opinions you’ll get on what bulk cooking is, and that’s the beauty of it.  You mold it to fit your family.  While some books set you up to prepare a month’s worth of meals in one day by cooking excessive amounts of just a few recipes, the Dinner is Ready – 30 Meals in One Day cookbook works on variety, instead of bulk, and I love that.  Rather than cook one meal that’s to be eaten 3-5 times in one month, these recipes are set up to be single (or double depending on the size of your family) recipes that can be pared with other recipes with similar ingredients or prep needs to make up to 30 different meals for the month.

Once you prep and freeze, or prep and cook, you’ll have meals that are ready in no time and on busy weeknights it’s priceless!  I separate the meals into individual “TV dinner” -sized meals and the hubby takes them to work for lunch and dinner, but you can store them in the sizes that fit your family.  And you don’t have to buy pans and dishes – you can use plastic storage bags, foil, and existing bakeware.

Are we saving money?  Probably, but for me it’s about nutrition. I’m able to use fresh and often organic ingredients and there are no additives, artificial flavors, or artificial colors – for me that’s priceless.  Plus I can make them to suit my husband’s taste.  I leave out ingredients he doesn’t like and add those he does, so they’re perfect for him every time.

Simple ingredients and prep for fast and tasty make-ahead meals

Simple ingredients and prep for fast and tasty make-ahead meals

Dinner is Ready – 30 Meals in One Day provides assistance in planning the recipe, putting together the shopping list, lining up the utensils and pans you’ll need, prepping and printing cooking labels, and figuring out how to store and freeze your hard work as well as everything else a new bulk cooker will need.   The first few chapters are well written and explain the process very well.  If you’re an experienced OAMC cook then skip the book and purchase the software (available on CD or digital download).  It’s got all the recipes that are in the book plus you can add your own.  You can also scale recipes and put together shopping lists which you can then print out to take to the store with you.  The software is so easy to use and makes light work of putting together and making substitutions in recipes.

So yes, although there are canned soups used and no photographs, it’s still gets a “run out and buy’ recommendation from me.