Friday, October 2, 2009

Review: Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms by Jane Doiron

Make Ahead meals are not just for Moms who work outside of the home. It's a way of cooking that helps all families, big and small. It all comes down to a little planning. Make a meal or two in advance when you have some extra time. Then you'll be rewarded with quick, delicious home-cooked meals when you really need them!

Received from the author for review.

I tested several recipes from the cookbook so I could get an overall idea of the recipes. I enlisted three family members and friends to taste test for me.

The first test subject was Tuna Noodle Casserole.

The recipe was easy enough to make, although it did require three separate pans (one to cook the noodles, one to cook the sauce, and one to bake it in). I found that lining the baking dish with foil made cleanup infinitely easier.

I fondly referred to this one as "Hot Cat Food Casserole" since it smells distinctly like said name while cooking. Needless to say, I did not personally test this one. That said, my testers loved it! I've already had two of them request that I make it again. The recipe states that it serves six, but I got four healthy sized main dish portions from it, which was perfect.

So, three (of three) thumbs up here.

The second test subject was Banana Bread.

The recipe was easy to follow and fast to assemble. I opted for the four mini loaf option and sent one loaf each off with my taste testers. They all reported back, and I concurred, that the bread had great banana flavor and was very moist.

So, four thumbs up on this one!

Next up were the Mini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Again, the recipe was very easy to follow. I especially enjoyed that it used butter instead of the ever prevalent vegetable oil.

I did have a problem when it came to baking. The recipe states that it makes slightly over 24 mini muffins and that you should fill the muffin cup to "above the rim". This made for an extremely messy post baked muffin situation. The muffin tops had all run together and were stuck together, and were difficult to remove from the pan. Also, this made way more than 24 mini muffins. I ended up with 24 minis (which should probably really been 36 if the cups had been filled halfway as they should have been), as well as 4 large muffins. So, my recommendation is to fill the cups only halfway and be prepared for a second batch going into the oven. The flavor was very good, and there were just enough mini chips to be yummy without being overpowering. One of my testers consumed six of the mini muffins before taking home his share!

So, four thumbs up here, as long as the baking modifications are made.

Last up was Cinnamon Bread.

Again, the recipe was very easy whipped up very quickly.

I made this one in four mini loaf pans and it came out just perfect!

My testers reported that they thought it was very moist, and had good flavor, but that it was a bit on the bland side.

This one got four thumbs up as well.

This one gets four stars. Overall, the recipes were very good. Everyone who tested the ones I tried commented on how moist (breads) and flavorful they were, which is always a good sign. The recipes were written out clearly and used spices and ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, which was extra nice.

★★★★ = Really Liked It


Mary said...

Wow, great review post. You made me want to buy this book!!!

Ryan G said...

I absolutely have to get this book now. I keep reading fantastic reviews of this one.

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