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 Post subject: CI's The Make Ahead Cook
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:59 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:53 pm
Posts: 937
I think they've finally become so totally out of touch with real people that they think that we all have time to "prep" the next nights meal while tonight's meal (of Kraft dinner maybe?) is cooking, using a recipe that takes 1-1 1/2 hours(!) prep time that you then stick in the fridge overnight and spend ANOTHER 1- 1 1/2 hours of cook time before you can eat it the next day. WTF??? I don't spend 1- 1 1/2 hours cooking a weekday meal from scratch!!! Because, let's see, I actually work outside of the house for 8-12 hours a day (depending on the day), so want a 'make ahead' meal to be something I can heat and eat in 30 minutes or less. Preferably less.

The whole first half of the book is this. Things that you "prep" with an insane amount of prep time, then cool and stick in the fridge, and then come home to another hour or more of cooking time. There aren't even instructions on how to prep these things on the weekend and freeze them prepped or how to hold them for more than 24 hours. Wouldn't it just be easier to, I don't know, big batch cook that stew or casserole (yes, these are mainly stews and casseroles) and freeze it??? The rest are kebabs/marinated meats. Again, can't they be frozen??? Costco sets they can! It's half their business!

It's only the last couple of chapters (so maybe 20% of the book) that is truly make ahead as I would think of it.

What I don't get are the insane numbers of 5 star reviews on Amazon. Do these people even read the book? Do they make anything from it? (Most seem to be Vine reviewers which must be code for 'give an uncritical 5 star review to every free book sent to you').

So annoyed that I bought this online as my local stores didn't have it. The Best Make Ahead book was infinitely better, but it was more dinner party fare than stuff I'd eat regularly. Since this was marketed as a weeknight cook book, I had higher expectations.

Also, Ina Garten's Make Ahead literally has no make ahead instructions, apart from a side note telling you to stick each recipe in the fridge for a few hours and reheat. So frustrating given that her whole intro was about how this was supposed to help everyone who had ever emailed her to ask if dishes could be made in advance and frozen.

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 Post subject: Re: CI's The Make Ahead Cook
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:51 am
Posts: 659
Location: W. Montana
Carey,

I don't know if your are a fan of Ree Drummond; I am and love her show on the Food Network.
She has a new cookbook out that, even though I have vowed to never put another book on my overloaded shelves, I am mightily tempted to buy.
Her recipes are made for people like you who are busy and have families to cook for (she cooks for six and entertains for tons!)
Anyway, I have loved her easy, quick, yet family pleasing recipes and have really like every one I've ever tried.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062225243?keywords=ree%20drummond&qid=1453125874&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1


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 Post subject: Re: CI's The Make Ahead Cook
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:50 pm
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I loved BMA, but I guess the new one is a dud?

I'd freeze the casseroles anyway. My rule of thumb is -- if CI says I can refrigerate it, that means I can freeze it, too. Just thaw it for a day or two before baking.


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 Post subject: Re: CI's The Make Ahead Cook
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:05 pm
Posts: 1155
Location: Chico, CA
I always cook for extra meals, meaning I freeze half. I've not found anything yet, that if sealed properly, deteriorated with freezing. I freeze all kinds of rice and pasta. I make an 8 qt. DO of spaghetti sauce and freeze most of it. We eat off it for months. I freeze Picadillo, beans, Cuban Pot Roast and Cuban Pork. My mom used to prepare Cuban Sandwiches ready to bake and freeze them.

I make sure the food is sealed well and thaw safely. I then reheat most in microwave (most are covered) or for fried things e.g., filled wontons, homemade chicken nuggets or croquettes, I reheat in our Breville convection toaster oven on the broiler pan with rack. Key is to freeze in serving portions.

I don't think you need a cookbook to make ahead. I used to cook on the weekends and eat during the week when I work 12-14 hour days. Just use your common sense. You can't keep a souffle, but you can keep most other things. Another example, when I was on Atkins, I'd make little hamburgers, Steve would cook them on the grill but not all the way. I'd freeze them and then take them out one each day. I'd put them in the microwave frozen for a couple of minutes. They'd finished cooking and were hot for my breakfast or lunch. I'd also cook a big skillet of scrambled eggs, leaving most a little moister than I like and then reheat one portion each day.

In a way this has help me with sous vide, since you have to allow for the little extra cooking to sear or otherwise finish. Sorry this is so long, but I hope it helps.

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 Post subject: Re: CI's The Make Ahead Cook
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:35 am
Posts: 2170
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
I think we need an updated avatar of that darn cute kid :!: :D
And Grandma ;)


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 Post subject: Re: CI's The Make Ahead Cook
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:54 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:53 pm
Posts: 937
I think I was just hoping to find a bit of variety. I freeze a ton too but it's mostly soups, stews, and roasts/smoked meat. The staple since launching into self employment 8 years ago has been stew (curry/chili/braised dish of some kind) on rice with salad or simple steamed veg on the side, or roast meat with the same type of side. For a while I was doing burger patties, frittatas, and meatloaf too. I'm bored though, so I hoped that Cooks would have some new ideas. I'm also working a lot of weekends so my old way of big batch cooking on the weekends is harder to do. And while DH wants to be helpful, he's really limited to making rice and nuking a saucy item. Anything else becomes a crime against food. Even salad. He's good on the grill, but we're snowed under, and summers are my slower times anyways. I probably just need to work less and have a better balance.

I was just shocked at their conceptualization of make ahead. I can't see anyone seeing that model as practical or helpful. I think I will probably just cook everything through and freeze it that way. I can see doing fresh garnishes to make things tastier, but the rest won't happen here.

I have taken your lead Alina of freezing your black beans. I've also made CC's red beans and rice recipe and bagged it and frozen it too, so I'm excited about having beans easily available (I may even get DH to eat some as they smelled fantastic in the PC). I think a nice veggie curry or Chana masala might be next (or maybe just some plain chickpeas ready for use as I don't love the canned versions). After years of beefy casseroles, my numbers are off, so it's legumes, fish, oatmeal, avocados and MUFA's for me! It's not the worst thing...before I met DH I was semi-vegetarian (mainly because of the poverty of grad school) so now it's an excuse to make him comply.

Linda, I'll check out that book. I like Ree Drummond. I remember reading her blog and the story of Marlboro Man.

Jesbelle, most of my holiday recipes are from BMA. Love that cookbook. Maybe I need to revisit it.

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 Post subject: Re: CI's The Make Ahead Cook
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:50 pm
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I did find the recipe for make-ahead chicken tenders from Make-Ahead Cook online somewhere. I found the technique works really well on Asian dishes that are basically fried meat/sauce/rice type things like General Tso's Chicken. From your description, it sounds like your husband could reheat it with only minimal supervision.


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 Post subject: Re: CI's The Make Ahead Cook
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:24 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:45 pm
Posts: 1531
Location: Ottawa, ON
Take tender, flour, egg, panko, deep fry or shallow pan fry, done. Does chicken tenders have other styles or something? It doesn't seem well suited for make ahead, as it is a very fast recipe


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 Post subject: Re: CI's The Make Ahead Cook
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:29 am 
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Paul Kierstead wrote:
Take tender, flour, egg, panko, deep fry or shallow pan fry, done. Does chicken tenders have other styles or something? It doesn't seem well suited for make ahead, as it is a very fast recipe


Ya got me, dude. Like I said, I use it to make General Tso's Chicken.

That said, I don't like to deep-fry much. I'd rather make a large batch and freeze the rest for later.


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 Post subject: Re: CI's The Make Ahead Cook
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:41 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:45 pm
Posts: 1531
Location: Ottawa, ON
Yeah, we don't deep fry much either. The only way I usually get tenders is when I break down a whole chicken, so only end up with 2 tenders (or 6 if I've been buying chickens at Costco..) so I just shallow pan fry them. Freshly fried tenders are one of those weirdly great things that I think few people have really experienced, having been mostly handed 'fake' tenders. Never even thought to make a big enough batch to freeze! Maybe someday I'll buy 6 chickens for parts and do it...


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