The Make-Ahead Kitchen by Annalise Thomas
Skip the hassle of last-minute meals and leftovers and replace them with simple, healthy, delicious, and easy-to-prepare make-ahead dishes! Your family will love these comfortable meals, new favorites, cozy drinks, and tantalizing desserts—all of them prepared ahead of time so you don’t have to worry! Enjoy simple, soul-filling foods without the chaos of preparing them at the last minute.
I was able to try several of these recipes, and was happy with all of them.
Green smoothies are a staple in my house, since that's the only way I can get most of my kids to ingest anything green. I admit, the recipe for the Not-So-Green Smoothie is very similar to what I usually make, but I was intrigued by the use of cinnamon and salt. End result was 4 out of 4 thumbs up. I really liked the hint of cinnamon in the smoothie, so I plan on using that on a regular basis from now on.
Next, I made the Mediterranean-Style Hummus. I have always wanted to try making my own hummus, but for some reason it has always intimidated me. Now I wonder why, because this recipe was so easy and quick to make, and the end result was delicious. I think I like this better than the store-bought stuff that I usually get. I do wish that I had halved the recipe though, because it makes a whole lot and no one else in my family will eat it.
The next recipe I tried was the Rosemary Chicken Pot Pie. I'm not a huge fan of rosemary, so I considered leaving it out, but I ended up using it. It wasn't an overpowering flavor, so I was happy about that. The pot pie was delicious and almost everyone in the family ate it, which doesn't happen very often (I have a few really picky kids.) My only two complaints about this recipe are: 1) the recipe calls for bacon but never tells you what to do with it. I just ended up adding it at the same time as the chicken, and 2) this recipe takes FOREVER to make. Active prep time was 1 1/2 hours, and then another hour or so to bake it. I am more of a 5 ingredients or less, hurry and get it over with type of cook, so I was not at all happy with how long I ended up being in the kitchen for this meal. I'm very glad that it turned out as delicious as it did, but I don't know if I'd make it again, simply due to the amount of time it takes to make.
Finally, my oldest made the Butterscotch Chocolate Blondies. I really like blondies and my family really likes chocolate...and butterscotch...so we were all looking forward to trying this. It did not disappoint, and was very tasty, although maybe a bit too sweet (I never thought I'd say that.) I do prefer the texture of regular blondies better - this was more cake-like, but it was easy enough for my 10-year-old to make, and he was able to get it mixed up and in the oven in the amount of time it took to let the pot pie sit before eating dinner.
All in all, I'm glad I had the chance to try some of these recipes and look forward to trying some of the other ones in this book - probably not the ones that take several hours though.
I was pretty excited about this recipe book when I first heard about it. I work outside of my home, and many nights when it's almost time to eat I'm trying to figure out what to make. Of course this problem could easily be eliminated if I was a consistent meal planner, but I haven't been able to stay in that habit. Anyway, in my mind The Make Ahead Kitchen was going to help me turn around my last- minute problem.
My bad habit hasn't been turned around quite yet, although I did find the recipes I tried to be fairly easy to put together. So many of the recipes sound delicious-although some of them didn't appeal to me based on the amount of time to put them together. I had in mind that this was a save time book, so the multi-step, many hour recipes didn't call to me.
I made the pumpkin pie slow cooker oatmeal. I actually didn't have this cooking overnight, but made it during the day to have ready for my family to heat up throughout the week. It was fast and easy to throw together, and made my house smell great. My daughter really liked it, and although my son made faces when I made him try it, I think he actually liked it (in the past he has said he doesn't like pumpkin, but that seems to be in his mind-I didn't tell him that's what was in it). If I make it again I will try my steel cut oats (I much prefer their texture over regular rolled oats), and I'll try some maple syrup instead of the brown sugar. It's wasn't overly sweet, but I'd feel better about the health content if it had the natural syrup instead.
Since I had pumpkin puree leftover from the oatmeal, I made the Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread. This was another easy recipe. It didn't take any more or any less time than your standard sweet bread. I liked the consistency and my husband and daughter downed it. We didn't end up freezing any to save for later, so I'm not sure how it is thawed, but I would make this recipe again.
The last recipe I tried was the Slow Cooker Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry. I have a recipe for Coconut Curry Chicken that we love, and I thought it'd be fun to give this new recipe a try. It didn't take too long to get in the crockpot, although I didn't have Sriracha Sauce (and didn't see any in my grocery store). I'm not sure what difference those two teaspoons would have made, but it ended up being a little bland. We couldn't taste the pineapple like I expected, although that makes sense given the strong flavors of curry and garam masala. I went on the low end of the red paper flakes and perhaps I should have added more. Or, the lack of flavor could have been that I didn't thicken the sauce. I'm not sure that I'd try this recipe again. I'll see how the leftovers turn out.
I loved that the recipe book has full color photos of the completed dishes-an absolute must in my recipe book requirements. The desserts look really good. I'm trying to eat healthier, so I avoided those, but I imagine I'll give several of those recipes a try.
About the Author:
Annalise Thomas is a big city girl married to a small town boy. Every day is a joy and a challenge as she learns to live and love this small town life. Annalise is a foodie with a deep passion for everything edible and for sharing what she loves with others. Annalise is a wife and mom, a baker, a cook, and a blogger. She and her family live a very real life and eat as much real food as possible.
Blog Tour Schedule:
June 14: Utah Deal Diva
June 15: What’s Cooking with Kids | That Artsy Reader Girl | Batch of Books
June 16: Shrinking Momster | Saving for My Family
June 17: Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt | Danyelle Ferguson
June 18: Singing Librarian Books | Katie’s Clean Book Collection | Breezy & Co.
June 19: Storeybook Reviews | Reidhead Random-ness
June 20: Pink Cake Plate | For What It’s Worth | My Little Sunshines
June 21: Kindle and Me | Vintage Mixer | Preparedness Mama
Food Above Gold
June 22: The Unlikely Baker | Chocolate with Grace
June 23: Karen’s Kitchen Stories | Jodi Woody
June 24: Cookistry | Every Free Chance
June 25: Eccentric Eclectic Woman | Kaisy Daisy’s Corner
June 26: The Gingered Whisk
June 27: Bab’s Book Bistro | Rockin’ Book Reviews | My Book a Day
June 28: Wishful Endings | Brooklyn Berry | My Blessed Life
Literary Time Out
June 29: Jewhungry | My Life One Story at a Time | Inklings and Notions
The Road Goes Ever On
June 30: Barefeet in the Kitchen | Paranormal & Romantic Suspense Reviews
The Baking ChocolaTess | Cooking with Libby