It’s been almost a year since I reviewed Michael Smith’s cookbook, Family Meals and I can honestly say that I refer to that cookbook regularly. I can also say that I was very excited to hear Michael Smith was publishing another cookbook, this time called Make Ahead Meals: Over 100 Easy Time-Saving Recipes.
This cookbook has exactly that – plenty of nutritious and delicious meals that you can make ahead of time, freeze and prepare easily. And as we fall back into our busy school and work routines, September is the perfect time to start planning meals ahead of time so that you can still eat healthily despite time constraints.
We all know it can be a challenge to prepare a healthy home cooked meal every day of the week, but with some tips and advice from Michael Smith it’s not as hard as you might think.
I decided to see just how easy making a good meal ahead of time can be by making the El Paso Shepherd’s Pie recipe. My family loves Shepherd’s Pie and Michael Smith’s variation on the traditional recipe makes it healthier and (I think) tastier.
The recipe was a huge success – and I don’t just mean in flavour. With an hour preparation time, the recipe made two 2L pans of Shepherd’s Pie (good for 4-6 servings each) – one that can stay in the refrigerator up to a week and one that I immediately put in the freezer where it can stay for up to a month. Two meals in the time it took to make one AND the portions are so hearty that we had leftovers from one of the pies for another meal!
As you may know I am a big fan of Michael Smith’s recipes and cooking. His meals are always simple to make and made with local ingredients that you can pretty much find at any grocery store. Make Ahead Meals has over 100 recipes including soups, stews, slow cooker favourites, casseroles and even some delicious baked goods including a moist, delicious take on a Canadian favourite – carrot cake.
And if you’re like me and don’t always know how long something can sit safely in the fridge, every recipe features ideas and tips on how to cook ahead (i.e. what you can do the day before and what’s left to do the day of) to save time as well as specific storage instructions for both the refrigerator and freezer.
The front section of the book even shares tips on how to get yourself, your pantry and your kitchen organized so that you can make planning your meals ahead a time an effortless and systematized regular activity. The idea behind this cookbook is to help families stay away from nutritionally empty processed foods and make home cooking easy, fun and delicious – this includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert!
With fall in mind I thought I would share one of the recipes from Make Ahead Meals that I think sums up the recipes in this cookbook well – traditional, but more nutritious. I can smell the rich ingredients in Michael Smith’s Beef Barley Kale Stew just by reading the ingredients and can hardly wait to try it along with the Bacon Chipotle Chili and Louisiana Chicken Stew…. Yum…
I would love to see and hear your thoughts on Michael Smith’s new cookbook Make Ahead Meals. Share your thoughts in the comments below or on social media using hashtag #MakeAheadMeals. Bon Appetit!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Michael Smith’s Make Ahead Meals from Penguin Canada to review, but the opinions stated in this post are all my own.