Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book reviews for OAMC

Since purchasing several books for my OAMC endeavor I will give you the highlights for the books in case you are interested in purchasing them for yourself.

1) Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer (by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell and Bonnie Garcia) This book really is nothing more than a book of recipes that freeze well. It doesn't really give you a "plan" or a "menu" to work from. It does give you an original recipe and then a x3, x6 and x9 version of the ingredient list so that helps if you make it, love it and want to duplicate it for your cooking session.

However, in doing a glance through of many of the recipes, they seem rather labor intensive which really isn't what I want when doing this for round one so the recipes in this book -- although I have sticky notes out of the top for about 45 of them I want to try, I think will be better suited for round 2 of my cooking session. I may change my mind, we'll have to see.

2) Once A Month Cooking (by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg) This book has several 2-week menus and two 1-month menus. In a nutshell, they show you a two-week calendar and each date box is filled in with an entree. Next, you find a shopping list for everything needed to make the entrees for those two weeks. Thereafter, each entree has its own page following the shopping list with the recipe.

The only thing I see as being a potential problem is if your family doesn't like a portion of what is on that particular menu. If you still want to create SOME of the items on that menu plan, but not all of them, the shopping list is pretty much worthless. So, if that's the case (which it will be for me for every one of their menu plans), I'll be creating my own shopping list for the recipes that I want to utilize from this book.

I do like, however that it has the grocery list and the amount and type of FREEZER containers you'll need. It also gives you a break down of what to do the day before your cooking day, a break down of what you should do before assembling the dishes, and then the order in which you should assemble the dishes for the greatest time efficiency. I think that could prove to be a HUUUUUGE help even IF you don't make everything on the list.

3) Frozen Assets - Cook for a Day Eat for a Month (by Deborah Taylor-Hough) One thing that I didn't like right off the bat from this book is that it really wants you to completely COOK everything and then thaw and reheat to serve it. Simply stated, I don't want to do that. I don't MIND having something that needs to be cook, it's the PREP time that I'm trying to save myself of.

Also, the author typically will take a handful of meals and double and triple up cooking them which means that you're eating the same thing in a specified time-frame. And, like I've said before, I like a LOT of variety in my meals and prefer to not have the same thing over a 20-30 day period. Call me finicky -- it's just how I am. Unfortunately for some future wife, it's also how I'm raising my boys. I can actually feel good about the variety in their diet and I never hear them whine when they say, "We're having _____ AGAIN??" That phrase is never muttered in this house because I not only enjoy cooking, but I also want to be able to give them the variety in their diet that they desire and that I crave.

This book does give a lot of good information, however with planning, tips and advice.

However, apart from my not wanting to eat the same MEAL, it does give you the option to make components of that meal that can be utilized in SEVERAL meals. For instance, it may be quite nice to make ONE huge pot of spaghetti sauce that will work for pasta, lasagnas, baked ziti AND meatball sandwiches. I can totally see how making things like that WOULD be a blessing and she easily shows you how.

Along the same lines, the author also provides mixtures, such as her ground beef mixture that she uses for meatballs, salisbury steak, sweet-sour meatballs, and meatball sandwiches. You just have to find what all you want to use it on.

However, for someone like me, it may prove just as effective to purchase a few jars of Prego Fresh Mushroom (my favorite) and use that whenever you need spaghetti sauce and then there is NO prep time for the sauce at all. It's all about what you're willing to pay for and ultimately, what your time is worth. Personally, my time is WORTH more than making spaghetti sauce from scratch. So, if we're having spaghetti, the prep time (for me) will be saved in browning the meat and having that ready to put in a pan WITH a jar of my favorite sauce and a can or two of mushrooms. BUT, I'm not going to totally knock this until I try it because -- frankly -- her bulk spaghetti sauce does sound good and I'm game for anything once. As such, I may make a pan or two of her Baked Ziti and Lazy Lasagna. Just to see how it all turns out. I know my lasagna takes about 4 hours to make from scratch and it's a WHIPPING that I only do for special occasions. I'll try anything that is a "regular" on our menu another way, at least once!

ALSO, another aspect of this book that I have discovered that I really don't like is that they have the SAME recipes repeated all over in the book multiple times. I GET IT, you make Bulk Spaghetti Sauce -- WHO CARES. Why not add something else in and just refer back to a particular page number? I don't understand this logic. Her editor must have been a man.



Alexis AKA MOM said...

Wow my dear, I'm loving all these books! I so want to read and try them!

chksngr said...

Please take pictures of this endeavor...I want to see just what 44 cooked meals looks like getting prepped and packaged and then in the freezer...oh...and do a before and after shot of you too...we haven't seen a preggers picture anyway...might as well get it over with! :-)