Food, glorious food!

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Food, glorious food!Freezer eCookbook Bundle by Kelly McNelis
Published by New Leaf Wellness Format: EBook
Source: Author
Goodreads
four-half-stars

These eCookbooks are going to change your life.
What’s unique about these freezer recipes is that there’s no cooking required ahead of time – simply combine the meats, vegetables, sauces and spices, and freeze. Since there’s no cooking involved they’re very easy to prep. They also cook for the first time out the freezer and don’t taste like leftovers at all. Yay! After making thousands of freezer meals myself I decided share my family’s favorites in these eCookbooks.

 

 

If you are a regular reader, you know that I work long hours. It is not unusual for me to work from 9 am to 7 or 8 pm. The hubs is fantastic and picks up a lot of the slack but daily meal cooking is not quite his thing. If I left it up to him, the fam would eat takeout at least four times a week. About two years ago I discovered a way of cooking that is easy for the hubs and ensures that the fam gets real meals – freezer cooking. Freezer cooking is basically making a bunch of meals and then sticking them in the freezer to heat up later. It was an okay way of cooking but took a ton of time and the food always tasted overcooked. It wasn’t unusual for me to be cooking in three slow cookers, the stove top, a pressure cooker and in the oven at the same time. It made the kitchen hot and took hours. I was searching for some new recipes last month and I stumbled upon a site that would change the way I freezer cook – New Leaf Wellness.

Kelly is an advocate of not pre-cooking the meals and has the science to back it up – According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, freezing to 0 °F inactivates microbes present in food (like bacteria, yeasts, and molds). The standard freezer setting in the United States is 0 °F. I was intrigued. No more hours of cooking? No more dried out food? A use for the fruit and veggies I get each week? Sign me up.

Now I live about 60 miles from the Mexican border and statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that Mexico by far is the most important supplier of fresh produce to the U.S., accounting for 69% of U.S. fresh vegetable import value and 37% of U.S. fresh fruit import value in 2012. A lot of that produce is discarded because it is simply not “pretty” enough for the grocery stores. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that high cosmetic standards in the retail industry exclude 20 to 40 percent of fresh produce from the market. I am lucky as there is a non-profit locally that salvages the ugly produce and sells it 60 pounds for $10 dollars. Even splitting it with two other families, that a whole bunch of food. As you can see below, we get two to three boxes and two to three bags of produce each week.

 

marketonmovepic

 

Once I received the bundle of cookbooks I started reading through them to see what recipes I wanted to make. I was very happily surprised as there was so much more than just recipes included. There was a ton of advice including what freezes well, food safety and the best products to use. There was a meal planning calendar, an inventory sheet, cute printable labels, grocery lists and each recipe had the complete nutritional information listed. Since I had a three day weekend (4th of July) I planned to make the meals then. I first went through all of the cookbooks – 15-Minute Freezer Recipes eCookbook, CROCK’D Slow Cooker Freezer Meals eCookbook, No-Cook Freezer Meals eCookbook, Crockpot Chicken Freezer Meals eCookbook and Kelly’s Favorite Recipes and wrote down all of the meals I wanted to make. Then I added all of the ingredients to the app the hubs and I use (Out of Milk, it’s great, it shares the list between each of us so we can add things and both can see it.), the hubs went and got our produce and then headed to the grocery. About $160 later, we had everything we needed. Then on the 4th I prepped and made 18 meals for us (enlisting the little one and the hubs’ bestie for help)

 

prepping

 

We spent about two hours making the meals. That was a big change from the usual 5-6 hours it used to take me. It would have gone faster if I had more similar recipes, but I wanted to try a bit of everything and some from each book. One tip I have is to chop the produce first. We chopped about a dozen onions and about a dozen zucchinis and yellow squash so we could just throw them in (you can see them in the bowl on the top right pic) and I also use cheater garlic (the pre-chopped jars from the grocery). Now, as cute as the labels that I could print are, I went with my usual lazy way and just used masking tape. I put the name of the food, the date prepped and if anything needs to be added when cooking. Then I just stacked the food in our small standing freezer and enjoyed my day.

 

frozenfood

 

Since then we have been using the meals and loving them. When I want to make a meal, I grab it out of the freezer, cut the bag open and dump it still frozen in a slow cooker. Then when the fam gets home they have a nice hot meal waiting for them. We have only eaten out twice in almost a month which is a huge change for us. The resounding response has been that the food is fantastic! We only had two recipes that the family did not love and they were both chicken that came out dry. Now that is probably because the hubs bought huge chicken breasts, they were a pound each, so next time we need to get smaller ones. A few meals I did not even get to try as the kids polished them off before I got home, which is a very good sign. The two pork dishes in particular were huge hits.

 

foodcooked
Mediterranean Pork Pockets, Orange Ginger Beef, Orange Chicken, Chicken Chili, Meatball Vegetable Soup, Shredded Pork Tacos

 

Seriously, if you want to save some time, lower your food costs (each meal cost between $9 and $11 total including sides), not eat out so much and actually enjoy what you eat, get these books. You can find the bundle here and the entire website has great information and lots of free recipes also. Many thanks to Kelly for the cookbooks and for the happy family I now have.

What I Made

CROCK’D Slow Cooker Freezer Meals eCookbook

  • BBQ Shredded Chicken
  • Garden Vegetable Soup
  • Grandma’s Beef Stew
  • Lemon Pepper Chicken x 2
  • Orange Ginger Beef
  • Orange Ginger Chicken
  • Meatball Vegetable Soup

15-Minute Freezer Recipes eCookbook

  • Chicken Chili
  • Ham and Vegetable Breakfast Bake

Crockpot Chicken Freezer Meals eCookbook

  • Chicken Spinach Alfredo
  • Honey Bourbon Chicken
  • Orange Chicken

No-Cook Freezer Meals eCookbook

  • Turkey and Black Bean Chili
  • Ginger Garlic Chicken
  • Shredded Pork Tacos
  • Hawaiian Chicken
four-half-stars

Posted July 27, 2016 by Laura in Reviews / 10 Comments


10 responses to “Food, glorious food!

    • The serving size is for 4 people and most nights it was the perfect amount with no left overs. So if you wanted dinner for two and then lunch for two you would be all set. But if not, I think they would all be easy to split in half. They were seriously the best freezer meals I have tried and I have been doing freezer cooking for over two years now.
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    • Kelly @ New Leaf Wellness

      Oh, and I would try cooking the chicken for less time. Smaller breasts will probably dry out more. If you’re using a smaller crockpot (4 quarts), I’d try 8 hours. If you’re using a large one (6 quarts), you might only need 3-4 hours. Hope this helps!

  1. Dawn

    You can also substitute boneless chicken thighs. My meals are in the crockpot for 9+ hours even though my crockpot will switch to warm. Chicken breasts tend to dry out. I also you alot of Kelly’s meals!

  2. danielle hammelef

    wow! This sounds perfect for me with my crazy schedule too. Thanks for sharing! I’m always looking for fresh, nutritious meals.

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