You could use this book for concepts and freezing tips I suppose but the recipes are....well, they're obviously not for everyone. They are definitely not for me and my family! I am an experienced cook who loves to try new things...regular rotations in my kitchen include the occasional homemade baked treats, whole grains, a variety of vegetables (beets, squash, pumpkin, swiss chard, etc) and cuts of naturally raised meats. For example, last night we had slow cooked pork baby back ribs with braised cabbage, curried pumpkin and a raw kale salad with pinenuts, currants and parmesan.
To me, the point of home cooking is both to save money but also to eat healthier. I want to avoid buying processed, high sodium, high fat expensive take out!! So in my mind, healthy dinners don't rely on pre-packaged processed convenience foods, variations on heavy cream (cream, half and half, sour cream, packaged cream cheese, etc). I am lactose intolerant for one!! Almost all the recipes in this book are full of cream. That's a lazy way of adding flavour to food. And I couldn't feed my young child most of this food because she should not be consuming the amount of sodium most of these recipes would have. Is it any wonder they don't give the nutritional information per portion?!
I am really not opposed to bacon and butter and I usually use that stuff in moderation with a massive dose of veggies. These are veggie-deprived recipes (maybe because the author thinks veggies need to be done up on the day of...which is fine...but then I really didn't need this book).
Some examples of processed food/ rich additions (I am quickly flipping through the book right now):
- Elegant Mushroom Cups: 4 Tbsp of margarine (yuck) and 1 cup heavy cream.
- Gourmet Palmiers: 1/4 cup heavy cream.
- "Kansas City Hot Wings": 1 cup Kraft Original Barbacue Sauce.
- Sante Fe Hot Dip: 16 oz cream cheese.
- "South of the Border Queso": 32 oz loaf Velvetta cheese; 2-15 oz cans Hormel chili, no beans. etc.
- "North Woods Wild Rice Soup": 1/2lb bacon, 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- "Taco Soup" - one package taco seasoning. Is it really so hard to give quantities for cumin, coriander, cocao, oregano and cayenne? And then our families would avoid the sodium and MSG found in these seasonings.
I haven't bought most of that crap in years (sorry, no offense to cooks who choose to eat that stuff regularly or who looooooove dairy).
Sadly, the book is bookended by sweets (like ice cream based slushies) and baking, and the middle part of predicated on taking advantage of bargain basement factory-farmed meat. I would like to see more meatless dishes and more vegetables... that would be both affordable and healthy.
And for recipes free of processed junk, I can easily find recipes for chili, french onion soup elsewhere on the internet. I've made all of that stuff before.
This book was a total disappointment. :-(