Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fix, Freeze, Feast Recipe Reviews


I should've known what would happen when I did a guest post on another blog about Fix, Freeze, Feast*. It happens every time I talk about it, busy moms go, "ooh, I need to check that out!" Well, I'm here to help ya along. My friends and I have shared reviews of individual recipes from the book for over a year now. We let each other know which ones we loved, which were just okay and what changes we would make. I took the time to consolidate the list and organize it in the same order the book goes in, complete with page numbers (I have the hard cover version of the first edition). If you don't have the book, this will give you an idea of what types of recipes are in it. If you do have the book, use this as a guide to help you decide which meals will be winners for your family. If you have the book and want to come back and add your opinions, feel free and I'll add them to the list!

CHICKEN MAIN DISHES

Cherry Skillet Chicken (pg. 20)
  • Really tasty cut up over a salad
  • Super easy to put together, but haven't tried it yet
Chicken-Broccoli Bake (pg. 22)
  • Good, but I serve it with rice to give it more substance
  • We all really liked this one. I use the book to save time as opposed to money, so I used pre-cooked diced chicken breast and frozen broccoli florets, so preparation was really quick. I agree that you need to serve it with rice. I froze some rice in each pack to make assembly easier next time.
  • I think this had a bit too much curry for what I was expecting. It was good though.
  • I have found it tastes so much better if you leave the broccoli out and add it in right before cooking. Otherwise, the broccoli taste seems to overwhelm the dish after being in the freezer for so long.
  • We loved this.  We usually half the recipes, but this is one that's better not halved.
Chicken Cordon Bleu (pg. 24)
  • Good, but really hard to roll without using toothpicks. I put toothpicks in the ones that I cooked immediately. I'm not sure how they'll turn out when taken out of the freezer.
Chicken Curry (pg. 26)
  • Good
  • Another hit with the family. I wasn't sure how it would go over, but everyone really liked it.
  • We really like it. 5 year old complained when she saw it and avoided it, but when we made her taste it she liked it and asked for more. Hubby thought it was bland and added tabasco to his. I may add a little yellow thai curry paste next time. I added corn to it, but would also be good with some sauteed carrots and potatoes. Served over rice.
  • We liked it, but it was kinda bland. Maybe it needs more curry. 5 year old wouldn't touch it, but 2 year old ate 2 portions!
Chicken Parmigiana (pg. 28)
  • Served it with plain pasta and the kids cleaned their plates! 5 year old asked to have it for breakfast LOL Chicken was moist, it came out great. This one was really easy to make too--just flatten the chicken breasts, bread and freeze.
Dave's Swamp Blues BBQ Chicken (pg. 30)
  • Great in Dave's Skillet Hash (pg. 32) and on Dave's BBQ Chicken Pizza (pg. 33)

Mariachi Chicken Rolls (pg. 34)
  • In the recipe, they say to flatten the chicken breast with your hand, but the breasts we had were way too thick to do that. We had to cut them in half and still pound them thin enough to roll. The cream cheese sauce was awesome! We ate it with Mexican rice on the side. I'd make it again, especially now that I know I have to cut the in half.
Molasses-Rum Chicken (pg. 37)
  • We liked this one. There is a strong taste from the rum, so stay away from it if you don't rum.
Pecan-Crusted Chicken Strips (pg. 38)
  • Super yummy! Not as big of a hit with the kids because of all the breading, but I really loved them.
  • LOVE THESE! The whole family loved them. Next time I will buy chicken strips though instead of cutting up breasts and will increase each bag of breading by 1/4c of both ingredients. 
  • These are great!  The breading was enough for ours. 
Port Barbecue Chicken (pg. 40)
  • I made this in the skillet (instructions call for grill or roasting). Super great. The kids liked it too. I was going to make pizza with the leftovers, but I didn't have any left over!
  • Great on the BBQ chicken salad(pg.42), or BBQ Chicken Pizza (pg. 43). Those are some of our favorite meals these days.
Sweet Asian Chicken (pg. 46)
  • The flavor was really good, but it could've used a little more kick. Next time I will probably add a little less brown sugar and more red pepper flakes and/or garlic. But I'm not a big fan of sweet food.
  • Great. I used it with frozen stir fry veggies for a quick dinner.
  • My favorite so far. Even 2 year old wanted more and she usually doesn't like chicken.
  • Good taste, but nothing super special. Did a stir fry with broccoli and cauliflower. I would actually like it sweeter, so I'll probably add a little more sugar and something else for more spice, maybe a tsp of srisha hot sauce
Swimming Rama (pg. 48)
  • I have a lot of different curry pastes and next time I want to use the panang curry paste, not the red. This has been really good, my son is also a fan!
Tex-Mex Chicken Fingers (pg. 49)
  • We haven't tried them yet, but I made these. The recipe calls for 6 cups of bread crumbs and various other spices. You could easily make do by cutting everything in half. I have A LOT of bread mixture left over.
Tequila-Lime Chicken (pg. 50)
  • I made this without freezing it. Just mixed up the stuff in a ziploc and marinaded for a few hours, then hubby grilled. I really liked it, but I am curious to try it again when frozen.
  • I left this in the oven too long and it turned out really dry. I think it would be better grilled.
Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry (pg. 52)
  • OK, kind of bland. Next time I will probably try breasts instead of thighs. The thighs were very fatty and it took me forever to cut all the fat off of them.
Royal Thai Thighs (pg. 58)
  • I used breast meat instead of thigh meat. It was great! The flavors definitely get stronger in the freezer.
Teriyaki Chicken (pg. 59)
  • Great
Chicken A La King (pg. 64)
  • It was good. I served it over toast, because that is how we ate it when I was a kid, and I definitely thought it was a nice accent. They suggest biscuits which would also be good, but more work. I think it would be weird over rice, but ok over potatoes.
  • We like it over egg noodles. Toast is a great idea!
Mini Chicken Potpie (pg. 68)
  • This was the first dish I wasn't crazy about. Instead of using bread and making individual pies, I used a pie crust and made a whole chicken pot pie. It wasn't bad, just OK. One note: I had to add quite a bit of milk since the mixture was very thick and it seems like it would have been very dry. I have to wonder if this is one dish that's better "fresh". I tasted the chicken mixture when we made it and it was yummy, but not so yummy after it was frozen then baked.
Party Enchiladas (pg. 70)
  • Everyone liked these. I accidentally left the salsa out of the sauce, which was probably a good thing for the kids. I mixed in a can of rotel instead of chiles, and I used undiluted evaporated milk instead of half and half. I also made smaller 8x8 pans so we wouldn't have a lot of leftovers.
  • Loved them
Urban Garlic Chicken (pg. 72)
  • Probably the least favorite thing I've tried, although it was fine. I cooked it in the crockpot and I usually think that crockpot chicken is overcooked, and I thought so this time a well. The drippings did make a lovely gravy though. Next time I am going to get hubby to cook it on the grill.
  • I have a slight fear of cooking whole chickens because I don't want them to be underdone and sure enough, this one wasn't quite done in the recommended time frame. (I also might need a new oven, so don't change your cooking time on my account, just make sure your bird is completely done before you eat it). Eventually the chicken was done and it was tasty. A friend cooked hers in the crockpot and she loved it.
BEEF MAIN DISHES

Cheesy Chilada Bake (pg. 78)
  • This was another keeper. I'll make a few changes next time: probably cut back on the meat and add some corn. It was a little too dry, so I'll probably add in some enchilada sauce.
Classic Lasagna (pg. 80)
  • Good
  • Loved it. Served at a kid's birthday party and everyone was asking for the recipe
Mexi-Stuffed Peppers (pg. 86)
  • Great, but I would add cheese to the stuffing, not just on top
  • I made a modified version and made a casserole instead of stuffing peppers. It was a really good recipe except I used a lot more rice than they say. I would use 6pounds beef, 6 cups uncooked rice and 9 bell peppers cut into strips to make 6 8x8 casseroles. As an added bonus, it's straight from the freezer to the oven that way.
  • The filling was a ton more meat than I normally put into my stuffed peppers. Rather than making 4 meals as suggested, I put it into 6 bags. I think the next time I make it, I will use half as much meat and double the rice or add quinoa, beans or something else. The filling tasted delicious before I froze it, just extremely heavy on the beef.
Mozzarella Meatballs (pg. 88)
  • These were really good, all of us liked them
  • They were yummy! I tasted right after they cooked, haven't used them out of the freezer yet. I did have some cheese leak out, but there was still cheese in the meatball.
  • Good. Lots of work though.
  • Everyone loved these. 5 year doesn't usually eat meatballs, but said the sauce made them sweeter. I simmered them until the sauce was very thick...almost like corn syrup consistency. Definitely a keeper. We had them as a main course with veggies on the side, but I think they'd be good on hoagie rolls too.
  • A huge favorite with hubby and the kids. I ended up with way bigger/fewer meatballs than the recipe called for and my cheese did leak out, but these have a great flavor.
  • These were good. My cheese leaked out a lot. I made the meatballs the size they said and yielded the number I was supposed to, but if I make it again, I will use less cheese in the meatballs. The sauce was tangier than I expected.
  • The sauce definitely has a lot of vinegar. I freeze the sauce in a separate bag so the kids can have them without sauce and hubby and I can just dip them.
  • I think the sauce is what I didn't really care for, so if I make it again I will bag the sauce separate.
  • I make these with a mix of turkey and grass-fed beef and they come out very well. I also use quick oats in place of the breadcrumbs.
  • We really liked these! We only used 5 pounds of beef instead of 6 and still had meat left over after making 120 meatballs. I felt like I was making them the size that it called for. The cheese leaked out some, but not a lot. LOVED the sauce!
  • Sauce was really vinegary, but I didn't mind it. I made them all turkey and they came out fine, not dry at all. The cheese did ooze out some, but not on all of them. I used 12oz of red wine vinegar instead of 16. I think next time I will use only 8. We added another 1/2 cup of brown sugar to the sauce as well.
  • I tried these without the cheese last time and while they were still good, they were not nearly as tasty. I had figured it wouldn't matter since so much oozed out of the meatballs, but I was mistaken. Next time, I will add the mozzarella.
Salisbury Meatballs (pg. 90)
  • My favorite so far, hands down. It was a chore to make, but they are delicious!
  • Definitely yummy. You sure get a lot out of it!
  • My favorite. They are way easier to make if you use a cookie scoop thing.
Sweet-And-Sour Meatballs (pg. 92)
  • They might just very well be the best thing to ever eat!
Classic Chili (pg. 94)
  • Yummy! Instead of making my bags like they said, I halved it. The half-size was perfect for hubby and I to each have a big main-course bowl and the 2 kids to have about 1/4 cup (because I knew they wouldn't eat it, but they have to taste)
Beef Barley Soup (pg. 104)
  • Not the biggest fan, but mostly because it made a ton and hubby and I felt like we ate for days and days.
Ginger Beef (pg. 105)
  • Tasty
PORK MAIN DISHES

An's Pork Chops (pg. 112)
  • We cooked this under the broiler (flipping every 5 minutes). It was good, but not fantastic. There was a little overkill on the soy sauce, very salty.
Margarita Pork Chops (pg. 118)
  • I used flavored margarita mix (because it was on sale). Next time I think I'd just use a regular mix, it definitely changed the taste.
  • Loved them. They were a little sweet. I served them with corn, black beans and tortillas and we made burritos.
Mustard-Oregano Chops (pg. 120)
  • We all really liked these. Followed the indoor, broiler instructions for cooking. The kids ate it up.
Turkish Pork Loin Chops with Bacon (pg. 122)
  • These are SOOO good. Used the homemade turkish seasoning and they smelled so good while making them and during cooking. Everyone loved it. The only thing that would make them better is to throw them in the smoker instead of cooking them in the oven.
Caribbean Pork Tenderloin (pg. 128)
  • Good. I liked it a lot, but the kids wouldn't really touch it and hubby wasn't a big fan.
  • SUPER YUMMY. I cooked mine in the crock pot and it was so moist and tender. My kids ate it without ketchup or sauce, which is a big deal in my house
Apple and Cranberry Pork Loin (pg. 129)
  • It was okay. I thought the amount of onion killed it. I will add more apples to my other batches and take out most of the onion.
Honey and Spice Pork Kabobs (pg. 136)
  • I really like it, but hubby didn't. I did cook it in the oven (on skewers laid on a cooling rack over a pan) and he thinks it'd be better grilled, like the recipe calls for. I like the different flavor (sort of like apple/pumpkin pie spices on pork), but he just wasn't a big fan.
Raging Garlic Pork Stir-Fry (pg. 138)
  • Very yummy. Even the picky 5 year old ate it. My only slight complaint was a lot of the cornstarch just ended up stuck to the bottom of the pan. Update: the next time, I let the pork sit in the pan a little bit rather than stirring right away and the cornstarch stayed with the pork.
  • I think this is the recipe that surprised me the most. As I was spending a million years chopping and dicing, I thought "there is no way that this recipe will be good enough to worth this work, especially since the kids probably won't eat it". But it was awesome. If I would have paid $12 for it at PF Changs, I would not have complained. The kids ate it too. I grabbed out the pieces of pork individually after dusting with cornstarch so the excess stayed in the bag. It worked great. I would have preferred more sauce, so I will probably make that modification next time.
Garlic Studded Pork Loin (pg. 140)
  • Everyone like this, including the kids. It wasn't my favorite, but it was okay. A little too garlicky for me.
  • Very easy to put together.
MEATLESS MAINS, SIDES AND SOUPS

Feta and Spinach Lasagna Rolls (pg. 152)
  • LOVE this one!
  • I left the spinach out because no one here's a big fan of it. It was great!
  • Big fan. I only got 24 rolls instead of the 60 or whatever the recipe advertises but 5 or 6 feeds the whole family, so I still ended up with 5 meals worth.
  • They were as you'd expect. Very easy to make and liked by the whole family
Manicotti (pg. 159)
  • Really easy to make (you don't cook the pasta). The filling was exactly enough for 28 shells, so don't skimp. The taste was great and the texture of the pasta was great.
  • Good
  • Enjoyable. Might add cheese on top or meat to some sauce next time. I thought I would go bonkers stuffing those things, but did well once I got on a roll.
Vegetable Lasagna (pg. 160)
  • Great taste. I ended up with extra veggies in there just because I was using things up. It was supposed to be 4 cups and I probably had about 6. I used carrots, bell pepper, onions, mushrooms and zucchini. I really liked that you use regular noodles (so the texture was good), but didn't cook them (so assembly was easy).
Cream of Asparagus Soup (pg. 165)
  • Pretty good, doesn't make much
  • Okay. A little bland. Maybe add some cheese for flavor.
  • Good. I added LOTS of pepper and some cheese.
  • Not a fan. I added some pepper and cheese, but it just wasn't any good.
Baked Potato Chowder (pg. 167)
  • We really liked it, but I think it was a tad too thick. I added 2 extra cups of milk and still had to add more milk after it was frozen/thawed. Had tons of trouble baking potatoes and then mashing up, I think I'll try just making mashed potatoes and going from there next time.
SAUCES, MARINADES AND FLAVORED BUTTERS

Basic Red Sauce (pg. 178)
  • This sauce is used in a lot of the other recipes
  • Directions aren't clear, but you should drain the diced tomatoes really well.
  • Enjoyed it on some buffalo meat and pasta
BREAKFAST, SNACKS AND SWEETS

Breakfast Burritos (pg. 190)
  • Takes a long time, but makes a ton!
Cheese Bites (pg. 193)
  • They are awesome! They taste kind of like those gourmet cheese straws and would be awesome appetizers at a cocktail or holiday party. The dough is really dry though and I didn't have much luck getting the pecan to stick to the top of them, but they are wonderful plain.
PB&J Breakfast Cookies (pg. 196)
  • Yum!
  • I added 6oz chocolate chips at the last minute and they are pretty good. They are a nice go-to food
  • Good. Not too sweet and really easy to grab and go
  • Really like the taste. Was curious about the nutrition info, so I figured it up per cookie (I got 29 when I made them): 315 calories, 17g fat (6g saturated fat), 9g protein, 4g fiber, 13g sugar. Not fabulous, but definitely better than a poptart.
Zoo Day Snack Mix (pg. 197)
  • Easy and something I probably didn't need a recipe for, but got caught up in the Costco shopping spree. The recipe makes huge portions. There are a nice variety of things in the mix so it doesn't get boring or sweet when you are eating it. Definitely a keeper. I don't think I will give it to them all the time, but nice to have if I know we are going to be out for a while and they will need a snack.
Pumpkin Muffins (pg. 198)
  • Added white chocolate chips
  • A little dry and very dense. Overall not bad, but I would probably add a little applesauce. Hubby called them pumpkin clods.

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6 comments:

Rachel said...

Wow, great job compiling these! I haven't updated my opinions as often as I should, but here are my latest thoughts:

If making the chicken broccoli bake, I have found it tastes so much better if you leave the broccoli out and add it in right before cooking. Otherwise, the broccoli taste seems to overwhelm the dish after being in the freezer for so long.

Loved the party enchiladas.

One of my favorites is using Dave's Swamp Blues BBQ chicken or the Port BBQ chicken and making the bbq pizza, Dave's Skillet Hash or the BBQ chicken salad. Those are some of our favorite meals these days.

The Hills said...

Thanks for the update!

Megan said...

Funny to see my comments :). My favorite are the Salisbury meatballs. They are way easier to make if you use a cookie scoop thing.

The Hills said...

:-) I put up a message on the board asking if it was okay and didn't hear anything back. Since I was taking out all the names, I figured it was okay to go ahead and post and I could take things out later if anyone had a problem with it ;-) I'll add the cookie scoop tip!

MomNixon said...

I just stumbled upon this post and wanna say THANK YOU! I have this cookbook and this will REALLY help in deciding which to cook! Thanks! :)

The Hills said...

Glad it's helpful! I need to add to it, I've tried some new recipes in the last couple of weeks.

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