The layout of this book makes me feel like I have ADHD - hard to follow & needlessly overcomplicated
Reviewed in the United States on 22 September 2020
The layout of this book makes me feel like I have ADHD - hard to follow & unnecessarily overcomplicated. The recipes sound good and the photos are gorgeous, but I’m returning it before I make anything because it’s too hard to use this book to actually make freezer meals.
Most recipes are 3-4 pages, so you’re ALWAYS flipping pages to complete a recipe. For maximum flipping fun, the genius publishers stuck the photo (usually a full page one) on page 2 or 3, in the middle of all the instructions. Not ideal, but I can certainly handle this.
Each recipe also has 7 sections, in this order:
2. Slow Cooker - “Make It Now instructions“ - always multiple steps but nicely numbered
3. Slow Cooker - “Freeze For Later“
4. Slow Cooker - “Prepare From Frozen”
5. Instant Pot - “Make It Now Instructions” - always multiple steps but also nicely numbered
6. Instant Pot - “Freeze for Later”
7. Instant Pot - “Prepare From Frozen”
***Guess what - Sections 3,4,6, & 7 - always have multiple steps, that aren’t numbered, but instead listed as separate sentences that form 1 big (run-on) block paragraph
So let’s say your going to make Chicken & Dumpling Stew for the freezer. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Decide now, how future you is going to want to cook this when you pull it from the freezer days/weeks from now. BUT WAIT, I like to decide that when I make it - in other words, did I remember to thaw it in advance - Yes, slow cooker; No, instant pot. TOO BAD - for this recipe the instructions are different. But you can’t easily tell that unless you read through everything I outline in the next step - 2 TIMES, once for the slow cooker instructions and once for the instant pot instructions.
2. Decide to make it for the Instant Pot. Start on the 4th page of this recipe - Freeze for Later for the Instant Pot. It says “Follow step 1” - go to the 3rd page and follow step 1 of the “Make it Now” section. BUT every time you need to know the amount of an ingredient you have to turn back to the 1st page of this recipe and look under the Ingredients Section. So finally finish step 1, then you need to turn back to the 4th page and find where you left off in the Freeze for Later section. Continue following all the instructions in that section, which aren’t numbered and are listed in block paragraph form. Some recipes are extra special and have you do a few more things, then go back to the “Make It Now” section to complete more steps, say Steps 3 through 5.
3. Label your freezer bag and add instructions - ha, ha. The instructions listed under the 7th Section - “Prepare from Frozen” are 7 sentences long. No way I’m writing all that on a Ziplock bag. Give up and write the recipe name and see pg 86 of the cookbook
Want to actually cook this meal? Here you go:
1. Thank your lucky stars this recipe cooks from frozen - not all IP ones in this book do! In summary, the 7 sentence “Prepare from Frozen” instructions basically say:
A. Get ingredients from your pantry, & the freezer meal bag From the freezer, and some frozen peas that you hope you didn’t already eat because the recipe didn’t have you measure them out and store them in a separate bag when you were prepping.
B. Dump some stuff in the pot, sauté 5 min, hit cancel - Easy Peasy :) pun intended.
C. Hang on, here’s where making the recipe gets fun!!! Follow step 3 (of the previous section), which is another 4 sentences and thankfully on the same page, BUT cook at high pressure 15-20 minutes. Ummm, you’re telling me after a busy day at work, I need to read both sections, make sure I understand the changes, then guess how long to cook something in the IP and hope I don’t overcook it or have to bring the pot back up to pressure to cook it for a few more minutes. 5 minutes in the IP is a LONG time. Good lord!!!
D. Wait, we’re not done yet. Next sentence in the “Prepare from Frozen” section essentially says jump to the previous section and follow steps 4 through 7. Sorry, I’m not counting how many sentences that entails, but it’s definitely 1/2 a PAGE of text.
HOLY COW are you still with me? Because my brain is mush just writing this AND I have the book in front of me!
I make freezer meals so we avoid going out to eat when I’m tired or days we need flexibility. Well, for me this book is anything but that.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. It’s obvious the authors put a lot of time and effort into this book. I honestly hope your opinion differs!
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