Betty Crocker's Do--Ahead Cookbook Review

Betty Crocker's Do-Ahead Cookbook: Recipes for the Freezer and the Refrigerator(I have the eighth printing 1978)
ISBN: 0-307-09914-8

No surprise I’d love a book that starts out saying "Without a doubt, one of the most valuable appliances you can own is a home freezer."

But I have to say upfront that this book isn’t for beginners, it’s more for collectors. A great bit of history and some timeless recipes are contained in these pages but they also have some serious flaws.

Big Cons:
This book is old and research in food safety has come a long way since it was written. Some of the pull out boxes with tips are outdated and should not be followed.

Some of the thawing instructions are outdated, this book gives times for thawing raw meat at room temperature which is a BIG NO-No.

They also recommend under-cooking dishes for the freezer, something that is NOT OK in dishes with meat. All meat needs to be completely cooked to kill bacteria because freezing food only stops the growth of bacteria, it doesn’t kill it.

And the pros:
Betty Crocker’s Do-Ahead Cookbook has color photos of some completed dishes ready to serve and illustrating some of the cooking directions that could be confusing.

Every recipe includes quantity, clear directions,reheating and serving instructions (some of which are outdated and not safe) and exact storage times ( I disagree with the times recommended. See my recommended freezer storage times here.)

Directions describing how to cool, wrap, label and freeze dishes are on pages 84-87.

The book includes basic dishes like Chili and Cooked Chicken for the freezer and uses them in more complex dishes like Chili and Dumplings and Chicken Tetrazzini respectfully.

There is a recipe for "3-In-1 Freezer Chicken" that has you simmer three chickens with veggies for stock, freeze one cooked chicken for later, gives instructions to make chicken gravy and use it in a Chicken Almond Casserole for the freezer and freeze batches of Chicken Pie and Chicken Dumplings, then use the leftover broth makes a batch of Egg Drop Soup for an easy dinner after all your cooking.

Plus there are family favorites like pizza with ingredients and instructions for the dough, sauce and toppings, Mac n cheese, cinnamon rolls and desserts.

And they have recipes and freezing instructions for fried foods such as fried chicken, batter fried fish, and onion rings. Many freezer cookbooks just tell you not to freeze fried foods, not Betty Crocker.

Only half of the recipes in this book are for the freezer, the other half are make ahead for the fridge recipes (some of which could be frozen).

So, this is a fun book for collectors or more advanced freezer cooks but not recommended for beginners because it’s out of date.

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