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Cookbook Review: Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook by Jessica Fisher

Ever since Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik introduced me to their freezer-cooking recipes in Fix, Freeze, FeastI’ve been hooked. For the past two years I’ve done some amount of freezer-cooking on a regular basis. Sometimes it’s easy-going and I’ll just cook one or two recipes within the course of a month and freeze the extra portions. When life gets busy, I’ll choose 5 or so recipes and spend a few days cooking and freezing. There was one month that I borrowed a friend’s kitchen and, after 12 hours of cooking, had enough meals in the freezer for 30 days. 

I love the methods that the authors employ in Fix, Freeze, Feast, and the recipes are superb, but after two years I was looking for some new ones to incorporate into our freezer-cooking rotation. And so, I was thrilled to receive a copy of Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook by Jessica Fisher.*


Jessica Fisher, known to the blog-world as FishMama, is the author of two successful blogs including Good Cheap Eats. She’s a mother of six who understands the desire and the struggle behind feeding families good, wholesome food. She is the perfect person to have written a book full of freezer-cooking recipes. Her cookbook includes over 200 recipes (all of them appropriate for freezing and reheating) for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and even desserts. There is a wide variety of recipes that should appeal to a wide variety of kitchens. Ethnic dishes such as dal and falafel abound, but so do old favorites like lasagna, meatballs, and cheeseburgers.


If you’re new to freezer cooking, don’t fret. Jessica kindly holds your hand and gently walks you through the details of how to make the most of your freezer cooking, from planning to shopping to cooking to eating. Also included are oodles of meal plans for a variety of diets, and forms to help you plan your freezer cooking.


I was disappointed that there are no photos to accompany the recipes. As a person with food restrictions who “eats” with her eyes, I always appreciate photos to help me determine whether or not a recipe might work for our family. I also found myself frustrated that the recipes are written as single meals, and so I continually had to double, triple, or quadruple ingredient portions in order to have one meal to eat and extras to freeze. I know, it’s not difficult to do that kind of math, but busy mamas have many things vying for their attention and the less there is to think about the better. 

Disappointments aside, the meals themselves have been excellent. In my freezer right now are Herb Butter Chicken Tenders, Outside-In Cheeseburgers, Italian Cheesewiches, Green Chile Rice Casserole, Tahini Vegetable Patties, and enough pizza dough to last for the rest of the summer. All of the recipes were super-easy to assemble (some of them required no cooking at all) and the ones we’ve reheated have easily passed the dinner-table taste test. Yes, my friends, we are eating well from the freezer at our house. 


 * Review posts are my opinions on items that were sent to me free of charge. The items were given to me, but the thoughts and opinions are my own. I only provide reviews of items that I find to be truly worthy of recommendation.

Print Recipe

Outside-In Cheeseburgers

Join two great tastes in one by mixing your cheese into this outside-in cheeseburger. The added dill is reminiscent of dill pickles, making this truly an all-in-one burger.

Double, triple (or more) to have plenty for the freezer.

Source: Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook by Jessica Fisher

Course: Freezer Cooking (Beef)


Serves: 8


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh chopped dill or 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • hamburger buns
  • lettuce leaves or shredded lettuce
  • sliced tomatoes
  • other toppings as desired


  1. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients just until everything is evenly distributed. don’t over mix, as that will make your burgers tough.
  2. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions. Form each portion into a flat hamburger patty.
  4. Place the patties on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Remove the frozen patties from the sheet and place them in a freezer bag. Seal the bag carefully, removing as much air as possible. Return the burgers to the freezer. Alternatively, you can freeze the burgers in meal-size bundles, separating the patties with waxed paper. Wrap each bundle in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.
  6. If you have frozen your hamburger patties individually, simply remove the desired number of patties from the bag. There is no need to thaw them before cooking.
  7. If you used the bundle method of packaging, thaw the bundle on a dish in the refrigerator (You may be able to cook these unthawed as well, if the frozen patties separate easily.)
  8. Place the hamburger patties on a hot grill or in a skillet. When the tops of the burgers appear wet, flip them over. Continue cooking until the burgers reach the desired doneness. Serve on buns with lettuce, tomatoes, and other toppings as desired.
  9. Recipe © 2013 by Jessica Fisher and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press

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  • I’ve cooked at least 7 of the main dishes in Jessica Fisher’s “Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze” cookbook and have been quite pleased with the results. I’ve also cooked about the same number recipes from Fix, Freeze, and Feast. For my tastes (and my family’s), Fisher has better recipes.

    One negative you mention about Fisher’s book is a big plus in my opinion: The recipes are for one or two servings. It gives you a chance to try out the recipe before “going big”. With Fix, Freeze, Feast I wasn’t happy with the outcome of a few of the recipes, and unfortunately was stuck with the expense of multiple portions of food I didn’t care to eat.

    With Plan to Eat, it’s easy to change the serving amount which then automatically changes the quantity of the ingredients. I’m new to Plan to Eat but I’m already a huge fan.

    Chris in Austin July 9, 2015 AT 10:50 am
  • Thank you for this review. I have tried freezing meals in the past and never felt like the reheated version was very good. I might just have to give this a try. I’m having a hard time meal planning for my newly restricted diet. Freezing some would definitely be helpful.

    Emily August 26, 2013 AT 5:28 pm
  • Jessie, They are not. I only received copyright permission to share the one recipe in the blog post.

    Erin August 18, 2013 AT 8:48 pm
  • Do you know, are the book’s recipes on Plan to Eat?

    Jessie August 18, 2013 AT 7:29 pm
  • I’ve owned this cookbook for eight months and it’s my go to cookbook! My whole family loves the recipes, and they work well not frozen as well:)

    Jessie August 14, 2013 AT 8:14 pm
  • you should try “The big Cook” now there is “the Big Cook 2″ and I really love the first one so I might get the new one too!

    Helena August 12, 2013 AT 3:22 pm

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