Sunday, March 12, 2017

Wildtree Adventures

Recently I purchased my first Wildtree freezer workshop bundle. This bundle provides the Wildtree products and the recipes you need to make ahead meals in your freezer. I used to do a lot of make ahead freezer cooking and had dropped off the bandwagon so I was excited to get back to this. I did find the twist with the Wildtree bundle is that the freezer meals are more prep work for later cooking instead of cooking ahead and then freezing for "heat and eat" meals.

I had purchased the Family Favorites workshop and a packaged titled "5 Minute Prep." The 5 minute prep had freezer instructions for several items as well. While the workshops are designed to do all at one time, I didn't follow the directions exactly. Our family buys beef and pork from a local farmer. While I do plan to make the beef and pork recipes, I didn't have all of the meat I needed thawed so some of them will wait until another day. I also took some other liberties with the directions as well but more on that in a bit.

After consulting my list of needed items and what I already had available, I headed to the store where I purchased an immense amount of chicken. Upon coming home, I decided it would be easiest for me to deal with one kind of meat at a time. So, I proceeded to work preparing my chicken breasts (butterflying and slicing) and chicken thighs (cutting off the excess fat). After working through my breasts and thighs, I had the protein for three meals bagged and sauced. I will admit I had a non Wildtree sauce that I want to use up this week so I sliced and set aside some chicken to use for that as well. The next recipe called for skinless chicken drumsticks and chicken thighs. I was unable to find the exact item but did find the needed drumsticks and thighs with the skin still on for a great price so I set to work skinning the meat. When finished, I had not one but two more meals processed. I then turned my attention to slicing and dicing the necessary vegetables to add to my bags. My workshop instructions also included some recipes using salmon. Fortunately, I had some frozen individually packed salmon in the freezer. I was excited that I had enough for two meals and quickly placed the fish and appropriate sauce in the bags.

I was quite excited now to place 7 pre-made meals in my freezer. However, as previously mentioned we buy meat from a local farmer so our freezer is a bit on the full side. Fortunately, a little bit of re-arranging created the necessary room for these bags. In doing so, I took out some meat to additional meals. As this meat was already frozen, I did run into a couple of snags. For some items, I simply unwrapped the meat, placed it in the bag, and poured the sauce over it. For another meat, the plastic it was wrapped it wasn't coming off easily. I had intended to put the little bit of Thai-flavored sauce I had left from a previous recipe over the pork steak, but instead the pork steak is now thawing in the refrigerator for use later this week. When I decide to cook it, I'll choose between several open sauces. I may find for the remaining 5 meals in this workshop that it is more convenient for me to thaw the meat several days before I wish to use it, do my prep work the evening before and then leave it in the refrigerator in a ziploc bag or in the pan I will need to use.

While rummaging through my freezer, I discovered a fairly large size beef brisket. Given that room in the freezer was at a premium, there is now a brisket thawing in my refrigerator. I was very excited to find that searching for "beef brisket Wildtree" located numerous recipes using Wildtree products I had available. I look forward to serving Ethiopian Brisket with Swiss Chard later this week. I found that there are numerous recipes on the Wildtree site and on customer blogs.

While I love to cook from scratch and try new recipes, I'm really excited to have at least some of our meals planned out and made ahead of time. I'm hoping this will eliminate some of the last minutes crazies of deciding what to eat particularly on busy evenings."