A couple a weeks ago, I attended a Wildtree freezer meal workshop. I paid for it myself and all the opinions in this post are my own. My friend Angela Smith, who sells Wildtree and who led the workshop, has provided some Wildtree products for a giveaway at the bottom of the post.
Here’s the concept behind the workshop: you pre-purchase a “bundle” of Wildtree spices (seasoning blends, flavored grapeseed oil, etc.), you bring the protein for the meals, and you walk away from the party with 10 assembled freezer bags of ready-to-cook meals or main dishes that serve about 6 people each, plus plenty of leftover spices. (I don’t know if they offer a vegetarian workshop, but the one I attended was definitely for meat eaters.) Here was the list of meals from our “Comfort Foods” workshop:
- Spanish Style Garlic Shrimp
- Italian Marinated Flank Steak
- Best Burgers
- Italian Meatloaf
- Chipotle Lime Fajitas
- Italian “Medallions” (I think they just wanted it to rhyme — it’s chicken tenders marinated in Italian seasonings)
- Honey Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks
- Crockpot Chipotle Lime Chicken
- Adobo Chicken
- Mozzarella and Tomato Chicken Pasta
All the recipes for this workshop are available here. I’m guessing if you google “Wildtree freezer meal workshop,” you could find others.
Here are my thoughts about the Wildtree freezer meal workshop:
Unlike what I usually think of when I think of freezer meals (precooked casseroles, etc.) these are all raw meat + veggies + seasonings, and you thaw them ahead of time and cook them the night you want to eat them. They don’t quite have the simplicity of a freezer-to-crockpot meal (although I believe Wildtree does offer a crockpot workshop) but on the plus side, eating all soupy/mushy crockpot meals can get a little boring.
I think for people who aren’t confident cooks, especially as far as what seasonings or spices will best enhance your food, this is a great concept. However, you would still have to be able to follow a recipe and cook meat. (That really intimidates some people!) And the convenience of having your meat and veggies all chopped, marinated, and ready to go is certainly nice.
The meals are good and the Wildtree products are very high quality — no weird ingredients that you can’t pronouce. I’ve made the shrimp, the burgers, Italian steak, and the Italian medallions so far; the shrimp has been my favorite. (And I didn’t even think I liked shrimp!) But I will say, if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, you could certainly recreate these meals at home without buying the bundle or attending the workshop.
It is WAY more fun assembling freezer meals around a table with your friends (and a glass of wine!) than working in your kitchen alone!
A note on the cost: the workshop itself doesn’t cost anything, but you do have to purchase the Wildtree spice bundle for around $80, which sounds like a lot of money for spices — and it is. But, I would say Wildtree spices are equivalent in price and quality to Penzey’s… I just don’t normally go into Penzey’s and buy 5 large jars of spices and a bottle of vinegar and a bottle of grapeseed oil all in one fell swoop. So even though it is a little pricey, I think it’s a good value for your money. It’s also worth noting that you will have plenty of spices left over after assembling the 10 freezer meals at the party, and Wildtree has a great search function on their website that lets you search recipes by spices.
Another note on cost: Buying enough meat for 10 meals that serve 6 people each is EXPENSIVE. I mean, you would have spent it eventually, but just be aware, especially if you are on a tight budget (and who isn’t?) that your grocery budget for the week is going to be blown.
Closing thoughts: Freezer meal cooking is a great tool to simplify meal prep in the evenings. A combination of cooking double portions of freezer-friendly meals like soup, chili, enchiladas, etc. and putting one portion in the freezer for later, making some freezer-to-crockpot meals, and making some Wildtree-style freezer meals (uncooked meat & veggies & seasonings) would give you a great repertoire of meal choices that save a lot of time during that crunch time between getting home from work and trying to get dinner on the table. (Although, if you forget to thaw ahead of time or get the crockpot going in the morning… you won’t be eating a freezer meal that night. Put a Post-it on the door you leave through in the morning to remind you!) If all that cooking sounds overwhelming to you, maybe you could start a Freezer Meal Club where you cook several portions of the same meal, then swap with friends to get an assortment of meals for your freezer.
And now for the giveaway! Angela has kindly provided three Wildtree items for me to giveaway: Wicked Good Slow Cooker Sauce, Quick and Easy Beer Bread Mix, and Everything Spice blend.