Freezer Meal Workshop and Wildtree giveaway

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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.

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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!

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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.

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53 thoughts on “Freezer Meal Workshop and Wildtree giveaway

  1. Fun! Those ARE expensive seasonings though. We have Tastefully Simple, do you have that around you? A direct marketing thing? Their spices are pricey too. And I can’t say I adore them.

    I did a freezer meal thing once at a store where everything was laid out/prepurchased and you just went through and made it. I think it was around $15-20 a meal which is kind of a lot, but they gave you the containers and the whole works. It was more pricey than eating at home but cheaper than eating out.
    jan recently posted…Cold Run RepercussionsMy Profile

    • I’m not familiar with Tastefully Simple. Honestly, I get most of my spices (not spice blends) in the bulk section of the local health food store for pennies, and I’m really pleased with the quality.

      I think in the future, I’m just going to try to make some double batches of things and stock the freezer that way.
      Sarah recently posted…Books on my nightstand, February 2014My Profile

  2. I like this concept. Usually I cook meals and THEN freeze them. I think I will try freezing some prepped meals so they are “fresh cooked” when i use them, instead of tasting like leftovers. Thanks for the great idea.

    • Interesting, I almost never use turmeric unless we’re cooking Indian food. I’m not sure whether the fb like is really worth that much, since it’s so rare to see page updates anymore, but oh well…

    • Yeah, that whole day of cooking is a non-starter for me. No way I could ever actually get it done with two little ones underfoot. You should check out the freezer-to-crockpot meals from Mama Baby Love, too. I’ve made several of her recipes and they’ve all been pretty good.

  3. I like the concept of a spice bundle. I thought McCormicks was genius when they introduced those, but I’m sure these fancy bundles have a lot more options. But you’re absolutely right in that people who are inexperienced in the kitchen are more worried about the meat than the spices. I’ve been cooking meat for years and I’m still convinced that I’m going to give myself salmonella every time I make chicken.
    Kristina @ Damn Ten Pounds recently posted…Finally doing my HomeworkMy Profile

    • Same here — we roasted a turkey breast the other night and somehow it ended up taking an HOUR longer than we thought it would to get it to a safe temperature… (gah) but I wasn’t taking any chances!

    • I’m so jealous that you live close to a Penzey’s! Although I am pretty spoiled with an excellent spice selection in the bulk foods section of our local health store.

  4. Thanks for the full rundown! I have become a big fan of freezer cooking, especially having a meat either marinating or already cooked and ready to go in the freezer. It puts me so much closer to having a meal ready that I can often talk myself in off the take-out ledge if I remember it’s there. I’ve never heard of Wildtree; very interesting concept. I love the idea of a freezer-meal gathering, but get overwhelmed at the thought of setting it up. Still, it does sound fun!
    Meg recently posted…Love is In The AirMy Profile

    • That was the best part — I wasn’t the hostess of the party so I just had to show up with my freezer bags of meat, and everything else was taken care of for me. They even provided all the pre-chopped veggies, extra ingredients for the various recipes (like an egg for meatloaf), etc. It was a little pricey, but it sure was nice not to have to worry about all of that.

  5. Wow – you made a lot of meals at that party. The concept here is fascinating. Such a fun idea. I’d definitely have to be in a group setting to prep that many meals. Sometimes I get bored just prepping two or three dishes for one meal if Jim’s not around to talk to me 🙂
    Shana Norris recently posted…Try This: Ask Him Questions.My Profile

  6. Hey Sarah! I am glad you tried the Wildtree stuff! I have done 2 freezer meal workshops with Angela, and they are just perfect for our family! As you know, the hubby is our primary cook in our family, and as talented as he is at it, he needs a break sometimes. When it is my turn to cook, i turn to convenience because, while I can cook, it is not my priority and not something i really like to plan, etc. Having these at the ready has been the perfect solution for my problem! Each meal we have tried from both wildtree bundles has been really good. I have heard from people that they try freezer meals that they find on the internet and they are pretty hit-and-miss. these have all been a hit!

    I can totally see why this wouldnt be the best choice for someone who is already organized and a good meal planner, but for me…its this, mac and cheese or chinese takeout. I love me some fried rice, and all, but seriously…

    • Love it! I ordered another bundle from Angela (the New Year, New You pack) and every single meal looks so good. It’s got lots of interesting spices I’ve never tried before, like Schwarma, tzatziki, and moroccan rub.

  7. I’ve been meaning to get over here and join the giveaway! What a great company – love them! My favorite spices to cook with are fresh herbs from our yard. We don’t have many, but nothing beats the taste of fresh basil or rosemary in a dish! I’ve done a little freezer cooking here and there, but I’m thinking that I need to do more! You’ve inspired me. 🙂
    Ginger recently posted…In Her Shoes ~ Perspective, Beautiful and BrokenMy Profile

    • Yes, I love fresh herbs too. Gosh, it’s hard to even remember them in the middle of this awful winter. I’m not much of a gardener but even I can grow some basil! Good luck with the freezer cooking. It does make the evening dinner rush a lot easier. =)

    • You’re welcome! The more meal prep I can do in advance, the better. It’s hard to find the time, sometimes, though. I figure if nothing else, just doing a little extra of something I’m doing anyway (chop an extra bell pepper, etc.) doesn’t take too much extra time. Can’t wait to hear what’s next for you!
      Sarah recently posted…Books on my nightstand, February 2014My Profile

  8. My favorite seasoning mix to cook with is Mexican seasoning. I sometimes do freezer cooking.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

    • Yeah, I think I’ve got my neighbor talked into trying it sometime. I think my favorite part of it is how little clean-up there is in the evening when I make one of these meals, because all the chopping, etc is already done!

  9. I attended the Everday Meal party that Wildtree offers. I loved it! We have eaten and loved four of the ten meals. I’m going to the crockpot one in March and I can’t wait!

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