Over the past few years, I have tried just about every approach to freezer cooking and meal prep that’s out there. We’ve spent hours prepping mason jar salads, chicken breasts and veggies on Sunday afternoons. I’ve also scoured Pinterest (plus a huge stack of cookbooks!) looking for freezer-friendly recipes that didn’t involved condensed cream-of-anything. I’ve had success with both approaches, but I am SERIOUSLY loving Wildtree’s freezer meals, and wanted to offer a full Wildtree Workshop review since so many of you have asked about my experience.
Warning: This is a lengthy post, so feel free to skip around and skim for the info you’re looking for!
If you’re not familiar with Wildtree, the company “was founded on the premise that food should be simple, healthy, natural and easy to prepare – all at the same time.” (2016 Catalog.) Product offerings included everything from clean, organic seasoning blends, flavor-infused grapeseed oils, dip mixes, baking mixes and the holy grail of would-be freezer cooks: Wildtree Workshop kits.
Each kit is built around a specific menu, and includes shopping lists, recipe cards, prep charts, bag labels and all of the spices, oils and staples you’ll need to assemble 10+ meals. All you’ve got to do is pick up fresh proteins, veggies and a handful of other ingredients, and you’re all set to prep your meals! (I did a FB Live video unboxing my first workshop kit. You can watch it here.)
The idea is that you can get together with friends and assemble your meals together (and possibly earn free groceries), or you can have a kit shipped straight to your home to prep at your own convenience. Although I opted to prep in my own home (in my pjs!), I do think it would be fun to do it with a bunch of girlfriends while munching on some yummy snacks.
What I loved about my Wildtree Workshop:
1. I didn’t have to do any planning.
I’m no stranger to freezer meals, so what sold me on the Wildtree Workshop kit was that all of the planning is already done for you! This was a HUGE time saver for me, as I have
wasted spent a lot of time in the past trying to piece together my own plans. This was much, much, much easier than doing it on my own. (Plus, let’s be honest…although we could do the legwork on our own, are we actually going to???)
If you’re the type of person who loves the IDEA of freezer cooking but has no idea where to begin, this is a great way to get started. If you’re a busy veteran meal planner like me who is just plain short on time, then you’ll truly appreciate the simplicity of just picking up the info packet and going shopping without having to make grocery lists, pick out recipes, etc.
2. I was able to accommodate special dietary needs.
Since I have a kiddo who is lactose-intolerant, it can be really hard to find freezer meal recipes that don’t involve dairy. As a company, Wildtree does a great job with product labeling, and I was excited to find at least two kits that were dairy-free, as well as several others which I could easily adapt to our family’s needs.
Wildtree currently offers 12 different workshops, so there’s something for everyone. We started with the Primal Goodness kit (which can be paleo-friendly, depending on what side dishes you choose) and I’ve also done some of the recipes from the Everyday Meals workshops too.
3. The instructions were easy to follow.
Again, this is where Wildtree really shines with full-color printed worksheets, lists and recipes. (Confession: I actually purchased a set of printable freezer meal plans from another company, but the instructions were so complicated that I never used them. I am not even kidding.)
I especially like the freezer inventory, which gives you a list of the meals, plus cooking method, cooking time and what you need for the day of cooking. When you sit down to meal plan, just grab the inventory sheet and choose what works best for each day. Running errands on Tuesday? Look for a slow cooker meal or a skillet meal that can be done in 15 minutes or less.
4. The meals actually tasted REALLY good.
Last month, I prepped a bunch of healthy chicken-based freezer meals using an online plan, and although I loved the convenience, I have to admit that even after adding salt, they were still pretty bland. This is most definitely not the case with what I’ve tried from Wildtree.
Wildtree’s spice blends and infused grapeseed oils are amazing, ya’ll. (If you like Fiesta Ranch Dip but want to skip the MSG and artificial ingredients, you’ll love the Chipotle Ranch seasoning. One tbsp + a cup of sour cream = the best dip ever.)
Our favorite meals so far include Latin Lettuce Wraps, Mediterranean Country-Style Ribs, and Opa Sausage & Peppers (I made this into sandwiches and even my toddler loved it. I just loaded his up with mostly sausage and served some raw veggies and dip on the side.) The shredded beef burritos (from the Everyday Meals kit) were also a huge hit with my little guy.
I honestly liked everything but the Mediterranean Chicken and Vegetables. (That’s because I realized after making this recipe that I only like eggplant when it’s drowning in some sort of tomato sauce.) I would make it again but next time, I’ll swap the eggplant for more zucchini or some bell peppers.
5. It saved time with both meal planning and cooking.
Once I had a freezer packed with ready to cook meals, I added a few of them to my weekly meal plan. Every night, I just looked at my meal plan to see what I had planned for the next day, and moved the appropriate bag from the freezer to the fridge before going to bed.
Because I had dramatically reduced my prep time, dinner was on the table in less than 30 minutes every night. (Some nights it was more like 15 minutes! What?!) This reduced my stress level by about a gazillion percent.
Wildtree eliminated the problem of me planning meals and not actually cooking them, because I’d already done most of the prep work. Bonus: Less time in the kitchen also means more time with my family! We’ve actually been able to bump my kiddo’s bed time up half an hour earlier because we’re not waiting till 6:30 for his frazzled mommy to finish cooking dinner.
6. I had plenty of leftovers.
Wildtree says that each meal should make 6 servings, and I think that’s a pretty solid number unless you’re eating really large portions. As a family of three, we had leftovers for lunch the next day, which saved me the hassle of figuring out what to send for lunch with the Hubs. My rep told me that for a smaller family or single person, you could actually make two bags per meal by dividing all the ingredients and seasonings in half. If you’ve got a bigger family, I would add an extra half pound of protein per bag to bump up the servings.
The real bonus for me was that we had lots of leftover Wildtree products, which I’ve been adding to meat, veggies, scrambled eggs, etc. for simple easy meals. (There’s a recipe section here where you can find ideas for using up those extra ingredients.) This means that you’re actually getting a lot more than 10 meals out of your Workshop kit.
7. It made it easy to manage my grocery budget.
The kits cost $78 plus tax and S&H, and I spent about $70 on non-organic meats and veggies. (I did sub a couple of cuts of meat based on what was on sale at Aldi that week. You can spend more or less depending on what and where you buy.)
I bought some extra chicken and fish, so I made a couple of the recipes twice and ended up with a total of 14 meals in the freezer. These meals fed us for dinner and lunch the next day, so I felt like it was a great value. (Especially compared to what I spend if we pick up takeout. Don’t even get me started on what happens to the food budget when we go out to eat!)
Here are a few things you might want to know before your first workshop:
- You will still need to buy a few ingredients for the day of cooking (e.g. canned crushed tomatoes, extra veggies for sides, rice, etc.)
- If you’re planning to cook any of your freezer meals right away, look at the freezer inventory and go ahead and add those extra ingredients to your shopping list.
- Check local sales ads or use a smart phone app like Flipp to see deals on meats and produce before you do your shopping.
- Don’t have time to shop? Order online and use a free store pickup service like the one provided by Walmart. (Click here to save $10 on your next pickup order.)
- Not all veggies taste their best after being frozen, especially watery ones like zucchini. You may want to think about adding those fresh on the day you actually cook your freezer meal.
- Some bags will get a little watery as they thaw out. You may want to drain a little of the liquid off before cooking.
Will I Wildtree again?
Unequivocally, yes. I was hooked after the first workshop, and plan to personally do at least one kit a month for the foreseeable future. I’ll also supplement with some skillet meals and healthy versions of family favorites like spaghetti, chili, sloppy joes, etc. (I used to make all my own seasoning blends for stuff like that, but I’ve started stocking up on staples from Wildtree to save me the time and energy.)
Wildtree has made such a positive impact on my family in the past month that I actually signed up as a rep! I am excited to share these amazing meal time solutions with other busy people who just want to cook real food without a whole bunch of hassle.
If you’ve got questions or need recommendations for your specific dinner time dilemmas, just drop them in the comments below or contact me directly and I’ll be happy to help. If you’d like to get meal planning tips, easy recipes and monthly deals delivered straight to your inbox, just click below to subscribe to my Wildtree email list.
To check out more of what Wildtree has to offer, you can shop here and follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see how I’m using Wildtree in my own wellness journey. If you’d like more info on joining my team, let’s chat! Here’s more info on the Wildtree opportunity.
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