Chicken Saltimbocca with Artichoke Sauce is a welcome change of pace, while Oven-Fried Fish Sticks are a lighter update of a kid-friendly classic. If you're looking to experiment with new ingredients and cuisines without venturing beyond your local grocery, the Korean-inspired Clay Pot Vegetable Stew and Sara's take on Vietnamese Bahn Mi make it easy to try global flavors.
For a quick, pulled-from-the-pantry meal, try Polenta Lasagna or BLT and Egg Pie. Shake things up and serve appetizers like Pork Sliders, Asian Style, and Manchego-Stuffed Figs Wrapped in Bacon for dinner, or declare Sandwich Night and serve Picadillo Sloppy Joes. If you have a vegetarian in the family or you're just trying to economize, flip to the chapter on vegetarian mains for recipes for delicious and nutritious fare like Tortilla Pizza or Rustic Potato and Greens Pie. For dessert there's Butterscotch Pudding Cake, Warm Chocolate Cheesecake, and much more. And finally, on Sunday, when you have a little more time to cook, there is a chapter for comfort food that will cure the end-of-the-weekend blues and get the week started right.
Perhaps most important to the overscheduled home cook, Sara's recipes help you cook smarter, faster, and cleaner. Each recipe lists cooking and preparation times, and easy-to-follow instructions streamline the process by integrating prep and cleanup into each step. Sidebars on shopping, storing, preparing, and serving share the tips Sara has collected over many years of answering questions from home cooks across the country. Creative, crowd-pleasing, and fuss free, the recipes in Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners make family dinner a pleasure for everyone.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 49.
- Review Date: 2010-03-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Moulton, famed Food Network and public television star and author of Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals, shares 200 recipes for busy home cooks. While many cookbooks offer quick recipes for weeknight meals, Moulton takes the concept several steps further by creating dishes that reflect the way Americans truly eat at home. Inspired by the recession, she creates meals that are inexpensive yet flavorful and offers suggestions for variations, such as making the dish lighter, vegetarian, or with different ingredients. She offers two-for-one dishes, where a second new meal is created with leftovers from the first meal as well as five-ingredient main dishes. She also devotes entire chapters to vegetarian dishes and whole grain meals, and her poultry section includes turkey meatballs. She not only condones but advocates appetizers for dinner and dedicating a night for sandwiches and another to soup. Recipe highlights include black bean soup with quesadillas, Peking duck wraps, Thai-style beef stir-fry with chilis and mint, sautéed beer-batter shrimp with tartar sauce, and three-ingredient apple crisp. This refreshing, accessible, and tasty collection more than lives up to the promise of its title and will delight the legions of Moulton fans, earning her more than a few new ones. (Apr.)
The queen of green instructs
Alice Waters, locavore extraordinaire, has been one of the most influential chefs in America for well over three decades. Her mantra—“organic, local and seasonal”— has become the mantra for a generation of cooks (well, maybe we’re into the second generation by now), professional and non, and has changed the way so many of us think about food, its preparation, provenance and possibilities. Last summer, she was an organizer of Slow Food Nation, a gathering that lured thousands of people, all united by “a passion for food and for a sustainable future.” Among the highlights were demonstrations by 30 well-known chefs of the basic techniques universal to all cuisines—techniques that, once learned, can free cooks from an “overdependence on recipes” (Ms. Waters’ many excellent cookbooks excepted, I assume). These basic basics, explained in Waters’ confidence-instilling voice, are all documented in her latest, In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart, along with a portrait of each chef, his or her illustrative recipes and a few more of the author’s own. Believing that the most important part of cooking is shopping and provisioning, Waters shows you how to stock an organic pantry with both the perishable and the not-too-perishable. With your pantry full, these techniques mastered and Waters’ creed absorbed, you can easily be a better, greener cook.
Mario goes pro-planet
No one has to tell a good Italian cook about simplicity or seasonality; it’s in their DNA, and Mario Batali has made it his mission to spread that Italian culinary credo. With 14 restaurants, eight cookbooks and TV appearances galore, the exuberant, larger-than-life Molto Mario is the current champion of La Cucina Italiana. Now he’s added a “proplanet resolve” to his message, “greening” his restaurants and reminding us of the social cost of our food decisions. Not pushy and hardly a vegetarian, Mario suggests that meals made up of a few vegetarian antipasti, maybe a sampling of salumi, a salad, pizza or pasta, some good cheese and a delectable dolce are sumptuously simple. In other words, you don’t need a “meat and potatoes” main course. And in Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking, Mario offers the Italian classics that have made Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, his Manhattan palazzo of pizza and pasta, so resoundingly successful. Seasonally orchestrated, super-low in animal protein, these are the go-to recipes for creating your own incredibly inviting “pro-planet” meals. Try Spring Peas with Mint, Penne with Walnut Pesto, Pizza with Funghi and Taleggio, Tricolore Salad, Ricotta Gelato—nobody will ask, “where’s the beef?”
Sara’s continuing quest
Sara Moulton, a Food Network star, food editor at “Good Morning America” and cookbook author, is a strong believer in the myriad benefits to body and soul of a home-cooked dinner, eaten at the table with family and friends. Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners is her latest practical paean to these savory, salutary meals. Sara’s goal is to give you wriggle-room strategies that free you from the “straightjacket that stipulates starch/ vegetable/ protein at every meal,” and the recipes—200 here—and ideas to make those strategies a reality. Like most pros, she relishes the local and the seasonal, includes and appreciates vegetarian dishes and, aware of the restraints the current recession has necessitated, has turned to using less expensive, but not less flavorful, ingredients. Among the new, fun strategies are: “Appetizers for Dinner,” perfect for natural grazers (I’m definitely part of that herd), such as Guacamole Eggs or Pork Sliders, Asian Style; “Whole Grain and Hearty” mains, including Polenta Lasagna and Barley Provençale; “Two for One,” recipes that generate fabulous leftovers; plus enough soups, salads, sandwiches, Sunday-Night Comfort Meals and desserts (the Butterscotch Pudding Cake is to die for) to make weeknights treat-nights throughout the year. Totally sensible and satisfying.